U.S. Military Files

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The other day (Monday, September 23, 2013, possibly) I got a forwarded e-mail from Clark Weber, not uncommon in this day and age. Clark is a number of things, first, he was my "growing up" DJ on WLS Radio in Chicago and then he moved to WCFL Radio also in Chicago through most of the 1960s and into the 1970s. For me this is the golden era of radio. Girls, hot rods, and surfing of the West Coast Sound was colliding with the beautiful life, love, and romance of the East Coast Sound and both were being over shadowed by the English (Music) Invasion. To document this truly great radio era Clark wrote Clark Weber's Rock and Roll Radio, which includes a neat CD, it is ISBN 0-9797892-2-2, published by Chicago's Book Press. Just my opinion, a must buy if you lived through the era and a really should buy if you did not. Clark put an e-mail address in the book and after not hearing his voice on the radio for almost forty years and hearing the 1960s and him on the CD I had to pass on my thanks. He responded and we have been "chatting" for a couple of years since my sister Kerrie gave me the book. Clark is a former Radioman 3rd class, United States Navy. Part of an elite team called the U.S. Military. He is also a licensed pilot having owned a Cessna 336 Skymaster at one time. The Skymaster, based on appearance, is one of my favorite airplanes. Cannot be all bad with that qualification and history in his portfolio. He has been a role in my life in several ways.

Clark had forwarded an e-mail about U.S. Marines on Tarawa during WWII. Another receiver of Clark's e-mail was George Shapin. George responded to all receivers that HE WAS THE U.S. MARINE IN THE PHOTO! Six unknown degrees of separation closed to two. In asking for and hearing George's story I decided to put up this page. There are some other people that I have been thinking about doing this for. Former U.S. Marine Bill Groves attends my Church. He was awarded his Purple Heart for an incident in the Western Pacific during WWII. I look forward to seeing Bill every Sunday. LTJG (Henry) Jim Bedinger was flying over Laos on November 22, 1969. He had launched from the USS Constellation (CV-64) in an F-4 Phantom II assigned to VF-143 as a "Pukin Dog." He was released from North Vietnam on March 28, 1973. Jim continued his Navy career and retired as a Commander to continue serving the Service Member through his current position. Bill, George, and Jim are some of the heros I have come across in my life. This page is for all the heros that served, and every one that served is a hero. Some got awards like the Medal of Honor, Meritorious Service Medal, or service Achievement Medal. Some just got a pat on the back and a paycheck.

George, thank you for the final inspiration. Bill, Jim, thank you for your service.


Common Errors
Errs Medal of Honor Veterans Day WWII
Errs Independence Day U.S. vs. US
Interesting Military Hyperlinks
Military Stories
Mil Definitions
United States Navy Stories
USN SP(I) First Class Carrie Jean (Adams) Schildhouse LCDR Schaffert to LCDR Levy Radioman Second Class Clark Weber
USN Quartermaster Second Class Reese Rickards The USS Missouri, September 2, 1945 The USS Wasp / USS Hobson Collision at Sea, April 26, 1951
USN LCDR Rex A Schildhouse
United States Marine Corps Stories
USMC George Shapen Alexander Bonnyman Lt. Col. Jerry Coleman
United States Army Stories
Army Bill Schildhouse (Dad) Carl Schlieder
United States Air Force Stories
United States National Guard Unit Stories

By design and mission, the U.S. Military is the force that implements the foreign policy of the United States. Supposedly everything we do is in support of the Boots on the Ground. That explains why every time a (not very important) VIP like the secretary of defense or the vice president shows up we stop everything and put on a show and dump all sorts of stuff the U.S. taxpayers paid for that would be better utilized by those Boots on the Ground.

Common Errors

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There are several common errors you will see in television, printed, and Internet ads. Here are a couple of my favorites.

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Medal of Honor vs. congressional Medal of Honor

You will frequently hear it on television, see it in print, find it on the Internet, or hear it in conversation. "Sgt Somebody won the congressional Medal of Honor." Lower case due to lack of respect of congress is not a typo. First, you do not "win" U.S. Military medals, you are awarded them. It is not a contest, you do not get a medal for being first and the first loser does not get a mere handshake. Second, the correct title is Medal of Honor. There is no word "congressional" in the title of the medal on the award citation. The medal is awarded by the president of the United States as commander in chief of the U.S. Military in the name of congress. If you would like to read some Medal of Honor citations go to the quarterdeck of Naval Medical Center, San Diego ("Balboa").

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Veterans Day vs. veterans' day vs. veteran's day

It is correctly Veterans Day. In the United States of America there is no Veteran’s Day (Singular possessive). The day is not the possession or property of one Veteran. Nor is there a Veterans’ Day (plural possessive). The day does not belong to all Veterans and only Veterans. It is properly Veterans Day – no apostrophe. It is a day for all Americans, including Veterans, to appreciate and respect those that have served their country and are currently serving in uniform.

So, who is a Veteran? Anyone one who has served one moment or more in any of the United States Military Services including the United States Coast Guard. So those Service Members on active are Veterans.

When you see the error let the advertiser know.

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WW II vs. WW2 vs. WW Two

You will frequently see "WW 2" or "WW Two." Both are incorrect. It is properly World War II in the first reference of the document then WW II after that. The space between "WW" and "II" is optional, the space is obviously not optional within "World War II." In the rough time frame of 1914 to 1919, references vary, The War To End All Wars took place basically as trench warfare in Europe. So much for the political title. Depending on whether you want to use the Japanese activity in Asia or the German activity in Europe, the first truly global conflict brought out and its basic time line was 1937 to 1945. This became WW II making the 1914 to 1919 event WW I.

