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Champion-AM-314 - History

Champion-AM-314 - History

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Champion III
(AM-314: dp. 890; 1. 221'2"; b. 32'2": dr. 10'9"; s. 18 k.,
cpl. 106; a. 1 3"; cl. Auk)

The third Champion (AM-134) was launched 12 December 1942 by General Engineering and Dry Dock Co. Alameda, Calif., and commissioned 8 September 1943 Lieutenant Commander J. H. Howard, Jr., USNR, in command.

Clearing San Diego 7 December 1943, Champion arrived at Pearl Harbor 13 December. Between 8 January and 4 March 1944, she was assigned the task of guarding vital shipping between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco. More direct support to frontline operations came from 18 March to 10 April, when she escorted two resupply convoys to Tarawa, after which she screened a convoy to Kwajalein from 19 April to 7 May in support of the Marshalls operation. After a short overhaul, She sailed to Saipan for minesweeping operations and local escort duty in late June, then returned to Pearl Harbor for more extensive overhaul. From 13 September to 17 November, she guarded convoys from Pearl Harbor to Eniwetok and Saipan, before training for the Iwo Jima Operation.

Champion arrived off Iwo Jima 16 February 1946, as the preliminary 3-day bombardment of the island began. Except for the period 21 February to 4 March, when she sailed escorting unloaded assault shipping to Saipan, from which she returned with resupply echelon, Champion remained off Iwo Jima until 7 March. After provisioning and fueling at Ulithi, she sailed for Kerama Retto and Okinawa. In these dangerous waters she conducted minesweeping operations, and served in screens, from 24 March to 19 June, aside from a convoy escort voyage to Saipan from 26 April to 19 May. On 16 April, a suicide plane crashed close aboard Champion spraying debris which slightly damaged her, and wounded four of her men. She returned to Seattle 20 July for an overhaul which lasted through the end of the war.

In support of Far Eastern occupation activities, Champion sailed from San Pedro 4 December 1946 called at Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, and arrived at Sasebo, Japan, 1 February 1948. From this port she swept mines and patrolled in Tsushima Straits until 6 December, when she cleared for the west coast. Champion was decommissioned and placed in reserve at San Diego 30 January 1947. She was reclassified MSF-314 7 February 1966.

Champion received three battle stars for service in World War II.

Champion-AM-314 - History

December 7, 1941 - January 6, 1942

The first blush of dawn tinged the eastern sky and sent its rosy fingers creeping onto the flight deck of the huge triple-tailed flying boat as she cruised high above the South Pacific. Six days out of her home port of San Francisco, the Boeing 314 was part of Pan American Airways' growing new service that linked the far corners of the Pacific Ocean. With veteran captain Robert Ford in command, the Pacific Clipper, carrying 12 passengers and a crew of ten was just a few hours from landing in the harbor at Auckland, New Zealand.

The calm serenity of the flight deck early on this spring morning was suddenly shattered by the crackling of the radio. Radio Operator John Poindexter clamped the headset to his ears as he deciphered the coded message. His eyes widened as he quickly wrote the characters on the pad in front of him. Pearl Harbor had been attacked by Japanese war planes and had suffered heavy losses the United States was at war. The stunned crew looked at each other as the implications of the message began to dawn. They realized that their route back to California was irrevocably cut, and there was no going back. Ford ordered radio silence, and then posted lookouts in the navigator's blister. Two hours later, the Pacific Clipper touched down smoothly on the waters of Auckland harbor. The odyssey was just beginning.

The crew haunted the overwhelmed communications room at the US Embassy in Auckland every day for a week waiting for a message from Pan Am headquarters in New York. Finally they received word -- they were to try and make it back to the United States the long way: around the world westbound. For Ford and his crew, it was a daunting assignment. Facing a journey of over 30,000 miles, over oceans and lands that none of them had ever seen, they would have to do all their own planning and servicing, scrounging whatever supplies and equipment they needed all this in the face of an erupting World War in which political alliances and loyalties in many parts of the world were uncertain at best.

Their first assignment was to return to Noumea, back the way they had come over a week earlier. They were to pick up the Pan American station personnel there, and then deliver them to safety in Australia. Late on the evening of December 16th, the blacked out flying boat lifted off from Auckland harbor and headed northwest through the night toward Noumea. They maintained radio silence, landing in the harbor just as the sun was coming up. Ford went ashore and sought out the Pan Am Station Manager. "Round up all your people," he said. "I want them all at the dock in an hour. They can have one small bag apiece."

The crew set to work fuelling the airplane, and exactly two hours later, fully fuelled and carrying a barrel of engine oil, the Clipper took off and pointed her nose south for Australia.

It was late in the afternoon when the dark green smudge of the Queensland coast appeared in the windscreen, and Ford began a gentle descent for landing in the harbor at Gladstone. After offloading their bewildered passengers, the crew set about seeing to their primary responsibility, the Pacific Clipper. Captain Ford recounted, "I was wondering how we were going to pay for everything we were going to need on this trip. We had money enough for a trip to Auckland and back to San Francisco, but this was a different story. In Gladstone a young man who was a banker came up to me and out of the blue said, 'How are you fixed for money?' 'Well, we're broke!' I said. He said, 'I'll probably be shot for this,' but he went down to his bank on a Saturday morning, opened the vault and handed me five hundred American dollars. Since Rod Brown, our navigator, was the only one with a lock box and a key we put him in charge of the money. That $500 financed the rest of the trip all the way to New York."

Ford planned to take off and head straight northwest, across the Queensland desert for Darwin, and then fly across the Timor Sea to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), hoping that Java and Sumatra remained in friendly hands. The next day, as they droned into the tropical morning the coastal jungle gradually gave way to great arid stretches of grassland and sand dunes. Spinnifex and gum trees covered the landscape to the horizon. During the entire flight to Darwin the crew didn't see a river big enough to set down the big flying boat should anything go wrong. Any emergency would force them to belly land the airplane onto the desert, and their flight would be over.

They approached the harbor at Darwin late in the afternoon. Massive thunderheads stretched across the horizon, and continuous flashes of lightning lit up the cockpit. The northernmost city in Australia, Darwin was closest to the conflict that was spreading southward like a brushfire. A rough frontier town in the most remote and primitive of the Australian territories, it was like something out of a wild west movie. After they had landed, the Pacific Clipper crew was offered a place to shower and change much to their amusement their "locker room" turned out to be an Australian Army brothel.

Ford and his crew set about fueling the airplane. It was a lengthy, tiresome job. The fuel was stored in five gallon jerry cans, each one had to be hauled up over the wing and emptied into the tanks it was past midnight before they were finished. They managed a few hours of fitful sleep before takeoff, but Ford was anxious to be under way. News of the progress of the Japanese forces was sketchy at best. They were fairly certain that most of the Dutch East Indies was still in friendly hands, but they could not dally.

Early the next morning they took off for Surabaya, fourteen hundred miles to the west across the Timor Sea. The sun rose as they droned on across the flat turquoise sea, soon they raised the eastern islands of the great archipelago of east Java. Rude thatch-roofed huts dotted the beaches the islands were carpeted with the lush green jungle of the tropics.

