Category Archives: WWII

Virgil Nelson’s (BM, 1946) Model of the USS Calvert

Virgil Nelson, 90, Shreve, Ohio, served aboard the USS Calvert as a Boats’n Mate during Operation Magic Carpet in 1946. Prior to joining the Calvert, Virgil served aboard an LST (landing ship tank) and “Island Hopped” along with the Calvert in the Pacific. He was one of the last men aboard the Calvert after she returned to Norfolk following the War.

As a long-time model ship builder, Virgil kept meticulous notes during his time aboard the Calvert. Beginning in the mid-1950s he began work to build a model of the Calvert so that he could better explain what type of ship the Calvert was to his family and friends. His work on the Calvert model took over five years and on-thousand hours, with most of the work taking place during the wintertime.

Virgil spent his post-year wars working in newspaper production in Wooster, Ohio, building countless ship and boat models, and spending summers with his family on the water and vacationing at his cabin in Canada.

Virgil, with the help of his grandson, was generous in sending a selection of the many photographs that he took while he spent his time building the Calvert model. Also included are a few articles and notes written by Virgil.

The model is nearly 47 inches in length, and is displayed under a glass case in Virgil’s home, among the many other ship and boat models that he has hand-crafted over the years.

Updates to WWII Medical Crew Photos

Two new officers identified in the photos further below:

Dr. Dwight A. Callagan (1917-1992)  … “who was probable a LTJG at the time. He said he was a beachhead doctor on several landings and got the Bronze Star for action on Saipan (He is also mentioned in the History of the Calvert on your website on page 12 of Citations when he received the Bronze Star) and other landings (additional information on page 12, Citations).  I saw a film clip on your site a few years ago with him named as Dr. Callahan shot by a think a Chaplin on the ship.

He retired as a Capt. from the medical corp in 1971 after a remarkable career as a surgeon, researcher and hospital administrator’  He is still in Who is Who in medicine all these years later for his research and invention of the ultrasonic dopler. He retired in 1971 but a google search for him still brings up medical research articles written by him in AMA Journals in the 1960s.”  – Wayne Callagan

Dr. John R. Palmer Jr. “…He served for 19 months as a medical officer aboard the Calvert. He was a 1942 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where he returned after discharge from the Navy in 1946. He was in private practice in Augusta from 1947 until he returned to active duty in the Navy in 1952. He remained on active duty until 1967, serving at Navy hospitals in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, California and Alaska. He passed away April 17, 1985, at age 69 at his home in Waynesboro, Georgia.” – Ben Palmer 

 

USS Calvert WWII Pacific Cruise Map & Ship Photographs

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:

USS Calvert - Late 1940s - 1 USS Calvert - Late 1940s - 2

USS Calvert Pacific Cruise TShirt Art Work

Hilmer Anderson, S1c, ’44 – ’46 – Freedom Honor Flight Newspaper Article; Honor Wall

Here’s a great newspaper article from the Westby Times (WI) on Mr. Hilmer Anderson’s experiences aboard the USS Calvert from ’44 to ’46 and his visit to Washington, DC in early May 2015 via the Freedom Honor Flight non-profit organization.  There are several photographs in this article showing Mr. Anderson, his honor wall, and a new (to me) picture of the Calvert from either late ’45 or early ’46.

The Freedom Honor Flight group also has an excellent video highlighting the flight to Washington, DC that Mr Hilmer participated earlier this year.

March 2017 Update; I am sad to pass along the news that Hilmer passed away in August of 2016. Here is a link to Hilmer’s obituary.

Here are several pictures provided to me by Mr. Anderson’s daughter:

 

 

Captain Allen P. Mullinnix – Commanding Officer – Jan ’43 – Apr ’43

Here’s the start of a page dedicated to Captain Allen Mullinnix.

The following information on Captain Mullinnix is quoted from The Indiana Magazine of History, “Hoosier Senior Naval Officers in WWII” by John B. Heffernan, 1955 (source):

“Rear Admiral Allen Prather Mullinnix was born in 1898, in Attica, attended New Albany High School and the Naval Academy, 1920, graduating 1919. He served on the staff of the commander of transports of the Atlantic Fleet and participated in the landings at Casablanca, Morocco, in November, 1942. He commanded the U.S.S. “Calvert” (APA-32), a troop transport, and then served in the Office of Naval Communications. In 1944 he assumed command of the U.S.S. “Pensacola” (CA-24). In this cruiser he participated in bombardments in the Kurile Islands, Wake Island, and in the assault and capture of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He retired in 1947.”

Captain Mullinnix’s Navy Cross commendation (source):

“The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Allen Prather Mullinnix, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. PENSACOLA (CA-24), in action against enemy Japanese forces off Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 17 February 1945. When a hostile heavy-caliber shore battery repeatedly hit his ship, causing extensive damage, fire and many casualties, Captain Mullinnix replied with vigorous, heavy and accurate counter-fire which silenced the enemy battery and, with cool courage, directed the rapid completion of emergency repairs, enabling the ship to remain on station and carry out its assigned mission. His aggressive fighting spirit and gallant devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.” General Orders: Commander Amphibious Forces: Serial 0397 (May 1945)

Rear Admiral Mullnnix’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery can be viewed here, along with a photograph of him in 1914.

Midshipman Mullinnix’s U.S. Naval Academy scrap book was listed on EBay in late January 2015, and here is his 1920 Lucky Bag Yearbook photograph and entry.

 

 

 

WWII-Era Song Sheets, Saipan Invasion

The WII-era Calvert song sheets shown below are shared by Geoff, creator of http://1stbattalion24thmarines.com/

This tremendous site tells the story of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines. The 1/24 was aboard the Calvert for the invasion of Saipan and Geoff provides insight into the action and fighting that the Marines experienced once they made if off the Calvert’s landing craft and onto the beach at Saipan. A full account of the Marines’ experience on Saipan is available here: http://1stbattalion24thmarines.com/the-battles/saipan/

USS Calvert - Saipan Songs 1 USS Calvert - Saipan Songs 2

 

Here’s the story behind these two song sheets, as shared by Geoff:

“This song sheet belonged to PFC George A. Smith (A/1/24), then a nineteen year old machine gunner, now a retired police captain. He must have carried it in his pocket into the battle of Saipan, where he (and it) survived being bowled over by a shell, a week of combat, and then being shot and evacuated to a hospital ship, never to return to combat. (Photographs of George are available here: (picture 1, picture 2, picture 3, picture 4, picture 5)

George also has a few good stories about life on the USS Calvert, but my favorite involves a craps game. Apparently some of the sailors were shooting dice, and George’s friend Corporal Thomas McCay decided to get in on the action. To hear George tell it, neither of the Marines really knew what they were doing, and the sailors thought they’d be an easy mark, but McCay pulled some real luck of the Irish and threw three sevens in a row. Needless to say, their popularity disappeared and George was only half kidding when he recalled they had to beat a retreat or be thrown overboard. Safely back in the Marine area, McCay started tossing handfuls of his winnings overboard. “The hell are you doing?” asked George, to which McCay replied “What are we going to do with it where we’re going?” So the two of them passed the afternoon throwing bits of loose change from the craps game into the Pacific. McCay was killed in action less than a week later.”

Additional pictures of George Smith’s time as a Marine, during both WWII and Korea, are available here: http://1stbattalion24thmarines.com/photo-galleries/weapons-platoon-photos/