1909 – the First Torpedo Man and a Revolutionary Change in Submarines

In April 1909, Ensign Kenneth Whiting, a future naval aviation pioneer, became the commanding officer of Porpoise. On 15 April, Whiting and his crew of six took the submarine out for what was to be a routine run. Porpoise got underway, cleared the dock and moved out into Manila Bay. She dove soon thereafter, and […]

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The Mighty “B” – Don’t give up the ship… the story of the USS Birmingham CL-62

On March 20, 1942, the cruiser Birmingham was launched at Newport News Virginia. Like so many ships of her generation, she was planned and designed around a model that had been determined during the various naval arms limitation treaties that predated the war she would fight in. In 1942, ships were desperately needed to fight […]

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When are those P-40’s going to arrive to “raise hell on the other side of the line?” March 1942

Where are the planes? March 7th In the Philippines, the ever-encroaching forces of the Imperial Japanese Army must have seemed relentless. The under gunned and under-protected American and Philippine forces were subjected to an increasingly powerful Japanese force. Fall of the Philippines Only in the Philippines, almost on Japan’s southern doorstep, was the timetable of […]

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“To my fellow soldiers in the Philippines and America:” Manila, January 1942

In January 1942, fighting between the invading Japanese and the America/Philippine Army was raging. Because of the decision made in 1922 by America to limit their growth of military infrastructure in the Pacific, the Allied forces were playing a game of catch up when the Japanese launched their surprise attacks. In 1921-22, the United States […]

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Christmas in Manila – 1945

Merry Christmas. Simple words of greeting that have been shared all over the world in so many languages. But often the greeting is sent from far away from home. In December 1945, my Dad was working as part of the post war draw down in Manila. He had entered the war on March 8th, 1945 […]

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