Sophie Barrett Essay - 1981 Pearl Harbor
 

Sophie Meranski Barrett 40th anniversary essay for West Roxbury Transcript December 1981- SOPHIE BARRETT l981 Pearl Harbor:"THE ADMIRAL sees the GENERAL on the GOLF COURSE."This is the story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forty years ago on December 7, l94l, where Commander Jack Barrett served from July,l5 l94l as Assistant War Plans Officer to October and then from October 194l for four years throughout World War II as Assistant Personnel Officer in charge of the Overseas Transportation Office at the Administration Building. He & John & I lived only twelve miles away at 24l5 Ala Wai Boulevard Waikiki. John was five years & seven months old at the time of the attack that scared everyone in Hawaii & disrupted our lives for four years of Pacific war.
We continued to write Jack's 87-year old father at 640 E. Seventh Street, SouthBoston, until he passeed away August 21,1942.

 

Xmas Party-Pearl harbor

1943 Photo of Barrett Family
 
 
 
We endured complete blackout, ten o'clock curfew (earlier at the beginning) martial law, gas masks,damp bomb shelters (our neighbors James & Edythe Needles had one in the back of their big yard next door,with carrots in a Victory garden on top) censored mail, poor food,especially for the civilians who did not have commissary privileges & miles & miles of barbed wire along Ala Wai canal & Waikiki Beach, where I caught my only umbrella, irreplaceable in a land of "liquid sunshine," as Hawaiians called the frquent bursts of rain,often accompanied by spectacular rainbows toward the Koolau range volcanic mountains that made a spectacular bright colored view behind the canal & golf course to the north.
 
 

The canal was lined with palm trees & purple bouganvillea bushes.Our neighborhood had numerous pink, gold & rainbow shower trees & royal poincianas and African tulip and sausage trees, papayas, mangos, panax hedges and one black south of our house the big Kaiulani banyan tree on Tuisitala Street, named for "the teller of tales" Robert Louis Stevenson, who around l890 read to the young Hawaiian princess there on a stone seat under the huge spreading tree of the fig family with its high aereal roots near her home on Cleghorn Street.After the attack the shelves of our two Waikiki grocery stores & of department stores Liberty House & Sears Roebuck were bare for many weeks,& not an umbrella or much of anything else was for sale.Most Navy dependents & some civilians were evacuated as soon as transports & a convoy were available & not filled with the wounded.Dr. (John Barrett note -Jim Moloney knew Dr. Withington well - he played football and rowed on Harvard crew l909 - after Harvard Medical l9l3 he coached football U.Wisconsin then went to England as army doctor ww I -knew General Patton Hawaii l930's & was Naval Reserve doctor WW ii) Paul Withington, Navy Reserve determined the facilities needed for medical cases.

Fleet Chaplain William Maguire & native Hawaiian social worker Clorinda Lucas and kamaaina ("long-resident") businessman Frank Midkiff advised on a relatively small number of hardship cases that qualified for priority consideration. Life was dull for John, as Jack worked seven days a week including holidays (Christmas Day Jack went to the docks to watch thousands of dependents board a large convoy to San Francisco, though many did not have proper winter clothes - then he joined us for supper, about six p.m. on Lewers Road Waikiki, where we were having a pleasant supper at the home of Captain & Mrs. Paul Rice, our old friends from Tientsin China l930-3l & Panama l935. Mrs. Rice served brandied peaches but remarked, "The last time I served them, the brandy made my heart beat,beat, beat all night." Paul replied, "You're lucky it didn't STOP beating!") Some mornings Jack drove John to Pearl Harbor for lunch in the Navy Officers Club (often baked beans & brown bread).

