View Full Version : Interesting find... WW2 American Sub vet.

01-29-2009, 09:59 AM
Here (http://blalock.lancedean.com/index.html)

01-29-2009, 09:59 AM
Here (http://blalock.lancedean.com/index.html)

01-29-2009, 11:37 AM
K_Freddie, very interesting read, thanks for the link ! Cool pics too http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

01-29-2009, 11:50 AM
Yup, that's my grandfather.

Most all of that stuff is what I found over 10 years after his passing 1997. I wanted to scan it all and put it in one place.

Everything I know about his WWII service was discovered after his death. This is so saddening for me. Even the series of videos that you see on the website were filmed by my uncle, I left the house (dumb teenager) while that video was being filmed.

01-29-2009, 12:49 PM
Thanks for sharing this snakeyez77.
I thought I recognised your AKA on your other website, but wasn't sure.

My grandfather never wanted to talk about the war. He was in tanks in North Africa and Italy.
He had so much to tell, but all he said and only once.. "It was horrible" - I never asked him again.

My kid, through my inlaws has made contact with 2 WW2 vets, who enjoy talking to him. One guy was captured in North Africa in the 'Gazala Gallop', and the other has written 2 books on his experiences in Africa - Very moving stuff.
EDIT: Remembered his name - James Ambrose Brown (http://openlibrary.org/a/OL783611A)


01-29-2009, 02:55 PM
Mine was on the first Yorktown. He was put in the dead pile after battle. Someone finally found him. He had one long big scar from his privates to his neck...Simply amazing. My wifes grandpa whle dying at home, hospice there, ect. For a few days, he would holler out commands, call name, cuss japs, ect...he died a soldier. That stuff really gets in your head for life.

01-29-2009, 03:46 PM
My grandfather was a Lieutenant in the Army in Europe, and was there all to the end and was getting ready in the Pacific to invade Japan as so many were when the bomb ended it all.

Like others, my grandfather has never talked much about the war other than if you get a few drinks in him, but even then you get vague details like "it was horrible" etc.

On the other hand a close friend of the family was in PT boats in the Pacific...lived through the Solomons and Leyte and has always been able to talk about it.I believe different people handle things different.Some don't mind talking while others do , just depends on the person.They have the right to be either way.

01-29-2009, 04:04 PM
A very moving Biography, Snakeyes.

My father also served in the Navy during WWII.
He came close to volunteering for PT boats but, they had grabbed the needed quota before getting to his position in the ranks. He said he was going to do it but ended up as armed contingent aboard a couple of Liberty ships during the Atlantic supply crossings into North Africa and the push through Italy. He saw one ship in the convoy get torpedoed by a U-boat after the Captain panicked in the tight formation and turned on his lights.

01-29-2009, 04:05 PM
Well, I was very close to him and he lived just minutes away. He never talked about WWII at all around me that I can recall until he was invited to join the USSVWWII (United States Submarine Veterans of WWII) around 1994. The videos shown on the link above total about 45 minutes, and I'm sure there was a lot told before and after the taping. He was only talking about WWII because we were at a big family Christmas get-together and he was asked to talk about it all on tape.

What I do remember him talking about was getting upset that the general public didn't honor veterans like he thought they should. Now I understand.

We now live in an America where every single day more of our WWII submarine veterans pass away. Soon, sooner than we think, there will be no WWII submarine veterans left. In fact, there are so few right now that the USSVWWII is basically ceasing to exist and merging into the USSVI (United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.) (http://www.ussvi.org) which is a submarine veteran organization that is open to ALL sub vets, not just WWII vets.

All of this really gets to me, hence why I'm trying so hard to promote the museum submarines across the USA (http://www.submarinemuseums.org). We have nothing from WWII older than the Gato-class submarines on display, with the USS Drum (SS-228) (http://www.drum228.org) down in Mobile, Alabama being the oldest. No S-boats, no Tambors.

Hardly any (if any) of these museum boats get tax money/public money, which shocked me when I first learned. Most survive off of visitor fees, gift shops, and donations ONLY. Many are solely maintained from volunteer efforts in which any of us regular Joes can get involved with.

Sorry to rant on, but it just seems like to me the best way to honor the WWII submarine veterans as a whole is to help maintain the boats that they served upon for future generations to see.

01-29-2009, 04:40 PM
Thank you snakeyez77
I have not much on my father, my uncle nor my grandfather. My father served in the R.C.A.F., my uncle was in the Canadian Army and my grandfather was in the R.A.F. I know my uncle went to Europe in the tank corps.
My father never left Canada, he was stationed at a secret base within Canada. His mail went to England and then back to Canada. I do have his service number.
None of them really talked about the war. If I poured enough beer down Dads' neck then he would touch on some of it.