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Independence Day vs. The fourth of July Holiday

The United States of America has an interesting holiday in the first week of July. Watch those television, printed, and Internet ads and it is not uncommon to find the holiday listed as "The Fourth of July Holiday." The holiday is ON the fourth of July, the holiday is not the fourth of July. Every country on earth has a fourth of July. The holiday is INDEPENDENCE DAY. Decline the offer to "celebrate the fourth of July holiday" out of respect of the Independence Day Holiday on July 4th.

When you see the error let the advertiser know.

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U.S. vs. US

It is not uncommon to see "US" on television, in print, and on the Internet. It is properly "U.S." (And e-mail and Internet are also both the only correct spelling if you want to know).

Interesting Military Hyperlinks

Military Duty Christmas Story on the Internet / You Tube.

"Taps" performed in Arlington National Cemetery (summer and winter) on the Internet / You Tube.

U.S. Military Tribute - A Call To Arms on the Internet / You Tube.

Guinness Beer Empty Chair Commercial on the Internet / You Tube.

I served under President Reagan and I was in D.C. during part of his term of office. He will go down into history as one of our greatest presidents. These two videos are examples of why.

Ronald Reagan #1 on the Internet / You Tube.

Ronald Reagan #2 on the Internet / You Tube.

Food City, The Salute without a word spoken and a powerful message, on the Internet / You Tube.

Just A Common Soldier, also known as A Soldier Died Today, on the Internet. Written and published in 1987 by Canadian Veteran and columnist A. Lawrence Vaincourt and spoken by Tony Lo Bianco.

Mansions of the Lord is sung by the United States Military Academy - West Point - Cadet Glee Club with Metro Voices, Tenor Ronan Tynam, and Sgt. MacKenzie. Eight minutes and forty-one seconds long. Worth it.

The Honor Guard from Delta Airlines for a fallen U.S. Serviceman on February 13, 2013. This Serviceman is from the Korean War, June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953. The second, smaller casket is the final remains of an earlier returned Serviceman. Why it is not draped in a U.S. Flag is most likely because remains were returned earlier - only guessing.
One source says this is at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, another says Delta's home base at Atlanta.

This is the page for YOUR U.S. Military history story - Basics

It takes a lot for the U.S. Military to be successful and that means every team member is an essential element. This includes the Service Member, the Significant Other, and the rest of the Military Family of Moms, Dads, brothers and sisters, sons, daughters, etc. I am offering this page to record YOUR U.S. Military Service related history or story. It is open to those that served in uniform as well as the families that supported them. The history or story may be short, it may be long. I reserve the right to edit or decline to post a submission.

Please provide your military history / story to rex@schildhouse.com with the following info as best known -
Military Service,
Last Name, First Name, any nick names,
Time frame, prefer month year-to-month year, year-to-year is okay,
Units and duty stations, this may get complicated, for example, I was assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 115 assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5 embarked on the USS Midway (CV-41) flying out of NAF Atsugi, Japan,
Your Military Service Story. Remember that you were part of a team dedicated to success and valor with honor. Write your story, I may edit it, then send your family and friends to read it.
Pictures are not a problem. I can format them in Adobe Photoshop.
If you have abbreviations, please let me know what they mean. I will add them to the Definitions section as appropriate.
I do reserve the right to edit and / or decline to post submissions.

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For those of us that need the help.
AOCS - Aviation Officer Candidate School - U.S. Navy program at NAS Pensacola, Florida
CDR - Commander - U.S. Navy and U.S Coast Guard
HT-# - U.S. Navy rotor wing (helicopter) training squadron
LCDR - Lieutenant Commander - U.S. Navy and U.S Coast Guard
LT - Lieutenant - U.S. Navy and U.S Coast Guard
NAF - Naval Air Facility
NAS - Naval Air Station
VAW-# - U.S. Navy Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron
VRC-# - U.S. Navy Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (Composite)
VT-# - U.S. Navy fixed wing training squadron

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United States Navy Stories

Carrie Jean (Adams) Schildhouse, Former Punched Card Accounting Machine Operator and Mechanic - SP(I) First Class, United States Navy
Mom was born in Idaho in 1922 and moved with the family back to Chicago before WW II started. She had secretarial skills and training in the cryptography equipment of an employer as I understand it. When WW II broke out she contacted the local recruiting office and was told that at 4' 10" she was too short. She said that she understood they needed secretarial and cryptography skilled personnel and she showed her documents. The next height check showed 5' 2" and off she went.
She served in Washington, D.C. at the Naval Observatory while living in a temporary barracks on the grounds overlooking the Washington Monument. From Washington D.C. she was stationed in San Francisco with duty in the Seattle area.

Mom had several different ratings and rates starting with YN - Yeoman. Her final rate/rating was SP(I)1C, Specialist First Class, (Where the "I" is undefined), Punched card accounting machine operator and mechanic. This is paygrade E-6 when there were only 7 enlisted paygrades.

Like most WAVES, when the war ended so did Mom's military career. Upon returning to Chicago Mom met Dad and they were married. That made me possible.