In February l944 John assisted Admiral William Furlong in the War Bond drive. Often Jack brought tense lonely naval personnel to our home form a swim & quick supper. Captain Harold Fultz, in command of a big hospital ship a friend from the MARBLEHEAD l926-7 was a frequent visitor. He also knew our neighbor Gerta Busck. The big hospital ship was kept fully lighted but had nevertheless been fired on by Japanese in violation of international agreements. He relaxed with us often. Then Jack would drive him in blacked-out Waikiki & Honolulu to a bus for Pearl Harbor. The public schools were closed for months Early in the war Waikiki Beach was closed off by Army barbed wire In early September l94l while England was at war with Germany but the United States was officially neutral, Admiral Sir Louis Mountbatten inspected Pearl Harbor & told CINCUS Admiral Kimmel & General Short, the Hawaii=Pacific commanders, at the Royal Hawaiian hotel that Pearl Harbor was vulnerable to attack, poorly defended, could be captured, & the ships tied up there destroyed. (He also warned Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark in Washington DC and was scheduled to see President Roosevelt, but Churchill wanted him back in London, so the opportunity was lost). Not enough was done to strengthen Pearl by the Army or Navy Commandant or to scatter ships of the fleet weekends. Disregarding Mountbatten's warning was very costly in the December 7 attack. On July l5, l94l John & I arrived by Matson liner Lurline, with Commander Barrett to be Assistant War Plans Officer under Admiral Claude Bloch in charge of the Fourteenth Naval District shore facilities under Kimmel.As the ship approached Honolulu there was a festival atmosphere with no inkling of the Japanese attack Barrett predicted. He had discussed this with his brother Bill & other friends & neighbors during our years in Brooklyn l939-l94l. He opposed sales of critical oil & scrap iron to Japann & the Axis. In command of the Branch Hydrographic Office he heard dramatic accounts from visiting ship captains of many nations of mines, subs & wartime hazards to navigation in the Atlantic.

The contrasting mood in the "Paradise of the Pacific" was dramatic. Admiral James O.Richardson had been relieved of command in January l94l because he personally told President Roosevelt he opposed the movement of the fleet to Pearl Harbor from San Diego. Jack repeated a story that one time a newsboy asked Admiral Richardson his opinion of the weather. "-Say that again boy?" "What do you think of the weather, Admiral?" ="That's the first time in six months anyone has wanted my opinion about anything." As we landed at Honolulu harbor July l5 small boys were diving for the coins carefree passengers were tossing overboard. On the dock a band was playing, men were singing in high voices, & hula girls were dancing. Gertrude Rice and her daughter Nathalie put frangipani flower leis around our necks & drove us to the Moana Hotel, where Jack registered & then went with Captain Rice & the Head of the War Plans Office to Pearl Harbor.Gertrude, Nathalie,. John & I sat in the courtyard of the Moana under a big banyan tree. The first Saturday afternoon we went to see the unfinished new house assigned to us at Makalapa near oil tanks adjoining Pearl Harbor. Partly because the house was too big for our furniture but also because the location near the big oil tanks looked dangerous, we decided NOT to accept the house. We stayed in the expensive Moana Hotel until we found a furnished house at 24l5 Ala Wai Boulevard three doors east of Kaiulani Street, where we stayed nearly six years. We moved in July 28, just as soon as the preious tenant Mrs. Bailey vacated. The commandant at Pearl, Admiral Claude Bloch, & the Commander-in Chief Admiral Kimmel, seemed to be unaware of impending attack. Jack warned Admiral Bloch & his chief of staff Captain Earle "Whistlebritches" that "one bomb could hit two ships."Jack advised Admiral Bloch & his staff that the War Plans Office should cooperate & work closely with General Short & Army War Plans of the defense of the fleet when in port, but Bloch said,"No -I see the General on the golf course." ((A partial explanation for this bizarre attitude was desire for secrecy against spies.Kimmel had a false sense of security & kept his ship tied up in pairs at Pearl Harbor most weekends while personnel went on authorized or unauthorized holidays to Maui or elsewhere. On the Pearl Harbor weekend, Jack had granted leave to one sailor who was going to Maui, but with the strict condition he file a formal request. It was several days before he could return to the base, & he was convinced Jack knew the attack was coming: Jack said,"He looked at me as if I was the seventh son of a seventh son." When the Fleet Admiral in early December l94l asked the operations officer what the chances were of a surprise attack on Pearl, the answer was "None whatever."Yet only a week later on Sunday December 7,l94l at 6:55 AM the Japanese did attack by surprise,sank two battleships (the ARIZONA had over one thousand men lost on board,& the ship was never raised.)

