Welcome ! TO THE
" USS MONTEREY CVL-26 - PAGE "
by TOM j. COLLINS
The MONTEREY Light Aircraft Carrier NAVAL HISTORY => CVL-26 awarded 11 BATTLE STARS !
Read of Gerald Ford's and our USS MONTEREY
I did not know, in 1953 and 1954, that the USS Monterey CVL-26 was the aircraft carrier that nine years before, had given adventure to our President Gerald R. Ford
Click here for many, many photos taken of Gerald R. Ford during WW II and through out his life (courtesy of the Gerald and Betty Ford Museum and archived by the University of Texas) ==> WWW.FORD.UTEXAS.EDU/avpro/hseries/ww2.htm
Gerald R. Ford, Sr. and his children and adopted son
Gerald R. Ford, Jr. 2nd from left.
The most valuable player at U. of Michigan - Gerald R. Ford, Jr., "Center", 1934
GERALD R. FORD, JR on a summer job for the National Park Service at Yellowstone - 1936
Gerald R. Ford's book, A Time for Healing, will tell you something about CVL-26. He, then an assistant navigator, describes his 4AM awakening after serving a night watch, the smell of smoke, the run up the ladders to the flight deck, the extreme ship-roll, Ford's falling and tobogganing across the steep flight-deck, the luck of catching on the small metal rim at the edge of the flight deck - he fell into the catwalk. The metal rim saved him from cascading to sure death into the dark, typhoon whipped sea!
His Ford Museum at 303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504 - could tell you more.
The USS Monterey had received eleven battle stars from World War II.
Read of the USS MONTEREY CVL-26 under fleet Admiral Halsey and under
Captn.Ingersoll and her sister ships in the BATTLE OF LEYTE GULF <= Click
Which person is Gerald R.
<= Click to enlarge !
bottom row, second from our right. Leslie King /aka/
Gerald R. Ford : (later Asst. Navigator).
Thanks to www.navyhistory.com/cv26Montery.html
Yes, we have had a "King" as a President of the United States of America !
Yes, in 1944, young GERALD R. FORD had been aboard the Monterey on that night when she and her airplanes were afire in the raging TYPHOON COBRA on the Philippine Sea, south of Japan. The ship was saved by Captain Ingersoll and many courageous men. The Captain had been given permission by Admiral Halsey to abandon ship - a disastrous situation. But Ingersoll sent men with gas masks into the four smoke filled engine rooms; they removed the asphyxiated sailors and restored power for the water pumps. This allowed a courageous and successful fight against the aviation fuel.
But TYPHOON COBRA sunk three DESTROYERS. Thrity-seven warships were damaged. It wrecked 146 airplanes and killed 793 men. Click here for stories of other ships bitten by Typhoon Cobra. (Say a prayer for them now please ... and Amen).
Weather reports transmitted from a destroyer to the command in Hawaii were not decoded during the night and dispersed to the fleet. The disaster might have been avoided. Court martial for Admiral Halsey and three of the other Task Force Admirals was considered. Halsey was relieved as commander of the 3rd Fleet, which became the 5th Fleet - which went into action against southern Japan under Admiral Spruance. Then in May 1945 Halsey resumed command, again, as the 3rd Fleet.
ANOTHER TYPHOON !
A subsequent steering of that fleet east of Okinawa to avoid TYPHOON VIPER had disastrous results. The typhoon overtook the fleet. Again, three destroyers were lost and six men died. Seventy-six airplanes were lost and thirty-six ships were damaged.
Results led to another threat of "court martial." An inquiry of Admiral Halsey and three of his Admirals, including John McCain's grandfather, John S. "Slew" McCain. It became an "inquiry." The Admirals were acquitted, but reputations suffered. Admiral McCain died of a heart ailment one week after being present at the signing of the treaty aboard the USS Missouri.
Monterey began as the Cruiser CL-78, the DAYTON, at Camden, NJ on December 29, 1941. While being built, she was reclassified from a Cruiser to be reconstructed as CV-26, the U.S.S. MONTEREY, March 1942. A year later, she was completed and launched - February 28, 1943 ... and then commissioned for action on June 17, 1943. On July 15, she was reclassified CVL 26 as a "Light" aircraft carrier. Then she went on a shakedown cruise.
THE SHIP'S EARLY HISTORY
After her shakedown cruise with Captain Lester Hundt, she sailed to Hawaii to set out for action in the Pacific Ocean. Gerald R. Ford was aboard during these actions :
First, she helped at Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands on November 19, 1943. She was involved in strikes at Kavieng, New Ireland (near New Guinea) on Christmas 1943. She supported the troop landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok until February 8, 1944 as part of Task Force 37.2.
