June 1945 for the Navy

USS Langley, June 1945

After sending Sherman’s US Navy Task Force 38.3 to Leyte for a rest period, Halsey ordered RAdm. Radford’s Task Force 38.4orce northward on June 2 to strike the airfields on Kyushu, the southernmost Japanese main island. Halsey and McCain remained off Okinawa. When Radford returned on the afternoon of June 3, Halsey sent Task Group 38.1 southeast to rendezvous with Rear Admiral Donald B. Beary’s Service Squadron 6.  Ships and search planes reported a tropical storm moving up from the south.

The Missouri and Shangri-La headed southeast with Radford’s group, and Halsey ordered the amphibious command ship Ancon to monitor the storm. On the evening of June 4, Task Group 38.4 joined Clark’s force and Beary’s fueling squadron, and they all headed E-SE. At this time, radar operators aboard the Ancon sighted a typhoon, but the ship’s report did not reach Halsey until 1 the next morning.

USS Pittsburgh, Typhoon Connie, 1945

Course changes were made, and there was much feverish plotting aboard the Missouri and other ships through the night and into June 5. Halsey did not want his fleet scattered as before, and he hoped to find better weather so that his flattops could fend off kamikaze attacks. But the barometer was falling, and the howling typhoon closed in. While Radford’s group steamed through fairly calm seas 15 miles to the north, Task Group 38.1 was sucked into a maelstrom of high winds and mountainous waves. Clark ordered his ships to stop their engines and heave to.

Beary’s fueling group, meanwhile, struggled against 75-foot waves and wind gusts up to 127 knots as it passed through the eye of the typhoon. His 48 ships were “riding very heavily,” he reported, yet only four—two jeep carriers, a tanker, and a destroyer escort—received serious damage. Clark’s group passed through the eye half an hour after Beary’s, and almost all of his 33 ships suffered some damage, but none were sunk. The cruiser, Pittsburgh had 110 feet of her bow section torn off, and Clark’s four carriers—the San Jacinto, Hornet, Bennington, and Belleau Wood—were battered. Clark and Beary lost six men killed or swept overboard and four seriously injured, 76 planes were lost.

USS Hornet, June 1945

The other TF-38 ships damaged in the typhoon included the battleships Missouri, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Alabama; the escort carriers Windham Bay, Salamaua, Bougainville, and Attu; the cruisers Baltimore, Quincy, Detroit, San Juan, Duluth, and Atlanta; 11 destroyers; three destroyer escorts; two oilers, and an ammunition ship.

Halsey was aware he would have to face another court of inquiry and took the offensive.  In an angry message to Admiral Nimitz, he complained that early-warning messages were garbled, that weather estimates conflicted, and that coding regulations critically delayed the Ancon’s message. The Third Fleet, meanwhile, soon went back into action. On June 6, 1945, Clark’s and Radford’s groups again provided air support off Okinawa, and Radford’s carriers resumed strikes against Kyushu on the 8th. U.S. troops gained the upper hand on Okinawa, the kamikaze attacks tapered off, and TF-38 retired to Leyte Gulf on June 13 after 92 wearying days at sea.

USS Bennington, June 1945

Admirals Halsey, McCain, Clark, and Beary were ordered to appear before a court of inquiry aboard the aging battleship USS New Mexico anchored in San Pedro Bay, a Leyte Gulf inlet. Presided over again by the harsh Admiral Hoover, the tribunal convened on June 15 and deliberated for eight days. Blame was placed squarely on Halsey and McCain, with the court concluding that the main cause of the Third Fleet’s damage was Halsey’s “extremely ill advised” change of course from 110 to 300 degrees at 1:34 am on June 5. McCain, Clark, and Beary were indicted because “they continued on courses and at speeds which eventually led their task groups into dangerous weather, although their better judgment dictated a course of action which would have taken them fairly clear of the typhoon path.”

Hoover recommended the reassignment of Halsey and McCain, and Navy Secretary James V. Forrestal was reportedly ready to retire Halsey. When the court’s finding reached the Navy Department, Admiral King agreed that the two officers had been inept and, with the weather data available to them, should have avoided the typhoon. But Halsey was a national hero, and King had no wish to humiliate him. It would tarnish the Navy’s triumph in the Pacific. King decided to take no action, and Forrestal agreed.

Admirals Halsey & McCain, March 1945

McCain, however, received no such consideration. Nimitz had long doubted his competence, and it was decided that it was time for him to go. He was ordered by the Navy Department on July 15 to hand over command of Task Force 38 to Admiral John H. Towers and, after a furlough, become deputy head of the Veterans Administration. But McCain, worn out and emaciated, died of a heart attack on the day after he returned to his Coronado, California, home on 6 September 1945.