At 3:30 AM that Sunday morning an American mine sweeper based at Pearl signted the periscope of an unidentified submarine & radioed the destroyer WARD patroling the area. At 5:30 AM the WARD fired the first shot of the Pacific war at a submarine & radioed the Pearl Harbor radio office where an experienced noncommissioned officer tried to reach Admiral Bloch by phone but couldn't.-so he phoned his important message to Bloch's chief of staff & to a Fleet duty officer under Kimmel. In disbelief the chief of staff asked that the message be verified,& Kimmel decided to wait for verification.When the chief of staff reached Bloch by phone,he too decided to wait for verification.They were still waiting when the Japanese planes attacked- with disastrous results. But theyJapanese made three costly mistakes. They failed to destroy the repair facilities, failed to destroy the oil storage tanks, failed to realize that an aroused,angry American people would forge a great war machine,& beat that Japanese soundly at the battle of of Midway June 4-5, l942,put them on the defensive, hit them in their homeland with the atomic bomb, resulting in surrender in August l945. Jack & John were at Pearl Harbor at the time the surrender was announced.Postwar reports indicate a peace party in Japan was intimidated by assassination threats from extremists in the Army, & Stalin concealed information that Japan was trying diplomatically to arrange an earlier surrender that might have eliminated the use of nuclear weapons.The sudden death of President Roosevelt complicated any diplomatic effort to end the war, and the bitter-end defense of Okinawa by thousands of kamikazes led military men to believe an invasion of Japan's home islands might involve a million American casualties.In hindsight, the use of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima & Nagasaki was an unnecessary tragedy, but appeasement after Mudken l93l and the destruction of democratic Czechoslovakia l938 & U.S. isolationism & lack of preparedness led to Pearl Harbor & many tragedies.

Jack Barrett spent a life warning & preparing from education at Boston Latin & Revenue Cutter School through Navy Reserve service World War I, Naval War College l923-4, the war games l925 that demostrated vulnerability of Pearl Harbor; the Reserve training New York l928-9, Boston l932-33 (Terminated in foolish effort to balance budget) Philadelphia l936-8 he saw the Atlantic Was close up at Naval Hydrographic Office New York l939-4l_-then Cassandra-like he tried to warn the War Plans staff at Pearl Harbor, but twenty-four hundred Americans died December 7.Americans at the time considered the atomic bomb retribution for Pearl Harbor,but it was a terrible tragedy,and Japanese has been one of America's most critical & loyal allies through fifty years of struggle against Communism. General MacArthur & the emperor Showa (known in his lifetime as Hirohito deserve enormous credit for this happy transformation. (This is revised from draft Sophie prepared for forieth anniversary l983 at suggestion of Jason Korell, West Roxbury Transcript weekly newspaper.Sophie covered much of the material in a talk to Roslindale Historical Society (Helen Goetz president) November 1978 at Knights of Columbus HaLL, ROSLINDALE, MASSACHUSETTS. Below is account of the 1925 WAR GAMES Jack participated in, which demonstrated vulnerability of Pearl Harbor to air attack and Oahu to surprise invasion. Jack was officer aboard light cruiser MARBLEHEAD.-- ++#38MARBLEHEAD Lahaina l925 To: Lactoris@yahoo.com After Panama & the West Coast, where Jack saw his second cousin Robert Fahrbach & Fahrbach's father Emil Fahrbach, they arrived under radio silence in Hawaii April l5,l925, when the MARBLEHEAD took part in the very important war games in which the attacking "Blue" Forces defeated the defending "Black" Forces & captured the Hawaiian Islands.Admiral MacDonald in collaboration with the Army,had the defense of the Hawaiian Islands.

The story is well told in the New York Times article headed "MARBLEHEAD at Hawaii War Maneuvers",Sunday,May l0,l925.Story of the swift triumph of Blue Forces on Hawaiian Defenses forced to anchor because the capital ships could enter Pearl Harbor only with difficulty because of the lack of anchorage space inside.After the War Games many departed with General Hines including Major General Neville, who commanded the Blue Mai??col Forces (some material illegible will be checked against original article when available)the senior Black umpire,a general & Lieutenant Colonel Kruger,who was the chief Army assistant to Admiral Coontz & General Hines.Several thousand persons went to the pierdecorating the officers & other passengers with leis.The ship was tied to the pier with paper streamers that cracked when the ship pulled away to the strains of "Aloha Oe" & other Hawaiian tunes.252Major General Lewis,the Hawaiian Department Commander,declined to comment on the statement attributed to Chairman Butler of the House Naval (Appropriations) Committee (Philadelphia Congressman & father of the great Marine general Smedley Butler) to the effect that appropriations would be asked to make Hawaii the strongest military outpost in the world.The General admitted that there are serious deficiencies in the defenses as they exist.General Lewis said,"I am naturally very much interested in any proposal for developing the defeses of Hawaii as they have constituted my most earnest study since my arrival in the Territory. I can assure you that it has been for some time the conservative opinion of our trained officers that these defenses are insufficient even for a reasonable security against unfortunate eventualities.And I concur in that opinion." General Lewis was asked to comment on the prevalent belief that Army garrison here should be from five to ten thousand men stronger than at present,that the air forces should be greatly increased & provided with modern equipment to enazble the Army to resist successfully such landing as that simulated in the recent maneuvers- that there should be additional modern eighteen inch guns in the Coast Defenses-that the Construction program has been seriously neglected & that the local naval protection in the form of submarines & mines is seriously deficient. Some officers wanted on hundred thousand men.The General replied that there were serious shortages in all of these respects.The detailsfrom the flagship Pennsylvania to the New York Times,April 27,l925:Now that the struggle is ended between the Blues & the Blacks for the control of the Island of Oahu-keystone in the Hawaiian Arch of the American Structure of National Defence, the story of the campaign plan of the pictors & vanquished may be told (Jack Barrett was on the MARBLEHEAD of the victors,the Blue Forces-SMB note)- it is clearly evident 253 it is evident from the progress of this major peacetime conflict that the Naval & Marines forces comprising the Blues would now be camping in Pearl Harbor after having taken the Island by direct assault in today's operation.

