December 7, 1941
As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of this “date which will live in infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it on December 8, 1941, explore six little known facts about the USS Arizona and the attack that plunged America into war.
- At 6:54 a. m. (Hawaii Time) The USS Ward sunk a Japanese midget submarine near the entrance to Pearl Harbor.
At the beginning of World War II, Captain William Outerbridge skippered the USS Ward, a re-commissioned ship built during the World War I period. Reportedly in his first command and on his first patrol off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, Outerbridge and the USS Ward detected a Japanese two-man midget submarine near the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The USS Ward detected the midget sub at 6:45 AM and sank it at 6:54 AM, firing the first shots in defense of the U.S. in World War II. Captain Outerbridge was reportedly awarded the Navy Cross for Heroism.
(Sub was located 2002 exactly at location in Outerbridge’s report.)
- At 7:55 a.m. (Hawaii Time) – The United States of America was plunged into World War II
At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time (12:55 p.m. EST) on December 7, 1941, Japanese fighter planes attacked the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, launching one of the deadliest attacks in American history. The assault, which lasted less than two hours, claimed the lives of more than 2,500 people, wounded 1,000 more and damaged or destroyed 18 American ships and nearly 300 airplanes. Almost half of the casualties at Pearl Harbor occurred on the naval battleship USS Arizona, which was hit four times by Japanese bombers.
- Twenty-three sets of brothers died aboard the USS Arizona.
There were 37 confirmed pairs or trios of brothers assigned to the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. Of these 77 men, 62 were killed, and 23 sets of brothers died. Only one full set of brothers, Kenneth and Russell Warriner, survived the attack; Kenneth was away at flight school in San Diego on that day and Russell was badly wounded but recovered. Both members of the ship’s only father-and-son pair, Thomas Augusta Free and his son William Thomas Free, were killed in action. Though family members often served on the same ship before World War II, U.S. officials attempted to discourage the practice after Pearl Harbor. However, no official regulations were established, and by the end of the war hundreds of brothers had fought—and died,—together. The five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, for instance, jointly enlisted after learning that a friend, Bill Ball, had died aboard the USS Arizona; Their only condition upon enlistment was that they be assigned to the same ship. In November 1942, all five siblings were killed in action when their light cruiser, the USS Juneau, was sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
Almost half of the casualties at Pearl Harbor occurred on the naval battleship USS Arizona, which was hit four times by Japanese bombers and eventually sank. Among the 1,177 crewmen killed were all 21 members of the Arizona’s band, known as U.S. Navy Band Unit (NBU) 22. Most of its members were up on deck preparing to play music for the daily flag raising ceremony when the attack began. They instantly moved to man their battle positions beneath the ship’s gun turret. At no other time in American history has an entire military band died in action.
- Fuel continues to leak from the USS Arizona’s wreckage.
December 6, 1941, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel—nearly 1.5 million gallons—in preparation for its scheduled trip to the mainland later that month. The next day, much of it fed the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship following
its attack by Japanese bombers. While the USS Duncan was in at Pearl Harbor for refitting and repairs, Roy Boehm, a 17 year old Navy hardhat diver, was tasked with salvaging the sunken USS Arizona and diving to recover corpses and ammunition. (Boehm would continue in the Navy and eventually be asked by President John F. Kennedy to form the SEALs, thus becoming the First SEAL.)
However, despite the raging fire and ravages of time, some 500,000 gallons are still slowly seeping out of the ship’s submerged wreckage: Nearly 70 years after its demise, the USS Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day. In the mid-1990s, environmental concerns led the National Park Service (NPS) to commission a series of site studies to determine the long-term effects of the oil leakage.
Some scientists have warned of a possible “catastrophic” eruption of oil from the wreckage, which they believe would cause extensive damage to the Hawaiian shoreline and disrupt U.S. naval functions in the area. The NPS and other governmental agencies continue to monitor the deterioration of the wreck site but are reluctant to perform extensive repairs or modifications due to the Arizona’s role as a “war grave.” In fact, the oil that often coats the surface of the water surrounding the ship has added an emotional gravity for many who visit the memorial and is sometimes referred to as the “tears of the Arizona,” or “black tears.”
- Some former crew-members have chosen the USS Arizona as their final resting place.
The bonds between the crew-members of the USS Arizona have lasted far beyond the ship’s loss on December 7, 1941. Since 1982, the U.S. Navy has allowed survivors of the USS Arizona to be interred in the ship’s wreckage upon their deaths. Following a full military funeral at the Arizona memorial, the cremated remains are placed in an urn and then deposited by divers beneath one of the Arizona’s gun turrets. To date, more than 30 Arizona crewmen who survived Pearl Harbor have chosen the ship as their final resting place. Crew-members who served on the ship prior to the attack may have their ashes scattered above the wreck site, and those who served on other vessels stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, may have their ashes scattered above their former ships. There are 6 living survivors as of today, 28 Sep 2016. Several have decided to be buried on the Arizona.
