December 20, 2014

USS Missouri – Then And Now

USS Missouri 1987

When I was growing up here in Washington state there were certain things we knew of about history and our surrounding area. One of them was that the famous ‘surrender’ ship USS Missouri was berthed here in Bremerton, inside (as it was then known) Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. You could see it from Navy Yard Highway as you came into town, and seeing it, you were impressed by its enormous size.

USS Missouri 1987

USS Missouri – (BB 63) 1987

I have a couple photos we took back in the mid 1980’s when Jim’s dad was here for a visit. He is a WWII veteran (see Low Moor, Iowa Honors WWII Vets ) and was anxious to take the tour of the old battleship. His ship, the Cape Esperance was a Casablanca class escort carrier. As with everyone of his generation, he knew well the name of the USS Missouri.

USS Missouri picture 2

Also in our party as we toured the ship was Loren’s daughter Lorrie and her son Brent, as well as our son Greg.  I doubt that the two young boys had as much interest in the ship at the time as their grandfather because they had no point of reference then.

USS New Jersey 1983

USS New Jersey – (BB- 62)

As an added bonus to this post, here is an additional photo, this one of the USS New Jersey as it looked in 1983. If my memory serves, it was stationed in California at the time at Long Beach. This Day in History – July1, 1985 the New Jersey was undergoing upkeep in Long Beach.

Sadly, the Missouri left the Bremerton area for good in 1985, but that wasn’t the last time she would see service in war time. She was reactivated in the early 1990’s to be used in the Gulf War. During one period of use her 16 inch guns fired over 800 projectiles. She was finally decommissioned in March of 1992. Her permanent berth is now adjacent to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The New Jersey is located in Camden, New Jersey

Sources:

USN Ships — USS Missouri

USN Ships –USS New Jersey

Original photos in this article are owned by Carol Wilkerson

Before January 1950 Naval Discharge Papers Were NAVPERS 553

NAVPERS and DD214 info

Why Can’t I Find My World War II Ancestor’s DD-214?

I learned something new today about Naval Service Discharge papers and when they were used. We are trying to get my father-in-law’s WWII medals replaced so we can put them in a nice shadow box for him. When he came home from the war his siblings were allowed to play with them and they lost some of them. These things happened and it is possible to get the medals replaced one time for free.

Jim had talked to his dad about taking his DD-214 to have it copied so we could replace the medals but he couldn’t find any document with DD-214 on them. No wonder!

As I found out this morning, before January of 1950 the government issued NAVPERS 553 documents instead. (Not mentioned in the information I found at The Naval Inspector General webpage was that a smaller card of wallet size deemed the NAVPERS 554 was also issued.)

Honoring Their Sacrifices In World War II

SonsDaughtersWWIIVets

The Sons and Daughters of WWII Veterans

An email I received today brought to my attention this site named Sons & Daughters of World War II Veterans Genealogy Society created in 2010.  Here is a snippet explaining their purpose and intent.

The Sons and Daughters of World War II Veterans is a program of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation and the Nimitz Education and Research Center.

The Admiral Nimitz Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit corporation whose mission is to preserve, interpret and teach the great history of World War II in the Pacific, that we may honor all those who, through leadership, exemplified by the character and service of Fleet Admiral Nimitz, courage, skill and sacrifice, won through to victory; and that future generations of Americans may be enlightened and inspired by their story. The Admiral Nimitz Foundation supports and manages the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

As there were over 16 million men and women who served during WWII, there’s little doubt this will be a popular site.  It’s purpose is to allow individuals to prove their lineal connection to veterans; to preserve the history of their sacrifices, and to create a public database of those records.
There is a one-time $125.00 Primary Applicant certification fee, with a reduced fee of $25 for individuals related to the Primary Applicant.
For more information regarding your application to join this site, please visit their home page using the link provided at the beginning of this article.  The Society can also be found on Facebook using this link.

Low Moor, Iowa Honors WWII Vets

Loren Wilkerson, World War Two veteran

Low Moor, Iowa is the epitome of small town America. A post office, the city park that doubles as a ball field (with the local farmer’s corn field snug up against the property line), and a nicely appointed community center where they hold Sunday chicken dinners, especially on Low Moor Days.  My apologies for the quality of the scanned picture, but when I wrote to the Clinton Herald newspaper I received no reply to my request for a digital copy of their photo.

Loren Wilkerson, World War Two veteran

This year’s celebration of Low Moor Days included a parade that included three World War Two veterans as grand marshals. That man in the middle is my father-in-law, Loren Wilkerson.

Loren served in the Navy on the Cape Esperance in the South Pacific, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. It was on that ship that he and the crew encountered one of the Pacific’s typhoons. He doesn’t talk about that storm much, other than to say he was mighty scared.

Loren Wilkerson c. 1944 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Loren Wilkerson c. 1944 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Born in 1925, Loren was just a young guy all of the age of 19 when he joined the Navy.  As the oldest of 10 children he had been making his way on his own for many years, but going to war and being thousands of miles from dry land had to be somewhat of a culture shock.

Loren Wilkerson 1943

Loren Wilkerson 1943

I am proud of all the veterans in our family, and whenever I have an opportunity to meet a vet outside of our family, I make it a point to say “thank you”. That’s what they did in Low Moor this July, the whole town said “thank you” to these three men. Good for them!

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