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Two months and two generations to eternity. The Shanes, the Shark (SS-174) and a Sampson.


aerialbridge

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This is an excerpt of the sixth Shark's (SSN-591) commissioning ceremony speech by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral James S. Russell (USNA 1926) on 9 February 1961:

 

"Mr. Blewett, Admiral Burch, LDCR Fagan, her commander distinguished guests, commissioned officers and enlisted men of Shark (SSN-591).

 

It is always an honor for a sailor to participate in the commissioning of a new fighting ship, and it is particularly so for me in this case, because of the deep regard and close friendship I held for the commanding officer of a previous Shark. I speak of Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr., who commanded Shark Number 4, the SS-174, in the early rugged days of World War II in the fighting around the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. World War II found that Shark in the southwest Pacific and one of her early tasks was to move Admiral Hart, Commander of the Asiatic Fleet, from Manila to Surabaya. She was then assigned the task of attacking targets of opportunity in the Molucca Sea. During one of these war patrols, she was depth charged a number of times and apparently had a hot time in the Molucca Sea and around Celebes Island until the 7th of February 1942 when the last communication was received from her. From all evidence available after the war, Shark was lost as a result of a depth charge attack on 11 February off Manado, a town in the Northern Celebes.

 

All of us in the Navy, I am sure, retain a very vivid memory of the circumstances under which we first joined the service. I joined the Navy in company with Louis Shane. Louis, son of Captain Shane, Inspector of Naval Machinery of the shipyard in our hometown of Tacoma, Washington; Ted Rimer, the son of a Coast Guard officer; and I, were the three appointments to the Naval Academy made by our local congressman in the year 1922. As classmates at the Naval Academy and close friends in Service thereafter, I greatly admired Louis Shane. We have the honor of having his wife Marjorie here today. She was the gracious lady who sponsored this ship when launched last March.

 

Today as we commission Shark Number 6, we return to the active list a well-remembered and cherished name. In creating a new Shark we honor those gallant ships of the past which have borne that name, and we especially pay tribute to the heroic crews who manned them. . .”

 

USS Shark (SS-174) crew memorial video:

 

 

 

I have one consolation that lives with me today.
That God is near to them, in his own special way.
So God in all Your mercy, keep near Thyself the soul,
Of every Submariner, still on his final patrol.

Lord, this departed shipmate with Dolphins on his chest
is part of an outfit known as the best.
Make him welcome and take him by the hand.
You'll find without a doubt he was the best in all the land.

So, heavenly Father add his name to the roll
of our departed shipmates still on patrol.
Let them know that we who survive
will always keep their memories alive.


There is a port of no return where ships may ride at anchor for a little space.

And then some starless night the cable slips leaving only an eddy at the mooring place.

Gulls veer no longer, Sailor rest your oar.

No tangled Wreckage will be washed ashore.

 

 

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Wow, what a story and what a great research.! ! My hat is off and thank you for sharing the story.

 

Regards

Herman

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Man!, you covered all the bases-plus some. Some of the best research I've seen. Fantastic medal. Many thanks for sharing

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  • 2 years later...

Hi I hope folks are still interested if I bump the topic. My son found it and had to try to jump in.

 

Louis Shane was my great grandfather. Louis Shane Jr was my grandfather. A lot of what's in this post I also have read. Some I had not.

 

I'd like to start by posting a photo of a possession of mine. This is a machete that has been passed down to me from Louis Shane Sr and family history tells me that in the Spanish American War, when he was in the Philippians with the BB-2, he was attacked by a Filipino loyal to the Spanish. We are told that Louis Shane disarmed the man and kept this machete.

 

There are other items that I'd like to post in future posts if people are interested. For example I have a 45 pistol also once owned by Louis Shane Sr which we are told he got from a Spanish Lieutenant during the Spanish American war.

 

At my parents house I have all of the known medals that my grandfather Louis Shane Jr received, posthumously I presume, including his Purple Heart.

 

To aerialbridge who created this thread, I hope you don't mind my asking what got you thinking about creating this on my grandfather and great grandfather? It's really very well done!

 

Oh and by the way, William (Wolf) Shane's parents were Reuben Schoen (1826-1912) and Rezsin Weinstein Fleisher)

 

 

 

 

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Louis Shane got this revolver off of a Spanish Lieutenant during the Spanish American war. The full story I'm afraid we don't know.

 

The family has typically referred to Louis Shane as Captain Shane, to distinguish him from LT Commander Louis Shane Jr.. Generally what has been talked about most about Captain Shane was that he was Naval head of the Quincy Shipyard in charge of construction of the USS Lexington, CV-2 aircraft carrier.

