SN James Lawrence Blaskis

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James Blaskis was one of the 134 men killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. It was a devastating fire and series of chain-reaction explosions on 29 July 1967, that not only killed 134 sailors, but injured 161 on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59), after an electrical anomaly discharged a Zuni rocket on the flight deck. Forrestal was engaged in combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War at the time.

Blaskis was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal (Posthumously) for his heroism that day. Seaman Blaskis was manning the port steering area in the extreme port quarter of the ship when fire broke out on the flight deck causing several explosions. One of the initial explosions hurled shrapnel into the port compartment, killing one man and seriously wounding Seaman Blaskis and his other shipmate. Despite his wounds, he administered first aid to his companion until he succumbed to his own wounds.

We honor you James Blaskis.

(#Repost @Together We Served)

Ship’s Master William S. Chambers

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William Chambers was en route to Hawaii on a cargo ship on December 7, 1941, when his captain announced news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Chambers had been in effect training for war for two years. At 18, he entered the Pennsylvania State Nautical School in October 1939, shortly after WWII broke out in Europe, and the school had its students learn the ropes on different vessels of the U.S. Navy. During the war, Chambers made many dangerous voyages, none worse than a 1942 trip to the Soviet Union on which he lost three ships to torpedoes or mines. At war’s end, he was still at sea, carrying supplies for the invasion of Japan which were never needed.

We honor you, William Chambers.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

LT Howard Bernstein

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Like so many pilots during World War II, Navy Lieutenant Howard Bernstein began flying planes without ever having set foot in one as a civilian. Enlisting on December 7, 1942, he fought hard to fly: initially failing the eye examination for new pilots, he ate carrots and drank milk for a month, in order to improve his eyesight and pass the test on the second go. “When I got up in the air, and the instructor was trying to tell me what to do, I wasn’t paying attention—I wanted to look around!” Arriving in the Aleutians, he flew bombing missions from Attu to the Kuril Islands situated northwest of Japan; at around 750 miles, these were considered extremely long flights.

We honor you, Howard Bernstein.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

CDR Willard W. Bartlett

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Willard Bartlett had a long career in the military, divided into two terms of service. As a teenager, he joined the Merchant Marines late in World War II. After the war, he finished his studies at the Merchant Marine Academy, sailed for a year, then decided to become a minister. After the Korean War began, he enlisted in the Navy as a chaplain instead of a seaman. He preached not only to his fellow Christians but also to Jews (though he once mistakenly put a cloth with a cross on it over his pulpit for a service). He even invited his ship’s atheists to a meeting to compare beliefs. According to Bartlett, “This is the unique ministry of the chaplaincy… When you become a chaplain, everybody in your outfit is your responsibility, regardless of their religion.” Bartlett was attached to a Marine Corps unit in Vietnam, where he had to answer the eternal question, “Hey Chaplain, did Jesus ever have to go to the bathroom?”.

We honor you, William Bartlett.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

CAPT Charles J Stuart

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Captain Stuart reported for duty at Northwestern University in March 1945, to replace Captain Hall as Commanding Officer of the V-12 and NROTC Unit here. Captain Hall retired at this time. Previously, Captain Stuart had 78 consecutive months of sea duty.

Charles Stuart graduated from the Naval Academy in June of 1924, following which began his very successful and exciting Naval career. Between the time of graduation and the outbreak of hostilities, Captain Stuart saw a wide variety of duty. He spent a year on USS Pennsylvania, four years on various destroyers, participated in the Nicaraguan Campaign, served as an instructor at the Naval Academy and as Flag Secretary to the Commander, Cruiser Division Three.

On December 7, 1941, Captain Stuart was on duty with the Southeast Pacific Force. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, he was assigned to the staff of Admiral “Bull” Halsey and in such capacity participated in the campaign to conquer the Solomons. Later, while in command of a destroyer division, he participated in the occupations of the New Georgia and Bougainville Islands. His division of destroyers made numerous raids on Rabaul, the Gilbert Islands and the Marshalls, as well as participating in the first raids on Truk and the Marianas. His division made many daring raids on Japanese held territory, and for his outstanding leadership during one of these raids, he was decorated with the Legion of Merit.

Among his numerous ribbons, Captain Stuart wears the Legion of Merit with a gold star in lieu of the second award of that medal. He also wears a Commendation Ribbon, the ribbon for the Second Nicaraguan Campaign, the American Defense, American Theater, and the Asiatic Pacific Theater ribbon with seven major engagement stars.

We honor you, Charles Stuart.

(#Repost @US Navy Support Books, “The Purple Salvo”, Patrol Squadron 19: 1946)

EM Frank Aceves

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Enlisting in the Navy in 1966, Frank Aceves made it his goal to become an electrician and move up the ranks as quickly as possible. Following a stint working on a tugboat in the Midway Island harbor, he was assigned to serve with the Mobile Riverine Force in Vietnam. Stationed at Dong Tam, he was responsible for the upkeep of boats that would patrol the Mekong Delta rivers and canals. Despite having to contend with mortar attacks and a constant lack of adequate sleep, his time in the service was a rewarding experience that paved the way for his future career as an electrician.

We honor you, Frank Aceves.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

RDML Grace Hopper

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At the outbreak of WWII, Hopper signed up to join WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), a part of the U.S. Naval Reserve. Her application was initially rejected because she was deemed too old and too thin per enlistment standards. Determined, Hopper obtained a waiver for these requirements and was sworn into WAVES in 1943, the same year she earned her PhD. She graduated first in her class from the Reserve’s training school.

Commissioned as a Junior Grade Lieutenant in 1944, Hopper started on her first assignment at Harvard University’s Bureau of Ordinance Computation. She worked with Naval Reserve officer Dr. Howard Aiken on the Harvard Mark I, a 51-foot-by-8-foot giant “electromechanical calculator” that would become the predecessor to today’s personal computers.

Mark I was the first operational machine capable of automating complex mathematical computations. Hopper was responsible for monitoring the programs and her success with the Mark I and later the Mark II and III earned her a Naval Ordnance Development Award in 1946. She even inadvertently coined the term “computer bug” when she found a trouble-making moth in Mark I’s circuitry system. “From then on, when anything went wrong with a computer, we said it had bugs in it,” she remarked in a 1984 New York Times interview.

Hopper’s experience with the Mark series led her to question the efficiency of computer programming codes at the time. In 1949, she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Corporation to further her vision of a common computer language. There she introduced the concept of a “universal compiler”—a bridge between English commands and codes that could be recognized by the computer. This led to the development of COBOL, a standardized computer language, and translator manuals for converting non-COBOL languages.

Affectionately referred to as “Amazing Grace,” Hopper held more than 40 honorary doctoral degrees and had a U.S. warship—the USS Hopper—named after her. In 1973, she became the first woman to be recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society. Later in 1985, she was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.

We honor you, Grace Hopper.

(#Repost @Veteran’s United Network)