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"The Sand Pebbles Topic" Asiatic Fleet - In 1965 The Sand Pebbles producers offered a $1,000 reward for a picture of USS Villalobos


aerialbridge
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If you are interested in Richard McKenna, and how he focused on and developed his writing process, two other books are of interest - The Sons of Martha and New Eyes For Old: Nonfiction Writings by Richard McKenna.  Some of the writings from each make up the content of The Left-Handed Monkey Wrench.

Steve what is the significance of the small anchor in association with China Sailors. I have two- one from a prewar gunboat guy and another from a post war sailor? I have seen others in China sailor groupings but don’t know the history of them. Dirk

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Kurt Barickman
1 hour ago, 29navy said:

Well, during that time, they only had Whites or Blues to wear. The only guys wearing dungarees were the engine room gang.

NO undress uniforms?

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20 hours ago, Kurt Barickman said:

It is called the Landing Force and most ships even when I was in during the early 1980s had manuals relating to the topic so yes that was a common thing. As a Gunners Mate, one of my duties was training the guys on my destroyer how to handle, 45 pistols, 870 Remington Wingmasters, M-14s, M-60 machine guns, M-79 grenade launchers and M-2 50 caliber machine guns so yes, there is a contingent on every US naval vessel trained in small arms.

 

 

Kurt


That’s fascinating.   I never knew that.  It sounds like there was a real arsenal on the ship in case you guys had to go ashore…..or fight pirates who tried to board!

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Kurt Barickman

Yes but mostly guard the ship from intruders or when in port or the tactical nuclear weapons. Yes, the armory was fully stocked.

 

Kurt

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Here is a Landing force group that you don't see every day. In fact it is probably one of the most unique and historic groups you will ever find.

Ernest Victor Sandstrom was born in Carlscrona, Sweden, on April 10, 1865. He immigrated to the United States in 1887. Sandstrom enlisted in the United States Navy on September 9, 1887. He served on the U.S.S. Adams in the Hawaiian Islands in 1898. Queen Liliuokalani, of the Hawaiian Islands, attempted to introduce a new constitution, which would place the government of the Islands in her power. The attempt did not succeed. The Queen was forced to abdicate and the foreigners in Honolulu set up a provisional government with a view to negotiating for annexation to the United States. President McKinley, in 1897, sent a treaty to Congress, which was passed in July of 1898. The sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands was transferred to the United States on Aug. 12, 1898. On the 30th of July, 1889, an insurrection against the United States government in the Hawaiian Islands led by Robert W. Wilcox and Robert Boyd with 100 Hawaiians, occupied the Hawaiian palace grounds and threatened the American Legation in Honolulu, Hawaii. About 70 sailors and marines (including Sandstrom) from the U. S. S. Adams, then in the harbor, were landed with a machine gun to protect life and property at the legation. The Hawaiian government restored order quickly without the necessity of American intervention. The landing party re-embarked to the U. S. S. Adams the following morning. Sandstrom served as a Gunners Mate first class on the U.S.S. Marblehead in 1897and was promoted to Boatswain and transferred to the U.S.S. Trenton in 1898. In the late 1880s, German intervention in the Samoan civil war outraged American public opinion and tensions grew in the islands. By March 1889, the U.S.S. Trenton and two American warships had been sent to Apia, Samoa, there joining three German warships, and one British, in a watchful standoff in the harbor. On 15-16 March 1889, a violent storm struck the islands, destroying or disabling six of the seven warships in Apia Harbor. The screw steamer U.S.S. Trenton, screw sloop U.S.S. Vandalia, and gunboat U.S.S. Nipsic were all wrecked, resulting in the deaths of 51 sailors. All three German warships also sank, killing 150. The disaster did ease tensions, paving the way for a previously scheduled conference at Berlin and eventually the islands were brought under a German-American protectorate in 1899. During the Spanish American War Boatswain Ernest V. Sandstrom was in command of the Fleet Tug U.S.S. Potomac in the West Indies. He was promoted to Lieutenant on April 12, 1898 and commanded the Submarine chaser yacht U.S.S. Eagle during the Mexican Campaign and World War One. Lieutenant Ernest V. Sandstrom retired from the United States Navy on June 15, 1925. Ernest Victor Sandstrom died in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on May 21, 1948 and is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

 

The medal group is bar mounted and includes an example of the original production Navy Expeditionary Medal, as made by the US Mint starting in 1936 . As you can see there is a nice early Good Conduct medal and the West Indies Campaign Medal which I think was rarely given since most Navy and Marine Corps personnel received the Sampson Medal for West Indies service. All of the medals numbers match the paperwork. Included in the group is his numbered Military Order of Foreign Wars medal, the State of New York 1898, 1899, 1900 medal and the WW1 Somerville Town medal.

