The Ordeal of USS Hugh W. Hadley




As US Army and Marine forces reduced the island of Okinawa in the spring of 1945, the Japanese unleashed a desperate storm of suicide attacks, the infamous kamikaze, on the massed armada of supporting allied warships offshore.  It did not take the Japanese long to understand the significance of the line of destroyers that ringed the island, their air search radars detecting and warning of the approach of Japanese aircraft from Formosa, Kyushu, and other locations to attack the US 5th (later 3rd) Fleet.

Soon, duty on the Radar Pickets became among the most deadly and dangerous of the entire war.   “Roger Peter” stations were subject to withering attacks, as the Japanese sought to blind the Americans and strike the carriers and transports that supported operations ashore.   A grimly high number of US ships were sunk, with heavy loss of life, in order to maintain the ring of warning radars that shielded the invasion fleet.   Drexler, Bush, Emmons, Little, Morrison, Luce, Pringle, all were sacrificed to alert the fleet of the impending kamikaze strikes.  And Mannert L. Abele, smashed by two massive precision-guided missiles that portended a coming age.    Many other ships were savagely mauled, Aaron Ward, Hazelwood, the famous Laffey, Cassin Young.  Damaged so severely that their survival astonished those who witnessed their suffering.

HT/ Bring the heat

Read More:     It’s worth it.

Uruguay Trip Day 5 Part Two

Sg and I walked across the scorching hot ramp in Boa Vista, did I mention it’s HOT along the equator? and found the small shack where we could begin the process of clearing the airport by paying the landing fees.  The man inside didn’t speak any English or Spanish but seeing that this was our sixth stop in Brazil I was familiar with the form and began filling in the appropriate boxes, even the aircrafts max gross weight in kilograms, stupid metric system.  While I was filling out the form the phone rang and after answering it the chubby little Brazilian behind the desk handed me the receiver.  Now I don’t get many phone calls in Brazil, especially in the Boa Vista landing fee office, so I knew right away it wasn’t going to be good.  The heavily accented voice confirmed my fears by informing me that seeing that it was Christmas day the hard working men and women of the customs office wouldn’t be able to clear us out of Brazil that afternoon because they were currently enjoying day 5 of their holiday break and weren’t even answering the phone.  Not to worry though they would be back at work tomorrow sometime after 8:00 am or later, maybe.  SG was watching me listening to this news and could tell by my expression that she was going to miss her Christmas in the Caribbean.  I did a little half hearted pleading into the receiver but I knew it was a lost cause so we went back to the plane, grabbed our overnight gear and slumped into the airport terminal to try and find a hotel and salvage what we could of Christmas.  But our battle with Brazilian bureaucracy was, not, yet, over.

  Seeing that this was our last stop in Brazil we had to clear immigration outbound so SG and I were escorted upstairs by a policeman to a small office inhabited by an evil troll the grumpiest immigration officer I’ve ever met.  Without even the hint of a smile he demanded our passports and the little slip of paper we filled out upon entering Brazil four days prior.  SG promptly handed her’s over because she’d lost the one she filled out on the airline coming into Uruguay and had been on the receiving end of a dad lecture about how important those slips of paper were.  I on the other hand couldn’t find mine and was sent back down to the plane to search for it.  After tearing the plane apart I finally admitted defeat and slunk back up to the immigration office, resigned to my fate.  I figured even captain grumpy pants would cut me a little slack seeing it was Christmas and all.  WRONG!  he spent the next half an hour printing out forms detailing my grave offense and then proceeded to read the charges I was guilty of.  Afterwords he stamped my passport with a warning that if I ever dared to set foot in the beautiful sovereign of Brazil I would be subjected to an $85.00 fine and given a really dirty look.  So I’ve got that going for me.  Which is nice.

At least SG got to enjoy a cool drink by the pool for Christmas.



Uruguay Trip Day 5

Morning in Manaus found SG and I starting off our hopefully early departure by getting dropped off at the end of the airport doesn’t have the weather, landing fee and flight planning offices.  It also doesn’t have any taxis sitting at the curb so it took a lot of waiting before one showed up to drop someone off.  So much for our early start.  After finally getting all the fees paid, weather checked and flight plan filed we climbed into the Bonanza, which was now about three hundred degrees due to it being not early morning any more, and blasted off for another long leg over the Amazon jungle.  Just like when you’re flying over the ocean, flying over hundreds of miles of unbroken rainforest can be nerve wracking.  Every little noise the engine makes is a potential death sentence, every cloud on the horizon is a monster storm blocking your path.  The only way to keep from going crazy and letting the fear take over is to just ignore the danger and keep flying.

  But luck was with us on Christmas day and we made it to Boa Vista, our last stop in Brazil.  SG was in a particularly good mood because despite the slow start to the day we’d made it to our first stop by 1:00 and if we could clear customs and fuel up in a reasonable amount of time we could make it to Grenada that afternoon and fulfill her wish to spend Christmas in the Caribbean.  But alas it was not to be.

  Stay tuned.