It Was What They Did (DBF)

It Was What They Did (DBF)

During the 1,347 days of WWII, 465 skippers took 263 boats and 16,000 men out on 1,736 patrols, collectively spending 79,838 days at sea, of which 31,571 days were spent in operating areas where they attacked 4,114 merchant ships, firing 14,748 torpedoes and sinking 1,178 of them along with 214 Naval vessels. Of these 263 boats, 52 and 3,617 men never returned.

Never in the annals of military history has there been a record of achievement to equal that of the United States Submarine Service during WWII. With 1.6 percent of all Naval personnel, the Submarine Service sank over 55% of all Japanese ships sunk, including one-third of all Japanese Men-of-War.

They also performed many other tasks such as carrying ammunition to Corregidor, evacuating the Philippine government and all its gold, attacking enemy land positions, landing spotters and raiders on many islands, and rescuing downed U.S. pilots.

Secret surveillance was another mission of the submarines. U.S. submarines scouted every landing made during the war in the Pacific and on many occasions acted as “point” for the invading forces guiding them to the invasion place.

The United States Submarine Service had the Island of Japan isolated long before the end of the war. Japan was unable to support their army in the field, or even sustain the economy of the home islands.




Stolen from Facebook

We in the United States have all heard the haunting song,

‘Taps.. ‘ It’s the song that gives us the lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes.

But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Elli was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Elli heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.

When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.

The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out.. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted.

The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.

The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.

But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.

The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth’s uniform.

This wish was granted.

The haunting melody, we now know as ‘Taps’ used at military funerals was born.

The words are:

Day is done.

Gone the sun.

From the lakes

From the hills.

From the sky.

All is well.

Safely rest.

God is nigh.

Fading light.

Dims the sight.

And a star.

Gems the sky.

Gleaming bright.

From afar.

Drawing nigh.

Falls the night.

Thanks and praise.

For our days.

Neath the sun

Neath the stars.

Neath the sky

As we go.

This we know.

God is nigh

I too have felt the chills while listening to ‘Taps’ but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn’t even know there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn’t know if you had either so I thought I’d pass it along.

I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.

Remember Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their Country.

Also, Remember Those Who Have Served And Returned; and for those presently serving in the Armed Forces.

A good story, but this is probably closer to the truth of the origin of Taps:

The origins of “Taps,” the distinctive bugle melody played at U.S. military funerals and memorials and as a lights-out signal to soldiers at night, date back to the American Civil War. In July 1862, U.S. General Daniel Butterfield and his brigade were camped at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, recuperating after the Seven Days Battles near Richmond. Dissatisfied with the standard bugle call employed by the Army to indicate to troops it was time to go to sleep, and thinking the call should sound more melodious, Butterfield reworked an existing bugle call used to signal the end of the day. After he had his brigade bugler, Private Oliver Wilcox Norton, play it for the men, buglers from other units became interested in the 24-note tune and it quickly spread throughout the Army, and even caught on with the Confederates.

Not long after Butterfield created “Taps,” it was played for the first time at a military funeral, for a Union cannoneer killed in action. The man’s commanding officer, Captain John Tidball, decided the bugle call would be safer than the traditional firing of three rifle volleys over the soldier’s grave, a move which couldn’t been confused by the nearby enemy as an attack. As for the name “Taps,” the most likely explanation is that it comes from the fact that prior to Butterfield’s bugle call, the lights-out call was followed by three drum beats, dubbed the “Drum Taps,” as well as “The Taps” and then simply “Taps.” When Butterfield’s call replaced the drum beats, soldiers referred to it as “Taps,” although this was an unofficial moniker, according to “Taps” historian and bugle expert Jari Villanueva. He notes that Butterfield’s bugle call was officially known as “Extinguish Lights” in American military manuals until 1891. Since that time, “Taps” also has been a formally recognized part of U.S. military funerals.

Today at Berkeley Plantation, the historic estate located at Harrison’s Landing, there’s a monument commemorating the origins of “Taps” at the site. Berkeley Plantation also happens to be the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and William Henry Harrison, the nation’s ninth president.