Surabaya lay at the closed end of a large bay in the Bali Sea. The second largest city on the island of Java, it was guarded by a British garrison and a squadron of Bristol Beaufort fighters. As the Pacific Clipper approached the city, a single fighter rose to meet them moments later it was joined by several more. The recognition signals that Ford had received in Australia proved to be in-accurate, and the big Boeing was a sight unfamiliar to the British pilots. The crew tensed as the fighters drew closer. Because of a quirk in the radio systems, they could hear the British pilots, but the pilots could not hear the Clipper. There was much discussion among them as to whether the flying boat should be shot down or allowed to land. At last the crew heard the British controller grant permission for them to land, and then add, "If they do anything suspicious, shoot them out of the sky!" With great relief, Ford began a very careful approach.

As they neared the harbor, Ford could see that it was filled with warships, so he set the Clipper down in the smooth water just outside the harbor entrance. "We turned around to head back," Ford said. "There was a launch that had come out to meet us, but instead of giving us a tow or a line, they stayed off about a mile and kept waving us on. Finally when we got further into the harbor they came closer. It turned out that we had landed right in the middle of a minefield, and they weren't about to come near us until they saw that we were through it!"

When they disembarked the crew of the Pacific Clipper received an unpleasant surprise they were told that they would be unable to refuel with 100 octane aviation gas. What little there was was severely rationed, and was reserved for the military. There was automobile gas in abundance however, and Ford was welcome to whatever he needed. He had no choice. The next leg of their journey would be many hours over the Indian Ocean, and there was no hope of refueling elsewhere. The flight engineers, Swede Roth and Jocko Parish, formulated a plan that they hoped would work. They transfered all their remaining aviation fuel to the two fuselage tanks, and filled the remaining tanks to the limit with the lower octane automobile gas.

"We took off from Surabaya on the 100 octane, climbed a couple of thousand feet, and pulled back the power to cool off the engines," said Ford. "Then we switched to the automobile gas and held our breaths. The engines almost jumped out of their mounts, but they ran. We figured it was either that or leave the airplane. "

They flew northwesterly across the Sunda Straits, paralleling the coast of Sumatra. Chasing the setting sun, they started across the vast expanse of ocean. They had no aviation charts or maps for this part of the world the only navigational information available to the crew was the latitude and longtitude of their destination at Trincomalee, on the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Using this data, and drawing from memory, Rod Brown was creating his own Mercator maps of South Asia. Ford was not only worried about finding the harbor, he was very concerned about missing Ceylon altogether. He envisioned the Clipper droning on over India, lost and low on fuel, unable to find a body of water on which to land.

As they neared the island they could see a cloud bank ahead. Ford said, "There was some low scud, so we descended. We wanted the maximum available visibility to permit picking up landfall at the earliest moment -- we didn't want to miss the island. All of a sudden there it was, right in front of us, a submarine! We could see the crew running for the deck gun. Let me tell you we were pretty busy getting back into the scud again!"

Ford jammed the throttles of the Clipper forward to climb power, the engines complaining bitterly. Their 150 mph speed soon had them well out of range of the sub's guns, and the crew heaved a sigh of relief. It would be difficult to determine who was the more surprised the Japanese submarine commander or the crew of the Clipper, startled out of their reverie after the long flight.

It was another hour until they reached the island, and the Boeing finally touched water in the harbor at Trincomalee. The British Forces stationed there were anxious to hear what Ford and his crew had to report from the war zone to the east, and the crew was duly summoned to a military meeting. Presiding was a pompous Royal Navy Commodore who informed Ford in no uncertain terms that he doubted Ford would know a submarine if it ran over him. Ford felt the hackles rise on the back of his neck. He realized that he could not afford to make an enemy of the British military, the fate of the Pacific Clipper rested too heavily in their hands. He swallowed hard and said nothing.

It was Christmas Eve when they began the takeoff from Ceylon and turned the ship again to the northwest. The heavily loaded Boeing struggled for altitude, laboring through the leaden humid air. Suddenly there was a frightening bang as the number three engine let go. It shuddered in its mount, and as they peered through the windscreen the crew could see gushes of black oil pouring back over the wing. Ford quickly shut the engine down, and wheeled the Clipper over into a 180 degree turn, heading back to Trincomalee. Less than an hour after takeoff the Pacific Clipper was back on the waters of Trincomalee harbor. The repairs to the engine took the rest of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas Day. One of the engine's eighteen cylinders had failed, wrenching itself loose from its mount, and while the repair was not particularly complex, it was tedious and time-consuming. Finally early in the morning of December 26th, they took off from Ceylon for the second time. All day they droned across the lush carpet of the Indian sub continent, and then cut across the northeastern corner of the Arabian Sea to their landing in Karachi, touching down in mid-afternoon.

The following day, bathed and refreshed, they took off and flew westward across the Gulf of Oman toward Arabia. After just a bit over eight routine hours of flying, they landed in Bahrain, where there was a British garrison.

Another frustration presented itself the following morning as they were planning the next leg of their journey. They had planned to fly straight west across the Arabian peninsula and the Red Sea into Africa, a flight that would not have been much longer than the leg they had just completed from Karachi.

"When we were preparing to leave Bahrain we were warned by the British authorities not to fly across Arabia," said Ford. "The Saudis had apparently already caught some British fliers who had been forced down there. The natives had dug a hole, buried them in it up to their necks, and just left them."

They took off into the grey morning and climbed through a solid overcast. They broke out of the clouds into the dazzling sunshine, and the carpet of clouds below stretched westward to the horizon. "We flew north for about twenty minutes," Ford said, "then we turned west and headed straight across Saudia Arabia. We flew for several hours before there was a break in the clouds below us, and damned if we weren't smack over the Mosque at Mecca! I could see the people pouring out of it, it was just like kicking an anthill. They were probably firing at us, but at least they didn't have any anti-aircraft."

The Pacific Clipper crossed the Red Sea and the coast of Africa in the early afternoon with the Saharan sun streaming in the cockpit windows. The land below was a dingy yellowish brown, with nothing but rolling sand dunes and stark rocky out-croppings. The only sign of human habitation was an occasional hut every so often they flew over small clusters of men tending livestock who stopped and shielded their eyes from the sun, staring up at the strange bird that made such a noise. The crew's prayers for the continued good health of the four Wright Cyclones became more and more fervent. Should they have to make an emergency landing here they would be in dire straits indeed.

Late in the afternoon they raised the Nile River, and Ford turned the ship to follow it to the confluence of the White and Blue Niles, just below Khartoum. They landed in the river, and after they were moored the crew went ashore to be greeted by the now familiar hospitality of the Royal Air Force. Ford's plan was to continue southwest to Leopoldville in the Belgian Congo and begin their South Atlantic crossing there. He had no desire to set out across the Sahara a forced landing in that vast trackless wasteland would not only render the aircraft forever immobile, but the crew would surely perish in the harshness of the desert.