After the USS Arizona sank, its superstructure and main armament were salvaged and reused to support the war effort, leaving its hull, two gun turrets and the remains of more than 1,000 crewmen submerged in less than 40 feet of water. In 1949 the Pacific War Memorial Commission was established to create a permanent tribute to those who had lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor, but it was not until 1958 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation to create a national memorial. The funds to build it came from both the public sector and private donors, including one unlikely source. In March 1961, entertainer Elvis Presley, who had recently finished a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, performed a benefit concert at Pearl Harbor’s Block Arena that raised over $50,000—more than 10 percent of the USS Arizona Memorial’s final cost. The monument was officially dedicated on May 30, 1962, and attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.
It was at last my senior year in high school. We were so excited to be graduating at the end of this school year. We had several new teachers that year because the school had enlarged. One of the new teachers was a Chemistry teacher named Mr. Outerbridge. None of us knew at the time he would change our lives as he had the lives of many others 30 years prior.
Let me introduce you to Mr. Outerbridge. He was an older gentleman probably about mid 70’s in age. He always had a lot of neat stories to tell when we completed our chemistry lessons for the day. William Woodward Outerbridge was born in Hong Kong, China, on 14 April 1906. He matriculated at MMI from Middleport, Ohio, and graduated from the high school program in 1923. A member of “E” Company, he was a cadet private and held membership in the Yankee Club and, ironically, in the Stonewall Jackson Literary Society. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, in the Class of 1927.
One day in December he told us we would take a break from Chemistry. He needed to tell us a true story about himself and Pearl Harbor. Of course all of us thought we knew all about Pearl Harbor since we have been taught about that since our earliest memories. Little did we know we had a true war hero in our midst. That man was Captain William Woodward Outerbridge, Captain of the USS Ward. The Ward was advised by the USS CONDOR that a mini-sub was headed to the entry channel of the port of Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.
At the beginning of World War II, Captain Outerbridge skippered the USS Ward, a recommissioned ship built during the World War I period. Reportedly in his first command and on his first patrol off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, Outerbridge and the USS Ward detected a Japanese two-man midget submarine near the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The USS Ward detected the midget sub at 6:45 AM and sank it at 6:54 AM, firing the first shots in defense of the U.S. in World War II. Captain Outerbridge was reportedly awarded the Navy Cross for Heroism.
Noted for firing the first shots in defense of the United States during World War II – just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – then Captain William W. Outerbridge served as the skipper of the destroyer USS Ward. He reported the action and the sinking of the submarine before the attack by Japan.
During World War II, Captain Outerbridge served in both the Pacific and the Atlantic, taking part in operations at Pearl Harbor, Normandy and Cherbourg, France, and at Ormoc, Mindoro, Lingayon Gulf and Okinawa. He also participated in the carrier task force strikes against Tokyo and the Japanese mainland.
Outerbridge later both attended and taught at the Naval War College; he also taught at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. William Outerbridge retired from the Navy in 1957 as a Rear Admiral (RADM).
RADM Outerbridge married the former Grace Fulwood of Tifton, Georgia. They were the parents of three sons. The Admiral died on 20 September 1986. His last address was Tifton, Georgia.
In 2002, the submarine was discovered in 1200 feet of water off Pearl Harbor with the shell holes in the coning tower confirmed Outerbridge’s report.
(This information is presented from this author’s personal conversations with RADM Outerbridge, from her notes and from personal research. Additional information may be located in the Eisenhower Library Papers, the USN Archives re: investigation of the sinking of the mini sub.)
Name: James Bond Stockdale
Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy, pilot
Unit: CAG 16, USS ORISKANY (CVA 34)
Date of Birth: 23 December 1923
Home City of Record: Abingdon IL
Date of Loss: 09 September 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 193400N 1065800E (WG839635)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
By midsummer 1964 events were taking place in the Gulf of Tonkin that would lead to the first clash between U.S. and North Vietnamese forces. In late July the destroyer USS MADDOX, on patrol in the gulf gathering intelligence had become the object of communist attention. For two consecutive days, 31 July-1 August, the MADDOX cruised unencumbered along a pre-designated route off the North Vietnamese coast. In the early morning hours of 2 August, however, it was learned from intelligence sources of a possible attack against the destroyer. The attack by three North Vietnamese P-4 torpedo boats (PT boats) materialized just after 4:00 p.m. on August 2. The MADDOX fired off three warning volleys, then opened fire. Four F-8 Crusaders led by Commander James B. Stockdale from the aircraft carrier USS TICONDEROGA, also took part in the skirmish. The result of the twenty-minute affair saw one gunboat sunk and another crippled. The MADDOX, ordered out of the gulf after the incident concluded, was hit by one 14.5mm shell.