She was in action at the Battle of the Philippine Sea on the last 2 days of April.
From February until July, she operated with Task Force 58 in the Carolines, the Marianas, New Guinea, and the Bonins, when she sailed to Hawaii for her first overhaul.
She departed Pearl Harbor on August 29, and five days later, she launched strikes against Wake Island (September 3, 1944).
With Task Force 38, she made strikes in the southern Philippines and the Ryukus. She supported the landing at Leyte and then at Mindoro (October - December 1944).
After one year - unscathed - in December 1944, she was with many other ships, which steered into the heart of Typhoon Cobra for two days.
AS MENTIONED ABOVE :
Coded weather reports, which had not been decoded at Hawaii and re-dispersed to the task force led to a later INQUIRIES of Admiral Halsey, John McCain's grandfather, an Australian Admiral and others. The topic was Typhoon Cobra and Typhoon Viper.
Monterey's Captain Ingersoll made an emergency decision which saved the ship - after Halsey had given permission to abandon ship - when huge hangar-deck fires smoked and raged - after airplane cables broke, and the planes smashed into one another as the ship rolled to the extreme.
Ingersoll had men go into three of the boiler rooms with gas masks, to remove, revive and replace those men in the smoke-filled compartments; they got the pumps going to put out the fires.
Typhoon Cobra took the lives of 793 men in the task forces. And 146 airplanes were lost. Three destroyers [USS HULL | USS SPENCE | USS MONAGHAN] sunk during the typhoon and 37 other ships were severely damaged. The rescue operations are wonderfully depicted by the HISTORY CHANNEL'S video WRATH OF GOD. The charred Monterey limped to Hawaii and then, in January 1945, to Bremerton, WA.
Gerald Ford was then assigned to stateside duty. Still in the Navy, he attended courses in North Carolina and was then assigned to naval training at St. Mary's College in California and later to Glendale, Illinois training station. Click to read a message from the ex-President to St. Mary's.
After repair, in Bremerton, the USS MONTEREY returned to Task Force 58 actions. She launched strikes against Nansei Shoto and Kyushu, Okinawa for most of May 1945.
Then, with task force 38, she launched strikes against Honshu and Hokkaido, Japan in July 1945 to August 15, 1945.
On September 7, she embarked American troops at Tokyo and headed to the United States. She made New York harbor on October 17, 1945.
After WWII, between then and her decommission on February 11, 1947, the USS MONTEREY served in operations between Norfolk, VA and Naples, Italy. She rested in the Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia until re-commissioning on September 15, 1950.
She as the USS Monterey, had won eleven battle stars in her W W II service in the western Pacific. Monterey had sunk five Japanese warships and damaged many others. She destroyed hundreds of enemy airplanes. And she also hit war-generating industrial complexes and hundreds of enemy airplanes.
CORRY FIELD in the old days . . .
TRAINING KOREAN-ACTION MARINE AND NAVY PILOTS TO LAND ON A SMALL CARRIER
OUT OF PENSACOLA, FL.
The Korean war began in June 1950. The USS Monterey was refitted for action training most of our Naval/Marine aviators off Pensacola, Florida. She did noble service involving much action. In 1955, the Monterey was allowed to rest.
I believe that the USS Monterey's favorite duty was her 1954 "flood rescue operation" in reaction to tropical storm Gilda and flooding in Honduras - for the USS Monterey knew the pains from typhoons from her near-sinking in the Philippine Sea in December of 1944.
WELCOME ABOARD !
It was a black past-midnight sky, in October 1953 (Gregorian calendar), when I climbed a huge rope-net ladder, up the side of a "light sized" aircraft carrier. It was full-moon but dark. We, "shaky-sailors", climbed the shifting rope-squares-ladder from the tiny sleek all-white and pitching motor-launch below. We climbed five decks high to the hangar deck. I still enjoy the memory of that approach onto this, my ship, USS Monterey. It was my first night on any-ship. TJC
Torpedos, anyone? Liberty, anyone? Catapult, anyone? Thanks to www.navyhistory.com/cv26Montery.html
On January 3, 1951, the Monterey began her Korean War duties at Naval Training Command, Pensacola, FL, where she trained most of the naval and marine aviator cadets in their first three trainer-plane landings and a second-three fighter-plane or torpedo-plane landings. These pilots saw heavy action over Korea until 1953.
In 1951 thru 1954+, my ship, the Monterey, sailed out of Pensacola, Florida. Pilot Cadets from the Baron and Saufley Airfields at Pensacola made their first three landings in trainer planes upon her small wooden deck. They would return weeks later to make another three landings in torpedo bombers, corsairs or hellcat fighter planes. And then some of the pilots went back to Texas for jet airplane flight training.