Carrie Jean Adams, SP(I)1C

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Dick Schaffert, "Brown Bear,” United States Navy, Naval Avaitor

Letter to LCDR Norm Levy, Squadron Mate, Roommate on the USS Oriskany during the Vietnam War

Norm was killed on 26 October '66. Exactly one year later, we were again back on Yankee Station. After flying my 4th mission against Hanoi in 3 days, I rose from a restless night to scribble a note to Norm. I folded it into a paper airplane; then walked back to the Oriskany's fantail, lit the paper on fire, and launched it into the darkness above the ship's wake. Norm and I would both have turned 80 this year ... so, due to natural causes, this will be the last of the 47 annual letters I've written to him. With the help of friends and mutual acquaintances over the years, my original note has expanded into a perhaps "too lengthy" letter. If circumstances prevent you from publishing the below text on the Crusader site, please consider attaching the "printable" file (which is in Word 2007). The attached photo is Norm Levy's name on the Wall. (Not included in the e-mail.)
With great respect for your significant contribution of time and expertise to the Crusader group, Dick Schaffert 14 May 2014

To: Lieutenant Commander Norman Sidney Levy, US Navy, Deceased (1934-1966)

Good morning, Norm. It's Memorial Day 2014, 07:29 Tonkin Gulf time. Haven't talked with you for a while. That magnificent lady on which we went through hell together, USS ORISKANY, has slipped away into the deep and now rests forever in silent waters off the Florida coast. Recall we shared a 6' by 9' stateroom aboard her during McNamara and Johnson's ill-fated Rolling Thunder, while our Air Wing 16 suffered the highest loss rate of any naval aviation unit in the Vietnam conflict. Three combat deployments, between May '65 and January '68, resulted in 86 aircraft lost from the 64 assigned to us; while 59 of our aviators were killed and 13 captured or missing from Oriskany's assignment of 74 combat pilots. Our statistical probability of surviving Rolling Thunder, where the tactics and targets were designated by combat-illiterate politicians, was less than 30%. The probability of a combat pilot being an atheist approached zero!

Seems like a good day to make contact again. I've written every year since I threw that "nickel on the grass" for you. For several years, it was only a handwritten note ... which I ceremoniously burned to simulate your being "smoked." With the advent of the internet, I shared annual emails to you with some of our colleagues. Unfortunately, the net's now a cesspool of idiocy! Much of it generated by those 16 million draft dodgers who avoided Vietnam to occupy and unionize America's academia; where they clearly succeeded in "dumbing down" an entire generation which now controls the heartless soul of a corrupt "Hollywoodized" media. This will be my last letter. I'm praying Gabriel will soon fly my wing once more, and I look forward to delivering it to you personally.

This is the 47th year since I last saw you, sitting on the edge of your bunk in our stateroom. You remember ... it was the 26th of October 1966 and we were on the midnight-to-noon schedule. There was a wall of thunderstorms over North Vietnam, with tops to 50,000 feet, but McNamara's civilian planners kept sending us on "critical" missions all night. At 04:00 they finally ran out of trucks to bomb, in that downpour, and we got a little sleep.

Our phone rang at seven; you were scheduled for the Alert Five. I'd bagged a little more rack time than you, so I said I'd take it. I went to shave in the restroom around the elevator pit, the one near the flare locker. The ordnance men were busy putting away the flares. They'd been taking them out and putting them back all night as McNamara's "whiz kids" continually changed the targets. I had finished shaving and started back to our room when the guy on the ship's loudspeaker screamed: "This is a drill, this is a drill, FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!" I smelled smoke and looked back at the door that separated the pilot's quarters from the flare storage locker. Smoke was coming from underneath.

I ran the last few steps to our room and turned on the light. You sat up on the edge of your bunk and I shouted: "Norm, this is no drill. Let's get the hell out of here!" I went down the passage way around the elevator pit, banging on the sheet metal wall and shouting: "It's no drill. We're on fire! We're on fire!" I rounded the corner of that U-shaped passage when the flare locker exploded. There was a tremendous concussion effect that blew me out of the passage way and onto the hangar deck. A huge ball of fire was rolling along the top of the hangar bay.

You and forty-five other guys, mostly Air Wing pilots, didn't make it, Norm. I'm sorry. Oh, dear God, I am sorry! But we went home together: Norm Levy, a Jewish boy from Miami, and Dick Schaffert, a Lutheran cornhusker from Nebraska.

I rode in the economy class of that Flying Tigers 707, along with the other few surviving pilots. You were in a flag-draped box in the cargo compartment. Unfortunately, the scum media had publicized the return of us "Baby Killers," and Lindberg Field was packed with vile demonstrators enjoying the right to protest. The "right" you died for!

Our wives were waiting in a bus to meet our plane. There was a black hearse for you. The protestors threw rocks and eggs at our bus and your hearse; not a policeman in sight. When we finally got off the airport, they chased us to Fort Rosecrans. They tried interrupting your graveside service, until your honor guard of three brave young Marines with rifles convinced them to stay back.

I watched the TV news with my family that night, Norm. Sorry, the only clips of our homecoming were the "Baby Killer" banners and bombs exploding in the South Vietnam jungle ... although our operations were up North, against heavily defended targets, where we were frequently shot down and captured or killed. It was tough to explain all that to my four pre-teen children.

You know the rest of the story: The vulgar demonstrators were the media's heroes. They became the CEO's, who steal from our companies ... the lawyers, who prey off our misery ... the doctors, whom we can't afford ... the elected politicians, who break the faith and the promises.