A day later the MADDOX accompanied by the destroyer USS C. TURNER JOY, received instructions to re-enter the gulf and resume patrol. The USS CONSTELLATION, on a Hong Kong port visit was ordered to join the TICONDEROGA stationed at the mouth of the gulf in the South China Sea. The two destroyers cruised without incident on August 3 and in the daylight hours of August 4 moved to the middle of the gulf. Parallel to the movements of the C. TURNER JOY and MADDOX, South Vietnamese gunboats launched attacks on several North Vietnamese radar installations. The North Vietnamese believed the U.S. destroyers were connected with these strikes. At 8:41 p.m. on August 4 both destroyers reportedly picked up fast-approaching contacts on their radars. Navy documents show the ships changed course to avoid the unknown vessels, but the contacts continued intermittently. At 10:39 p.m. when the MADDOX and C. TURNER JOY radars indicated one enemy vessel had closed to within seven thousand yards, the C. TURNER JOY was ordered to open fire and the MADDOX soon followed. For the next several hours, the destroyers, covered by the TICONDEROGA’s and the CONSTELLATION’s aircraft, reportedly evaded torpedoes and fired on their attackers.
Historians have debated, and will continue to do so, whether the destroyers were actually ever attacked. Most of the pilots flying that night spotted nothing. Stockdale, who would later earn the Medal of Honor, stated that a gunboat attack did not occur. The skipper of the TICONDEROGA’s Attack Squadron 56, Commander Wesley L. McDonald, said he “didn’t see anything that night except the MADDOX and the TURNER JOY.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson reacted at once to the supposed attacks on the MADDOX, ordering retaliatory strikes on strategic points in North Vietnam. Even as the President spoke to the nation, aircraft from the CONSTELLATION and TICONDEROGA were airborne and heading for four major PT-boat bases along the North Vietnamese coast. The area of coverage ranged from a small base at Quang Khe 50 miles north of the demarcation line between North and South Vietnam, to the large base at Hon Gai in the north.
On August 5, 1964, Stockdale led a flight of sixteen aircraft from the TICONDEROGA on the Vinh petroleum storage complex at 1:30 p.m. in response to the presidential directive to destroy gunboats and supporting facilities in North Vietnam which the President indicated were used in the attack on the MADDOX. The results saw 90 percent of the storage facility at Vinh go up in flames. Meanwhile, other coordinated attacks were made by aircraft from the CONSTELLATION on nearby Ben Thuy Naval Base, Quang Khe, Hon Me Island and Hon Gai’s inner harbor. Skyraiders, Skyhawks and F8s bombed and rocketed the four areas, destroying or damaging an estimated twenty-five PT-boats, more than half of the North Vietnamese force.
Air wing command was usually placed in the hands of an individual who had completed a tour as squadron commander of an attack or fighter unit. The CAG was typically a better than average pilot with a solid record of performance, and more than likely he was a pretty fair politician. By another definition, he’d survived in a profession unforgiving of error.
On his second Vietnam tour, CDR James B. Stockdale was the commander of Air Wing 16 onboard the USS ORISKANY. He had led the successful strike off the TICONDEROGA against the petroleum storage facility at Vinh on August 4, 1964. On one mission, he had the canopy blown off his aircraft and had to ditch in the Gulf of Tonkin where he was rescued. Then on September 9, 1965 flying an A4E Skyhawk, he led another strike mission over North Vietnam. A major strike had been scheduled against the Thanh Hoa (“Dragon Jaw”) bridge, and the weather was so critical there was a question whether to launch. Finally the decision was to launch. Halfway through, weather reconnaissance reported the weather in the target area was zero, and Stockdale had no choice but to send the aircraft on secondary targets.
Stockdale and his wingman, CDR Wynn Foster, circled the Gulf of Tonkin while another strike element departed to look for a SAM site at their secondary target. Had anything been found, Wynn and Stockdale were to join them. After fifteen minutes or so, the other group came up empty. The group made the decision to hit a secondary target, a railroad facility near the city of Thanh Hoa.
CDR Stockdale’s aircraft was hit by flak and he ejected, landing in a village. His wingman saw the parachute go down, but could not see what was happening to Stockdale on the ground. On a low pass, Foster saw that the villagers were brutally beating Stockdale. There was nothing he could do. The village was an unauthorized target. Throughout the rest of the war, Foster carried the guilt of being unable to do something to help CDR Stockdale.
James Stockdale was captured by the Vietnamese and taken to Hanoi, where he spent the next seven and one-half years as a prisoner of war. He had briefed his pilots during the period he was CAG on the ORISKANY that the Code of Conduct would apply to anyone captured. There had been some dispute about the validity of the Code in Vietnam, an undeclared war. American POWs who had flown with Stockdale had no doubt as to what was expected of them as prisoners. The knowledge, however, was a two-edged sword–on one hand, the captives were glad to understand the guidelines. On the other, when they “broke” (which inevitably they did), immense guilt and shame ensued. Eventually, as they communicated with one another, everyone understood that they had only to do their best.
