Posts Tagged ‘Deck Logs’

The Deck Logs and a Memorial Service for a Flier Man

Memorial Ceremony, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Nov 09 2010

The National Memorial Service for the crew of USS Flier might have been back in August, but there are services still happening around the country every day to honor men lost during WWII, and one of the men from USS Flier, electrician’s Mate, Thomas “Sonny” Bohn, will be honored at 11 am on Thursday, November 11 (that’s Veteran’s Day for those paying attention) at the Memorial Shrine in Easton PA.

There were a LARGE number of Flier families originating in that area, so if you can make it, go, and then introduce yourself to Donna Musselman and Terry Bohn, niece and nephew of Thomas Bohn.  All her life, Donna grew up with the photo of her lost uncle displayed at her grandmother’s house, but little could she find out about his loss, until recently.

She, along with her cousin Terry, decided to give her uncle the burial and memorial service he couldn’t have in 1944.  As a veteran who died in military service, he was entitled to a military marker (there’s something I enjoy sending my tax money in to support!) but she still had to raise enough money to purchase the base and pay for the stone erection fees on an existing grave (his parent’s).

She contacted her local news channels and in a few days, not only had her community given enough to pay for the marker’s placement, but also an indetifying tag linking him to his brother (another military veteran buried in the same graveyard) and also found a scholarship in her uncle’s name at his alma mater.

It’s nice to know that even when the world seems to be going crazy (then and now) people still like to draw together as a community to honor those who gave their all so the rest of us could live in peace and freedom.

Thomas "Sonny" Bohn, and the memorial marker being dedicated at the memorial service on Thursday. Rest your Oar, Sailor. And Thank You.

So if you can make it, 11 am, Memorial Shrine, Easton PA.

And below, you’ll see the deck logs for today.  <YAWN>  Actually, I’m sorry to say, most of November is a yawn.  But there are little nuggets that peek through, and when they get REALLY boring, we’ll just talk about other things, like what does a submarine look like inside and out?  How could these men escape a damaged and sunken sub? How can divers and ROVs be used for shipwreck exploration?

The deck log reveals why the Navy is both brillant and annoying. On 7 Novmeber 1944, the only things that happened on Flier was the crew had roll call to make sure they were all there (they were), then they charged the batteries twice during the day and at the end of the day, told the OOD (Officer of the Deck) all about it. I'm sure he was enthralled. And that's what happened, but thanks to Naval paperwork requirements we KNOW that's all that happened (worth official note, that is.)

On 8 November even less happened. They took attendance and stayed moored at the dock all day.

Today, 9 November, they at least took on Battery water. THis is significant, because it indicates that Flier is getting ready to leave to transit to Pearl and real patrol. Battery water had to be purified. Any chemicals at all could cause a problem. At sea (where water trucks are not plentiful) Flier carried filters to make seawater into fresh water, but there was a catch: any salt that got past the filter, if it came into contact with the battery during the daily washings, could react explosively and destroy a submarine. There are a number of submarines whose fates are completely unknown, even from the Japanese records, and a battery explosion is one very likely scenario for their fate. A battery explosion DID happen on USS BONEFISH in 1988, killing 3 men and forcing the submarine into early decommissioning and scrapping.

A fascinating first person account of the USS Bonefish fire.

New information–sort of!

Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
May 17 2010

So I spent the weekend about 600 miles east visiting with the family of one of the USS Flier survivors.  (I was not given permission to say who, but there are seven suspects).  Though he was known as a quiet man, he was, in his own way, fascinated with the story of the Flier, and the contents of his and his wife’s scrapbooks and records yielded such gems as the deck logs (daily accountings of what the Flier was doing, ) the sailing list from the Flier, and even the love telegrams that he sent to his new bride to assure her that he was safe and still loved her.  It really makes me appreciate how easily I can keep in contact with my family today though e-mail, VOIP technology, phone, Facebook…ect.)  To think that this lady, during the first year of her marriage only spent a few days with her new husband, and only got a one line telegram from him every few weeks to let her know that he was still alive is amazing.  That she carefully preserved all of them proves how much these little telegrams were her lifeline.

A part of me wishes that I had found these materials earlier, but things happen when they happen.  The deck logs in particular are amazing since they tell me exactly where Flier was 66 years ago on every day.  Today, for example, she was on a training run which started on the 15th, making practice runs, dives, and emergency procedures.  The officers that recorded today’s activities were Paul Knapp, William Reynolds, and John “Ed” Casey.  Some of these pages are handwritten and so faded that the information is gone.  Someday, I hope I cam make it to the Naval Archives to see the originals, but for now, this is an incredible gold mine!