For the past two years, I have been making a monthly trip to the Archives II in College Park, MD to copy deck logs for the USS Midway (CV-41). I copy the deck logs to a thumbdrive and when I get back home, I upload them on to a virtual drive for the Midway. Volunteers transcribe the deck logs and add the names to the Master Crew List.
A few months ago, it occured to me (not being the brightest puppy in the kennel) that I could also copy the deck logs from a destroyer that my father was CO (Commanding Officer) of in the mid 1960s. It is fascinating to read the handwritten logs.
So far I have learned that they were one of the possible rescue ships for two Gemini missions, and that Dad seemed even handed when handing out punishments during Captain’s Mast. I had to chuckle at one of the Officer’s of the Deck (OOD’s) who consistently charged two sailors for failing to appear at Muster when the ship was at sea. The names would be written down and then crossed out.
I have not yet gotten to the logs that cover the ship’s round the world cruise, including on station time off Vietnam.
Once I get all of the decklogs copied, I plan to copy them to thumbdrives and give them to my siblings for Christmas. Since none of them know about this blog, much less read it, I think the gift will be a secret.
Have you ever been part of something bigger than youself? You may have been a cog in the machine or a face in the crowd, but you knew deep down inside of yourself that your being there was making a difference.
Although I have never served in the military, at least once I was part of such an effort. In 1997, as a Morale Welfare and Recreation Specialist I deployed to Taszar, Hungary as part of Operation Joint Guard. Each day I awoke in my barracks room, trooped down two flights of stairs to the women’s bathroom and then moved over to the adjoining shower room. While I was waiting my turn to use the shower, usually still dressed in my bathrobe, someone would ask me what the night’s movie would be or what the plans were for the next concert in Budapest. And so my day would begin about 0600. After my shower, I would put on my uniform (green/brown BDU’s –battle dress uniform for the uninitiated), lace up my combat boots, and walk over to the mess hall, where the food was surprisingly good.
After breakfast, I would go over to the office in the headquarters building. Taszar was an old Hungairan airbase with two MiGs still out front. The only room in the building that had AC was the one where the computers were located. The Hungarian staff did a miraculous job keeping the worn tile floors clean. (In many places the tile had been scrubbed away, leaving the rubber subfloor peeking through.)
In early July, we were busy preparing to celebrate the 4th of July. It was a chance to show our allies an American good time. What I affectionately called the Hungarian mafia, were busy telling why we needed all of their entertainment acts even though we had just seen these same acts for the Memorial Day celebration. The fireworks contractor assured me his fireworks would completely burn up and not have cinders floating down to possibly start a fire in some farmer’s field.
Hungarians often used an elaborate style when writing or speaking in English. The public affairs officer laboriously tried to emulate that style when creating the invitations for our Hungarian VIP guests. Unfortunately, I did not retain an example of the invitation.
The staff from the MASH unit was planning the 5K run for the American and Hungarian troops/civilians. The MWR staff was planning a variety of sports competitions including Golf, basketball, horseshoes, beach volleyball, pinball. I used the Internet to lookup how much sand was need for beach volleyball since our Root and Brown, the local Army maintenance contactor, wanted to provide as little sand as possible. (This was relatively early days for the Internet so they were surprised to find that we could prove how much sand was needed.)
Although, July 4th began about 0500 when we got the Mess Hall as soon as it opened so we could start setting up for all of the events (the 5K began at 0800) and ended just before midnight with a relatively safe and succesful fireworks display, it was a wonderful opportunity to share our Independence Day with the troops so far from home. We also got to share it with our Hungarian friends and allies. (One person did complain the next day about catching a cinder in his eye while watching the fire works.
For those of you who have been in the military thank you for your service. I’d also like to acknowledge the people who support the military (as a friend, family member, volunteer, contractor, appropriated fund or nonappropriated fund employee). We all support those who serve.
