Vice Admiral John D Bulkeley

Vice Admiral John D. Bulkeley

This post is for my shipmates from the U.S.S. Luce sailor. Remember when the ship had a stores replenishment when we were in Gitmo and one of the sailors ate some ham he had swiped and opened the can and a couple of days later made a sandwich and got food poisoning.

The Captain went all ahead full into Gitmo to get the guy some medical help. These pictures are of John D. Bulkeley Vice Admiral who was the commander of Gitmo and had sent there by President Kennedy.

The Admiral had strict rules about entering and leaving the harbor at safe speeds. He sent the Captain a message castigating him for the reckless way he had entered port and approached the pier. The line handlers on the dock were about to run away because they thought the ship was going to hit but the Captain stopped on a dime.

When the Captain messaged the Admiral the circumstances of his entry, the Admiral replied, “Finest example of ship handling under emergency conditions I have ever seen.”

I was telephone talker to CIC on the bridge that day and I never forgot the Admiral’s name. I was thinking about this and decided to Google the Admiral’s name and what a sailor he was. He was commander of PT Boats during WW2 and was responsible for rescuing MacArthur his family and staff and transporting them 600 miles in open waters. He received the Medal of Honor. He was also in the Normandy invasion and just after got his first big ship, a destroyer and charged two German ships with only one 5 inch gun working on his ship and sunk them both! He had a book written about him ( see picture). Also, check out the ribbons he earned and note that he had a DDG named after him. The Movie (They Were Expendable) was based on him in WW2. He died in 1988 he was 84 years old. What a Great American!!!!

Medal of Honor citation

Bulkeley’s Medal of Honor citation reads:

For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as commander of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3, in Philippine waters during the period 7 December 1941 to 10 April 1942. The remarkable achievement of LCDR Bulkeley’s command in damaging or destroying a notable number of Japanese enemy planes, surface combatant and merchant ships, and in dispersing landing parties and land-based enemy forces during the 4 months and 8 days of operation without benefit of repairs, overhaul, or maintenance facilities for his squadron, is believed to be without precedent in this type of warfare. His dynamic forcefulness and daring in offensive action, his brilliantly planned and skillfully executed attacks, supplemented by unique resourcefulness and ingenuity, characterize him as an outstanding leader of men and a gallant and intrepid seaman. These qualities coupled with a complete disregard for his own personal safety reflect great credit upon him and the Naval Service.


5 thoughts on “Vice Admiral John D Bulkeley

  1. Andre Rioux says:

    I notice that on the USS Bulkeley’s Ship Patch there is a slogan which reads “SECOND TO NONE” I was on USS Yorktown (CVS 10) back in ’60-62′ and that was our slogan or motto. What gives?


  2. Steven Mondul says:

    He also was Chief of INSURV. He inspected my last Command (USS MERRIMACK). Tough but fair. We passed with flying colors.


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