The only military recognized as "heroes" were the POW's. They finally came home, not because of any politician's self-aggrandized expertise, but because there were those of us who kept going back over Hanoi, again and again ... dodging the SAM's and the flak ... attacking day and night ... keeping the pressure on ... all by ourselves! Absolutely no support from anyone! Many of us didn't come home, Norm. You know; the guys who are up there with you now. But it was our "un-mentioned" efforts that brought the POW's home. We kept the faith with them, and with you.

It never really ended. We seemed to go directly from combat into disabled retirement and poverty, ignored by those whose freedoms we insured by paying that bloody premium. Our salary, as highly educated-combat proven Naval officers and fighter pilots, was about the same as what the current administration bestows as a "minimum" wage upon the millions of today's low-information, unmotivated, clueless graduates. Most of them lounge at home on unemployment rolls and feed off the taxes that we pay on our military retirements; which are 80% less than what the current All Volunteer Force receives and from which we have already lost 26% of our buying power to pencil-sharpening bureaucrats who "adjust" the economic data.

Do you remember, Norm? We got 55 bucks a month for flying combat; precisely $2.99 for each of the 276 missions I flew off Yankee Station. Can you believe America's new All Volunteer Force, which recently fought a war with a casualty rate less than 10% of ours ... and only 1% of WWII ... , received more than $1,000 a month combat pay from a guilt-ridden Congress, which trusts paid mercenaries more than old-fashioned American patriotic courage. The families of those of us who were killed in Vietnam got $10,000 of life insurance. Today's survivors get $100,000! Unfortunately, the gutless liberalism of today's elected officials has created the worst of all possible situations: Our socially engineered, under-funded, military couldn't presently fight its way out of a wet Chinese paper lantern!

The politically adjusted report, issued for the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Naval Aviation, confirmed that we and our brothers who flew in Korea have been written out of American history. Norm, I only hope that today's over-paid bureaucratic "dudes" who cook the books, scramble the facts, and push the propaganda for their political puppet-masters, will not be able to scrub your name off the Wall. The Wall and our memories are the only things many of us have left. We hold those memories dear! We band together in groups like the Crusader Association, which is now holding its 27th "Last Annual" reunion. Some say the association has to do with flying a peculiar aircraft, I say it has to do with a peculiar bunch of guys. We're damned few now! After 5,000 hours flying simulated and actual combat, and pulling at least 5 g's more than 25,000 times, those who are still around have ultrasounds resembling haunted houses on Halloween; with nerve bundles sagging like cobwebs, leaking valves, and ruptured pipes. We'll all be seeing you shortly, Norm. Put in a good word for us with the Man. Ask Him to think of us as His peacemakers, as His children. Have a restful Memorial Day. You earned it.

Very Respectfully,
Your Roommate Dick (Brown Bear) Schaffert

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Weber, Clark, Former Radioman Third Class, United States Navy
Early 1950s, Off the Korean coast during the Korean War

It was Christmas Eve 1951 in Hemet, California. I had hitchhiked from San Diego to have Christmas Day dinner in that dusty little town with relatives. Arriving in Hemet on Christmas Eve I was staying the night in a little hotel next to an equally little restaurant. As I walked into the eatery in my U.S. Navy dress blues sailor suit I was one lonely and homesick 20 year-old kid. When I stepped through the door the Greek owner welcomed me and promptly hung the "Closed" sign on the door announcing that he and his staff were having a Christmas party and I was invited. For the next several hours I forgot my loneliness and enjoyed the laughter, thoughtfulness, and camaraderie of a group of complete strangers. To this day I'll always remember the true meaning of Christmas that was shown to me that night in 1951, 62 years ago.

Clark served on the USS St. Joseph River, LSMR-527, Landing Ship Medium Rocket.
Clark Weber, Former RM3, United States Navy

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Reese Rickards, Former Quartermaster Second Class, United States Navy
During the Korean War I was a member of ship's company on board USS Worcester, CL144. She was a light cruiser, very narrow in the beam, about 650 feet long, and maneuvered like a destroyer. Her main batteries were twelve 6-inch fixed ammunition guns in six turrets capable of ship to ship, ship to shore, and ship to aircraft fire. Secondary guns were 3 inch and 40 mm.

During air attack drills I was one of two designated helmsmen. That was fun. Thirty plus knots and constantly turning in all directions. Everyone else on the ship hated it because of the violence in the turns, but on the bridge it was stimulating. One of the fine compliments I had from some of the officers of the deck was to be given a rudder degree change, then told to steady up on the new course without micro-management.

On numerous occasions Worcester was one of the escort vessels for Midway, so I know the silhouette of your former ship very well. We also sometimes steamed with her sister ships Roosevelt and Coral Sea. And many is the time in the Sixth Fleet (Mediterranean) we escorted that grand old lady Oriskany.

I think a kind of camaraderie develops among the officers and men who stand bridge watches together. Even though carefully keeping the no fraternization rule, four hours on a long mid watch made us all aware of our humanity.

I have known Clark Weber, Former Radioman Second Class, United States Navy, for many years and before retiring worked closely with him at WJJD in Chicago. He came to us from WIND to set up a morning talk show. I did the news, served as kind of a buffer on the air, and helped plan the next day's program. We hit it off the first day and continued to be good friends to this day. Besides my radio work I am also an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church, and was honored to officiate at the wedding of Clark and Joan's daughter.

Reese Rickards former Quartermaster, Second Class, United States Navy.

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The USS Missouri, September 2, 1945

There is a little known footnote to historical events aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, the day the instrument of formal surrender by Japan to the Allied powers was signed.