The Library of Congress staff is excited to launch Story Maps, interactive and immersive web applications that tell the incredible stories of the Library’s collections!
Story Maps, created within a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based software platform created by Esri, combine text, images, multimedia, and interactive maps to create engaging online narrative experiences. Under a program spearheaded by the Geography and Map Division, collection specialists from across the Library have produced Story Maps with content from the hidden and not-so-hidden collections of the library. We are pleased to showcase the first three published Story Maps from this program, with many more to come!
There are currently eight story maps available. The most recent follow the four D-Day soldiers as they come ashore at Normandy.
The other story maps include:
Holy Land Photography. Journey across the Middle East with English photographer Francis Frith. This Story Map includes 19th century photography and written testimony from Sinai and Palestine, a photographically illustrated book by Frith at the Library of Congress. This downloadable CSV file provides the mapped data in this Story Map.
Camera and Locomotive. Explore the parallel histories of photography and the transcontinental railroad. Objects in the Library of Congress collections tell the story of the fascinating interconnections between the two technologies. This downloadable CSV file provides the mapped data in this Story Map.
Maps that Changed Our World. Using the collections of the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress, this Story Map will explore the changes in world maps throughout the centuries and how as a result, perceptions of the world have shifted. This downloadable CSV file provides the mapped data in this Story Map.
Treasure Trove of Trials. This is a story map is centered on a digitized selection of Law Library of Congress piracy trials. This collection is critical for understanding how various nations of the world handled piracy issues before the year 1900. This downloadable CSV file provides the mapped data in this Story Map.
Surveying the South. Noted architectural photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston created a systematic record of early American buildings and gardens called the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South (CSAS), primarily in the 1930s. This downloadable CSV file provides the mapped data in this Story Map.
Incunabula. This Story Map will explore major themes in fifteenth-century (incunabula) printing, including: the transition from manuscript to print, early hand-printing methods, the invention of typography, and the integration of woodcut illustrations with type. This downloadable CSV file provides the mapped data in this Story Map.
Behind the Barbed Wire. A unique glimpse into the daily lives of Japanese-Americans in internment camps during WWII through the digitized collection of internment camp newspapers at the Library of Congress. This downloadable CSV file provides the mapped data in this Story Map.
June 6th marks the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Of the 16 million US WWII Veterans, fewer than 400,000 remain today. The average age of our remaining ‘D-Day Survivor’ veterans is 96!
On June 4th through June 9th, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA will be hosting “The Final Salute: D-Day Plus 75 Years” which will combine the best of the Memorial with the best of the D-Day story: a gathering of veterans and the general public at the nation’s memorial to the invasion of Normandy for reflection and remembrance – the story of ordinary people in extraordinary moments.
Write them (one, two, three … or all) a letter of gratitude. Your letters will be presented to each D-Day Survivor in attendance in the hospitality tent.
In addition to expressing your gratitude, tell them about yourself – and the things you’ve done with the freedoms they fought and sacrificed to ensure we have today. This is an awesome group/school/family project. Unfortunately, we will not have these national treasures with us much longer. Don’t let them leave this earth without taking a moment to personally thank them for their selfless service.
Vietnam was the war where WWII era military served with Baby Boomers. Unlike WWII, it was never a declared war. When the troops returned, they were vilified–not treated like the conquering heroes who defeated the Nazis and the Japanese or the Thank you for you service with which we appropriately greet our veterans today. They were the last troops to be drafted and the first of the All Volunteer military we have today.
Ironically, being a veteran has once again become a political asset–Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan are all treated with respect.
According to the American War Library, on February 28, 2019:
As of this date The American War Library estimates that approximately 610,000 Americans who served on land in Vietnam or in the air over Vietnam between 1954 and 1975 are alive today. And approximately 164,000 Americans who served at sea in Vietnam waters are alive today.
Vietnam Vets die at a rate of 390 a day. So please thank a Vietnam Vet while there are still some left to thank.