The mission of the Blues was to recover from the Blacks possession of Honolulu & Pearl Harbor as Naval Operating Bases.That mission was certain of achievement when the umpires called a halt on the contest.The action of the umpires was founded in the conviction that the Blue forces had been able to land & advance on the north shore of Oahu,- a superior military force of Marine Sl...? troops & maneuver them in a position where the Blacks were unable to halt or defeat the advance of the khaki-clad invaders.The defeat of the Blacks does not mean that the Hawaiian Islands are not strongly defended.Both Nature & Washingtton with liberal hands have contributed toward the defense of the Islands against attack by enemy forces.The mountain ranges along the east & most of the west coast of Oahu are absolutely impossible for armed forces landing along these particular stretches of the shoreland.After a twelve day voyage of 2600 miles fromSan Francisco to the Hawaiian group, the Blue Fleet arrived off the northern & southwestern coasts of Oahu at midnight of April 26.The armada traveled in special screening formation en route to protect the sixteen vessels of the Fleet train (constructively representing transports) against enemy submarine attack. This formation consisted of a series of concentric circles of warships.The battleships were in the center,with the train of transports.Around the battleships steamed the smart & speeding destroyers.Beyon the -254-steamed the light cruisers (JBB in MARBLEHEAD-SMB note)& beyond that were the submarines-the furthermost outpost of the Fleet formation,which was 42 miles in diameter.Not a mishap ?marred the voyage.All ships that left San Francisco Harbor on April l5 in an aggregation of one hundred twenty-seven of all types of warshipsarrived at their appointed positions at the Islands of Oahu & Molokai in safety & good condition.The battleship MARYLAND,which left Puget Sound at a later date joined the main body of the battle fleet several hundred miles north of Oahu.Somewhere out in the Pacific the Blue Scouting Fleet headed by the battleship WYOMING was detached from the main formation & sent ahead so as to be able to carry out the operation of establishing an air base on the island of Molokai April 25, two days before the scheduled of Admiral Robinson for the main expedition attack on Oahu.The rest of the fleet continued on a direct route to Kaena Point at the northwestern corner of Oahu,maneuvering from day to day in th execution of Battle Problems.Radio silence was established on the seond day out from San Francisco & was not lifted until arrival of the vessels within sight of Diamond Head late this afternoon after the execution of the mission involved in the War Games.At twelve o'clock last night when the bulk of the main battle fleet moved into position off the northern coast of Oahu,mighty searchlights from the interior & along the northern coast flashed seaward.Under cover of darkness the vessels were in position for the attack,six miles out when several minutes after midnight a bombardment of the beach was inaugurated preliminary to the landing 255--#39-#39 MARBLEHEAD P.255 preliminary to the landing of the first wave of Marines at twelve o'clock this morning,exactly twelve hours after the bombardment began.>>During these twelve hours the main forcemade the landing on the north coast.Some of the battleships-0with destroywes were detached & sent around to the southwestern coast to carry to carry out a similar landing of Marines- this was only a secondary operation.The attack on the north was the primary one.Meanwhile the Scouting Fleet under the command of Vice ADMIRAL MCKEAN WHICH HAD GONE WITH THE AIRCRAFT carrier LANGLEY to establish a temporary air base at Molokai Islandslipped westward to the southern coast of Oahu & endeavored to delude the Blacks into the belief that a landing force was about to be put into east of Diamond Head.It was a successful manoeuvre & in combination with the secondary landing of the Marines on the southwest coast cau8sed the Blacks to think that the main landing was being made on the south coast.In this assumption the blacks made a fatal mistake& were not in a position to meet the shock of the primary landing of the expeditionary force when it was shoved forward on the north coast.Ideal weather conditions favored the Blues when it (the Blue Force) emerged from the long spell of radio silence & lowered the boats in which the Marines were sent through the surf to the beach.While the heavens sparkled with thousands of starts,the region between shore & coast was blanketed with that particular form of tropical semi=mist & near rain which Americans in Hawaii have come to regard as 'liquid sunshine'.It was difficult for the powerful searchlights of the Blacks to distinguish the faint shadows of the hulls (hulks?)in the darkness that enveleoped the arrival of the Fleet. The Fleet had been darkened & traveled with 256 no lights showing above decks long before reaching Oahu.