01-29-2009, 05:14 PM
snakeyez, do you know what happened to www.ussubvetsofworldwarii.org? (http://www.ussubvetsofworldwarii.org?) Just like our submarine vets, it vanished from the radar within the last couple of months. That's hundreds of stories just like your grandfather's....gone. I have always mistrusted the version of truth peddled by the bean-counters after the war, who tell us because the ratio of sunk boats to survivors was so low that Japanese sucked at ASW. I can tell you from reading accounts of the real sailors that's wrong. Dead wrong for a couple thousand men.

I wonder if you have any connections with the organization and if there is some way to resurrect that site? It's as important as the actual machinery any day.

01-29-2009, 05:26 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RockinRobbins:
snakeyez, do you know what happened to www.ussubvetsofworldwarii.org (http://www.ussubvetsofworldwarii.org)... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You can read about it here. (http://www.bottomgun.com/bbs2/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=4126&posts=5)

I don't know the reasons why, but the caretakers of that website let it go. The content was supposed to be moved over to SubmarineSailor.com (http://www.submarinesailor.com) in the care of Don Gentry. That was as of August 5, 2008. I don't know the status of that move.

You can still read archived copies of the website using archive.org (http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.ussubvetsofworldwarii.org/). You just may not get any images to load though.

01-29-2009, 06:27 PM
Yup, found it on Archive.org just before I read your information. I'm going to quote most of a story about the Tambor here. Remember, the post war bean counters say the Japanese sucked at ASW. I dare say the Tambor crew would want to kill them for saying that:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">While our radar had picked up the relative position of the escort destroyer, we at last saw her in the brightness of the exploding tanker.

Radarman Bill Shoop's voice rose to high pitch. The angle on the bow was 90 degrees starboard. Within seconds it was 0 degrees. The range was closing fast.

The claxon sounded, Dive! Dive! All hands below! The bridge was cleared, the last man closing the hatch. Vents were opened and all eyes were on the depth gauge: The needle seemed to just hang there ... an eternity before the bow got on the down angle and we headed below.

But that Japanese destroyer had no intention of losing us. Even as we were diving, he was right on us. On his first run, he dropped about a dozen depth charges. We were thus forced to take evasive measures and race for deeper water.

Gordon "Red," Mayo was on the sound gear and he heard the destroyer change to short scale pinging, and increasedher speed. It meant that we could expect another run.

Captain Kefauver decided to head for the sea floor. Down...down...and we finally settle on sand at 268 feet. We were now a completely silent submarine just sitting and waiting.

The next string of charges were too close, far too close. Something was betraying our position to the destroyer up there. And that destroyer was stubborn -- for the next fifteen hours the TAMBOR was taking depth charge after depth charge. Every man was wondering how much pounding the TAMBOR could take without splitting her hull.

The depth charges came, one on top of another, and with the most uncanny accuracy! It was Bob Freedman who asked "Was that one closer than before?" Sitting next to him, Claude Brown just shrugged and didn't bother to define close or closer.

We were in shallow enough water to hear the destroyer's screws above us: the sound was like a train crossing a railroad trestle. First a distinct sound, like a hum, then increasing rapidly in volume to a roar as he approached, and then the sound decreasing quite rapidly. And on each run we had to take two depth charges. We could hear them hit the water, then, came the click of the firing pin, the snap of a detonator, and then the loud rumble of the depth charge. The sound and implication of a depth charge landing on the deck, rolling slowly, thump, thump, thump, across the deck, bouncing on the outer hull and then sloping in the sand can only be understood from experience. Just thinking of it... Pause, and then the renewed attack. We can think of it now, forty-five years later, and it still produces chills up and down your spine. Any one of those depth charges could have been the last one we would ever hear ...

The movie depictions of a depth charge attack, with the violent rocking of the boat (in the studio setup) and the crew being tossed around, is ludicrous. In reality, it just doesn't happen that way, as anyone in the crew can tell you. What really happens is something like an instant concussion! A shock! It can cause a lightbulb, hanging from a six inch cord, to burst. The shock of the concussion will cause pipe connections, gauge glasses, and mirrors to break.

Enginemen Ray Bouffard and Warren Link were standing at the throttle area of the engine room when one of the blasts went off and in that instant they found themselves staring at a wall of water.

"This is it!" they thought. Jack Semmelrath and John Scaduto, standing alongside Ray and Warren, thought the same thing. "Trapped ! No Escape! "

But the strange thing was that the wall of water didn't move. Reacting automatically, the men put their hands out to stem the flow, but their hands went right through the water! Then they realized that what had happened was the cooling water gasket flange on number two main engine had been forced loose and water was shooting across the entire area of the engine room.