The Foreign Minister of the Empire of Japan was Mamoru Shigemitsu, a veteran diplomat and longtime opponent of Japan's military government. He was designated to represent the Empire and sign the documents. Years earlier he and other Japanese leaders had been targets of a Korean terrorist who planted a bomb at an event. Shigemitsu lost his right leg and thereafter walked on a prosthesis with the aid of a cane.

The signing ceremony was under the direction of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area and a stickler for ceremonies beginning precisely on time. He designated 0900 for the surrender to begin. 0859 or 0901 would be unacceptable.

The Japanese were to arrive from the shore in a small boat, hoist themselves out to a small platform just above the water, climb the long accommodation ladder alongside the starboard hull from sea level to the main deck of Missouri, and walk across a wide deck to another ladder leading up to the starboard 01 level one deck above the main. And that was where the schedule could break down because no one knew how long it would take an elderly gentleman with a prosthetic leg to make such a journey.

It is not recorded who hit upon an idea to estimate the length of Shigemitsu's arduous journey. But the day before the ceremony a junior officer was instructed to take a stopwatch, a holy stone handle resembling a broom handle, and a seaman down to the accommodation ladder's platform just above the water. The wooden handle was tied tightly around the sailor's right leg who was then directed to climb to the 01 level, the stopwatch running to record the time.

Alas, a 57-year old man with a wooden leg was far slower than a twentyish sailor whose only handicap was a stick fastened to his leg. All rehearsing was for naught and MacArthur fumed because his ceremony began a couple minutes late.

Is this a true story? The source is impeccable: Captain (later Admiral) Stuart S. Murray, USN (Ret), was Commanding Officer of USS Missouri on September 2, 1945. I interviewed him years later for a radio program commemorating the end of the war and he told me the saga of the sailor with a broomstick attached to his leg.

Submitted by Reese Rickards former Quartermaster, Second Class, United States Navy.

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The USS Wasp / USS Hobson Collision at Sea, April 26, 1951

I know almost precisely where I was 61 years ago tomorrow (Sunday, April 26, 2015). On April 26, 1951, I was a 20-year old quartermaster aboard USS Worcester (CL-144) crossing the Atlantic. When the events related in the accompanying story occurred I was asleep and didn't learn about it until I reported to the bridge at 0345 for the 4-8 watch. It was a terrible way to begin 6 months in the Mediterranean.

Reese Rickards, Former Quartermaster Second Class, United States Navy


The afternoon of Thursday, April 26, 1951, the USS Wasp (CV-18) and some of her escort ships were detached from a task group proceeding eastbound across the Atlantic. The eventual assignment for the full task group was to relieve a similar group of ships in the Mediterranean’s Sixth Fleet.

Wasp and the smaller vessels, including the destroyer/minesweeper USS Hobson, (DD-464 / DMS-26) moved far over the horizon from the main task group to begin giving her pilots landing exercises in the dark. Stark tragedy, however, was not nearly as far over the horizon that spring evening.

The exercise began at 2000. Hobson was steaming one and a half miles off the starboard quarter of the carrier in a plane (life) guard position for planes that might crash while launching or landing. The task group commander ordered her to swap positions with another destroyer off the port quarter. By now the Wasp had ramped up her speed to 24 knots into the wind preparatory to landings.

The Officer of the Deck, LT William Hoefer, on the destroyer plotted a course that would bring Hobson into position, but the inexperienced Captain, LCDR William James Tierney, overrode the Officer of the Deck’s plan. The CO’s plot took the ship across the bow of the 34-thousand ton Wasp. Witnesses on the destroyer’s bridge later testified the two officers quarreled, the Officer of the Deck warning the Captain’s plot was a collision course. In fact, it was a collision course.

On the aircraft carrier’s bridge the Captain recognized a collision was imminent and ordered the ship’s engines into full reverse. It was too late. At about 2200 the Wasp hit Hobson just forward of amidships, cutting the smaller ship into two parts and driving the destroyer’s mast all the way into the carrier’s bow.

Except for those on watch all of Hobson’s crew was below decks and probably sleeping. The hulks of the forward and after halves settled below the surface in just four minutes. One-hundred seventy-six souls were lost including that of the destroyer captain.

The Officer of the Deck and the Quartermaster of the Watch survived and at the Board of Inquiry testified to events on Hobson’s bridge prior to the collision. The Board laid blame on the destroyer’s captain. The sinking of USS Hobson took more peacetime lives than any other accident in the history of America’s Navy.

Submitted by Reese Rickards

Notes of explanation (by Rex):

The commanding officer of a U.S. Navy ship is the Captain (of the ship) regardless of rank. He is ultimately responsible for all personnel, equipment, and actions of his ship. The Officer of the Deck (OOD) is responsible for the “current operations” of the ship. The Captain is supposed to be watching the big picture while the OOD takes care of the little picture.

It is considered disrespectful for a vessel to cross the bow of another vessel while underway. And, as shown here, it is occasionally VERY dangerous. During the Cold War it was not uncommon for Soviet naval vessels to operate so close to the U.S. carriers that from the bridge of the carrier portions of the Soviet vessels were hidden by our own flight deck. To cut across our bow and to feign engineering casualties directly in front of us forcing rapid and extreme maneuvers was not uncommon. On the USS Midway, (CV-41) as OOD you hold a responsibility for over 5,000 crew members, over $7 billion in total assets (ship, aircraft, equipment, personal property, etc.), and a total displacement in excess of 65,000 tons. Your poker hand is quite large and very valuable. And your career was on the line. Actually quite satisfying to do the job right.