When morning broke magnificiently over the island, the main section of the expeditionary force began landingon the northern & southwestern coasts,& feinting operations were progressing east of Diamond Head. On the north coast especially where no ships had stood the night before, morning discllosed the presence of a strong naval force.The big guns of seven dreadnaughts were trained on the shore.Beyond them were the transports between boats filled with Marines,& destroyers were protecting the formation against submarine attack while seaplanes were being catapulted from the decks of battleships & spinning off inbto the air for reconhnaisdance of the enemy positions ashore.The sea was as smooth as glass & the breakers not as heavy as usual over the coral reefs.The first wave of Marines sent ashore were met with heavy machinegun attack &suffered heavy casualties,but the defense cordon of Blacks on the north coast was weak & the second wave were pused through so far that the succeeding waves had soon charged the beachhead & soon had driven six miles from the beach.The operation was accompanied by a spectacular aircraft operation in which there were thrilling battles between enemy bombing & fighting planes & the fighting planes & scouters of the Fleet.Had not the Blues completely outgunned the Blacks in the north of the principal landing shore,it would have been difficult for the invader to have made such easy headway in pushing their Marines forward in the northern coast.Part of the time the Fleet steamed with darkened lights.& for nearly ten days it steamed the Pacific with all wireless switches pulled so as to ensure complete radio silence.Not a single letter was flashed by radio from any of the ships.The radio silence was a complete success-a real simulation of actual war conditions as near as it could be achieved in time of peace.Should the United States as a nation ever be faced with the problem of defending Oahu in time of war,it would be infinitely better257 On ther return trip In the Galapagos Islands they were surprised to see a large number of seals-hundreds of them. A rather cold current runs through them, & it seems strange to see the seals where only tropical animals would be expected. But the seals were there.p260 MARBLEHEAD itinerary departed Philadelphia l5 September l924 - arr.Sep l6 Newport RI dep.l7 Sept. -arr.l8 Sep.Navy Yard,New York dep.5 November-Arr.. 7 November Bermuda Islands dep Nov 2l arr. 23 Nov.Navy yard Norfolk Virginia dep. 28 Nov.-arr.6 December Southampton England dep 12 Dec. -arr. l7 DecMarseilles France dep 24 Dec.-arr.24 Dec Villefranche France dep 25 Dec - arr. 27 Dec. Algiers,Algeria dep.31 Decem-1924-arr. 1 January l925 Gibraltar dep. 5 Jan- arr. 7 Jan. Funchal, Madeira dep.9 January -arr. l7 Jan. Navy Yard Boston dep l0 February -arr. l0 Feb. Boston Light dep.l3 Feb. -arriv l8 Feb. Hampton Roads Virginia dep. l9 Feb.- 23 Feb. arr.Colon,CaNAL ZONE DEP 23 FEB.- arr. 23 Feb Panama Bay dep 25 Feb. arr. 12 March San Diego California dep l6 March arrive l7 March San Pedro Cal.depart 3 April - arr. 5 April San Francisco California dep. 15 April -arr. 25 April Molokai, Territory of Hawaii Honolulu Territory of Hawaii -#40-25 Apr.l925 arr. Molokai Territoy of Hawaii dep. 25 Apr. -arr .27 Apr.Honolulu dep 30 Apr.-arr. 30 Apr. Pearl Harbor dep l May - arr. 1 May Honolulu dep.7 May - arr.9 May Lahaina,Maui dep.28 May-arr. 29 May Hilo,island of Hawaii dep.29 May - arr. 1 June Honolulu dep. l Jun-arr. 1 June Pearl Harbor dep 2 Jun -arr. 2 Jun Lahaina dep 6 June- arr. 6 June Honolulyu dep.l5 June -& l July - crossed equator 6 July l925 - arr.l0 July Pago Pago Samoa dep.11 Jul -arr. 23 Jul Melbourne, Victoria, Australia dep 4 August - arr. 5 August Hobart Tasmania dep 7 Augu -arr. 11 Aug Wellington New Zealand dep.24 Aug- arr 30Aug..Pago Pago Samoa dep 3 September -arr. 8 September Papeetee Tahiti dep.ll Sep -arr. 22 Sep Galapagos Islands, Ecuador dep 24 Sep-arr.25 Sep Balboa Canal Zone dep 2 October -arr. October 4 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba dep -dep 12 Oct-arr. 12 Oct Gonaives Gulf Haiti dep. l6 Oct.-arr.l6 Oct. Guantanamo Bay Cuba dep.26 Oct.- arr.26 Oct. Gonaives Haiti dep. 30 Oct. -arr.30 Oct. Gonaives Gulf Haitidep 2 Nov- arr. 2 Nov Guantanamo Bay Cuba dep.20 November arr. 23 Nov Hampton Roads Virginia dep ? - arr30 Nov.North river New York dep30 Nov.- arr. 1 December Navy Yard Boston dep 8 January l926-arr. 9 Jan Hampton Roads Virginia dep. 10 Ja. page 262- ... arrived Bluefields Nicaragua ll January l927 - Puerto Caebas on l3 January. Jack Barrett received ribbons in l927 for being in combat areas in Nicaragua in January & Shanghai China April-June during the civil war there. He was scheduled to lead a landing force at Bluefields, but the MARBLEHEAD was shifted to the Pacific. He encountered marine writer John Thomason this time in Nicaragua & later l943 arranged his transportation to the mainland.