It was not possible to resist utterly and survive. A few who cooperated with the enemy “above and beyond” what was considered appropriate, received special treatment from their guards in return. These men were despised by other POWs who were doing their best to adhere to the Code of Conduct. Upon his return, Jim Stockdale accused two POWs of mutiny. Official charges were never brought against these men, or any others similarly accused.
During his captivity, Stockdale was considered to be a troublemaker by the Vietnamese. As a senior officer, Stockdale developed a policy of behavior for the POWs called “BACK US.” The policy provided guidance on such things as propaganda broadcasts, bowing to guards, and unity, thwarting the “obedience” the Vietnamese tried to extract from the American POWs. The POWs were shuffled from one camp to another, many times based on “unsatisfactory” behavior; many were held long periods in solitary confinement; many were tortured in “interrogation” sessions.
In early 1969, one of the POWs became ill and was in great pain at a camp known as Alcatraz, located some ten blocks from the famed Hoa Lo (Hanoi Hilton). The man was receiving no medical care, and fellow prisoners put the pressure on. What ensued might be called a prison riot. The efforts did bring a doctor to the ill POW’s cell, although the doctor did nothing to ease his pain. The next morning, Stockdale organized a forty-eight hour fast to demand medical attention for the ailing officer. The next evening each prisoner was interrogated and on the morning of January 27, Stockdale was taken away to another prison center. Finally, on February 12, 1973, Jim Stockdale was released from prisoner of war camps and sent home.
(Stockdale is second man on the left.)
In all, 591 Americans were released. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held. It’s time we brought our men home.
Retired Navy VADM James B. Stockdale, Medal of Honor recipient, former Viet Nam prisoner of war (POW), naval aviator and test pilot, academic, and American hero died July 5, 2005, at his home in Coronado, Calif. He was 81 years old and had been battling Alzheimer’s disease.
Former U.S. senator Adm. Jeremiah Denton, who died at age 89 on 28 March 2014, was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in a service highlighted by the reading of a letter from George H.W. Bush, the appearance and testimonies of fellow Vietnam POWS and attendance by two U.S. senators and a member of the House who shared time with him at the “Hanoi Hilton,” the infamous torture chamber that Denton defied. He wrote a classic – “When Hell Was in Session” that included accounts of his later service in the U.S. Senate with President Ronald Reagan.
Among those in attendance were Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, a fellow POW; and Capt. Red McDaniel, author of “Scars and Stripes” and also a fellow POW at the Hanoi Hilton.
Bush’s written tribute said: “We do have heroes … Adm. Jeremiah Denton … was a hero in the truest sense of the word.”
Denton was laid to rest not far from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Four of those years in incarceration were in solitary confinement where he endured starvation and torture in horrendous conditions.
He tells the story in his book “When Hell Was in Session.”
In 1980, he became the first Republican elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama since Reconstruction. He was a strong supporter of the traditional family and chaired a subcommittee on internal security and terrorism that focused on communist threats.
Reagan, who relied on him for advice on foreign policy, lauded Denton in his 1982 State of the Union address.
“We don’t have to turn to our history books for heroes. They are all around us. One who sits among you here tonight epitomized that heroism at the end of the longest imprisonment ever inflicted on men of our armed forces,” Reagan said.
“Who will ever forget that night when we waited for the television to bring us the scene of that first plane landing at Clark Field in the Philippines – bringing our POWs home? The plane door opened and Jeremiah Denton came slowly down the ramp. He caught sight of our flag, saluted, and said, ‘God Bless America,’ then thanked us for bringing him home.”
He died in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at Sentara Hospice House, said his son, Jeremiah A. Denton 3rd. He is also survived by his second wife, Mary Belle Bordone, four other sons, William, Donald, James and Michael; two daughters, Madeleine Doak and Mary Beth Hutton; a brother, Leo; 14 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
In “When Hell Was in Session,” Jeremiah Denton, the senior American officer to serve as a Vietnam POW, tells the amazing story of nearly eight years of abuse, neglect and torture. This historic book takes readers behind the closed doors of the Vietnamese prison to see how the men fought back against all odds and against all kinds of evil. It’s available today at a special price.
Denton achieved widespread recognition during his imprisonment. In an internationally televised press conference in 1966 staged by the North Vietnamese for propaganda purposes, he answered the interviewer’s questions while simultaneously blinking, in Morse code, the message “T-O-R-T-U-R-E.” The message confirmed to the U.S. for the first time that U.S. POWs were being tortured in captivity.
Further, he shocked his captors when answering questions about what he thought of U.S. actions.
“I don’t know what is going on in the war now because the only sources I have access to are North Vietnam radio, magazine and newspapers, but whatever the position of my government is, I agree with it, I support it, and I will support it as long as I live.”