Halsey, meanwhile, sailed back to America and was greeted in San Francisco and Los Angeles by blaring bands, sirens, whistles, and cheering thousands. His reputation had been tarnished, yet he emerged from the war as a fighting admiral revered by the men who served under him.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Naval Humor –  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Anthon – Baton Rouge, LA; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO, LT., Academy Graduate

Dean Bailey – Mobridge, SD; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Gardiner’s Bay

John Casey – Phoneix, AZ; US Navy, WWII, corpsman

Robert Danzig – Albany, NY; US Navy, Korea

Edward Finley III – New Orleans, LA US Navy, Top Gun pilot

Ed Jost – Glencoe, IL; USMC, WWII, Sgt., machine-gunner

Gordon Olson – Seymour, CT; USMC, WWII

Thomas Suddarth –  Concord, MO; US Navy, WWII, USS Honolulu Klaskanine

Warren Venable – Memphis, TN; US Navy, aerial photographer

Eugene W. Wicker – Coweta, OK; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class, radioman, USS Oklahoma, KIA

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on August 23, 2018, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 112 Comments.

  1. Good to hear none sank. Bad enough to be at war to being with without Mother Nature sending a typhoon their way, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for following my blog, and for your like of my post. Please have a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Halsey and Nimitz have always been held in high esteem by yours truly, Both truly great sailors and admirals, I’d have been proud to call them Royal Navy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post gp, what I like about it is the after actions, behind the scenes that played out in Military courts and the Political stage, pressure is a formidable enemy in times of specifics.
    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Behind the scenes is tough to get across to people, I’m sure you understand that. People have been ingrained with their school’s version of history and war, then they watch and believe Hollywood’s version of some “blood ‘n’ guts” then romantic scenes till the end, and many myths have been told and retold for so long that even historians tend to believe they’re facts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. theburningheart

    Firs time I ever heard about that Court Martial sort of tribunal, for Halsey and McCain, as always plenty of historical information, on your post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Navy and the nation lost a great man in Sen. John McCain.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting that I should be reading this on the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey. This certainly does make sense of the practice of moving ships to sea when hurricanes or typhoon threaten — subs, too. Thank goodness we have better weather information today. My personal motto has become “Evacuate early and often,” and it applies to ships, too.

    Now, for your pop culture reference of the day. The first thing I thought of when I came to Admiral Halsey’s name was the Beatles’ song: “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.” I wondered if they had this admiral in mind, and look here: “McCartney also suggested that the Admiral Halsey in the lyrics was based on World War II US Naval officer Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr, commonly known as Bill or Bull Halsey. “As for Admiral Halsey, he’s one of yours, an American admiral,” McCartney said.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never even thought much about it, I wonder why… I must have been quite dense! lol
      I did look into it thanks to your comment and I got McCartney’s whole quote for us…..

      I had an uncle – Albert Kendall – who was a lot of fun, and when I came to write Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey it was loosely about addressing that older generation, half thinking ‘What would they think of the way my generation does things? ‘That’s why I wrote the line ‘We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert’. There’s an imaginary element in many of my songs – to me, Admiral Halsey is symbolic of authority and therefore not to be taken too seriously. We recorded it in New York and George Martin helped me with the orchestral arrangement. I was surprised when it became a big hit.

      Paul McCartney
      Wingspan: Paul McCartney’s Band On The Run

      McCartney also suggested that the Admiral Halsey in the lyrics was loosely based on World War II US Naval officer Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr, commonly known as Bill or Bull Halsey. “As for Admiral Halsey, he’s one of yours, an American admiral,” McCartney said.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your posts, your writing and photos takes me right back to these moments in the past. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! You certainly can’t fight Mother Nature. Interesting read, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good to be reminded that armed forces always have weather as well as enemies to deal with. The navy was lucky the ships weren’t totally destroyed by the typhoon.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. These men had to make so many decisions on the spot and then had to face hearings about those quick decisions. It’s a wonder they all didn’t have major health issues as a result of all that pressure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear what you’re saying, Bev and I completely agree. But as with any loss of life, the public wants someone to blame. It may well have been the pressure that caused McCain’s death.

      Like

  12. I’ve been through quite a few typhoons at sea, but never one like that! Brrrr …

    “Divine wind”, do you think? Japanese gods finally getting ‘with it’ on behalf, but too little too late?