Early the next morning they took off from the Nile for Leopoldville. This was to be a particularly long overland flight, and they wanted to leave plenty of daylight for the arrival. They would land on the Congo River at Leopoldville, and from there would strike out across the South Atlantic for South America.

Bob Ford and the Pacific Clipper, from an 8-page story in August 1942 True Comics

The endless brown of the Sudan gave way to rolling green hills, and then rocky crests that stretched across their path. They flew over native villages, and great gatherings of wildlife. Herds of wildebeast, hundreds of thousands strong, stampeded in panic as the Clipper roared overhead. The grassland soon turned to jungle, and they crossed several small rivers, which they tried to match to their maps. Suddenly ahead they saw a large river, much bigger and wider than others they had crossed, and off to their right was a good-sized town. The river had to be the mighty Congo, and the town was Bumba, the largest settlement on the river at that point. From their maps they saw that they could turn and follow the river downstream to Leopoldville. They had five hundred miles to fly

Late in the afternoon they raised the Congolese capital of Leopoldville. Ford set the Boeing down gently onto the river, and immediately realized the strength of the current. He powered the ship into the mooring, and the crew finally stepped ashore. It was like stepping into a sauna. The heat was the most oppressive they had yet encountered it descended on them like a cloak, sapping what energy they had left.

A pleasant surprise awaited them however, when two familiar faces greeted them at the dock. A Pan American Airport Manager and a Radio Officer had been dispatched to meet them, and Ford was handed a cold beer. "That was one of the high points of the whole trip," he said.

After a night ashore they went to the airplane the next morning prepared for the long over-water leg that would take them back to the western hemisphere. The terrible heat and humidity had not abated a bit when the hatches were finally secured and they swung the Clipper into the river channel for the takeoff. The airplane was loaded to the gunnels with fuel, plus the drum of oil that had come aboard at Noumea. It was, to put it mildly, just a bit overloaded. They headed downstream into the wind, going with the six-knot current. Just beyond the limits of the town the river changed from a placid downstream current into a cataract of rushing rapids pillars of rocks broke the water into a tumbling maelstrom. Ford held the engines at takeoff power, and the crew held their breath while the airplane gathered speed on the glassy river. The heat and humidity, and their tremendous gross weight were all factors working against them as they struggled to get the machine off the water before the cataracts. Ford rocked the hull with the elevators, trying to get the Boeing up on the step. Just before they would enter the rapids and face certain destruction, the hull lifted free. The Pacific Clipper was flying, but just barely. Their troubles were far from over, however. Just beyond the cataracts they entered the steep gorges it was as though they were flying into a canyon. With her wings bowed, the Clipper staggered, clawing for every inch of altitude. The engines had been at take-off power for nearly five minutes and the their temperatures were rapidly climbing above the red line how much more abuse could they take? With agonizing slowness the big Boeing began to climb, foot by perilous foot. At last they were clear of the walls of the gorge, and Ford felt he could pull the throttles back to climb power. He turned the airplane toward the west and the Atlantic. The crew, silent, listened intently to the beat of the engines. They roared on without a miss, and as the airplane finally settled down at their cruising altitude Ford decided they could safely head for Brazil, over three thousand miles to the west.

The crew felt revived with new energy, and in spite of their fatigue, they were excitedly optimistic. Against all odds they had crossed southern Asia and breasted the African
continent. Their airplane was performing better than they had any right to expect, and after their next long ocean leg they would be back in the hemisphere from which they had begun their journey nearly a month before. The interior of the airplane that had been home to them for so many days was beginning to wear rather thin. They were sick of the endless hours spent droning westward, tired of the apprehension of the unknown and frustrated by the lack of any real meaningful news about what was happening in a world beseiged by war. They just wanted to get home.

After being airborne over twenty hours, they landed in the harbor at Natal just before noon. While they were waiting for the necessary immigration formalities to be completed, the Brazilian authorities insisted that the crew disembark while the interior of the airplane was sprayed for yellow fever. Two men in rubber suits and masks boarded and fumigated the airplane.

Late that same afternoon they took off for Trinidad, following the Brazilian coast as it curved around to the northwest. It wasn't until after they had departed that the crew made an unpleasant discovery. Most of their personal papers and money were missing, along with a military chart that had been entrusted to Navigator Rod Brown by the US military attache in Leopoldville, obviously stolen by the Brazilian "fumigators."

The sun set as they crossed the mouth of the Amazon, nearly a hundred miles wide where it joins the sea. Across the Guineas in the dark they droned, and finally at 3 AM the following morning they landed at Trinidad. There was a Pan Am station at Port of Spain, and they happily delivered themselves and their weary charge into friendly hands.

The final leg to New York was almost anti-climactic. Just before six on the bitter morning of January 6th, the control officer in the Marine Terminal at LaGuardia was startled to hear his radio crackle into life with the message, "Pacific Clipper, inbound from Auckland, New Zealand, Captain Ford reporting. Overhead in five minutes."

In a final bit of irony, after over thirty thousand miles and two hundred hours of flying on their epic journey, the Pacific Clipper had to circle for nearly an hour, because no landings were permitted in the harbor until official sunrise. They finally touched down just before seven, the spray from their landing freezing as it hit the hull. No matter -- the Pacific Clipper had made it home.

The significance of the flight is best illustrated by the records that were set by Ford and his crew. It was the first round-the-world flight by a commercial airliner, as well as the longest continuous flight by a commercial plane, and was the first circumnavigation following a route near the Equator (they crossed the Equator four times.) They touched all but two of the world's seven continents, flew 31,500 miles in 209 hours and made 18 stops under the flags of 12 diffferent nations. They also made the longest non-stop flight in Pan American's history, a 3,583 mile crossing of the South Atlantic from Africa to Brazil.

The Pacific Clipper finally arrives at LaGuardia, January 6, 1942
As the war progressed, it became clear that neither the Army nor the Navy was equipped or experienced enough to undertake the tremendous amount of long distance air transport work required. Pan American Airways was one of the few airlines in the country with the personnel and expertise to supplement the military air forces. Captain Bob Ford and most of his crew spent the war flying contract missions for the US Armed Forces. After the war Ford continued flying for Pan American, which was actively expanding its routes across the Pacific and around the world. He left the airline in 1952 to pursue other aviation interests.
The Crew of Pacific Clipper
Captain Robert FordFirst Officer John H. MackSecond Officer/Navigator Roderick N. BrownThird Officer James G. HenriksenFourth Officer John D. SteersFirst Engineer Homans K. "Swede" RothSecond Engineer John B. "Jocko" ParishFirst Radio Officer John Poindexter*Second Radio Officer Oscar HendricksonPurser Barney SawickiAsst Purser Verne C. Edwards* Poindexter was originally scheduled to accompany the Pacific Clipper as far as Los Angeles, and then return to San Francisco he had even asked his wife to hold dinner that evening. In Los Angeles, however, the regularly scheduled Radio Officer suddenly became ill, and Poindexter had to make the trip himself. His one shirt was washed in every port that the Pacific Clipper visited.
This article originally appeared in the August 1999 Issue of Air and Space Magazine and is reprinted by permission of the author. The illustrations have been added.