When he returned on Feb. 12, 1973, he landed at Clark Air Force Base, walked to a waiting microphone and said: “We are honored to have the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our commander-in-chief and to our nation for this day. God bless America.”
He explained how he survived when so many didn’t. “My principal battle with the North Vietnamese was a moral one, and prayer was my prime source of strength,” he said.
The Navy Cross was among the recognitions for his service.
Reagan showed profound respect for Denton.
“Jerry and I came into office in the same year, 1981, and for the last four-and-a-half years, he’s been a pillar of support for our efforts to keep America strong and free and true,” Reagan said. “He’s been rated the most conservative senator by the National Journal. That’s my kind of senator,” Reagan said. “His voting record has been rated 100 percent by the American Conservative Union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Conservatives Against Liberal Legislation – I like the name of that one – The National Alliance of Senior Citizens, the Christian Voters Victory Fund, and some others.”
Reagan also noted a poll by the magazine Conservative Digest ranked Denton as the second most admired senator. “Now, knowing Jerry, he’s probably wondering where he slipped up,” Reagan quipped.
His humanitarian work, however, began in his Senate years with the Denton Program, which allowed the U.S. military to haul humanitarian aid on a space-available basis at no cost to the donor. The program now is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the State Department and Defense Department.
His foundation summed up his life in a statement last year.
“It is his belief in, and knowing of God, that is his pillar. This is the central guiding force in his life not only today, but throughout his life,” the foundation said. “Especially in the small, dark jail cell as a POW … for over seven years during the Vietnam war.”
Born in Mobile, Alabama, on July 15, 1924, his mother and father divorced in 1938. That experience, he said, was one reason why he became such a strong advocate for the nuclear family. ”
He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1946 and earned a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 1964.
He married his first wife, the former Kathryn Jane Maury of Mobile, in June 1946, and had seven children with her.
In 2007, they moved from near Mobile to Williamsburg, Virginia, to be closer to some of their children. Mrs. Denton died Nov. 22, 2007, at 81.
His book, “When Hell was in Session,” begins with the shock he experienced upon his return to the United States in 1973 to find his beloved nation had drastically changed since his capture in 1965.
“I saw the appearance of X-rated movies, adult magazines, massage parlors, the proliferation of drugs, promiscuity, pre-marital sex, and unwed mothers.”
That scenario, he wrote, was coupled with “the tumultuous post-war Vietnam political events, starting with Congress forfeiting our military victory, thus betraying our victorious American and allied servicemen and women, who had won the war at great cost of blood and sacrifice.”
Reagan’s ‘amazing lift’
Denton wrote that when he began his Senate service he was not optimistic, recognizing he was “joining a Congress that had voted to sell out the freedom-loving people of South Vietnam, a Congress that voted, in spite of our military victory, to abandon Southeast Asia to the Communists.”
But he received an “an amazing lift” to his “morale and hopes” when President Reagan took him aside to tell him of his great admiration and respect and to invite him to call on him personally if he had anything he believed the president needed to hear.
Denton took up Reagan on his offer, hatching a plan to thwart the rise of communism in Latin American led by Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega, who was riding a wave of popularity in U.S. media and academia even as he worked to spread revolution to El Salvador.
Denton secured permission from the State Department to divert a scheduled trip to El Salvador and, instead, fly to Nicaragua to put Ortega’s boasts of freedom and democracy to the test.
Denton described his ambitious venture as a nervy game of single-hand poker with Nicaragua’s leadership. With confidence borne from dealing with “similar people” during his eight years of communist captivity, he held his own, warning Nicaragua’s startled regime, face to face, that any further acts of aggression would be met with a “reaction from the United States under President Reagan different from what you found under President Johnson in North Vietnam.”
Later, Denton found himself in the Oval Office with Reagan, proposing a comprehensive strategy for confronting communism in Latin America that the president accepted and successfully implemented.
Denton observed that since Reagan’s time, “things have not gone as well.”
“One malady continues to worsen: the on-going influence exerted by the misinformation campaign waged by the liberal media/academic community continues to confuse the citizenry,” he wrote.
In an interview in 2009, Denton said one of the problems he saw at the time was the disdain for “ideology” by many of the nation’s most influential leaders and lawmakers. “They are acting like ideology shouldn’t be the point for any discussion of policy,” he said, with energy in his voice belying his 85 years. “[Balderdash!] Ideology is the basis for which you evaluate any policy.”
The most basic principle that distinguishes America as a nation, he said, is the Declaration of Independence’s assertion that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with inalienable rights. “Nobody is interpreting rights now in terms of the Creator,” he said. “He endowed the rights.”
President Obama, Denton contended, was usurping the rights of God, “as did Hitler and Stalin and the emperors of Rome.”
“They all had gods – but when they didn’t have good enough gods to constitute a culture, they went to hell,” Denton told WND. “And we are too, if we continue to believe that man, all of us individually, or our government, can determine what the rights are and set up everything else to match that. We’re done.”