Sandstrom-group-of-medals-on-bluestone.jpg

GCM-cut-out.jpg

Reverse-of-NY-medal.jpg

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fouled-anchor-enameled.jpg

A.jpg

B.jpg

Honolulu-doc.jpg

Honolulu-landing-force.jpg

mexican-medal-doc.jpg

Untitled-9.jpg

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On 3/22/2023 at 3:45 PM, Dirk said:

Steve what is the significance of the small anchor in association with China Sailors. I have two- one from a prewar gunboat guy and another from a post war sailor? I have seen others in China sailor groupings but don’t know the history of them. Dirk

Hello Dirk,

 

I think this was called a "bar anchor".  If I remember correctly (no guarantee), the drinker had a chain attached from a finger to the anchor, and the anchor was on the floor or on the table.  One looks to be a generic post-WWII item, and the other is named to a USS Blackhawk sailor.  

 

I forgot to include a scale in the photos.  The "SHANGHAI CHINA 1948" one is about 3 1/2" tall, with the flutes being about 2 1/2" tall.  The "W W HAMILTON U.S.S. BLACKHAWK ASIATIC FLEET-CHEFOO-CHINA-1939" is about 4 1/2" tall, with the flutes being about 3" tall.

 

They could also just be a generic sailor souvenir.

 

Which gunboat is your gunboat-connected one from?

 

Take care,

 

Steve Bryson

Bar Anchor 1.jpg

Bar Anchor 2.jpg

Bar Anchor 3A.jpg

Bar Anchor 3B.jpg

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On 3/22/2023 at 5:33 AM, aerialbridge said:

One of my photographic holy grails is to find any of the "new six" gunboats being commissioned at Shanghai.  

Hello,

 

This isn't a photo of a "New Six" commissioning, but it is as close as I can get:

 

Take care,

 

Steve Bryson

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 9a.jpg

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 12.PNG

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Salvage Sailor
19 minutes ago, stbryson said:

Hello Dirk,

 

I think this was called a "bar anchor".  If I remember correctly (no guarantee), the drinker had a chain attached from a finger to the anchor, and the anchor was on the floor or on the table.  One looks to be a generic post-WWII item, and the other is named to a USS Blackhawk sailor.  

 

I forgot to include a scale in the photos.  The "SHANGHAI CHINA 1948" one is about 3 1/2" tall, with the flutes being about 2 1/2" tall.  The "W W HAMILTON U.S.S. BLACKHAWK ASIATIC FLEET-CHEFOO-CHINA-1939" is about 4 1/2" tall, with the flutes being about 3" tall.

 

They could also just be a generic sailor souvenir.

 

Which gunboat is your gunboat-connected one from?

 

Take care,

 

Steve Bryson

Bar Anchor 1.jpg

Bar Anchor 2.jpg

Bar Anchor 3A.jpg

Bar Anchor 3B.jpg

 

I have one of these fluke anchors which I picked up at a yard sale along with an anvil which belonged to an ASR sailor,  Unfortunately, it had been 'repurposed' into a door knocker by a home crafter.  Still cool and it works well, but I liked the anvil better anyhow.