In February in Honolulu he receieved a letter from "Chesty" Puller - who later commanded Maines in the Inchon Korea landing September, l950 - the letter stolen l993 concerned an informal evening party.- continuing chronology: MARBLEHEAD arrivewd Puerto Cabezas Jan. l3, l927 left Nicaragua 29 January = spent some tiome in honolullu February-March departed 24 March to make record eight & a half day cruise to Shanghai with hundreds of Marines, who came under command of Gen. Smedley Butler, survivor of the Boxer rebellion in Peking l900. Jack admired Butler, who was very sucessful in China l927-9 & was slated to become Marine commandant but for the personal animosity of Herbert Hoover, who had worked in the Kailin mining operaztions in North China & object to remarks Butler had made condemning the dictatorial actions of Benito Mussolini.Butler in l930's retirement condemned over-use of Marines to serve commercial interests in foreign countries where national security was not threatened. Chaing-kai shek took the offensive against the communists at Shanghai speing l927, & both sides were strongly anti=foreigner & business interested were threated. Jack had a number of friends from l927 at Standard Oil co. Shanghai.He was detached June 4 at Shanghia & traveled Tokyo to Seattle onthe same ship as General Leonard Wood, retired l920's US> governor of the Philippines.Jack traveled by rail from Seattle to his home in Boston & next duty in New York June l927-l929. -#56-# 56 Fradd letter Marblehead l927 Shanghai Lactoris page M 259 responded magnificently to our letters of inquir: John F. Fradd wrote from Florida: Your two very nice letters awakened nostalgic memories of the first cruise I ever had in my thirty-five years in the Navy.Whenever MARBLEHEAD sailors get together,all we talk about is our cruise to China & back,which covered nineteen months.The MARBLEHEAD was my first ship.I joined her in June of l926 & served four years in her.I can't vouch for the correctness of dates,& l927 was a long time ago. You mentioned that Jack Barrett was mess treasurer, & so was I shortly afterward.I had the job for about three months during our cruise up the Yangtze River & after. I recall the mess bill at that time was thirty dollars a month.

