Bud Ruth, the Calversion’s store keeper for many years, sent me the following amazing artwork and USS Calvert photographs that were originally used to create a t-shirt design (further below). The origin of the map is currently unknown, although I hope to learn more about it’s origins and artist at this year’s reunion.
Click on each image to display a larger-sized version in a new window:
This chart was hand-drawn by Walter “Fred” Cox on the day that the Calvert, part of the US Navy’s Gilbert Operation’s Northern Task Group, crossed the Equator and International Dateline. From Ronnie Cox: “My dad drew that diagram on that day to commemorate the occasion. He couldn’t mail it home because the censors would have confiscated it so he brought it back with him after the war. Sadly Dad passed away in 1967 but I have the original document in my possession.”
The Calvert is listed near the center of the diagram (upper-right quadrant).
The Crossing the Line ceremony was (and still is) held anytime a ship crosses the Equator. In the case of the Calvert, the ship crossed both the Equator (Shellback ceremony) and the International Dateline (Golden Dragon ceremony) on November 15th, 1943 while en route to Makin Island to participate in the Gilberts Campaign. This was the Calvert’s first crossing and was cause for a monumental ceremony, even in the midst of her voyage to her first invasion in the Pacific and under threat from enemy planes and submarines.
The “How The U.S.S. Calvert First Crossed The Line“ (.pdf document) document was produced onboard the ship with a hand-drawn cover. My grandfather, Sterling Funck, received this original copy of the document with his participation in the Crossing the Line ceremony .
The written document itself was compiled by Lt. (jg) Abe Weinberg, ship’s secretary and War Correspondent Harold P. Smith of the Chicago Tribune. These soldiers were members of the US Army’s 165th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division.
The cover (left) of the booklet was designed by Private Peter Metzger of Fresno California, assisted by Sergeants John Gonzales and Joseph Martel of New York City.
Here are several additional photographs and certificates from my grandfather’s collection:
BLANK LINE ……….
The following hand-drawn chart shows the fleet’s position at the time of the crossing. This diagram was sketched by Walter “Fred” Cox while he was on duty as a radarman at the time of the crossing and the ceremony.