 

 

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aerialbridge
12 hours ago, stbryson said:

Hello,

 

This isn't a photo of a "New Six" commissioning, but it is as close as I can get:

 

Take care,

 

Steve Bryson

 

 

That is a very cool launch souvenir of USS Tutuila.  IMO only thing would be better is if it were a flask instead of a cig case.  Tutuila was laid down as gunboat PG-44 on 17 October 1926, at the Kiangnan Dockyard and Engineering Works in Shanghai, China. Looks looks like your photo is under construction rather than launch day on 14 June 1927, sponsored by Miss Beverly Pollard, (daughter of a Navy doctor) just like your case says.  Tutuila was commissioned on 2 March 1928, her plank-owner skipper was LCDR Hubert F. Delmore, who got his orders in Jan. that year.   Tutuila, at 159' length with 5'3" draft and her sister ship Guam, were the two smallest of the "new six",  with Panay and Oahu next at 191', 5'3" draft; and Mindanao and Luzon at 211' and 6" draft.   But the British design 1914 built Palos and Monocacy remained the undefeated, small draft champs of the Yangtze Patrol at an amazing two and a half feet and 165" length. Those twins with three rudders could stand out for the shallowest reaches of the Yangtze and go where the other gunboats only dreamed, particularly in the winter months when the river and it's lakes were at their lowest levels.   From "The Sand Pebbles":  "Things became worse ashore. Up north Feng, the Christian warlord, came out for the gearwheel. He stabbed Wu in the back. Wu was out of the game. It made the Chinese very cocky in Hankow. They began tearing down the ancient wall around Wuchang. The cruisers had to drop downriver. The U.S.S. Duarte, a large gunboat, went to take winter duty at Changsha. The San Pablo would winter in Hankow."  With all respect to Chief McKenna, whatever large gunboat the Navy had in its China arsenal that might have been TDY with the Yangtze Patrol operations in the late 20s that he might have had in mind for the fictional Duarte  (Helena, 9" draft?!) it weren't going to be navigating the Siang River past Tungting Lake and down to Changsha for Christmas.  It would be grounded long before that on the way from Hankow. 

 

Back to Tutuila, she was assigned to the Yangtze Patrol and redesignated river gunboat PR-4 on 16 June 1928, Tutuila cruised on shakedown upriver from Shanghai to Yichang, where she joined her sister Guam in mid-July. Convoying river steamers through the upper reaches of the Yangtze on her first trek through the photogenic gorges, she flew the flag of ComYangPat Stirling.   And so, the wait goes on, to one day see a picture of commissioning ceremonies for any of the "new six" gunboats that happened 95 years ago.  Hard to believe nobody had a Kodak that day.  Donghay.  The commander with Stirling (below) reminds me of a recent VP.

 

 

tutuila commissioned.jpg

On board a Yangtze gunboat.jpg

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I think this was called a "bar anchor".  If I remember correctly (no guarantee), the drinker had a chain attached from a finger to the anchor, and the anchor was on the floor or on the table.  One looks to be a generic post-WWII item, and the other is named to a USS Blackhawk sailor.  


Thanks Steve and Salvage! Here are my two….the small one came from a upriver sailor  on the USS Palos and the larger one like shown above post war….you answered my question that I could not figure out the significance of!

 

23AEB019-2627-4929-B56F-78CBE15B9612.jpeg

A8453EC0-F9FE-40CB-AF75-6D54A4EF0902.jpeg

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10 hours ago, aerialbridge said:

That is a very cool launch souvenir of USS Tutuila.  IMO only thing would be better is if it were a flask instead of a cig case.  Tutuila was laid down as gunboat PG-44 on 17 October 1926, at the Kiangnan Dockyard and Engineering Works in Shanghai, China. Looks looks like your photo is under construction rather than launch day on 14 June 1927, sponsored by Miss Beverly Pollard, (daughter of a Navy doctor) just like your case says.  Tutuila was commissioned on 2 March 1928, her plank-owner skipper was LCDR Hubert F. Delmore, who got his orders in Jan. that year.   Tutuila, at 159' length with 5'3" draft and her sister ship Guam, were the two smallest of the "new six",  with Panay and Oahu next at 191', 5'3" draft; and Mindanao and Luzon at 211' and 6" draft.   But the British design 1914 built Palos and Monocacy remained the undefeated, small draft champs of the Yangtze Patrol at an amazing two and a half feet and 165" length. Those twins with three rudders could stand out for the shallowest reaches of the Yangtze and go where the other gunboats only dreamed, particularly in the winter months when the river and it's lakes were at their lowest levels.   From "The Sand Pebbles":  "Things became worse ashore. Up north Feng, the Christian warlord, came out for the gearwheel. He stabbed Wu in the back. Wu was out of the game. It made the Chinese very cocky in Hankow. They began tearing down the ancient wall around Wuchang. The cruisers had to drop downriver. The U.S.S. Duarte, a large gunboat, went to take winter duty at Changsha. The San Pablo would winter in Hankow."  With all respect to Chief McKenna, whatever large gunboat the Navy had in its China arsenal that might have been TDY with the Yangtze Patrol operations in the late 20s that he might have had in mind for the fictional Duarte  (Helena, 9" draft?!) it weren't going to be navigating the Siang River past Tungting Lake and down to Changsha for Christmas.  It would be grounded long before that on the way from Hankow. 