It was near Christmas time in l926 when we returned to Boston, her home port, from Guantanamo,Cuba.In January l927 we were ordered to proceed toNorfolk,& load our torpedoes & two scout planes & continue on to Nicaragua,where trouble was brewing.We put a company of our landing force ashore to join our Marines, who were protecting the holdinhs og United Fruit company from some bandit who was trying to start an uprising. The name of the place was Puerto Cabezas on the east coast.Our flagship was the USS RICHMOND, another six inch gun cruiser. We were ordered to Pearl Harbor.At the time very few of us knew about what was going on in China.We spent a month or so in the Hawaii area practicing gunnery, torpedoes,& operations,-when suddenly we were ordered to Shanghai,China.I can recall returning from libery with Lieutenant Close to find the navigator & chief engineer figuring out how fast we could make the trip without running out of fuel. M260. We got under way in the morning & completed the (Shanghai) run in the shortest time ever up to that time (eight & a half days).Our sister ship the CINCINNATI gad sime propellor trouble & arrived twenty-four hours later.At this point we were getting reports of civil war in China, & the names of Chiang kai-shek & Chaing Tso-lin & (Michael) Borodin were in the newsWe also received a report of the Communist attack on the "foreign" embassies in Nanking,in which the USS NOAH was involved.When we arrived at Shanghai,the Whangpoa river near town was loaded with ships, so we went downstream to the juncture of the Whangpoa & Yangtze & anchored for a week or so.While there we witnessed the first naval battle many of us had ever seen. The Wonson fort at the juncture of the two rivers was held by South Chinese forces & was to be attacked by the North Chinese fleet.The commander of the fort came aboard to ask if we would move off to an anchorage to the west,as he was expecting an attack by the northern forces & did not want us in the way. So we moved.Sure enough,at 11:30 Saturday morning four gunboats appeared,standing upriver right after our Saturday inspection.They opened fire on the fort,which returned the fire.The accuracy of both left much to be desired,but we had to admire the tactics of the commander of the ships afloat.It happened an English warship was anchored in the stream-& the Northern commander took full advantage of this fact.His ship would steam within range of the fort,fire & then swing around in columns behind the English warship while they reloaded their guns. this continued for a hour, until a burst from the fort M 261 appeared to hit the bridge of the leading gunboat.This signalled the end of the battle.Shortly after this we steamed up river to just south of Shanghai & moved to the Standard Oil docks.In the city the Southern forces had taken Shanghai & moved north,although barbed wire entanglements & bunkers were still in place on the streets. The city quickly returned to normal,but brigands were active. While on liberty,most of our officers were robbed at one time or another.I relieved "Shorty" Milner as head of the baseball team& MARBLEHEAD not only won the Shanghai league championship but had the opportunity of playing with five other teams including the Japanese. One of these was the team representing Japan in the eastern Olympics.We also played later for the championship of the Phillippines.