Related Links

The Long Way Home, a book by Ed Dover, Revised edition 2010

The Pacific Clipper Saga Arrival Clip

A short video made with some new and some "retro" components (including "True Aviation Comics # 1" and a bit from an old Orson Welles radio program), which honors the epic trip of Capt. Robert Ford and his crew on the Pacific Clipper. They managed to get their Pan Am Boeing B-314 flying boat back to the USA from the South Pacific by flying the "long way home." It was a remarkable feat!

(You can read all about it in Ed Dover's great book "The Long Way Home" - here's a link to a chapter: https://www.panam.org/new-books/722-the-long-way-home-chapter

About the Boeing 314 Clipper Flying Boat

The Boeing 314 Clipper is the quintessential flying boat. It’s what most people think of recalling the era when Foynes flourished as the hub of aviation activity between North America and Europe.

One of the largest aircraft of the time, 12 were built for Pan American World Airways, three of which were sold to BOAC in 1941 before delivery. Since the start of the survey flights in 1937, Pan Am’s Clippers completed a total of 2,097 Atlantic crossings.

The Yankee Clipper

Pan Am’s Boeing B314 NC18603, the Yankee Clipper, was the first B314 allocated to the Atlantic division. It was christened by Eleanor Roosevelt on 3 March 1939. Its first visit to Foynes was on the 11 April 1939 under the command of Captain Harold Gray.

B314 Service and Comfort

The level of service on the Boeing 314 was of a very high standard. There was a 14-seat dining room with linen tablecloths, crystal glasses, and full waiter service. About 300 pounds of food would be loaded up for a transatlantic flight, with all the food prepared by two stewards.

The high level of comfort was important, as some of the westbound flights from Foynes to Botwood lasted as long as 17 hours. Passengers would find their shoes cleaned and polished overnight, and each passenger had a bed to sleep in during the flight.

The Flight Deck

The Boeing 314 Clipper’s flight deck design was groundbreaking, taking new steps to address the serious problem of crew fatigue on nonstop ocean flights. Every B314 flight had at least 11 crew members, but more often than not, they also had crew training on board.

A cross-section of the interior of the B314 shows the anchor and gear room at the bow of the plane, which also held a mooring post. From this room, a gangway leads up to the bridge, which is entirely lined in black to eliminate glare. Here, two pilots handled the controls that operated the plane. At the back of the bridge was the navigation and radio room, the directive brain of the ship. Behind that was the cargo hold, which usually contained mail.

The Passenger Areas

Below the flight deck were the galley and dining lounge, and seven passenger compartments were stretched along the length of the flying boat. The one in the ship’s tail was a deluxe compartment corresponding roughly to a ship’s bridal suite.

The Top and Bottom of the B314

At the bottom of the plane, pumps forced gasoline stored in sponsons up to the wing tanks and engines. The top of the plane featured the celestial observation turret, from which the flying boat’s position was checked against the sun, moon, and stars.

A Busy Day for Foynes

Saturday, 18 August 1945 was a record day for Pan American World Airways operations in Foynes. Two clippers—the Atlantic and the Dixie—arrived from New York in the morning and returned that night. That day, 101 transatlantic passengers were handled at the airport. It was the record for a day’s operation by one airline. Traveling were nationals from Great Britain, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, and the USA.

The Fate of the Boeing 314s

Sadly, no B314 Clippers exist today. Below is the catalog showing the fate of the Yankee Clipper and all other B314 flying boats operated by Pan Am and BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation).

Iwo Jima operations

Champion arrived off Iwo Jima on 16 February 1945, as the preliminary three-day bombardment of the island began. Except for the period 21 February to 4 March, when she sailed escorting unloaded assault shipping to Saipan, from which she returned with resupply echelons, Champion remained off Iwo Jima until 7 March. After provisioning and fueling at Ulithi, she sailed for Kerama Retto and Okinawa. In these dangerous waters she conducted minesweeping operations, and served in screens, from 24 March to 19 June, aside from a convoy escort voyage to Saipan from 25 April to 19 May.

April, 1945

  • 0100, changed speed to 12 knots. All hands manned general quarters stations, enemy planes in vicinity. Fired upon enemy aircraft, no plane shot down.
  • 0616, commenced firing on enemy aircraft.
  • 0617, plane crashed-dived into USS ADAMS (DM-27) and bounced off into the water. Steering casualty to ADAMS.
  • 0619, USS ARDENT (AM-340) ordered to stand by ADAMS to render assistance.
  • 0620, changed course to 320 degrees T by emergency turn to stay clear of ADAMS which has lost steering control.
  • 0632, commenced firing at enemy aircraft.
  • 0635, ceased firing plane disappeared into cloud.
  • 0640, sighted plane attempting suicide dive on USS SWEARER (DE-186), about 6,000 yards on starboard bow. Plane did not hit SWEARER but crashed into water.
  • 1200, position: Lat 26D-20’ N Long. 127D-22’ E.
  • 1340, stationed special sea details and proceeded on various courses and speeds into harbor in KERAMA RETTO, Okinawa Islands group.
  • 1415, Moored alongside USS KISHWAUKEE (AOG-9) port side to and commenced taking on fuel oil.
  • 0021, all hands manned general quarters stations enemy aircraft in immediate vicinity.
  • 0045, USS ACHERNA (AKA-53) 3500 yards on port beam, hit by enemy suicide plane (a two-engine bomber that passed low overhead the USS DEFENSE according to War Diary) and fire broke out on weather deck. DEFENSE left station to stand-by ACHERNA to render assistance. Closed to about 400 yards but unable to communicate by voice radio.
  • [Roy’s Note: the official US Navy History shows the ACHERNA being hit on April 1 – but the DEFENSE deck logs show the ship being hit on the second]
  • 0110, ACHERNA brought fire under control, increased speed to about 15 knots and rejoined own formation. [War Diary differs slightly – says name of ship was “ACHEINA”]
  • 0126, returned to patrol station.
  • 0622, began firing on enemy aircraft. Ceased fire as friendly planes were in line of fire.
  • 0911, proceeded to harbor in KERAMA RETTO, Okinawa Island Group.
  • 1745, provisions and stores boat alongside.
  • 1810, Underway pursuant to orders CTG 52.2, proceeding to screening station A-56 at various courses and speeds on all engines standing out protected anchorage, KERAMA RETTO.
  • 1845, commenced firing at unidentified aircraft.
  • 1847, ceased firing.
  • 2000, entered smoke screen with visibility of about 500 yards, proceeding on various courses and speeds to maneuver safely through groups of ships.
  • 0109, all hands manned general quarters stations, enemy aircraft in vicinity of Okinawa.
  • 0555, all hands manned general quarters stations, enemy aircraft in vicinity.
  • 0715, commenced patrolling station 2,000 yards southeast of station A-56 upon visual orders of CTG 51.5 represtentative.

