By Chris Moss-Meeker

Sophomore class. Vessel Operations; Block 2

USS O’Bannon. Unconventional Weaponry (A Brief Description of a Funny Confrontation)

USS O'Bannon

USS O’Bannon (DD-450) is a Fletcher-class destroyer laid down on March 3, 1941. She served the United States Navy (USN) in World War II. She was sold for scrap on June 6 1970 with 17 battle stars including the Presidential Unit Citation.

During her World War II service, she briefly trained for war in the Caribbean and participated in the Pacific campaign against the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). She fought in the Guadalcanal campaign in which her assigned squadron, Destroyer Squadron 21 (DesRon 21), was securing the American held Solomon Island. She escorted USS Copahee (CVE-12) on a run to supply depleted American Marines with supplies to continue holding a key airstrip named “Henderson Field”. O’Bannon sighted enemy submarines and fired at them with her 5-inch main battery armament. On Novemeber 12 1942, 16 Japanese torpedo bombers attack American convoy ships. 11 were shot down and O’Bannon fired at 4 of the planes. Word came that a Japanese attack force of battleships, cruisers and destroyers were going to bombard the Americans off the island, and O’Bannon with a underpowered task force, were set to try to turn away the attackers. During the attack, O’Bannon boldly fought Japanese battleship Hiei, getting so close that Hiei guns couldn’t depress far enough to shoot the destroyer. Combined attacks from other American ships, Hiei was set to be scuttled.

On April 5 1943, O’Bannon sighted the Japanese submarine RO-43 on the surface and made to ram it. At the last minute, officers aboard the destroyer decided the sub might be a minelayer and turned hard to avoid the collision. The action brought the destroyer along side the sub. Japanese mariners attempted to man their 3-inch gun battery, O’Bannon deck hands grabbed potatoes out of a supply shed and pelted the potatoes at the Japanese crew. The Japanese believed that the potatoes were hand grenades and threw them back, instead of manning the 3-inch battery. As soon as O’Bannon was far enough away, she opened up with her 5, 5-inch gun batteries and damaged the sub’s conning tower. RO-43 submerged but O’Bannon’s depth charges eventually sunk the sub.

USS O'Bannon Potatoe Commeration

At the end of World War II, she joined her sister ship USS Nicholas, USS Missouri and USS Taylor into Tokyo Bay by order of Admiral William Halsey. She was later decommissioned after overhaul on May 21, 1946.

Fishers Island Trip

Fishers Island is a small community of roughly 200 people, 13 miles from the coast of Long Island. Students attending the trip got to leave school right after seventh period to catch the 2:30 Ferry back to Manhattan. The bus ride to the Fishers Island ferry took a grueling 6 hours with no pitstops. I sat in the back of the bus, along with a couple friends. During the bus ride, we watched Moana and sang along with the songs. Next movie queued was Ghost Busters. When the bus finally made it to the ferry landing, there were tons of pizza boxes awaiting our arrival. The ferry boat, Race Point, carried us over to Fishers Island. Boat ride took another 45 minutes. Tents were assigned, 3 people per tent, and set up. By this time it’s already past 10PM and most were pumped for the following days activities. Lights out: 11:30PM

6AM wake up. Breakfast consisted of eggs with a side of peppers, bacon, toast and a choice of lemonade, iced tea and water. After breakfast, everyone mustered for informant of the days activities. Vessel Operations assisted Professional Diving in oyster cage recovery, which took all day in 50 degree water. It was cold to say the least. One by one divers jumped off the boat and into the waters. Towards the middle of the day, Vessel Ops students jumped off and did some swimming as past time in between recoverys. The frigid waters were refreshing at first as the air temperature began to increase as the day wore on, but the freezing waters soon felt very cold. As Vessel Ops students, together, jumped into the water, Aaron went from boat to boat. The rest of the day passed on. Dinner was exciting: a big campfire and barbecue, complete with hamburgers, hotdogs, and cookies. As the night continued, and our singing got progressively worse, it was time to put up the towel in and head for bed. Lights out: 11PM

Yet another 6AM wake up. Breakfast was oatmeal with fruit and brown sugar, along with a choice of lemonade, iced tea, and water. Today is a shorter day considering the expected return time was 5PM. Tents were packed and once the early morning muster was complete, each CTE headed off to do their own thing. Vessel Ops did pivot turns and docking practice. Eventually all boats got geared and headed for a gas dock to fill up. After all boats got their share of gas, we headed out into open water for some fun. The boats sped along the water over to the ferry landing and back, with some high speed stops in between. Once returning to the school, we grabbed our stuff and boarded the 3:30 boat to mainland. The bus was awaiting us and once everybody boarded, we were underway headed for New York City. Return time: roughly 5:30PM

The island was beautiful. It felt like a summer vacation in a short span of 3 days. Everything was so green compared to the red brick and grey cement we see here in the city. With downtime, you couldn’t help but look at the scenery and compare that to what we have here in NYC. The trip was amazing, and I hope to do it again in upcoming years.