THE TOWN OF PENSACOLA, FLORIDA then
Hotel San Marcos and a pretty view of North Palafox Street, Pensacola, FL from years ago.
and gutzy action in the GULF of MEXICO
SNJ TRAINER AIRPLANES : Landing and Take Off. Required 3 for Qualification.
Thanks to Brad and Benj. Bull
PILOT TRAINING 101
STARBOARD SIDE CRASH HANGING BY A CABLE! PORT SIDE CRASHES
F6F October 23, 1952 - F6F November 18, 1952 SNJ April 3, 1952
Action photos thanks to Wm. J. Trotter of Fort Worth, TX
==> 1954 Port Side Deviation
THE "HOT CORNER" Barnacle Removal & Repair F6F November 18, 1952
"PORT SIDE AFT" Wings Under Water
SNJ October 15, 1952 MOBILE, ALABAMA DRY DOCK January 6, 1954
MOBILE, ALABAMA DRY DOCK (1954) TO REPAIR A SCREW "CRASHED" BY A "SNJ" THAT DITCHED INTO THE GULF AHEAD OF THE MONTEREY. IT SCRAPPED THE PORT UNDERSIDE AND HIT THE PORT SCREW. AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS UNDER REPAIR, WHEN BARNACLES WERE ALSO REMOVED FROM THE HULL BY SAND BLASTING, WE SET OUT FOR A TEST RUN TO NEW ORLEANS, LA. AND A NIGHT ON BOURBON STREET!
ACCIDENTS DURING PILOT TRAINING - photos & information .Thanks to WILLIAM J. TROTTER .
Note: The above reproductions are not the good originals
just poor quality photos "of photos."
MUSEUMS MAY REQUEST THE BRIGHT 8X10 GLOSSY ORIGINALS.
"X DIVISION" 1954 - Executive Division (click to see large-enlargement)
RAGAN PETERSON NUNN STAMITOLES
MAYFIELD YUMNIT VARNER GEE GESERICK CHADRON VENDETTI MULLIER DORBIN TROTTER
DOBBS LEBRON BOWLES ECKERT BISHOP CORNETT
The Aviation Electronics Shop with sleeping quarters
was aft below the Flight Deck. Here is part of the crew.
. . .
EVANS . . . BARGER CURTIS COLLINS
1954 Starboard Deviation !
F6F FIGHTER AIRPLANES : Landing and Take Off. Three required for Qualification.
Thanks to Brad and Benj. Bull
At Pensacola, the Monterey had set a record of landings in one day (about 477) on an aircraft carrier.
Tropical Storm Gilda had formed in the Central Caribbean Sea on September 24, 1954. It moved westward, reaching a peak of 70 mph winds before hitting British Honduras (Belize) on the 27th of September. Gilda caused very heavy rains and flooding and 29 deaths. The extensive flooding trapped many in northern Honduras.
In late September, under Captain E. E. Fickling, the Monterey received orders from Washington, DC and commanded his ship to rush to Honduras with helicopters and medicine aboard - to take part in flood rescue mission between October 1 and 11, 1954.
The USS Monterey arrived at Puerto Cortez, Honduras from Pensacola, Florida with the extra medical crews and helicopters to carry medical supplies. From Puerto Cortez, Honduras the helicopters flew above the flooded regions and crew-members pulled stranded persons from rooftops. They delivered much needed medicine to fight cholera in the regions between the towns of Puerto Cortez and San Pedro Sula.
A SALUTE TO THE US NAVY AND THE HISTORY OF RESCUE OPERATIONS.
In 1998 in Honduras, Hurricane Mitch caused near total destruction of much of Central America. Rains from it killed about 9,500 persons and would soon cost about a billion dollars toward rescue and restoration. I am happy that, in 1998, North Americans were involved in helping each injured-economy and peoples of that region, as we had in 1954.
* * *
The USS MONTEREY'S retirement to Philadelphia and the Atlantic Reserve Fleet was in June of 1955.
She was decommissioned on January 16, 1956 and reclassified as AVT-2 on May 15, 1959. (The name "Monterey" would later be given to a missal cruiser). The AVT-2 was scrapped in 1971 at Philadelphia. I understand that the Monterey had her "ready room" preserved at the
40 Patriots Point Road
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464-4377 - a museum near Charleston, SC -
where they have the CV10 - the 2nd "YORKTOWN" aircraft carrier of WWII fame.