[Note from Official US Navy History: United States Naval Advanced Air Base, Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, is established. Koiso cabinet in Japan resigns Admiral Suzuki becomes Prime Minister.

  • 0310, all hands manned general quarters stations, enemy aircraft present.
  • 0800, joined column formation with USS REQUISITE (AM-109), USS TRIUMPH (AM-323), and USS VIGILANCE (AM-324), on course 160 degrees T, speed 15 knots. OTC is CominDiv 13 in REQUISITE.
  • 0802, changed speed to 5 knots and commenced streamin “o” type and acoustic minesweeping gear.
  • 0834, all minesweep gear streamed, 300 fathoms port and starboard sweep wire, 40 ft. float pendants, 18 fathoms depressor wire, hammer box at 30 feet.
  • 0906, USS SPEAR (AM-322) joined formation.
  • 0907, entered area D-2 and commenced scheduled sweeping operations on various courses conforming to contour of area.
  • 1428, completed scheduled sweep of assigned area D-2. Made preparations to recover minesweeping gear. Sweep results negative.
  • 1509, set course to 210 degrees T, speed 15 knots, proceeding independently awaiting orders from CTG 51.5.
  • 1536, all hands manned general quarters stations, enemy aircraft attacking various units at beachhead.
  • 1800, all hands manned general quarters stations. AA gunfire seen coming from TF 54 which bore 270 degrees T, distance 6 miles.
  • 1802, increased speed to flank with radical changes of course, enemy aircraft in large numbers seen to be coming in from northwest. One plane made suicide run on this vessel and was shot down by 20mm fire. (the War Diary states that this was a Val)
  • 1804, speed reduced to standard and ship steadied on northerly heading.
  • 1805, two suicide planes (Vals) commenced runs from the east on this vessel and were taken under heavy fire by starboard battery. Speed increased to flank with radical changes of course. One plane pulled out, other plane crashed into flying bridge and superstructure.
  • 1806, all engines stopped until report that only minor damage had been received on the bridge.
  • 1807, speed increased to flank with radical changes of course as another plane was observed making a run on this vessel from west. Plane was taken under fire by starboard battery but crashed 40mm platform. Course was changed to westward to close with TF 54 as still more enemy planes were observed in the air and this vessel had received some damage from shrapnel.
  • 1815, reduced speed to standard and commenced to close with USS NEWCOMB (DD-586) and USS LEUTZE (DD-481) which had received major damage and were burning.
  • 1820, commenced to pull along starboard side of LEUTZE, but received orders from Commanding Officer of LEUTZE to pick up survivors. Commenced maneuvering as instructed.
  • 1825, vessel violently shaken by explosion of depth charges from one of damaged vessels nearby.
  • 1853, BOWELL, James Padelford, SM3c, USNR, went over the side and rescued WALKER, H., StM1c, a non-swimmer, whom he brought back to the ship. BOWELL went over the side a second time, taking two life preservers to five men, two of whom were seriously burned. Bowell is to be commended for his actions done in the face of possible combined air attacks and darkness coming on rapidly. He materially speeded the recovery of survivors without thought of himself.
  • The following ammunition was expended during the attack: 45 rounds 3”/50 cal 550 rounds 40mm 3600 rounds 20mm.
  • Material damage suffered was as follows: Hull: Seven holes in starboard side near and above waterline varying in size from 2” in diameter to 2” x 6” ten holes in superstructure varying in size up to 6” in diameter one shroud starboard side almost severed life lines and stanchions on forecastle deck carried away two holes in ship’s boat. Ordnance: One 40mm gun and one 20mm gun damaged two 40mm ready boxes bent out of shape and covers ripped off one Mk 14 sight damaged beyond repair six 20mm magazines damaged 3”/50 cal. Operating handle not functioning properly. Radio: all high frequency antenna carried away.
  • 1900, received orders from ComDesRon 55 in USS PORTERFIELD (DD-682) to take LEUTZE in tow.
  • 2005, LEUTZE secured astern with 1,000 fathoms of towing cable. Commenced slow acceleration on all engines on course 280 degrees T.

Location of ship: Lat. 25° 49’N Long. 126° 13’E
Time Zone: 1600 Date: Friday, April 6, 1945, ELD
1. Surprise attack? Yes Day or Night: Day
2. Method picking plane up: Naked eye
3. Range plane was picked up: 5 miles
4. Total number of planes observed: Many – 20 to 30. Type: Fighters, bombers and torpedo
5. Number of planes attacking own ship: 4 Type: Believe all were Vals
6. Number of planes taken under fire by own ship: 4 Type: Vals
7. Speed and altitude of approach in knots and feet: 100-120 K 100 feet
8. Number of guns firing – by caliber: 1 – 3”/50, 8 – 20MM, 2 – 40MM
9. Ammunition expended – by caliber and type: 45 rounds 3” 550 rounds 40MM 3600 rounds 20MM
10. Percent service allowance expended: 18% 11.5% 7%
11. Method of control: Optical Method of spotting: Tracer
Method of ranging: Estimated Method of firing: Rapid fire
12. Approximate time-tracking to first shot: None
13. Approximate time of first hits: 1603
14, Approximate time first shot to last shot: 7 minutes
15. Approximate position angle open fire: #1 – 10° bearing 270° relative #2 – 20° bearing 090° relative #3 – 20° bearing 050° relative #4 – 20° bearing 050° relative.
16. Approximate position angle cease fire: #1 – 0° bearing 030° relative #2 – crashed into ship forward #3 – crashed into ship aft #4 – not known.
17. Approximate bearing first shot: 270° relative
18. Approximate bearing last shot: 090° relative
19. Approximate range of first shot: 5,000 – 6,000 yards Altitude of plane: Not over 100 feet.
20. Approximate minimum range aircraft approached: #1 – 150 feet #4 – 500-700 yards.
21. Approximate range of last shot: ---- Altitude of plane: ---
22. Approximate altitude of bomb release: --- Size of bomb: ---
23. Approximate range of torpedo release: --- Size of torpedo: ---
24. Number of hits on ship by bombs: none By torpedo: --- Was ship strafed: Yes, by plane #2 Size gun: 25 cal.
25. Number near bomb misses damaging ship: none
26. Planes shot down: SURE SURE PROBABLE DAMAGED
(by own ship) (assist)
those attacking own ship: 3
Other aircraft
27. Best estimate of size gun or guns responsible for each “sure”: Plane #1 by 20MM planes #2 and #3 crashed.
28. Performance of ammunition: Excellent
29. What failures in material occurred in this action?: None
30. Sketch:
(a) Indicate direction of attack relative to ship’s head
(b) Show relative postion of sun
(c) Indicate own maneuvers.

