Monday, June 12, 2006

Shore Leave for the Fleet

All Ashore That's Going Ashore! Charlie Ankerberg and Gene Schindler have passed muster and are shoving off for the beach. The Blackhawk and a nest of four pipers is in the background. Charlie and Gene served in USS Paul Jones which with three other "cans" made the very first surface attack on an enemy of the United States since the Spanish American War at Balikpappan. They also participated in the Battle of The Java Sea. Charlie was, at the time, a signalman and had a very good view of the battle as it unfolded - with devastating results to the combined ABDA fleet. Out of fuel and ammunition, the "cans" were ordered to return to base for fuel and eventually took an Eastward route around Java, thereby escaping the fate of so many of the Asiatic and ABDA ships.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lem Brigman - Asiatic Fleet

Lem Brigman (in wheelchair) and Margie Traverso and Lowell Larson are pictured here at the Asiatic Fleet reunion in Asheville this spring. A lot of stories were told here. Some were taped. Digital Photos are being collected to share back with everyone by CD. Recorded interviews will put on the web and on CD as well. In addition, the memorial service was taped and a DVD will be available too. Posted by Picasa CBM Lem Brigman passed away May 28 - barely a month after this photo. He had retired from the Navy in 1962 after a 30 year career. He built himself a 3 master schooner and lived on it for 21 years!

Tattoo - Chicken and Pig

This is the PIG tattoo from one of Lem Brigman's feet. Lem is about 86 years old and was a sailor in the Asiatic Fleet, much of which was lost between December 1941 and March 1942. An old Portugese superstition claimed if a sailor went overboard with a chicken and a pig, he would not drown. Alas, it did not work well in practice. A lot of Asiatic Fleet sailors never came back after their battles with the Japanese Imperial Navy. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Book - Playing for Time

I have finished reading PLAYING FOR TIME. Capt. Alford did a great job here in setting the record straight about a lot of things. I believe he knew every ship involved from every nation. His direct - in your face - account of the sacking of Adm Hart and the damaging results along with so many other observations are a treasure of information for those who want the "real deal" story. PLUS, he flavors the story with the flair of a master writer when he includes such things as the table fare in the wardroom. He brought back a lot of memories for me and my service was 25 years AFTER you folks. That is because the traditions of the Navy and the Asiatic Fleet sort of seeped in deep and stayed around for along time. Maybe some of them are still there! My mouth was watering over his description of curry. I have NEVER had as good a curry meal as I had in the fleet. It ain't the same. These little asides make the book very readable and bring in a human element some authors miss when trying to bring out the statistics and the facts of the times. It is a sad story, but it is one that also should make you all proud. I think he described every battle and parts of battles so thoroughly and so well laid out in a time-line that at last anyone can see the big picture and still zoom in to the fine detail.

I highly recommend his book, "PLAYING FOR TIME - War on an Asiatic Fleet Destroyer" For those who use the web and purchase that way, it is easy to get from Merriam Press ... which by the way is an excellent publisher resource for people with military histories that need to be in print.