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Welcome to the forum! It’s great to hear from you and thank you for writing to my post. I hope you’ll upload scans of your grandfather’s Purple Heart and other medals or memorabilia of your family’s great naval history and service, and tell the stories behind them. You can be sure, there is interest and appreciation for these here. I’m a collector, primarily of USN attributed medals that have an interesting service story behind them. I’ve been collecting for 40 years. My other hobbies are genealogy, and historical research/writing in general. I was aware of the rich naval and genealogical history behind Captain Shane’s USS Massachusetts Sampson medal when I saw it, which is why I purchased it. Like with other research and writing I’ve done, if it’s an interesting or praiseworthy service story and it hasn’t been told, it needs to be told by someone, relative or non-relative, so these men and their service is never forgotten.

 

Captain Shane should also have been issued a West Indies Campaign Medal, perhaps a Philippine Campaign Medal, and a World War I Victory medal. The amazing artifact you have from Captain Shane’s service in the Philippines during the insurrection is a beautifully preserved Moro “Barong” and its sheath. That “bring-back” revolver that according to family history, he acquired from a Spanish officer is really neat. There are weapons experts on this forum who could probably either confirm or bring question to that family story. You might want to start a separate post on the revolver and any other “bring backs” as there is a forum section devoted to that topic and a separate one for firearms. As you probably know, the venerable US M1911 .45 pistol came about because of the Army and Navy’s skirmishes with the Moros 110-20 years ago. The Moro suicide warriors, Juramentado, would wrap their upper bodies with tough cords as protective armor, and then wield a Kris or Barong in each hand when making their frenzied suicidal attacks against US troops, and before that the Spanish colonials and non-Islamic Filipinos. Soldiers sent to the Southern Mindanao islands of Jolo and Sulu were frequently attacked by the ferocious and fearless Juramentado and discovered that their .38 caliber pistols didn’t have the necessary stopping power for these armored suicide butchers. Hence, the .45 became regulation issue.

 

Since you posted Captain Shane’s Barong, I’d like to tell you the story of another naval officer, whose medals I am honored to be caretaker of, and who also brought home a “Barong”. The day after he was commissioned an ensign on February 3, 1906, Allen B. Reed assumed command of the gunboat, USS PARAGUA, that patrolled the Philippine islands and supported US Army troops fighting pirates, slave traders and jihadist Moro warriors in America's first violent encounters with radical Islamic tribes. Prior to that, as a midshipman, Reed had been the gunboat’s executive officer. During the Third Sulu Expedition in May 1905, PARAGUA transported the provisional company of the US Army's 17th Infantry to Pata Island on an expedition to kill or capture a Moro chieftain whose tribe had been robbing other islanders to the point that the panglima in charge of the island had requested the Army's assistance. Midshipman Reed volunteered to accompany the expedition ashore and acted as signal officer to the gunboat using "wig-wag" flags and controlled the gunfire on a part of the firing line at the Battle of Pata Island on May 13, 1905. During the fighting, the rifle of a soldier standing by Reed became jammed and Reed gave the man his sidearm to fire. Reed was commended by the army company commander in his report to Major General Leonard Wood, who in his report commended USS PARAGUA for its assistance in the expedition. Captain Reed's last ship command was as the "plank owner" captain of the newly commissioned, heavy cruiser, USS New Orleans (CA-32) in 1934-35. Regarding Captain Shane supervising construction of the USS Lexington, my second cousin, Chief Aviation Radioman Francis Cook Jr., when he was an ARM2c was a radioman assigned to a Douglas Devastator torpedo-bomber on the Lexington. He was a real old salt. Seven good conduct medals. As a teen I heard the story of when the Lady Lex went down and his experience. He had the greatest respect for her CO, Captain Frederick C. Sherman. Ironically, USS New Orleans was one of the ships that picked up the crew of the Lexington when she went down. I haven't been able to confirm, and unfortunately I didn't think to ask my cousin, which ship picked him up. That kind of intertwined "it's a small world" history makes researching the ships and men of the WW 2 and prior navy fascinating.

Again, Welcome Aboard!

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Thanks aerialbridge for your really thoughtful reply! I had been wondering if you were a long lost relative or a collector/historian/genealogist. Your possession of the medal with my great grandfather's name inscribed made me wonder!

 

I am guessing that the material you have on the Shark 591 you may have found from the Shark 591 page at www.navsource.org? I had supplied those images and the text of Adm. Russell's speech to Navsource. The photos are from the March 1961 issue of the Newport News and Ship Building Company's Monthly Shipyard Bulletin. The front cover has a photo of the bow section of the USS Enterprise.

 

Or maybe you have your own copy?