The USS DEFENSE was patrolling Station A-35 on a northwesterly course and a Task Force of capital ships was retiring for the night about six miles to the westward. As this vessel’s Air Search radar was inoperative the first indication of attack was the observation of AA fire from that Force. Many planes were observed flying in all directions. DEFENSE changed to a northerly course parallel that of the Task Force. Plane number 1 came in from the north to about half way between the Task Force and DEFENSE and then turned sharply toward DEFENSE and stared its run. When the run started range was about 5,000 yards and an altitude about 100 feet. Fire was opened with all guns that could bear, 1 – 3”/50, 4 – 20MM and 1 – 40MM (single mount). At about 1,000 yards and 50 feet altitude the plane pulled up sharply and passed directly over DEFENSE at right angles to its base course. DEFENSE was maneuvering at about 17 knots. Fire was taken up by the starboard battery and the plane was seen hit by 20MM fire just under the cockpit. The plane turned left into a dive and splashed about 700-800 yards on the starboard bow. The pilot did not bail out and no explosion seemed to take place when hitting the water.
Plane number 2 had started its run probably before plane number 1 had splashed. It came in from the northeastward and was not observed until probably less than 2,500 yards, altitude 50-75 feet. The starboard battery opened fire but the plane crashed the bridge structure forward, on the starboard side. Oil, gasoline, and parts of the plane were all over the ship. Most of the pilot was in the flying bridge and his parachute hung from the yard arm. There might have been a second pilot in the plane as another parachute that went across the ship hit the water on the port side and opened. Where the engine went, or the explosive if one was carried, is not known. The only fire started inside the flying bridge and was stamped out before fire extinguishers arrived. A splash on the starboard side, large enough to put water on the bridge, indicated that there might be hull damage so the vessel was slowed for investigation. Before a report could reach the bridge planes number 3 and 4 were seen forward on the starboard bow, already having started their run. DEFENSE went back to flank speed. These planes came in together wing-tip to wing-tip. The starboard battery opened fire. Plane number 3 must have crowded plane number 4 because the latter turned off. Plane number 3 continued in and crashed the 40MM platform just aft of #2 stack. Again much of the plane was left on deck but most of it, including the heavy parts, went over the port side. There was no explosion and no fire.

G. Abbott,
Lt. Comdr., USNR,
Commanding Officer.

[ROY’S NOTE: According to eyewitness reports, plane number 2 actually exploded at a range of 25-30 yards, spattering shrapnel, fuel, seawater and pieces of the unfortunate pilot all over the front of the DEFENSE. The “second pilot” landed in the ocean on the port side of the ship and was promptly machine-gunned, even though he was probably dead when he hit the water.]

  • 0634, passed through nets into KERAMA RETTO ANCHORAGE.
  • 0719, Lying to in vicinity of USS CRESENT CITY (APA-21) awaiting boats to transfer injured men. Lieutenant Commander WORDEN, (MC), USNR, CominPac staff Medical Officer, came aboard to assist in transfer of patiets.
  • 0741, Boats from USS CRESENT CITY came alongside and men were transferred for medical treatment.
  • 1400, transferred the survivors from USS NEWCOMB (DD-586) to USS WAYNE (APA-34) for disposition.
  • 1354, completed streaming “O” type gear, port and starboard with 300 fathoms sweep wire, 60 foot float pendants, 30 fathoms depressor wire.
  • 1828, completed recovery of gear. Sweep results negative.
  • 1912, changed course to 025 degrees T and commenced patrolling in channel east of TOKASHIKI SHIMA and south of MAE SHIMA on course 025 degrees T and 205 degrees T.
  • 1038, entered KEREMA RETTO ANCHORAGE, maneuvering on various courses and speeds to anchorage in vicinity of USS TERROR (CM-5).
  • 1415, DANGELO, E. J., MoMM2c, went over the side in shallow water diving outfit to investigate possible seam ruptures at various parts of the ship.
  • 1445, completed diving operation.
  • 0800, reported to Commander L.S.T Flotilla 6 pursuant to ComTaskFor 51 dispatch 100710 for duty in Task Unit 51.29.13. ComTaskUnit, L.S.T. Flotilla 6 in LCI 1080. ComDesRon 45 in USS BENNETT (DD-473) as screen commander with following escorts: USS WESSON (DE-184), USS SC-1049, USS SC-1314, USS YMS 398, and USS YMS 311. This vessel in station 51809 screen, escorting LST Flotilla 6, on base course 205 degrees T, base speed 7.5 knots.
  • 1200, with Point Chiyama bearing 085 degrees T, distance 13 miles, took departure for Siapan Island, Mariannas Islands, on course 148 degrees T, speed 7.5 knots.

[Note from Official US Navy History: President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies Vice President Harry S. Truman succeeds to the Presidency.


During the 1930s, transoceanic travel was beyond the capability of all but a handful of aircraft. The solution was offered by giant dirigibles such as the Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg and by ever larger "flying boats" -- multi-engine airplanes with boat-like hulls. The most elegant and successful of these was Boeing's Model 314, which first flew in 1938 and operated through World War II. The last of a dozen aircraft built was destroyed in 1951.

A Most Luxurious Airliner

The noble 314 Clipper with its flying boat hull, protruding sponsons and triple vertical tails was very different from today’s sleek jet airliners with their tubular fuselages and swept back wings. While contemporary airliners provide high speed and efficiency, the Clipper conjures up thoughts of adventure and the elegance of a bygone era. It was the first to open the Atlantic Ocean to scheduled airline service in 1939, filling a void left by the tragic end of the pioneer Zeppelin airship service, which began in 1928, and was stopped in 1937 by the loss of the Hindenburg.

Youthful Pan American Airways (PAA), formed in 1927, had by 1939 become the world standard airline, and was unique in providing both trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic scheduled service with the 314. It also offered the only non-stop services exceeding 2,000 miles (also with its Martin China Clipper flying boats). PAA purchased a landplane for its first airplane, the Fokker Trimotor, and became the motive force for the development of the large passenger carrying flying boat and very luxurious long-range airline service.

Boeing’s Clipper for PAA is perhaps the best remembered of its early aircraft, and it evokes a quick smile from the aviation fan and average person alike. Sadly, none of the 12 magnificent Clippers built survive today.

The first trans-Atlantic air service was initiated by Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei of Germany on October 11, 1928. Its non-scheduled, seasonal mail and cargo service between Germany and the United States first used the giant hydrogen gas-buoyed dirigible Graf Zeppelin. Up to 20 passengers could ride along, paying $461 for a one-way ticket for a trip requiring 80 to 100 hours of flying time. This luxury service (including staterooms, dining room, lounge, piano, observation deck, smoking room) continued until May 6, 1937, when the dirigible Hindenburg crashed at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The Voyage of the Clipper Begins

Shortly after placing the Martin China Clipper into service during 1935, PAA president Juan T. Trippe asked the aircraft industry for a higher capacity, longer range flying boat airliner with less payload limitations than the Martin. Boeing discussions with PAA began that year, with the result that PAA ordered six aircraft from Boeing for $4.8 M on July 21, 1936, and optioned six more.

The order for luxury airliners demonstrated that the aviation industry, airlines and manufacturing, was prospering and advancing in the 1930s Great Depression. Later PAA ordered six improved 314A’s on October 1, 1939. Wellwood Beall, engineer and salesman, originated the 314 design which was similar in basic configuration to the earlier Martin M-130 China Clipper, but was a state-of-the-art, high performance, luxurious ocean-spanning airliner that was reliable in service and very popular with passengers and crew.