Ray resolved the problem almost as quickly as it had happened. We waited, and we listened. The sound of air escaping under pressure was definite and unmistakable. We agreed that we had ruptured a line to our air bottles in the fuel ballast tank located just off of the battery compartment bulkhead. The situation was serious, because escaping air would indicate our position to the enemy. Knowing the depth, and the run of the current, that destroyer could figure out our exact location.

Captain Kefauver came through later for a personal assessment of our problems and the boat's condition. We had done the best we could under the circumstances, and the Captain knew it. He took the time to speak to each man individually. When living in close confinement for a long period of time you get to know unique characteristics that lock a man in memory, and Captain Kefauver added to that moment a remark that fitted the occasion and made the incident very special for us. As the Captain was turning to leave, he gave us a long look, then said. "Good luck. I'm proud to be your shipmate.

Yes, sir. We were proud to be in the TAMBOR, with him!

Topside, that destroyer was making perfect runs, dumping depth charges all the time. He just wasn't going to stop until he was sure he'd done a complete job.

In the TAMBOR everything was a mess. The conning tower and pump room bilges were full of water. With the air conditioning out, we were breathing humid air. Cork was everywhere. No need to say the situation was wearing us down. The crew members, in sleeping areas not assigned to specific duties tried to get what sleep they could.

But rest was impossible. Two depth charges were laid right on top of us! The destroyer turned and put two more so close that our ears rang. This was a contest -- who would stand the hammering best, the crew or the TAMBOR. It was definitely not the time for humor, but there's always one in every crowd. Fred Richardson said, "When you hear the rumble of the depth charges you know the TAMBOR has made another attack." He was right -- we never sank an enemy ship without getting depth charged.

Carlos "Nip" Howard, a very popular and valued shipmate, just five days earlier had saved us from being rammed. During a lull, after Fred's wry humor, we had time to reflect how Nip had fired his 20mm gun at nearly point-blank range at the bridge of the Shunai Maru, with the startling result that the enemy lost control and gave us the momentary advantage and time in which to sink him. Now Nip was sitting on the floor of the control room, staring into space. "Hey. Bill." Nip called out. "Are you scared?"

"Bill Reynolds said "no" in a flat voice. "l'm not either." Nip retorted dryly. Everyone laughed. At this point the only thing we had was a kind of suppressed bravado.

We went back to sweeping cork, paint chips, and glass on the control room deck. It was better to keep busy than to wonder how many more depth charges would be dropped on us, and how we would react to them. As two more depth charges went off, one of the men shook his head in wonderment, said, "Some boat -- she sure can take it." Now, thinking back, the remark certainly did justice to the glory of the TAMBOR.

The maneuvering room was having its troubles. The packing glands on both screw shafts were leaking. Long ago we had conceded that Roy "Foo" Rausher was the strongest man on the boat -- when Foo tightened something, it always took two men and a boy to loosen it. Yet even his strength was of no avail as he struggled to crank tight the nuts in an effort to stop the shaft leaks. When the water reached the motor room deck plates, we had to form a bucket brigade to the after torpedo room with Charles. "Chesty" De Bay, Rex Harvey. Robert Galloway, Robert Koostra, and Foo. They worked feverishly, bailing and passing buckets as fast as they could after every depth charge attack. Anticipating the next depth charges, they would shut the water tight door and wait out the attack.

The after torpedo room was having water problems. They had to chain-fall the escape hatch as well as the torpedo loading hatch because the latch dogs wouldn't hold tight after a close depth charge. The torpedo room bilges could accept more water than the maneuvering room, and the above procedure was necessary to protect the main motors from getting wet.

By now it was getting late in the day and we were counting on the telltale escaping bubbles to be difficult to spot by the enemy. Also, we felt our silence on the sea floor should make him believe he had destroyed us. After all, what boat could withstand seventy depth charges, placed quite accurately, and survive?

The hours passed. The TAMBOR lay silent on the ocean floor. All we could do was remain silent, and wait...

No sound was reaching us from above for quite some time, and Captain Kefauver decided to risk surfacing. Was the enemy cunning enough to be waiting for us? There was no way to tell. We went into action. But deciding to surface, and really surfacing were two different things. The TAMBOR had been sitting on the bottom for over fifteen hours, and the sand had locked her in solidly. Instead of being at 268 feet, we had settled to 280 feet! Even with all the tanks blown, she couldn't be budged. Power to the screws had to be used cautiously. The screws couldn't turn. We were stuck!