Denton said he believed the U.S. is in its worst security position since World War II, when Hitler was sweeping across Europe.
He explained that in the aftermath of that war, the U.S. didn’t have to worry as much about its conventional weapons and forces because of its nuclear might and the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” with the Soviet Union.
But now, he said, with a decreasing percentage of America’s GDP devoted to defense – coupled with China’s and Russia’s buildup of conventional forces – America’s security is at risk.
“If Russia were to take over first Georgia, then Ukraine – and maybe China moves into India – we couldn’t go there with a conventional force and stop that, and we wouldn’t have the guts to use nuclear, for good reason,” he said. Denton said that while the military leaders with whom he spoke agreed with his analysis, President Obama didn’t recognize the problem. “We don’t really have the proper national intelligence the way we used to have,” he said. “We had people like Clare Boothe Luce and brilliant people from many different fields come in, but we don’t do that anymore. It’s done on a haphazard basis.”
Grace Murray Hopper was born Grace Brewster Murray in New York City. She was the oldest in a family of three children. She was curious as a child, a lifelong trait; at the age of seven she decided to determine how an alarm clock worked, and dismantled seven alarm clocks before her mother realized what she was doing (she was then limited to one clock). For her preparatory school education, she attended the Hartridge School in Plainfield, New Jersey. Rejected for early admission to Vassar College at age 16 (her test scores in Latin were too low), she was admitted the following year.
Young Grace’s diligence and hard work paid off when in 1928 at the age of 22 she was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College. She then attended Yale University, where she received an MA degree in Mathematics and Physics in 1930 and a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1934. Hopper began teaching mathematics at Vassar in 1931 where her first year’s salary was $800. She stayed there until she joined the United States Naval Reserve in December 1943.
Upon graduation, she was commissioned a LTJG and ordered to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University. There she became the first programmer on the Navy’s Mark I computer, the mechanical miracle of its day. Hopper’s love of gadgets caused her to immediately fall for the biggest gadget she’d ever seen, the fifty-one foot long, 8 foot high, 8 foot wide, glass-encased mound of bulky relays, switches and vacuum tubes called the Mark I. This miracle of modern science could store 72 words and perform three additions every second.
Grace’s love affair with the Mark I ended in a few short years when the UNIVAC I, operating a thousand times faster, won her affections.
In 1946, Grace Murray Hopper was released from active duty and joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where her work continued on the Mark II and Mark III computers for the Navy. In 1949 she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in Philadelphia-later called Sperry Rand-where she designed the first commercial large-scale electronic computer called the UNIVAC I.
Grace Murray Hopper changed the lives of everyone in the computer industry by developing the Bomarc system, later called COBOL (common-business-oriented language). COBOL made it possible for computers to respond to words rather than numbers. Hopper often jokingly explained, “It really came about because I couldn’t balance my checkbook.”
Murray Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Commander at the end of 1966. She was recalled to active duty in August of 1967 for what was supposed to be a six-month assignment at the request of Norman Ream, then Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy for Automatic Data Processing. After the six months were up, her orders were changed to say her services would be needed indefinitely. She was promoted to Captain in 1973 by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations. In 1977, she was appointed special advisor to Commander, Naval Data Automation Command (NAVDAC), where she stayed until she retired.
In 1983, a bill was introduced by Rep. Philip Crane (D-Ill.) who said, “It is time the Navy recognized the outstanding contributions made by this officer (Admiral Grace Hopper) recalled from retirement over a decade and a half ago and promote her to the rank of Commodore.” Rep. Crane became interested in Grace Murray Hopper after seeing her March 1983 60 Minutes interview. He’d never met Hopper, but after speaking with several people, was convinced she was due the added status of being a flag officer. The bill was approved by the House, and at the age of 76, she was promoted to Commodore by special Presidential appointment. Her rank was elevated to rear admiral in November 1985, making her one of few women admirals in the history of the United States Navy.
On 27 September 1985, the Navy Regional Data Automation Center (now the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station), San Diego, broke ground on a 135,577 square foot data processing facility, The Grace Murray Hopper Service Center. The building contains a data processing center as well as training facilities, teleconferencing capabilities, telecommunications and expanded customer service areas. A small room-sized museum contains numerous artifacts, awards and citations that Hopper received during her lengthy career. The guest visitor’s book contains the names of some prominent people paying homage to the computer pioneer. There is also a Grace Murray Hopper Center for Computer Learning at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, where she spent her childhood summers.
She retired (involuntarily) from the Navy on August 14, 1986. At a celebration held in Boston on the USS Constitution to celebrate her retirement, Hopper was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat decoration awarded by the Department of Defense. At the time of her retirement, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the United States Navy (79 years, eight months and five days), and aboard the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy (188 years, nine months and 23 days). (Admirals William D. Leahy, Chester W. Nimitz, Hyman G. Rickover and Charles Stewart were the only other officers in the Navy’s history to serve on active duty at a higher age. Leahy and Nimitz served on active duty for life due to their promotions to the rank of fleet admiral.)