Test pilot Eddie Allen flew the Boeing 314 NX18601 Clipper on its first flight on June 7, 1938, from the waters of Puget Sound, in Seattle and remained aloft for 38 minutes. Ironically, on the same day in southern California, the Douglas DC-4E landplane airliner prototype also made its first flight.

Despite its commitment to flying boats, PAA was among five sponsoring airlines of the DC-4E in 1936, but before it flew opted out due to high costs and projected performance shortfalls. In 1937, PAA ordered the smaller Boeing 307 landplane long range airliner. PAA briefly considered flying the 307 across the north Atlantic, but never did. The Douglas was similar in configuration to the later Lockheed Constellation including triple vertical tails. Complex systems and high maintenance costs cancelled DC-4E production, but the simplified, unpressurized single vertical tail C-54 Skymaster/DC-4 was built in quantity during and after World War II.

Boeing was busy with several other projects in addition to flight-testing the 314 from Lake Washington, east of Seattle, Washington. On June 22, 1938, 15 days after the 314 flew, Boeing and PAA publicly announced the follow-on model 326 giant flying boat airliner. It was so large that tugboats were to be used during harbor maneuvers. None of the model 326, nor any of four competing designs in the 1937 PAA contest for a flying ocean liner capable of crossing the Atlantic non-stop with 100 passengers flying in pressurized comfort above the weather, was built.

Six months after the 314, the 307 Stratoliner flew on December 31, 1938. It operationally introduced cabin pressurization and power boosted control surfaces to airline service in 1940, beginning with PAA, which ordered four. Flight-testing of the B-17A Flying Fortress with turbo-supercharged engines led to the first production high altitude bomber, the B-17B, during 1939.

Transatlantic Air Travel

Within a year of its first flight, PAA began 314 scheduled transpacific passenger and mail service on March 29, 1939, with flights from San Francisco to Hong Kong. The Atlantic Ocean was next with the first scheduled airplane passenger service from New York City to Europe beginning on June 28, 1939. The 314 ushered in a new era of transatlantic travel -- scheduled airline service providing an Atlantic ocean crossing in less than a day (weather permitting). Fuel stops were made in Eire or the Azores, depending upon final destination.

It provided the ultimate in luxury airplane travel in its day, un-matched even today in sheer elegance. The air conditioned and heated cabin had: five passenger compartments, a sit-down dining room with china and linen service, a bar, men’s and women’s dressing rooms, a galley, a honeymoon suite and sleeping berths. First class fare (the only choice) from New York to Marseilles, France, was $375 each way.

PAA nautical theme bestowed the crew with maritime ratings and uniforms. A master crew position, equivalent to a ship’s captain, was in overall command. His desk (without flying controls) was on the port side of the control cabin, third behind the (first) pilot and the navigator. With operating experience, this position was later eliminated. Trippe borrowed and copyrighted the term Clipper from the New England-built sleek and fast sailing ships of the 1850s. The 314 was the fourth PAA airplane to bear the Clipper appellation.

The British Short S.26 G-Class flying boat airliner was the only direct competitor to the 314. It was a larger, more powerful development of the S.23 C-Class Empire flying boat, designed expressly for transatlantic service. World War II prevented the start of airline service, and the three aircraft built were taken into the Royal Air Force for patrol duties.

In 1941 British Overseas Airways Corporation purchased three 314A's from PAA (prior to delivery and probably under pressure from the U.S. government) for $1 million each, to establish rapid transatlantic communications. These exported aircraft, plus the Martin M-156 sold to the USSR, were the only overseas sales of new, U.S. built, large passenger-carrying flying boats.

During World War II. the 314’s flew high-priority passengers and cargo for the U.S. and U.K. military services. President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill (he had a short stint at the co-pilot’s controls during a flight home) were among those carried. Roosevelt was flown to the Casablanca Conference, to meet with Churchill and Stalin, on January 14, 1943, thus becoming the first in-office president to fly, and the 314 Dixie Clipper the first presidential airplane. Additionally, clandestine missions were flown in support of the war effort.

End of an Era

PAA flew its last Clipper service in 1946, bringing an end to the golden era of the passenger-carrying flying boat, which had begun less than 20 years earlier. The majestic flying boats were replaced by the more utilitarian and faster Douglas DC-4 and Lockheed Constellation landplanes. In 1951, the last existing Clipper, 314A NC16808/G-AGCA Berwick was raised, then scrapped, after sinking in the Baltimore, Maryland, harbor.

314 Clipper Flying Boat Facts

  • Introduced regularly scheduled transatlantic airplane passenger service -- Pan American Airways 314 Dixie Clipper on June 28, 1939, from New York City to Marseilles, France.
  • Greatest passenger capacity (74) airliner in-service in 1939.
  • Most powerful in-service engines (Wright R-2600 1,500 hp) in 1939 -- typical was 1,100 hp.
  • Longest range (5,200 miles ferry) operational airliner and airplane (314A) in-service in 1941.
  • First in-service widebody fuselage (12.5 feet/150 inches overall) airliner -- not exceeded until the Boeing 747 (21.33 feet/256 inches) of 1969.
  • Upper deck control cabin/cockpit -- a concept again used by Boeing in the 747.
  • First spiral staircase used by Boeing similar staircases were later used on the Stratocruiser and 747.
  • First airplane sold for a million dollars each.
  • One tough airplane -- the Honolulu Clipper required 1,300 rounds of friendly 20mm cannon fire from the USS San Pablo before sinking. The abandoned aircraft was damaged after a forced landing due to engine failure, and was considered a menace to navigation.
  • First U.S. presidential airplane -- the Dixie Clipper ferried Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Casablanca Conference during World War II, on January 14, 1943.

Boeing Clipper over Seattle, 1930s

Boeing 314 Clipper lifts off from Elliott Bay, Seattle, ca. 1938

Cutaway diagram of Boeing 314 showing flight deck and navigator's perch

Boeing 314 Clipper navigator taking a celestial sighting from seaplane's dome

Boeing 314 Clipper on the waves, 1930s

Pan American Airways poster of the late 1930s featuring the Boeing 314 Clipper.

Dixie Clipper (Boeing B314) completes first transatlantic passenger flight, New York to Lisbon, Portugal, June 29, 1939.

Evaluation and treatment of infertility

Infertility is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse. Evaluation may be initiated sooner in patients who have risk factors for infertility or if the female partner is older than 35 years. Causes of infertility include male factors, ovulatory dysfunction, uterine abnormalities, tubal obstruction, peritoneal factors, or cervical factors. A history and physical examination can help direct the evaluation. Men should undergo evaluation with a semen analysis. Abnormalities of sperm may be treated with gonadotropin therapy, intrauterine insemination, or in vitro fertilization. Ovulation should be documented by serum progesterone level measurement at cycle day 21. Evaluation of the uterus and fallopian tubes can be performed by hysterosalpingography in women with no risk of obstruction. For patients with a history of endometriosis, pelvic infections, or ectopic pregnancy, evaluation with hysteroscopy or laparoscopy is recommended. Women with anovulation may be treated in the primary care setting with clomiphene to induce ovulation. Treatment of tubal obstruction generally requires referral for subspecialty care. Unexplained infertility in women or men may be managed with another year of unprotected intercourse, or may proceed to assisted reproductive technologies, such as intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization.