 

Yes I'll get photos of my grandfather Louse Shane Jr's medals and post them. A long time ago, perhaps when I was younger than 10 years old I put them all into a display case. They are in my old bedroom. I will probably go over tomorrow.

 

All of these artifacts, and there are others including what I believe are 2 Pre-WWI rifles, and a similarly old shot gun and a 22, have only just officially been handed down to me. Sadly my father, son of Louis Share Jr, died only this past August and I am now in the process of making sure that anything of value to the family is preserved. I will probably find more items as we clean out the house.

 

I will start a topic where you describe to learn more about these items. I am curious and in terms of settling the estate, I have to also learn the approximate value of the items. I can't imagine that I would ever want to sell them. It's really my job to take care of them for the next generation as part of our family history.

 

Below is one of the rifles I mentioned above.

 

 

 

 

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aerialbridge I have one more question if you don't mind. Louis Shane's medal with his name engraved. I don't question your rightful ownership. I am curious though if you know how it got into circulation. Did you receive any history of ownership for example? I wonder which of my relatives would have sold it.

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USS Shark (SS-174) crew memorial video:

 

 

 

 

 

You never know how what you say can come around. I don't know who made that nice video but towards the end, the marriage photo and the note that it was both graduation day and their wedding day, and the story that after the loss of Shark my grandmother never remarried. For 20 Years continued to hope that he was on some deserted island, waiting for rescue.

 

I was the one who got those words and that family photo posted on Navsource. The story was told to me by my dad.

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aerialbridge I have one more question if you don't mind. Louis Shane's medal with his name engraved. I don't question your rightful ownership. I am curious though if you know how it got into circulation. Did you receive any history of ownership for example? I wonder which of my relatives would have sold it.

 

I don't mind at all. I was high bidder on an ebay auction about 4 1/2 years ago. The medal came from a seller in Central Florida. The seller was a nice fellow and he told me that he had purchased the medal at an auction in a lot with some costume jewelry and a little sterling. It was the only militaria item in the lot. Now, as I acquired it, the medal was just the planchet and the suspension ring- meaning it did not have the drape (ribbon) or the top USS Massachusetts ship bar. It's very difficult to find replacement ship's bars for the Sampson medal, but fortunately I was able to find one for the USS Massachusetts. So, I was very happy to restore it as medal once again. The planchet is in beautiful shape, no dings and the natural patina of 120 year old bronze. I was pleased to discover today, that the USNA Memorial website found this post and partially sourced it for a memorial to your grandfather.

 

https://usnamemorialhall.org/index.php/LOUIS_SHANE,_JR.,_LCDR,_USN

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One interesting thing, of many, that I learned from your research is that Louis Jr served on the ship that his father Louis Sr, was in charge of building 24 years prior. USS Lexington. Lady Lex. A beautiful ship, IMHO.

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I don't mind at all. I was high bidder on an ebay auction about 4 1/2 years ago. The medal came from a seller in Central Florida. The seller was a nice fellow and he told me that he had purchased the medal at an auction in a lot with some costume jewelry and a little sterling. It was the only militaria item in the lot. Now, as I acquired it, the medal was just the planchet and the suspension ring- meaning it did not have the drape (ribbon) or the top USS Massachusetts ship bar. It's very difficult to find replacement ship's bars for the Sampson medal, but fortunately I was able to find one for the USS Massachusetts. So, I was very happy to restore it as medal once again. The planchet is in beautiful shape, no dings and the natural patina of 120 year old bronze. I was pleased to discover today, that the USNA Memorial website found this post and partially sourced it for a memorial to your grandfather.

 

https://usnamemorialhall.org/index.php/LOUIS_SHANE,_JR.,_LCDR,_USN

Thanks. I can only guess that when Anabel died that not a lot of care was taken by her immediate family what to sell and what to keep. My grandmother spoke well of Anabel, said that she was very kind, but I never met her.