Hello,

 

The Tutuila photo indicates "LAUNCH AFTER END WAYS K.D.& E.W. Shanghai China June 14, 1927".  Construction would have continued once she was in the water, until commissioning on March 2, 1928.  An interesting fact (at least to me) is that the engines for Guam and Tutuila "were entirely the product of the Kiangnan Dock & Engineering Works, with the exception of the patent piston rings, and the rough steel castings", while the main engines for OahuPanayLuzon and Mindanao "were built at the Navy Yard, New York, from plans furnished by the contractor, tested and shipped assembled to Shanghai. 

 

From Admiral Tolley's book, Yangtze Patrol: The U.S. Navy in China: "Like the GuamTutuila had a slightly unorthodox christening.  Her sponsor, fifteen-year-old Beverly Pollard, was well-indoctrinated in the ritual of the Roman Catholic faith, and the solemnity of it all must have been too much for her.  She hauled off with the bottle (champagne this time), and smashed it across the ship's bow.  Then, blowing her carefully rehearsed lines completely, she shouted, "I christen thee USS Tutuila in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost!"  This clearly unpremeditated piece of powerful joss must have been appreciated at the command level, as Tutuila was the only one of the six to survive World War II in allied hands, and one of the pair which escaped total destruction."

 

As an aside, I have thought about starting a thread about books, articles, etc. relating to the Yangtze Patrol/South China Patrol/Asiatic Fleet, but am not sure where to put it.  Any suggestions?

 

Take care,

 

Steve Bryson

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aerialbridge

Hi Steve, I've read Tolley's book and as a former altar boy,  I particularly got a kick out of the anecdote about the sponsor of one of the "new six" really putting the "Christ" in christening.  I didn't remember that it was Tutuila, which makes your artifact all the more neato torpedo.  Yeah, during Prohibition, it certainly wasn't going to be a souvenir flask.  I wonder how many of those silver cigarette cases were given out and curious who paid to have them made.  Of course, Navy ships are hardly finished products when they're launched, as these photos of Arizona and California show.  Just that when I think of a launch photo, I expect to see more ceremony and maybe the sponsor, ideally smashing the bottle on the prow.  I dunno, I figured this subject category seemed the best fit for a Sand Pebbles, or Yangtze Patrol thread and with 20.5k views and a number of guys posting it seems to be working.  I think there's more name recognition with Sand Pebbles rather than Yangtze Patrol.  I like the last photo, even though it might fail OSHA standards today.   Best to you,  AB

 

USS ARIZONA READY TO LAUNCH.jpg

USS California launch.jpg

USS Jacob Jones launch.jpg

USS MINNEAPOLIS CHRISTENING.jpg

uss truxton.jpg

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17thairborne

This is one of the most facinating thread I have read lately. Cudos to all who posted info and photos.  The movie is one of my favorites and I have never dug into the actual history of the era. Thanks for enlightening me.

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1 hour ago, 17thairborne said:

This is one of the most facinating thread I have read lately. Cudos to all who posted info and photos.  The movie is one of my favorites and I have never dug into the actual history of the era. Thanks for enlightening me.

Couldn’t agree more. Well done everyone!

mikie

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Salvage Sailor
On 3/24/2023 at 5:17 AM, aerialbridge said:

  ...Tutuila, at 159' length with 5'3" draft and her sister ship Guam, were the two smallest of the "new six",  with Panay and Oahu next at 191', 5'3" draft; and Mindanao and Luzon at 211' and 6" draft.   But the British design 1914 built Palos and Monocacy remained the undefeated, small draft champs of the Yangtze Patrol at an amazing two and a half feet and 165" length.

