Saturday, July 28, 2012

WWII German U-Boat 550 discovered nearly 70 years after sinking off Nantucket Island


Divers have discovered a World War II-era German submarine nearly 70 years after it sank under withering U.S. attack in waters off Nantucket. The U-550 was found Monday by a privately funded group organized by New Jersey lawyer Joe Mazraani.

Depth charges being dropped on U-550

U-550 astern USS Joyce

On April 16, 1944, the U-550 torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania, which had lagged behind its protective convoy as it set out with 140,000 barrels of gasoline for Great Britain. The U-boat slipped under the doomed tanker to hide. But one of the tanker's three escorts, the USS Joyce, saw it on sonar and severely damaged it by dropping depth charges.

U-550's crew abandons ship - damage from 3" shells is evident on the conning tower

The Germans, forced to surface, manned their deck guns while another escort vessel, the USS Gandy, returned fire and rammed the U-boat. The third escort, the USS Peterson, then hit the U-boat with two more depth charges. The crew abandoned the submarine, but not before setting off explosions to scuttle it. The U-550 is one of several World War II-era German U-boats that have been discovered off the U.S. coast, but it's the only one that sank in that area.

The torpedoed tanker Pan Pennsylvania burns in the background as U-550's crew abandons ship

U-550 sinks stern first - as USS Joyce rescues survivors

USS Gandy and Peterson provide cover as Joyce recovers survivors

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mandoza Milhomme and Eveline Rousseau

Though You Do Not Know Me,  
It Does Not Mean I Do Not Love You

 Mandoza Milhomme and Eveline Rousseau were my paternal grandparents. My father was 8 when his mother died, 12 when placed in an orphanage and 14 when his father died. He rarely spoke of his childhood. When he was dying of pancreatic cancer I researched his past. What I discovered has empowered me to better love and understand my father and myself as a man, husband and father.

I place this history before my children, Kayne, Toby, Tracy and Matthew as it happened, with no explanations or conjecture. May this historical account be life-giving words of generational love and confidence in their innate abilities to love and protect those whose lives they are responsible for.

This story begins in 1912, a century and several generations ago……

Mandoza Milhomme and Eveline Rousseau were married for thirteen years. During this time Eveline gave birth to eight children. Three of the children Mandoza, Alice Marie, and Cecile died within a few months of birth. A four child, Emile, died at the age of two. Four children lived to be adults: Marie Albertina, William, Henry and Albert. Eveline died from complications during the delivery of a still-born ninth child. After the death of Eveline, Mandoza’s life became an increasing tailspin of depression, self destructive behavior and alcoholism.  

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Legend of Louisa Baker. First Woman Marine Sailor, USS Constitution, War 1812

Was Louisa the first woman (disguised as a man) in the United States Marines? Serving aboard the USS Constitution for three years and in many naval battles against the British before being honorably discharged, all the while keeping her true gender a secret? Louisa supposedly grew up on a farm near Plymouth, Massachusetts and during the War of 1812 tricked her way onto the USS Constitution pretending to be a man named George Baker

She served valiantly for three years and in many naval battles against the British before being honorably discharged, all the while keeping her true gender a secret. 

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Moses Gulesian, Armenian Immigrant saves USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides"

There is much celebration around the recent dry dock and repairs to the naval warship "Old Ironsides / USS Constitution and her exploits in the War of 1812. However, if not for the efforts of an Armenian immigrant, "Old Ironsides" would have been scraped at the turn of the 20th Century.Therefore, it is only fitting to recall Moses Gulesian, a Boston Armenian immigrant who rallied a nation to save “Old Ironsides” from the scrap yard.  

Read Boston Globe Story  Old Ironsides to return to the water Sunday

 Moses H. Gulesian, a native of Marash, is a shining symbol of New World success. After arriving penniless in New York harbor in 1883, he moved to Worcester and eventually settled in Boston where he opened a successful copperworks factory. 

In 1900, he was commissioned by the state to replace the wooden lion and unicorn symbols of the Old State House with copper ones--the originals incidentally were installed later on his home in Chestnut Hill. Today Gulesian is best remembered for his efforts to save the U.S.S. Constitution, commonly known as "Old Ironsides," the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy and the champion of the War of 1812.

In 1905, Gulesian, overtaken by a strong sense of patriotism, sent the following telegram to Naval Secretary J. Bonaparte, "Will give ten thousand dollars for the Constitution, Old Ironsides. Will you sell?" The offer made national headlines and one reporter suggested that the ship might worry the "Sultan" of Turkey if it was sold to an Armenian. "It would be a good joke if they could be led to believe that the old frigate might steal out of Boston some night and sail for the Mediterranean to bombard some of the unprotected ports of Turkey," Gulesian replied. Gulesian's efforts rallied public support and saved the ship.

For his role, Gulesian was elected President of the Old Ironsides Association and later he would be given the distinction of becoming the first foreign-born member of the Sons of the American Revolution. 

Read The Legend of Louisa Baker. First Woman Marine Sailor, USS Constitution, War 1812;postID=6841019197106423282;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=3;src=link