    The eye of such a storm is eerie—absolutely dead still air, copper coloured lighting, waves every other which way … and then it all starts again but you mostly lean the other side.
    Fun in hindsight but it’s a young man’s game.

    I feel for those guys …

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Whose ever fault it was, that was one very damaging typhoon! To bend those ships and tear off 110 feet of a cruiser is no mean feat! They were very lucky there were not many more casualties or even a loss of ship!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great shot of the Hornet and the Bennington.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bad enough having to deal with a tenacious adversary, but then having the weather attack you on top of that. What a shame for all involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s always who you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I really enjoyed that. thank you. What a contrast of fates for Halsey and McCain and what damage a typhoon can do to an aircraft carrier!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I learned a lot from this story I did not know

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This event was a heroic come back of American troops to free our country! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This post reminds me once again why I have always liked your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Our current Mumps McCain should do the same. Retire. Get out. Whatever. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Interesting story on the typhoon. I can’t imagine having these huge ships tossed around in 75 foot waves. Thanks, GP

    Liked by 3 people

  23. That last line might apply to Nelson, whose biog, as you know, I’ve recently read.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. One forgets the array of forces they had to fight. Seems a little harsh that the two officers were singled out and one was villified.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. But McCain, worn out and emaciated, died of a heart attack on the day after he returned to his Coronado, California, home on 6 September 1945

    Very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. England was once saved when most of the ships of the Spanish Armada sank in a violent storm. No such luck for the Japanese!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. I would hate to be the one to judge these sorts of decisions, during war. Some of the more recent Naval disasters–not so unclear.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There are far more better ways to check up on actual events here in our high-tech life. I sure wouldn’t have wanted to be sitting there having the Big Brass looking down at me!!

      Like

  28. I’d forgotten what I learned in history class about the court of inquiry. Interesting read as always.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Whatever his competence, I find myself feeling sorry for McCain. To go through all that, then to die of a heart attack right at the end of the war has a tragic ring to it.
    Just looking at the photos of those ships struggling through the high seas makes me feel seasick. Well done to those brave sailors.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s how I felt about Kimmel and Short, they need a scapegoat – they get a scapegoat. Halsey has messed up in 2 main events, yet McCain gets the heat for all of it. Maybe that’s why his son has always had a chip on his shoulder.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Thanks for the stories behind the stories!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Thank you for another great posting, GP! For me its awesome too. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Fascinating post. The photo of the Hornet is amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Gasp… Stunning use of the photos, GP. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Seeing the destruction on that ship, I don’t know which was worst, fighting the enemy or facing the wrath of Mother Nature. Great post GP.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very true, Rose!! The weather in the Pacific is huge factor, as you well know!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It had to be a formidable storm to create such a damage. But then you were at sick and that strong wind create a monster wave. I would not want to be on any ship during a storm. Kudos to the navy to come out alive after that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It makes me wonder what all has to be done to enduring such force from a typhoon. Thanks for coming by, Rose!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I was on a clam boat from Fire Island on the Great South Bay in LI right before a storm and the boat was rocking like crazy. I was so scared to death and thankful that we were able to make it to shore in Bay Shore. Imagine a typhoon! It’s bad enough on dry land. At sea? Those men are remarkable!

            Liked by 1 person

            • As long as I’ve lived in FL, I can honestly say the worst hurricane I ever went through was in the 1960’s on Long Island!

              Liked by 1 person

              • Hope we don’t get any this year. Since we left LI, there were three up north but we only had Matthew here and it missed us. You got more in FL. My son said we are staying put if hurricane comes. We only have two bridges out of here and it’s a big problem. If one of them closes, it will be horrendous traffic to get out.

                Liked by 1 person

  35. I have been told that the Navy got their advance weather information from other ships that were posted for that purpose, including carriers. I wonder from which sources Halsey got his information about the storm besides the Ancon. The one gentleman I know says that his ship (and I don’t know the name of the type of ship, but think it might have been a flat top), was on weather duty in WWII.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. The nightmare forces required to contort an aircraft carrier like that…Great Gods and little fishes, I think that would turn my hair even whiter than it already is. Great story well told as usual, GP. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. It isn’t enough to deal with the rigors and horrors of war, why not throw in a killer typhoon. Stuff we don’t hear or think about! Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We hear today about that area’s earthquakes and storms, but don’t think about those types of hazards going on during the war, eh?!! Funny how our minds work.

      Like

  38. Your thirst for truth and history is wonderful, Ian!

    Like

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