Internet web sites for the USS Wasp / USS Hobson collision at sea, others are available with simple searches.

Go to the Navy Source Internet site for the USS Wasp / USS Hobson Collision at Sea article

Go to the Hub Pages Internet site for the USS Wasp / USS Hobson Collision at Sea article

Rex A Schildhouse, “RTWD” (Rex the Wonder Dog) or “Dog,” LCDR, United States Navy, Retired
May 1975 to June 1994
May 1975 – September 1975, Aviation Officer Candidate School, NAS Pensacola, Florida, and flight training at VT-1, Flight 13, NAS Saufley Field, flying the Beechcraft T-34B Mentor,
September 1975 – September 1976, Flight training at VT-27 flying the North American T-28B & C Trojan and VT-28 flying the Grumman TS-2A and US-2B Trackers, NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, first carrier arrested landing on the USS Lexington (CVT-16),
September 1976 – June 1977, Flight training at RVAW-110, NAS Miramar, San Diego, California, flying the Grumman TE-2A and E-2B Hawkeye,
June 1977 – April 1980, VAW-115 flying the E-2B Hawkeye, attached to Carrier Air Wing 5 embarked on USS Midway (CV-41) homeported in Yokosuka, Japan flying from NAF Atsugi, Japan – first daughter, Cindi, was the ultimate souvenir from the tour, Hostage Crisis Cruise off the coast of Iran 1979-1980,
April 1980 – October 1982, VT-23 flying the North American T-2C Buckeye, NAS Kingsville, Texas – second daughter, Jenni, was the fantastic souvenir from that tour,
October 1982 – December 1982, VRC-30 flying the Grumman C-1A Trader, NAS North Island, California,
December 1982 – June 1985, USS Midway (CV-41) flying the C-1A Trader, homeported in Yokosuka, Japan flying from NAF Atsugi, Japan – third daughter, Becki, was the final souvenir, the back seat was full, I flew the last C-1A flight of an afloat command,
June 1985 – December 1987, Naval Air Systems Command, Washington, D.C., flying a desk, earned an MBA from Marymount University of Arlington, Virginia,
December 1987 – June 1990, VAW-110 & VAW-112, flying the E-2C Hawkeye from the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) NAS Miramar, San Diego, California, November 1988 Nimitz flight deck fire destroys more than seven aircraft, Hormuz Highway Patrol to control entry into the area during the Iran-Iraq War,
June 1990 – June 1992, VRC-50 flying the Grumman C-2A(R) Greyhound, NAS Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines, landed on every aircraft carrier in the Pacific Fleet, also flew the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and the Lockheed US-3A Viking (Miss Piggy),
February 1991 – February 1992, Officer in Charge VRC-50 Det Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, Desert Storm, landed on many of the Atlantic Fleet aircraft carriers,
June 1992 – June 1994, VRC-30 flying the C-2A(R) and Beechcraft C-12B Huron (King Air), NAS North Island, California,
RETIRED with over 7,000 military flight hours and 538 carrier arrested landings that I flew having riden through probably 2,000 landings by others.
Some of the countries and territories visited one way or another – Canada, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory), Australia, Palau, Tinian, Yap, Guam, Taiwan, Kenya, and a few more I want to forget.

LCDR Rex A Schildhouse, USN

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United States Marine Corps Stories

George Shapen, United States Marine Corps

Submitted by George Shapen, United States Marine Corps - I was present in the picture that was taken during the 2nd Marine Division military action in the South Pacific on Betio Island of the Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands during WW II. The picture was taken by a Marine photographer on November 21, 1943, the morning after our initial landing on November 20, 1943.

I saw the photographer just after he snapped the picture. He was hunched down under a long wooden pier that stretched out several hundred yards from the sandy beach that had coconut palm tree logs built as a low sea wall along the shoreline.

Occasional bullets still fell around us but no one paid any attention since our main objective was to get the wounded to boats that were positioned about 500 yards out beyond the shallow reef. Farther up the beach I had just participated in some of the heaviest fighting of that morning and now I was here with a picture to record the event. Of course the Betio Island was so small that I believe every picture was recognizable by every Marine that participated in this amphibious landing.

I think that perhaps another day I may write about what took place and when 1st Lt. Bonnyman, USMC, earned his Medal of Honor. They all had moments and experiences. From Tarawa to Saipan, to Tinian, to Okinawa.

Note: George served in the Marine Corps with his family name of Schapendonk.

George Shapin, USMC, WWII, Tarawa, November 1943

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Alexander Bonnyman, 1st Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps
1st Lieutenant Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on May 2, 1910, and died on Betio Island, Tarawa, on November 22, 1943. When WW II broke out he was exempt from military service due to his age and his role in running a company supplying the war effort. Sandy dropped out of college and began his military service with the Army Air Corps.

It is believed that due to "low flight activities in the immediate vicinity of control towers" his Army Air Corps opportunities ended. He then entered the United States Marine Corps through the enlisted ranks.

With a battlefield commission due to efforts at the Battle of Guadalcanal he continued the advance. On Betio Island 1st Lt. Bonnyman lead his group of Marines against a large bombproof shelter containing approximately 150 Japanese defenders. When the first effort was forced to retreat due to ammo, he rearmed and advanced again. In the second advance he mounted the top of the structure and forced many of the defenders into the open. In the ensuing engagement 1st Lt. Bonnyman stood at the front of his position killing numerous defenders before he lost his life in the effort. Betio Island was classified as secured later that day, November 22, 1943.