 

We've mentioned the USS GUAM a few times in this topic, the sister ship of USS TUITUILA, but not what became of her....the name GUAM was 'vacated' for use on another vessel in design for construction in 1942, the large Alaska class cruiser USS GUAM (CB-2).  The Asiatic Fleet gunboat was rechristened USS WAKE (PR-3) in 1941.

 

120904306.jpg.ebb42b3f1030c9a3aa94a60db27ef075.jpg

 

120904313.jpg.80428fa77ec5ff3825a99e329b998f80.jpg

 

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USS Wake (PR-3) was a United States Navy river gunboat operating on the Yangtze River. Originally commissioned as the gunboat Guam (PG-43), she was redesignated river patrol vessel PR-3 in 1928, and renamed Wake 23 January 1941. She was captured by Japan on 8 December 1941 and renamed IJN TATARA. After her recapture in 1945, she was transferred to Chinese nationalists, who renamed her TAI YUAN. Communist forces captured her in 1949. On 1 May, 1949 Tai Yuan was sunk by Nationalist aircraft in the Caishiji River.

 

120904317.jpg.ba3bd0440bf076a6a4f8a4be58152373.jpg

 

post-376-1274810072.jpg.3a123cb04a5137d64f12b8035772724e.jpg

1930's THE USS GUAM - YANGTZE GUNBOAT. RENAMED THE USS WAKE IN 41

 

USS WAKE (ex-USS GUAM) in enemy hands, 1942

120904305.jpg.ef4b5f65b9dcc10495d5ddc8ddff8ce7.jpg

IJNS TATARA, c. January 1942
Shanghai, China

 

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Salvage Sailor

The Strategic Overview from the US Navy... The Grey Zone

“They Were Playing Chicken”—The U.S. Asiatic Fleet’s Gray-Zone Deterrence Campaign against Japan, 1937–40

 

 

AMERICAN RIVER GUNBOATS IN CHINA

THE YANGTZE PATROL (Good overview of their careers and fates with photos)

 

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Salvage Sailor

Our original The Sand Pebbles topic from 2010

 

Asiatic Fleet 1930's scrapbook USS Black Hawk, Henderson

 

USN China Fleet Asiatic Station & Yangtse Patrol photos from my archives

 

 

...and then what happened when the Asiatic Fleet sortied across the South China Sea to escape to the Philippines and points South in December 1941 as told by our USMF member's collections

 

 

Lt David Nash USN WWII POW Navy Cross Group Corregidor 1942

 

Uniform to BMC Rex Gillihan, USN, WW2 Japanese POW!

 

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13 hours ago, aerialbridge said:

Hi Steve, I've read Tolley's book and as a former altar boy,  I particularly got a kick out of the anecdote about the sponsor of one of the "new six" really putting the "Christ" in christening.  I didn't remember that it was Tutuila, which makes your artifact all the more neato torpedo.  Yeah, during Prohibition, it certainly wasn't going to be a souvenir flask.  I wonder how many of those silver cigarette cases were given out and curious who paid to have them made.  Of course, Navy ships are hardly finished products when they're launched, as these photos of Arizona and California show.  Just that when I think of a launch photo, I expect to see more ceremony and maybe the sponsor, ideally smashing the bottle on the prow.  I dunno, I figured this subject category seemed the best fit for a Sand Pebbles, or Yangtze Patrol thread and with 20.5k views and a number of guys posting it seems to be working.  I think there's more name recognition with Sand Pebbles rather than Yangtze Patrol.  I like the last photo, even though it might fail OSHA standards today.   Best to you,  AB

 

Hello,

 

Another Admiral Tolley tidbit, again from Yangtze Patrol: The U.S. Navy in China, this time about Guam's christening.  "The Guam was christened with Whangpoo River water by the young daughter of Commander Bryson Bruce, superintending constructor at Shanghai.  Years later, she recalled that he "was of the old school, and felt the launching of a ship was its maiden voyage, the honors to be done only by a virgin," adding that these were not abundant in Shanghai.  As for the river water, it was felt slightly blasphemous to splatter champagne over a warship representing bone-dry America.  Perhaps the unorthodox christening affected the Guam's fate.  She would indeed become the "Chameleon," unique in naval history, destined in her lifetime to sail under four flags and five different names."

 

Take care,

 

Steve Bryson

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