The next episode concerned our trip up the Yangtze River to Nanking. The CINCINNATI went up first for a stay of a month,& we followed later.She was fired on by small arms from the banks & an officer was wounded,so we placed boiler plate around the bridge & other exposed positions for protection- nobody fired at us, but all guns were at the ready.The navigator measured the fall of the river every morning so we would know when we had to return down river in order to cross over some sand bars safely.Otherwise we would have had to remain upstream for months before the river rose azgain.The ship visited Tsingtao & Chingwantao later. In July a number of us took a trip to Peking.We got there aboard a Chinese troop train.Upon arrival we saw an armored train furnished by the Japanese & tried to take snapshots of it,-but guards with fixed bayonets prevented that. I did ask one of the M262 guards if I could take his picture-& he was quite pleased- we got good pictures of him -& the train! (notes on photos).- John E Fradd, Rear Admiral USN Retired."-#58 -#58 Dahlquist MARBLEHEAD l927 Lactoris #58 Commander Phil Dahlquist in commentary on Admiral Fradd's letter wrote from Eugene Oregon: "The MARBLEHEAD did not stop at Nanking, as he intimated but went on up the Yangtze River for another couple of hundred miles to Hankow.I'm sure he would recall this if he remembered all the golf he played on the course there,which was surrounded by a ten foot high (or higher) stone wall. It wasn't unusual to hear shots on the other side of the wall as we played.I think one of the sad days of that era was when "Eva" Brant was lost overboard.He was an excellent young oficer & probably one of the most popular on board. Brant went back to the after part of the ship-which was very low.The seas were coming up from astern & breaking over the deck very heavily.Brant went out to help an enlisted man & held the man with a scissors hold in his legs until others could pull him back-but a following sea washed Brant overboard.It was a very heroic act on Brant's part & typical of what one would have expected of such a man.On our trip to Australia we stopped off at Samoa going & coming.I was swimming in at the dock & missed the last boat back to the MARBLEHEAD.I waited,& the Captain's gig came in fromthe MARBLEHEAD to pick up a guest for dinner with the Captain.He was a Samoan gentleman of about fifty years.He seemed very dignified & wore a black dinner jacket,black tie, & studs in his shirt. Instead of trousers he wore a sort of wrap-around garment of excellent quality material-very neatly pressed.coming down to his kneecaps.Riding out to the ship I said I had been at a nautical school at Norfolk about three years before, & we had a Samoan classmate who acquitted himself very well- he had graduated well up in his class & had been well thought of.The man was Chief of Police in American Samoa, & we was very pleased by my story,as the boy was his son. It was the l927 Nanking incident that took the MARBLEHEAD to China in the first place.Trouble had been anticipated aapparently-& we were already out as far as Honolulu on a standby basis.Then the Nanking thing happened,& we went out the rest of the way.I think the NOAH was in on it. The american destroyer NOAH had been sent up to Nanking on a plea from some missionares who were in danger from bandits overrunning the area.The American destroyer skipper went over to call on his counterpart on an English destroyer - they agreed & laid down a barrage above the mission-then the missionaries could come out & down to the dock under cover of the barrage.This was successful,& the destroyer took them to safety.In April l97l Rear Admiral James McNally wrote,"I cannot add too much to your wonderful job of research work.Jack loved papers & kept all kinds of papers & notes.That in fact is one of the strongest memories I have of him.I remember sitting in his stateroom & he pouring through a wicker hamper full of notes to locate a paper that would settled a wardroom argument. Jack was very thoughtful & kind to us junior officers.Phillips,Brant,Van Nagell,Florence, & McNally all reported to the MARBLEHEAD azt Pearl Harbor after Naval academy graduation l925. I notice you have not mentioned John E.Florence.He lives in Charleston, South Carolina. You will have to excuse this new automatic typewriter. It writes faster than I can think, & it cannot spell.We all made the Australian cruise together.Then after leave & recreation in New York after we got back we went to the West Indies- Guantanamo & Haiti. I served on the MARBLEHEAD 23 June l925 to 25 June l926. I was first division junior officer. In that job I had lots of contact with John (Jack).John read a lot & had a good grasp of what was going on in the world.Some of his statements were prophetic.(Executive officer) Commander Alex Sharp would ask,"What has the saber-rattler to say today?" The next contact I had with john was at Pearl.Marjorie & I called on you- young John was only a baby.I was stationed at the Navy Yard & was machinery-electrical planning officer.After the attack I became the Salvage Planning officer & was in charge of preparing the plans for raising & repairing the sunken ships.John helped me get the family off to Long Beach,California.Later he assigned me transportation so I could go to Newport News Virginia to fit out & be chief engineer of p.266M YORKTOWN. The "Fighting Lady" was another wonderful ship just like the MARBLEHEAD.#57-#57 Phillips letter MARBLEHEAD l925Lactoris #57 Rear Admiral George L.Phillips of Maine wrote: Dear Mrs. Barrett,I well remember your husband Jack (sometimes known as "Red") from the MARBLEHEAD,which I joined in June,l925 & served in until July l926. I used to stand watches with him in station for several months until I qualified as a top watch stander.I remember the trip he arranged with a New Zealand friend of his (Haskell Anderson of Wellington & Napier) for a party (of which I was one) to spend a few days in Napier.NZ.I believe that Jack & the New Zealander had met in Newport News Virginia at the end of World War I when the latter was on his way home was on his way home from service in Europe (wounded at Gallipoli).We had a splendid cruise to Australia & New Zealand & a wonderful voyage through the south Pacific islands.I remember seeing Jack at Pearl Harbor in late l944 when I was on my way out to Ulithi for the attack on Iwo Jima & Okinawa.I called on him at his office & well remember being at your house for dinner some time in November or December,l944. I brought out a jug of maple syrup to give you.My wife came from Australia where I met her on the cruise in l925.We were married in Montreal,Canada in l928, & Jack was one of two sponsors for her entry permit into the United States.The other was Frank Maeihle (spell?) who was also on the MARBLEHEAD with Jack. I was in ooccasional touch with Captain Shackford before his death in Jamestown a few years ago."

 
 
 
 
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