All stations had to be manned to react to surfacing and other necessary underway operations. We moved water. We pumped bilges. We even blew the heads. Inch by inch, and with thanks to William Blankenbaker, Chief of the boat, and his skill as a diving officer, he resorted to using air bubbles in the tanks for added buoyancy, and at last we broke loose. It was then a tense few minutes to the surface, all the while maintaining control of the boat. Blankenbaker had two compartments still partially flooded, so that keeping the TAMBOR level was far from an ordinary job.

With most of the gauges inoperative, we did not know how much pressure we had in the boat. The gauges were either not reading correctly because of the shocks from the depth charges, or broken glass had shifted the original setting.

When the Conning Tower hatch was finally opened, the pressure almost carried the man up the ladder. The sudden change in air pressure was far more than we had ever before experienced. In an instant the conning tower air turned to a smokey blue vapor, and topside the odor of diesel fuel was heavy. As we scanned an empty horizon, we breathed a sigh of relief. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Now this only part of the story. Now what do YOU think. Do you believe the bean counters, or the crew of the Tambor? My money's on the men whose lives were on the line.

Just imagine these stories gone forever. I'd rather lose the boats themselves. The stories are far more precious. Where's THEIR museum?

01-29-2009, 07:01 PM
Very true. There are numerous stories out there, just many are hard to find. Someone had started an oral history project for the WWII submarine veterans, but I don't know much about it.

Good news about the Tambor though. Robert Hunt, torpedoman on the USS Tambor for every war patrol she had minus the last one, has a book coming out in August 2009. It's called "We Were Pirates". It's based off of his journal that he kept (I think that was a big no-no) and his memories.


I'm hoping I can get my copy signed by Bob Hunt. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

There's another Tambor veteran alive today who served with my grandfather and remembers him amazingly. He's pictured in one of the photos I have on the website. Ben Hynum was a radioman on the Tambor.

I've managed to contact one more Tambor veteran, can't recall his name at this moment. All of the rest that I've attempted to contact with have led to no response or else I found out they were deceased.

Dang it's so sad.

01-29-2009, 07:11 PM
Loved the videos.

Can't wait for Hunt's book to come out.I go through sub books like oprah goes through cake http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/34.gif

01-30-2009, 07:07 AM
The other thing that is happening is the sub vet's sites are being vandalized and used for criminal operations. Here's what I get, courtesy of Google's warning system when I try to access http://www.sid-hill.com/infolink/ssvetww2.htm from Bottom Gun BBS (http://www.bottomgun.com/bbs2/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=4126&posts=5)


These guys who defended us but are now too weak to defend themselves are depending on us, whether they seek our help or not, to preserve their heritage. They are under attack by rogue "historians" desirous of painting their service as a soft one against an incompetent enemy. They are under attack by criminals who see them as a soft target who will remain unaware that they are being ridden piggyback by malicious software. It's time for a new generation to take up their cause and continue it so that their truth needs not die with those men who went to the Threshold of Hell (book title by Albert Rupp, one of the survivors of the Grenadier) for us.

02-06-2009, 06:25 AM
The USSVWWII (United States Submarine Veterans of World War II) website is back online. Thanks to Don Gentry of SubmarineSailor.com (http://www.submarinesailor.com) you can now view their website at:


Now since the organization is technically is a "last man standing" organization, the USSVWWII does still exist I suppose. However, there are barely enough WWII sub vets alive to keep their organization going at all. I believe most have been urged to merge in with the USSVI (http://www.ussvi.org) (United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.).

So what I'm getting at is I don't know if these pages will ever be updated again. This is probably kind of an online archive to keep their memory alive.

02-06-2009, 12:01 PM
That was a great read....I've read several books on Tambor...it was simply amazing.

It is so sad. With the economy, unless you get a lucky pork project, many WWII museums, ships, sites, ect...are going downhill.

When you see Bank CEO's getting millions in bonuses and having million dollar trips off the taxpayer. One party alone the bar tab was over 70K, you paid for it. That would have gone a long way to upfit a sub..makes you mad as hellz none of it's used to save our history. I think part of this liberal generation doesn't care.

I love history..It's been my life and hobby. I wish more would get involved. Just going to be hard in the upcoming economy.

02-06-2009, 12:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by snakeyez77:
Yup, that's my grandfather.

Most all of that stuff is what I found over 10 years after his passing 1997. I wanted to scan it all and put it in one place.

Everything I know about his WWII service was discovered after his death. This is so saddening for me. Even the series of videos that you see on the website were filmed by my uncle, I left the house (dumb teenager) while that video was being filmed. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Spent over an hour at the site...great work and some great stuff...also found the navel ver of
the song I was looking for...great for the gram.
Eternal Father...when they change tone for "those in peril on the sea" always gives me a chill.

A very amazing man and we can all see that you know that.