The Yorktown is the ship that retrieved the crew of APOLLO 8, the first manned space ship to travel around the moon. (I had a relative who was an engineer on the ground crew at Cape Kennedy). The CV5 - (the 1st "YORKTOWN" aircraft carrier) sank at the critical BATTLE of MIDWAY is mentioned on the Patriot's Point web site. There is a great graphic depicting her settlement at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean at over 16,000 feet deep; it was re-discovered in 1998.
Again, she as the USS Monterey CVL-26, had won eleven battle stars in her W W II service in the western Pacific. Monterey had sunk five Japanese warships and damaged many others. She destroyed hundreds of enemy airplanes. And her pilots hit war-generating industrial complexes and hundreds of enemy airplanes.
Ah yes, I believe that her favorite duty was her "hurricane and flood rescue operation" in Honduras, for she too, knew the pains from hurricanes and typhoons.
The GULF OF MEXICO
It was there, in the Caribbean, that George Washington also experienced his first hurricane-territory sailings. George Washington went to Barbados, near South America, with his ill brother, Lawrence, aboard a tall-ship. Read here, in his own words about that fickle sea.
In Barbados, Washington almost-died with the small-pox, which slightly scarred his left cheek and possibly made him sterile, and thus childless; though he seemed to dearly love his step children and step-grandchildren. In the later war-torn years, as soldiers died of small-pox all around, he was immune - for - he had "paid his dues".
A S e a D i t t y by Me about the SEA . . .
Awesome, majestic, is the sea ! Just ask me, TomC !
When I was 22, then 23, I went to sea in the-Caribe’. Sometimes, at sunrise and early-day, I saw her, the sea, as a smooth-as-glass windless lass at peace from est to west, as far as you could see - as far as you could see.
At first, my mates and me supposed that we knew her, the sea, in--tim--ate--ly. But, not at all, it sometimes takes time to know and love, you see!
Our airplane-carrier ship dipped, glided, rolled, and skimmed, slipped atop her peaceful waves, most all year - in winter, spring, summer, fall.
We often glanced her AM-beauty-prep all soft-lit. We rode her roll and her pitch on moon-lit nights. We played cards in hidden store-rooms; fools tossed dimes on the table, in reckless chance - as we glided-on on those quiet, restless nights.
On rough-sea days, we rolly-coaster’d her valley troughs. And rose atop her hill-like crested-waves, even while rolling side-to-side, pitching-low and pitching-high !
On stormy nights, we’d grip our bunk-sides. My ship 'n me - wrestled the sea - in a fierce rolly-scary dream. I’d pray to God - I'd pray to God; it seemed that only HE could keep us safe when she and grav-i-ty seemed so "in charge".
And then one day, a hurr-i-cane built upon her distant waves, aimed at us and chased our un-armed tiny-tiny-airplane-toting CVL, the Monter-ey, all night and all day. Raging rains and wild-wind skys taunted 'she', the sea, and frightened even me.
One eve, just when I thought I had-seen all her moods and whims, I spied a distant pink-purple straw-like spout
reaching-high in the glowing sunset-clouds - and the tinted sky.
. . .
After a year, I began to think I knew, some of the sea-lady's awesome show and charm. Somedays, she'd "make-up" 'n salt-kiss our faces with her light-fresh-spray. I'd slowly fill my lungs with salt-air fresh breath, 'n replace my fear with peaceful calm and light cheer!
Well, some sailors -somehow- love the sea's come-hither beauty, but the wise ones know too - to fear her awesome ways on stormy days.
She and her fickle winds are majestic, mighty, peaceful, subtle, and sometimes overwhelmingly powerful. She is dichotomy. She is di-chot-o-mie-s!
And I did not even ever see the big-sea - a Tsunami !
For some true lite nature po-e-try,
try TREES by Joyce Kilmer of
New Brunswick, Morristown and Mauwau, NJ.
HE TAUGHT AT MORRISTOWN HIGH SCHOOL ON MAPLE AVENUE IN 1911.
Joyce Kilmer was killed in WWI in France
just before the end of that "great war", in 1918.
This JOYCE KILMER poem was often taught to young school children in less sophisticated days.
They were taught the poem by singing it.
I think that I shall never see,
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose Bosom snow has lain;
Who in-ti-mately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
. . .
Or, back to Hurricanes,
Try Longfellow's The Wreck of the Hesperus
"Then up and spake an older soldier,
had sailed the Spanish Main,
' I pray thee, put into yonder port, for I fear a hurricane.
Last night the moon had a golden ring,
and tonight no moon we see!'
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipee and
a scornful laugh laughed he."
I love the sea, you see !
Click to see Acknowledgements ==> Thanks !
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