USS Enterprise; The Most Decorated US Ship of World War II (A Short History)

USS Enterprise (1945)
(An Aerial view of Enterprise, 1945)

USS Enterprise – nicknamed the “Big E,” “Lucky E,” “The Grey Ghost”- is a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier launched in 1936. She was laid down July 16 1934 and launched on October 3 1936. She served in World War II gaining 20 battle stars, the most of any US ship during the war.

USS Enterprise 1939)

Enterprise was at sea the day of Pearl Harbor and received a radio messages reporting the port was under attack. She sent up her fighters – Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters – and put into Pearl Harbor for fuel and supplies. Her screening fighters were attacked by anti-aircraft defenses, but a pilot radioed in saying the planes were American and the attacks ceased. Three days later, Enterprise aircraft sank Japanese submarine I-70

Enterprise participated in the battle of Midway when American code breakers broke Japanese code for an attack on a airfield on Midway island. American carrier sent squadrons of torpedo and dive bombers to attack a fleet of Japanese ships, including four aircraft carriers. The Japanese task force was up against a small fleet of two American carriers and a few destroyers, cruisers and battleships. However, the Americans struck first. Torpedo bombers from the Enterprise reached the Japanese task force but scored no hits. Dive bombers from the Enterprise, USS Yorktown (Enterprise’s lead ship) struck next. The bombers scored hit leaving three of the four carrier ships ablaze. Within an hour of the battle, the only battle ready Japanese carrier Hiryu was left alone. Hiryu launched her planes and crippled the Yorktown, which was eventually sunk by a Japanese submarine while in tow. The Americans suffered the loss of USS Yorktown and 113 planes but the Japanese lost was far heavier. The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) lost four aircraft carriers, one cruiser and 272 aircraft.

Enterprise went on to gain 20 battle stars, and at one point, the only battle ready US carrier.

USS Enterprise vs The Imperial Japanese Navy

History:

Class and Type of Ship: Yorktown-class Aircraft carrier

Commissioned: May 12, 1938

Decommissioned: February 17, 1947

Characteristics:

Displacement: 19,800 tons (Standard), 32,060 (Full load)

Length: 824 feet 9 inches, 827 feet 5 inches (1942)

Beam: 109 feet 6 inches

Horsepower: 120,000

Speed: 32.5 knots

Range: 12,500 nautical miles at 15 knots

Crew: 2,217 offices and enlisted

The USS Independence, Indy 7’s Mother

USS Independence (CV-62)
USS Independence CV-62

Indy 7 is a retired Navy launch from the USS Independence (CV-62), a forrestal-class aircraft carrier. USS Independence was built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and launched on June 6, 1958. She followed by getting commissioned the following year on the first of January.

USS Independence spent her early years in the Mediterranean Fleet. She made a single tour off the coast of Vietnam in 1965. Independence also carried out airstrikes against Syrian forces in Lebanese Civil War, and conducted operations over Iraq enforcing a no-fly zone.

After her long history, the USS Independence is now awaiting to be scrapped at Brownsville, Texas.

History:
Class and Type of Ship: Forrestal-Class Aircraft Carrier
Namesake: “Freedom of control by others; Self Government
Commissioned: January, 10 1958
Decommissioned: September, 30 1998 (Roughly 40 years of service)
Motto: “Freedom’s Flagship”

Characteristics:
Displacement: 60,000 Tons (Standard)
80,643 Tons (Full-Load)
Length: 1,070 Feet
Beam: 130 Feet
Horsepower: 280,000 Horsepower
Speed: 33 Knots
Range: 8,000 Nautical Miles at 20 knots
Crew: 3,126 Ship Crew
2,089 Air Wing
72 Marines
70 Flag Staff
Aircraft Carried: 70-90

USS Independence with USS Saratoga and USS Intrepid
(USS Independence (CV-62), with sister ships, USS Saratoga (CV-60) and USS Intrepid (CV-11))