Three hundred of her friends and admirers and thirty family members were there to watch as the end came to her 43-year Naval career. As then Secretary of the Navy John Lehman said in his speech, “I’m reminded of that famous story by P.T. Barnum. About the turn of the century, his principle attraction, the human cannonball, came to P.T. Barnum and said, Mr. Barnum, I just can’t take it any longer. Two performances a day and four on weekends are just too much. I’m quitting.’ Barnum said, You can’t possibly quit. Where will I find someone else of your caliber?’ They realized Hopper was irreplaceable.”
In her retirement speech, instead of dwelling on the past, she talked about moving toward the future, stressing the importance of leadership. “Our young people are the future. We must provide for them. We must give them the positive leadership they’re looking for…You manage things; you lead people.” It was at her retirement in 1986 that she was presented the highest award given by the Department of Defense – the Defense Distinguished Service Medal – one of innumerable awards she received from both the Navy and industry.
Other awards include the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the National Medal of Technology, awarded last September by President George Bush. She also received the first computer sciences “man of the year” award from the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA) in 1969. Other achievements include retiring from the Navy as a Rear Admiral and the oldest serving officer at that time, and being the first woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale University. For a CAPT Grace Hopper, Head of the Navy Programming Section of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OP-911F), at work in her office in August 1976. She was the first Naval Reserve woman to be called back to active duty.
Retirement didn’t slow Admiral Grace Hopper down. Shortly thereafter, she became a Senior Consultant to Digital Equipment Corporation where she was active until about 18 months before her death. She functioned in much the same capacity she did when she was in the Navy, traveling on lecture tours around the country, speaking at engineering forums, colleges, universities and computer seminars passing on the message that managers shouldn’t be afraid of change. In her opinion, “the most damaging phrase in the language is We’ve always done it this way.'”
Grace said in many of her speeches, “I always promise during my talks that if anyone in the audience says during the next 12 months, ‘But we’ve always done it that way,’ I will immediately materialize beside him and haunt him for the next 24 hours and see if I could get him to take a second look.” Embracing the unconventional, the clock in her office ran counterclockwise.
Grace’s favorite age group to address was young people between the ages of 17 and 20. She believed they know more, they question more and they learn more than people in what she called the “in-between years”, ages 40 to 45. She always placed very high importance on America’s youth. Hopper often said, “working with the youth is the most important job I’ve done. It’s also the most rewarding.” This seems perfectly natural since she spent all her adult life teaching others.
Grace Murray Hopper was a big hit at the Navy Micro Conference. She loved to tell the story of how the conference started because it supported her famous saying, “It’s always easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”
Here’s the story:
A sailor in the Pacific fleet built a computer aboard ship. A picture of the computer appeared in Navy Times where a rear admiral saw it. He wrote the sailor a letter of encouragement. The sailor decided to answer the rear admiral directly, telling him exactly what was wrong with computers in the Pacific fleet and what could be done using microcomputers. (The computer mentality at that time was geared around mainframes.)
As events evolved, the sailor was transferred to the Navy Regional Data Automation Center (NARDAC) in Norfolk, Virginia (now called Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station LAN) where his technical expertise could be fully utilized. He was part of the team that birthed the first microcomputer conference in 1982. A five point plan was developed that centered around the microcomputer contracts. It provided other needed services for users, including the ability to communicate via a conference.
What started off as a small seminar for 400 people the first year has grown into a full-blown conference, averaging over a thousand attendees every year. It wasn’t until the third year that the conference became completely legal.
Grace Hopper was a keynote speaker for the conference in its earlier years, drawing a standing-room-only crowd. Although she had a standard keynote speech, stressing the same message over and over, people were fascinated by her. Her lectures challenged management to keep pace. The Navy Micro Conference still goes on today, alternating between the east and west coasts, still stressing Hopper’s unique message to the world: Be innovative, open minded and give people the freedom to try new things.
Hopper enchanted her audiences with tales of the computer evolution and her uncanny ability to predict the trends of the future. Many of her predictions came true right before her eyes as industry built more powerful, more compact machines and developed the operating systems and software that matched her visions. Some of her more innovative ideas include using computers to track the lifecycle of crop eating locusts, building a weather computer, managing water reserves so that everyone would have a fair share and tracking the waves at the bottom of the ocean. She also thought every ship should have a computer that the crew could play with and learn to use.
Admiral Hopper was observed at the Navy Micro ’87. She passed by with her entourage, smoking a filter-less Lucky Strike cigarette as she often did. People could be heard whispering, “There she is,” as she passed by. The initial impression of her was that of a friendly, grandmotherly-type woman who looked almost frail. Those words don’t exactly describe the public side of Grace Hopper. She was described by one reporter as a “feisty old salt who gave off an aura of power.” This held true in her dealings with top brass, subordinates and interviewers – always interested in getting to the bottom line.