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Gerald Francis “Jerry” Coleman, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps, Retired
January 5, 2014, an era came to an end. It deserves a pause, a moment of respect, a moment for review, a moment of appreciation. I am flying my United States of America flag at half-staff for three days.

On September 14, 1924, Gerald Francis Coleman was born in San Jose, California. Chances are like most other babies, his parents prayed for long, happy, safe life with meaning for their new child. What they had received was a hero. Through numerous years of rearing and education Gerald grew up and developed in numerous ways, some seen, some unseen, just like many children. From his high school years at Lowell High School he entered the minor league system for the New York Yankees in 1942 at the age of seventeen. He then left a promising professional sports opportunity to become a Naval Aviator with the United States Marine Corps. As a Marine he flew combat missions in the Pacific Theater of Operations before WW II ended. After returning to the Yankees from his Marine service he stepped up from the minors to the “big show” in 1949 and played with the Yankees being recognized as Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press with a batting average of .275 while covering second base.

With the onset of hostilities in Korea Gerald interrupted his baseball career, again, and returned to active duty with the Marines to fly combat flights in the Korean theater. It is generally accepted that while Gerald and Ted Williams are the only two major league players to have served during both WW II and the Korean War, only Gerald did combat tours in both wars. With his combat service complete after leaving Korea Gerald had flown a total of 120 combat missions and had been awarded numerous medals such as the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, both multiple times.

Gerald played a role in four World Series victory runs for the New York Yankees and was an all-star several years with the Yankees organization before his career ended as many baseball careers do, as a result of age and injury.

While he left the field, he did not leave the stadium. Gerald joined the staff and management side of baseball for a short period of time before becoming what many of my generation knew him for. Gerald became a sports announcer and worked his way up another chain of command to join the San Diego Padres organization in 1972 as a radio announcer. I am not a big baseball fan, my Wife, a Navy Wife, and daughter are. I like listening to professionals and I listened to Gerald while stationed in San Diego with the United States Navy. He was one of the few announcers that seemed to talk to you, not to the microphone, and enjoy the game over the professional obligations of being an announcer.

In one of the interviews of Gerald’s I watched I saw a normally joyful and happy man turn absolutely somber and grey when he was asked about his military service and he spoke about losing his friends and comrades in arms. It was several questions and a couple of minutes later before the Gerald that we knew and loved reemerged in front of that camera again.

I cannot claim I was a friend of Gerald’s. I saw him several times around PetCo Park for Padres home games and shook his hand once when we met head-on in a confined passageway. With my military career behind me and knowing his, the only thing I could say was “Thanks Colonel” and I stuck my hand out. As he shook my hand, he did not appear annoyed, burdened, or distracted by meeting a common fan. My greeting was in reference to his military career. Not sure what he thought I was referencing, his military career, his sports career, game announcing skills, meeting a fan, shaking an unknown someone’s hand, or the upcoming game. His response was something like “Someone had to do it.” We passed. I stopped, stood there, and watched him walk away. I had met HIM.

PetCo Park, San Diego, California has several things referencing Gerald in it. One is a life size picture board of him in his Korean era flight suit and gear. On one occasion I watched Gerald come down the walkway that faces that board. At the bottom he paused, looked at it, smiled, and continued on his way. I cannot tell you what was going through his mind. By my experience as a career Naval Aviator I know what it means to support, defend, and protect the Boots on the Ground as a Naval Aviator. What went through my mind was a song’s verse – “Those were the days my Friend.” To fly that mission gives a value to your life that cannot be quantified or qualified, only appreciated.

We are season ticket holders with almost the cheapest package available at PetCo Park. My wife occasionally upgrades our seats from our normal sky high, skyline seats to about ten rows back from third base on field level. This is normally associated with the Cubs. I am a Cubs fan because I / we grew up in Chicago. I continuously argue with and instruct my Wife NOT to upgrade our seats when they are in town and she does it anyways. September 15, 2012, was Jerry Coleman Day and she knew what he meant to me. No problem with this upgrade. The ceremony was AWESOME and done with class. The Padres organization had United States Marines in uniform unveil Gerald’s statue. The tribute is NOT in his Yankees baseball uniform and not in his business suit sitting behind the microphone in the booth. THE STATUE IS IN HIS FLYING GEAR. Nothing could have been more appropriate or appreciated by Gerald. His country, the United States of America, always seemed to mean more to Gerald than baseball, announcing baseball games, or many other things. (I am making an assumption here.)

While my daughter was with the Padres organization she crossed paths with Gerald numerous times. Her memories are of a joyful, joking, courteous man.

Through my military career I have met several Medal of Honor awardees, numerous Prisoners of War, many battlefield heroes, and a multitude of American heroes simply because they served. I cannot call Gerald a friend or acquaintance. I saw him many times, shook hands with him only once. I can say I appreciated many of the things Gerald has done in his life.

Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Francis “Jerry” Coleman, United States Marine Corps, Retired
United States Marine, and a
Naval Aviator, and an
American Hero, and an
American Icon, and an
American Gentleman.

Born September 14, 1924, in San Jose, California, passed away on January 5, 2014, after fall in his San Diego, California home days earlier.

Thanks Jerry, we will hang YOUR star on that one.