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Friday, February 21, 2020

Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) Sunk

WED 21 FEB 1945
Navy and USAAF planes bomb and strafe Japanese installations at Truk.

Off Iwo Jima, kamikazes sink escort carrier Bismarck Sea (CVE-95), 24䓤'N, 141䓰'E, and damage carrier Saratoga (CV-3), 24䓸'N, 142䓁'E (Saratoga is also hit by a bomb) escort carrier Lunga Point (CVE-94), 24䓨'N, 141䓬'E tank landing ships LST-477, 24䓨'N, 141䓬'E, and LST-809, 24䓈'N, 142䓆'E and net cargo ship Keokuk (AKN-4), 24䓤'N, 141䓰'E. Small carrier Langley (CVL-27) is damaged by bomb. Japanese mortar fire damages tank landing ship LST-390, 24䓮'N,141䓓'E. Collisions account for damage to destroyer Williamson (DD-244) and oiler Suamico (AO-49), 24䓧'N, 142䓁'E destroyer Bradford (DD-545) and tank landing ship LST-812 attack cargo ship Yancey (AKA-93) and heavy cruiser Pensacola (CA-24), 24䓮'N, 141䓓'E. Heavy weather damages medium landing ship LSM-43.

Tank landing craft LCT-175 founders and sinks in heavy weather, 04䓛'N, 133䓨'E.

Destroyer Renshaw (DD-499) is torpedoed by Japanese submarine RO 43 south of Siquijor Island P.I., 24䓤'N, 141䓰'E. RO 43 escapes a ten-hour search by destroyers Waller (DD-466) and Shaw (DD-373) around Siquijor Island.

Japanese Coast Defense Vessel No.72 and Coast Defense Vessel No.150 are damaged in collision off Wenchow, China.

Submarine Gato (SS-212) sinks Japanese merchant cargo ship Tairiku Maru in Yellow Sea off west coast of Korea, 35䓘'N, 125䓗'E.

Japanese merchant tanker Eiyo Maru, damaged by submarine Guavina (SS-362) the previous day, sinks off Cape Padaran, French Indochina, 11䓖'N, 109䓖'E.

Japanese cargo ship Fukusei Maru sinks after running aground off Cape Shirazaki, Honshu, 41䓀'N, 142䓀'E.


SAT 17 FEB 1945
Fire support ships, minesweeping units, and underwater demolition teams (UDT) arrive off Iwo Jima and encounter fire from shore batteries. UDT reconnaissance discloses that no underwater obstacles exist, and that the surf and beach conditions are suitable for landings. Infantry landing craft (gunboat) LCI(G)-474 is sunk by shore battery, while supporting UDT operations. Japanese guns also account for damage to battleship Tennessee (BB-43), 24䓬'N, 141䓓'E heavy cruiser Pensacola (CA-24) and destroyer Leutze (DD-481), 24䓮'N, 141䓓'E as well as to infantry landing craft (gunboats) LCI(G)-346, LCI(G)-348, LCI(G)-438, LCI(G)-441, LCI(G)-449, LCI(G)-450, LCI(G)-457, LCI(G)-466, LCI(G)-469, LCI(G)-471, and LCI(G)-473. On board the damaged LCI(G)-449, her commanding officer, Lieutenant Rufus G. Herring, although badly wounded, cons his crippled ship himself, maintaining her position in support of the unfolding UDT operations until she is able to move to safety. For his heroism, Herring is awarded the Medal of Honor.

Light cruisers Phoenix (CL-46) and Boise (CL-47), along with three destroyers, provide call-fire support for continuing operations on Corregidor. Light cruiser Cleveland (CL-55) and destroyers O'Bannon (DD-450) and Taylor (DD-468) bombard the Ternate area, south shore of Manila Bay. Fleet tug Hidatsa (ATF-102) is damaged by mine in Mariveles harbor, Luzon, 14䓙'N, 120䓞'E.

Destroyer Haynesworth (DD-700) sinks Japanese guardboat No.36 Nanshin Maru southwest of Mikimoto light and auxiliary submarine chaser Wafu Maru off Omaezaki Light.

Submarine Bowfin (SS-287) sinks Japanese Coast Defense Vessel No.56 five miles east of Mikura Jima, central Honshu, 33䓵'N, 139䓫'E. Bowfin and aircraft sink guardboat No.26 Nanshin Maru southwest of Mikimoto light, 30䓅'N, 135䓏'E.

British submarine HMS Statesman attacks Japanese convoy off Ujong Tamiang, 04䓚'N, 98䓐E, sinking motor sailships No.3 Matsujima Maru and 19 Nippon Maru and 17 Nanyo Maru and No. 14 Nippon Maru.

Minesweeper Champion (AM-314) is damaged by horizontal bomber, 26䓀'N, 128䓀'E.

Coast Guard cutter Atalanta (WPC-102), en route to assist lighthouse tender Bramble (WAGL-389) (damaged by grounding the previous day) collides with and damages mail boat Neptune near Steamer Point Light, Aleutians. District patrol craft YP-251 escorts the damaged Neptune to Naval Section Base, Ketchikan, while Atalanta, undamaged, continues on her mission.

District patrol craft YP-94, returning from landing supplies on Chirikof Island runs aground at the southern end of Tugidak and Sitkinak Islands rescue tug ATR-68 is dispatched from Kodiak, Alaska, to render assistance, while air-sea rescue coordination succeeds in rescuing all hands (see 23 February).

USAAF B-24s (5th Air Force), on an antishipping sweep over the South China Sea, sink Japanese landing ship T.114 off southern coast of Formosa, 23䓄'N, 120䓞'E.

Japanese army cargo vessel Yamashio Maru is sunk by aircraft, Yokohama harbor.

Japanese merchant tanker No.28 Nanshin Maru is sunk by aircraft, 30䓀'N, 138䓞'E.

Japanese merchant cargo ship Daibi Maru is sunk, by aircraft, off Chichi Jima.

Japanese submarine chaser Ch 47 is damaged by aircraft, 32䓭'N, 111䓸'E.

During diving operations in West Loch, Pearl Harbor, on the wreckage of tank landing ships sunk in the ammunition explosions in that area in 1944, Boatswain's Mate Second Class Owen F. P. Hammerberg risks his own life to save two fellow divers trapped while tunnelling under a wrecked LST. Although Hammerberg's efforts are successful, he suffers mortal injuries in a cave-in, to which he succumbs 18 hours later. For his heroism, Hammerberg is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously.

Motor torpedo boat PT-605 is sunk by striking submerged object off Ostend, Belgium.

Watch the video: This is why i am Champion (May 2022).


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