Home From the Sea

Home From the Sea

By Garland Davis

The neon lights were flashin’

And the icy wind was blowin’

Water seeped into his shoes

As the drizzle turned to snow

His eyes were red, his hopes were dead

And his wine was runnin’ low

When the old sailor came home

From the sea


Tears fell on the sidewalk

As he stumbled in the street

Faces stopped to stare

But no one dared to speak

For his castle was a hallway

And the bottle his only friend

When the old sailor stumbled in

From the sea


Up the dark and dingy staircase

The old sailor made his way

His ragged peacoat around him

As upon his cot, he lay

And he wondered how it happened

How he ended up this way

Getting lost like a fool

Here away from the sea


As he lay there sleeping

A vision appeared

Upon his mantle shining

A face of one so dear

Who had loved him in the Asian spring

Of a long-forgotten year

When the flowers bloomed

In her garden by the sea


She touched his grizzled fingers

And called him by his name

And then he heard the joyful sound

Of children at their games

In an old house on a hillside

In some forgotten village

Where the river runs down

To the Western sea


With a hum and roar vehicles move

Through the cavern streets

And life goes on

For the city never sleeps

And to an old forgotten sailor

The dawn will come no more

For the old man has come home

From the sea


Getting out of the Navy? Looking for work? Good Luck!

Sea Stories and other lies

No matter how much you love the Navy (and this can change dramatically over the course of the day), you have to get out some time. When this happens, whether you retire or simply get out after your enlistment is complete, you are going to need to get another job.

While you have been serving your country, you have received many heartfelt thanks for your service. Unfortunately that gratitude does not put actual food on the table and no matter how patriotic the public is, nobody is going to pay you a livable wage to sit around the VFW telling sea stories. Trust me, I have looked into this.

So how are you going to get by? If you are lucky, you chose a rate that you love and transfers easily into civilian employment. If you are like me, you didn’t. You instead chose a rate that has no standard…

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The West Loch Disaster

The West Loch Disaster

A few days ago a car carrying two civilians tried to enter the Naval Station at Pearl Harbor. The security guard noticed what appeared to be a mortar round in the car. The two people in the car were taken into custody, EOD was alerted, and the base was locked down. Subsequent investigation showed that the device was inert and the people were released. This incident brought the little known story of the West Loch Disaster which, it is believed, was caused by a mortar projectile.

The West Loch Disaster was a maritime accident during World War II at the Pearl Harbor U.S. Naval Base in Hawaii. The incident, which occurred just after 1500 hrs. on Sunday 21 May 1944, began following an explosion in a staging area for Landing Ships, Tank (LSTs) and other amphibious assault ships in West Loch. A fire quickly spread among the ships being prepared for Operation Forager, the invasion of the Japanese-held Mariana Islands. Over the next 24 hours, six LSTs sank, 163 naval personnel died and 396 were injured.

A subsequent Naval Board of Inquiry never determined the exact cause of the disaster but concluded that the initial explosion was caused when a mortar round aboard LST-353 detonated during an unloading operation because it was either dropped or went off when gasoline vapors ignited. The incident – together with the Port Chicago disaster two months later – led to major changes in weapon handling practices within the United States Navy.

The LST wreckage was quickly cleared in a salvage operation and dumped at sea 3 mi (2.6 NMI; 4.8 km) south of Hawaii. Only the hull of the partially beached LST-480 was left in West Loch. A press blackout was enforced and naval personnel were ordered not to talk about the incident. The disaster was classified until 1960 and is therefore not well known.

During the salvage and removal of the wrecks from West Loch, the U.S. Navy found remains of a Japanese midget submarine. Researchers now believe this to be the fifth Japanese midget submarine used in the attack in December 1941.


Raising the Flag

Raising the Flag

Raising the United States flag at Yokosuka, Japan on August 30, 1945, as U.S. Marines and Sailors assume responsibility for the base. Brig. Gen. William T. Clement, USMC, presided over the ceremony. In this view, the flag is at the bottom of the mast, ready to be hoisted. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.


At Quarters




By Mister Mac

I share them with all who have gone through the same crucible. They (like us) were forged in pressure. They were quenched in the waters of the darkest parts of the ocean. They symbolize a tradition that is shared by only a few. Fire, flooding and the crashing of the waves above us only strengthened their character. They cannot be given, they must be earned. They cost little but their value is immense. They are silver and they are gold. But they are bonded together in shared sacrifice and duty.


Makin Island


Semper Fi

Makin Island

A true story about 19 marines killed on an island defending against the Japanese. They had to retreat, so the survivors asked the islanders to please bury them for us. Years later, they checked and found a man who had been a teenager then and remembered where the marines had been buried. They sent a C130 and an honor guard over there and found all 19 had been buried with their helmets on, their rifles in their hands, in perfect condition. The islanders had really done a wonderful job.

As they were loading the bodies, a voice from out of nowhere started singing The Marine Hymn”……….gave everyone goosebumps. Turns out, the voice was from a man who spoke no English but remembered a song the Marines taught him when they landed. Very touching. They got all 19 and their photos are at the end. This of course was WW2!