Jerry Coleman, United States Marine

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United States Army Stories

William F. "Bill" Schildhouse, Former Sergeant, United States Army Airborne
My Father was born on the southwest corner of Chicago in 1922. As a child born in the early 1950s Dad did not tell me a lot about his military experience. What I do remember, whether modified by time or the storyteller, I do not know, may or not be exact fact. He served in Alaska and in the Aleutian Islands during the early part of his military service. That was his first combat experience during the Aleutian Islands Invasion synchronized with the Battle of Midway in the spring of 1942.

Following the conclusion of the Aleutian Islands Invasion he volunteered for duty with the 101st Airborne not even knowing what "airborne" was but he figured it was warmer than Alaska and the Aleutian Islands during the winter.

Note: Through one single document, a hospital report, I found out my Dad was with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. This report documented his combat related injury in Alsace, France in February of 1945.

Note: Through a letter sent to my Sister from the National Personnel Records Center I found out my Dad was also awarded the Bronze Star for combat services during WWII. In further research, all Soldiers awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the "CIB," were awarded the Bronze Star due to an act in the 1947 time frame.

With a transport ship ride Dad entered the European hostilities as a Pathfinder with the 101st jumping into France and fought his way across Europe from there. He told me the coldest he had ever been in his life was during the Battle of Bastogne in December 1944. He said while there he prayed for his return to the Aleutians in the winter.

A combat injury on February 22, 1945 in Alsace, France sent him to a hospital for a while before returning the combat duty with the Screaming Eagles. He remained in Europe with the 101st as part of the occupation force. Late in 1945 he rode another ship home from Europe. Dad was released from military service September 20, 1945 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. His most prized possessions of his service were his Combat Infantry Badge and his Jump Wings. As children we played with these and they "moved on" to destinations unknown. His Purple Heart was secondary and stayed in a dresser drawer. On a "pass through" of Hawaii on one of my change of duty station orders I purchased replacement CIB and Jump Wings at the Army base and gave them to Dad when I got to Chicago on leave. I saw Dad cry twice in his life. The day I handed him a replacement CIB and Paratrooper Wings was one day he cried.

Note: I have spent a lot of time reading books on WWII trying to find pieces to the puzzle of my Dad. In The Mighty Endeavor - The American War in Europe, by Charles MacDonald I found this. "While airmen had a rotation plan whereby after thirty missions a man might go home, the infantryman could get out only two ways - injury or death. That the airman got extra pay of "hazardous duty," while the infantryman, whose casualties were infinitely greater, got none, was particularly galling. A pittance of ten dollars a month which the Congress finally voted the infantry enlisted man - though not his officer - made little impression, but a special award that went with it did. This was a rectangular badge of blue with a rifle on it to indicate infantry, a silver laurel wreath to signify combat. The men wore those Combat Infantry Badges with special pride. They set the wearer apart as one of those who did the fighting, who did the dying." I think I am more proud of my Dad's Combat Infantry Badge and His Paratrooper Wings than I am of my Naval Aviator Wings of Gold.

I saw his jump log once or twice and he told me he had jumped out of something like 65 airplanes in training and combat. I got my private pilot's certificate in 1969 and he was my first passenger. The flight went well until we came close to Midway in Chicago. I had never seen Dad that nervous before. For him, it was his first landing in an airplane. He settled down just before we landed and "let it happen." I learned from a new perspective that Airborne met a one way trip to the hot spot.

Dad is the cool guy on the right at jump school in North Carolina(?).

William F Schildhouse

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Carl E. Schlieder, Former 1st Lieutenant, United States Army Air Corps
I enlisted in Army while attending Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel Institute) in Philadelphia on December 8, 1942, and was called to active duty April 12, 1943. I started out at the Santa Ana Army Air Base, California, to see what part of the Air Force I was best suited for. I applied for flight training, which had no openings, so I went to radio school at Lincoln, Nebraska. As graduation day approached my appointment for flight training came thru. HALLELUJAH!

The first stop was two months at Iowa State Teachers College for ground training and a few flights in a Taylorcraft getting a little stick time. I think it was here that caused the military to wonder if I had any prior flying experience. My father told me about being interrogated at the time.

My next stop was Primary Flight School at Ryan Field, Tucson, Arizona. I was selected for flying honors from my squadron. We started out flying the Ryan PT-22 Recruit and for some reason they switched us to the Stearman PT-17 Kaydet. My memory tells me that the Stearman was really fun for doing acrobatics. Some of the training had us shooting landings trying to hit a circle on the dirt flying strip. I hit it every time because I had figured out how to do a forward slip – got my butt chewed out! Another time on a cross country flight I decided to climb thru the clouds as far as she would go. When I reached the top I decided to come down in a spin. When I got in the clear I thought I was never going to unwind!

Next stop was what was called Basic Flight School. We flew the Vultee BT-13 Valiant. Mostly my memory revolves flying competition at the end of class. The best pilot was selected from each of the squadrons. You had to do a number of specific maneuvers and one optional one. I decided to do an Immelmann at the suggestion of my instructor. Seems like the more I tried I could not come out on the right 180 degree heading. One of the pictures is the Silver Cup I got for coming in second.

Next stop was Advanced Flight Training School. I asked for Twin-engine Advanced Flight Training because I wanted to fly the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. BIG MISTAKE! Wound up in the right seat of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Italy. WW II ended while we were flying around the area to get familiar with our field when we were about one week from our first mission.

I spent about one year as part of the occupation forces. Then I was relieved from active duty. Served in the reserves until April 13, 1958, when I was discharged for being over age in grade.

Carl Schlieder, U.S. Army Air Corps

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United States Air Force Stories

United States Coast Guard Stories

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United States National Guard Unit Stories

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