Eighty-five-year-old Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper who dedicated her life to the Navy passed away on 1 January 1992. As a pioneer Computer Programmer and co-inventor of COBOL, she was known as the Grand Lady of Software, Amazing Grace and Grandma COBOL. She’ll be remembered for her now famous sayings, one of which is “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”
Her insight into the future will stay with us even though she’s gone. Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 59, lot 973.
They come forth causing only strife.
For life has been so hard you see
Keeping others from loving me.
Walking through forest, glade and hill,
waiting, watching, wondering still
Will there be a time for us
Or will we simply turn to dust
While living with these facts, so true
It’s helpful that you know them too.
For times may come I can’t preclude
Causing stressful interludes,
Where memories return to facts so real
One wonders if they’ll ever heal
Healing after years of waiting,
During these times often hating
The events that caused the memories to form
Are always extremely far from the norm
Change them if I could? You ask.
No, I would never choose that task.
For the sacrifices once made by me
Were made to set many others free
And if events present a new
I’ll be right there to fight with you
The memories of the new inlayed
Upon the ones already made
Even then I will not cave
Provided we don’t see the grave.
LCDR Roy H. Boehm was born in Brooklyn New York. Boehm enlisted in the Navy in April 1941 at the age of seventeen and saw action in the Pacific theater of operation during WWII from February 1942 until the conclusion of the war in 1945. He participated in recovery of corpses and munitions from the USS Arizona while his ship, the USS Duncan, was being repaired and refitted at Pearl Harbor. He is a survivor of one of the largest “all surface” sea engagements of World War II, the Battle of Cape Esperance at Guadalcanal. Boehm was serving on the destroyer Duncan (DD 485) when the ship received fifty-eight 6″ and 8″ shell hits at point-blank range before going down. He saved a teammate from burning to death by jumping in the ocean and later he had to fight off sharks which eventually killed the sailor he saved. Boehm also participated in the following campaigns and engagements: Battle of the Coral Sea, Bouganville, Truk, Green Island, Emeru, Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. He was engaged in supplying ammunitions to the guerrillas in the Philippines and saw action in Kerama Reto and Okinawa. LCDR Boehm also saw action in the Korean conflict and the war in Vietnam.
While serving in the US Navy, Boehm attained the following qualifications: unlimited deep-sea diving, deep submergence rescue chamber operator for submarine rescue, experimental diving, and salvage diving. He is a qualified Underwater Demolition Expert, and was test pilot for underwater swimmer propulsion units. Boehm is a graduate of Airborne and Ranger Training. In early 1961, under a Presidential Two priority received from President John F Kennedy, Boehm developed, designed, implemented, and led the Navy’s commando organization known as the SEALs. He was the first Officer in Charge (OIC) of SEAL Team Two.
Boehm assisted in the design and implementation of the Navy’s first counterinsurgency course, for which he received the Navy Achievement Medal. Following this, he was named head of the Navy’s River Patrol Craft Division. There he developed tactical procedures, organized, and trained River Patrol Boat sailors for Operation Gamewarden in Vietnam.
LCDR Roy Boehm is authorized to wear the following medals and awards: Bronze Star with combat “V”, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Presidential Unit Citation (1942), Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (1967), Navy Good Conduct Medal with 3 Stars, China Service Medal, American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal w/1 Silver Star/1 Bronze Star/ 1 Arrow Head, Victory Medal WW II, WWII Occupation Medal Navy, National Defense Service Medal with 1 Bronze Star, Korean Service Medal w/2 Bronze Stars, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, US Vietnam Service Medal, Philippines Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Philippine Liberation Medal, United Nations Korean Medal, United Nations Medal, RVHJ Campaign Medal with Date, USN Expert Rifle Medal, USN Expert Pistol Medal.
Roy Boehm passed away at the age of 84 on December 30, 2008. Roy’s last wish, that his death not be publicized. He wanted no obituary, no funeral service and no fanfare over his death. Boehm was most proud of a plaque mounted on his wall: “Roy Boehm, Man-O-Warsman.” That honor was bestowed on him by the men who served under his command. “It’s the highest compliment you can get,” Boehm had said.
LCDR Roy Boehm is frequently mentioned in Richard Marcinko’s books. Boehm can be seen in the video program “The Tides Of Specwar”. Roy Boehm and Chuck Sasser have written Roy’s autobiography. “FIRST SEAL” is published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books division. It is one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. It was a pleasure to read and was written so one could visualize the actions while reading.
(Some of this information was retrieved on 10.17.2013 from www.navysealteams.com, and Wikipedia, along with my own reading of his autobiography and our private personal correspondence from 2001.)