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It would be pretty tough to nail down at what point Captain Shane's Sampson Medal came "out of the woodwork" as collectors say. And the journey that brought it, sans drape and ship's bar, to wind up at a physical auction in Florida, would be an interesting travelog. I'd guess at some point a collector owned it and sadly (and ignorantly) cannibalized the ship's bar for another medal. Given the extremely fine condition of the planchet, the ribbon would not have ripped off due to wear or natural tear. The main thing is that it didn't end up in a landfill as far too many historic medals do, including posthumous Purple Hearts that represent the ultimate sacrifice of a soldier, sailor or marine. Condolences to you and your family on the passing of your father this past summer. Did he ever meet your great-grandfather, or tell you any stories about him, aside from the revolver and barong? Aside from Captain Shane's work as the inspector of USS Lexington (CVA-2) during her construction when he was assigned to the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's Fore River Shipyard at Quincy, Mass., he was apparently very well respected in the fleet and naval engineering/ shipbuilding community. I recall reading somewhere, that sailors regarded the Lady Lex as a "good ship", but unfortunately, not so for her sister, Saratoga, known as "Sister Sara" or "Sara Maru". As one of the below articles says, and I recall reading, Saratoga was plagued with excessive mechanical problems throughout her life, perhaps owing to poor quality control during her construction and fitting out, and maybe some hoodoo or bad joss, as sailors say. The coincidence that your great-grandfather was the naval inspector for USS Lexington during her construction and fitting out, and that your grandfather served on her about a dozen years later (his last surface ship assignment before taking command of the ill-fated USS Shark), is amazing, as is the Admiral Thomas Hart connection for both the father and son over a span of 40+ years. That story is uncanny and Hollywood-fiction unreal-- except that it happened.

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It would be pretty tough to nail down at what point Captain Shane's Sampson Medal came "out of the woodwork" as collectors say. And the journey that brought it, sans drape and ship's bar, to wind up at a physical auction in Florida, would be an interesting travelog. I'd guess at some point a collector owned it and sadly (and ignorantly) cannibalized the ship's bar for another medal. Given the extremely fine condition of the planchet, the ribbon would not have ripped off due to wear or natural tear. The main thing is that it didn't end up in a landfill as far too many historic medals do, including posthumous Purple Hearts that represent the ultimate sacrifice of a soldier, sailor or marine. Condolences to you and your family on the passing of your father this past summer. Did he ever meet your great-grandfather, or tell you any stories about him, aside from the revolver and barong? Aside from Captain Shane's work as the inspector of USS Lexington (CVA-2) during her construction when he was assigned to the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's Fore River Shipyard at Quincy, Mass., he was apparently very well respected in the fleet and naval engineering/ shipbuilding community. I recall reading somewhere, that sailors regarded the Lady Lex as a "good ship", but unfortunately, not so for her sister, Saratoga, known as "Sister Sara" or "Sara Maru". As one of the below articles says, and I recall reading, Saratoga was plagued with excessive mechanical problems throughout her life, perhaps owing to poor quality control during her construction and fitting out, and maybe some hoodoo or bad joss, as sailors say. The coincidence that your great-grandfather was the naval inspector for USS Lexington during her construction and fitting out, and that your grandfather served on her about a dozen years later (his last surface ship assignment before taking command of the ill-fated USS Shark), is amazing, as is the Admiral Thomas Hart connection for both the father and son over a span of 40+ years. That story is uncanny and Hollywood-fiction unreal-- except that it happened.

 

Thanks for the condolences. My dad was only 5 years old when his father was lost. With sea duty and my dad at such a young age, I don't know if any child of 5 would have many memories come adulthood. He told me that he only vaguely remembered him. Not a great surprise. If he ever met his grandfather, he never said so.

 

What he knew of his dad and grandfather was only what his mother and other relatives would have told him. And the written records. And I don't know if my grandmother said a lot.

 

My grandmother was never too interested in talking about my grandfather. While she lived well into my adulthood, she didn't say much.

 

Until I started collecting news clippings of my grandfather and great grandfather, I didn't know too much at all. So to a large degree what I know is what I've read as apposed to have been told.

 

My grandmother did once mention that Captain Shane was a very kind man.

 

 

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The posthumous Purple Heart medal group of LCDR Louis Shane, Jr., USN, posted by his grandson.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/333938-my-grandfathers-wwii-medals/

 

"On Eternal Patrol" memorial to the crew of USS Shark, (SS-174).

 

http://www.oneternalpatrol.com/uss-shark-174.htm

 

Navy History and Heritage Command page on USS Shark (SS-174)

 

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/u/united-states-submarine-losses/shark-i-ss-174.html

 

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Thanks. I have seen those.

 

While my grandmother didn't talk about it much, she never through out a letter or a news clipping. I have a box of them that I look though every now and then. Since my mom had to move to assisted living when my dad died we are now only just starting the process of carefully sorting though what's in their house. I expect to find more family history than I currently have.

 

Fortunately my dad left my mom with enough money that we don't have to rush to sell the house. So I expect that I'll have time to find more family related stuff as my dad has most of it.

 

I really need the time to just go though it all and scan it. But I have the feeling that until my own kids are off to college that time will be limited.

 

Every now and then my Uncle also sends along some stuff. He has a genealogist friend who digs up lots of news clippings. I think that I may have one that you posted above from the Portsmouth, NH newspaper, but without scanning it, it's mainly just stored at the moment.

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  • 10 months later...

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