Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This Week in Naval History

25 Jul 1943: USS Harmon (DE 678) was launched

On 25 July 1943, the first US Navy ship named for an African-American, USS Harmon (DE 678) was launched. USS Harmon was named in honor of Mess Attendant First Class Leonard Roy Harmon who posthumously received the Navy Cross for heroic actions trying to save a shipmate on board USS San Francisco (CA-38) during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 November 1942. Harmon was decommissioned in March 1947 and remained inactive. She was sold for scrapping in January 1967.

 26 July 1948: President Truman desegregates the Armed Services

On 26 July 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, desegregating the Armed Services.

27 Jul 1953: Korean War Armistice was signed at Panmunjon

On 27 July 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjon, Korea. The Korean cease-fire went into effect at 2200.

28 July 1861: USS St. Lawrence captured the schooner Petrel

On 28 July 1861, during the Civil War, the frigate St. Lawrence spotted a schooner flying English colors and gave chase. Some four hours later, as she was overhauling the schooner, the fleeing vessel ran up the Confederate flag and fired three shots. Firing with her forecastle battery, St. Lawrence hit the vessel twice, once in her bow. Survivors from the sunken vessel revealed it had been the Confederate privateer, Petrel.

29 Jul 1967: Explosions on board USS Forrestal (CVA 59)

On 29 July 1967, on the flight deck of USS Forrestal (CVA-59), a Zuni 5” rocket accidentally fired from a F-4B Phantom II aircraft into a parked and armed A-4E Skyhawk, setting off a series of explosions that killed 134 of her crew and injured a further 161 crewmembers. At the time of this accident, Forrestal was participating in combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War.

30 Jul 1945: Loss of USS Indianapolis (CA 35)

On 30 July 1945, the Japanese submarine, I-58, sank USS Indianapolis (CA 35), northeast of Leyte, 12° 02’N, 134° 48’E., 316 of her crew of 1199 survived. Due to communications and other errors, her loss went unnoticed until survivors were seen from a passing aircraft on 2 August. Note, prior to being sunk, Indianapolis made a high speed transit from California to Tinian, arriving on 26 July, to deliver atomic bomb components that were detonated on Japan in August.

31 July 1874: USS Intrepid was commissioned

On 31 July 1874, USS Intrepid was commissioned. She was the first U.S. warship equipped with torpedoes. Commander Augustus P. Cooke, USN, was her first commanding officer. She spent the next few months conducting torpedo trials in the waters off New England and New York and was then decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard. Intrepid had occasional active service over the next several years and in 1882 began conversion to a light-draft gunboat for service in Chinese waters. This work continued slowly until 1889 and was then suspended. USS Intrepid was sold in May 1892.

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