I am hoping to establish contact with any of the officers, crew, troops and passengers who made transatlantic voyages as well as wartime transits on the following vessels: SS UNITED STATES, USS WEST POINT/AMERICA, SS/USS LEVIATHAN, SS/USS MANHATTAN, SS/USS WASHINGTON, and SS/USS GEORGE WASHINGTON.
This will be for the compilation of a manuscript for each vessel to fill in the blanks on what went on behind the scenes during the existence of these ships. Though the USA was a 2nd class maritime presence on the commercial passenger routes, the first-hand accounts by the men and women who kept these vessels up to par and gave the other steamship lines a run for their money, need to be documented for future generations. Ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of the manuscripts will be forwarded to the SSUSF. This is the non-profit organization that is tirelessly trying to find a home and restore the SS UNITED STATES. Just imagine the wonderful things a piece of realestate such as this could do for future generations.
All humorous and commonplace stories will be welcome. If you choose to participate be prepared for an assault on your memory. Correspondence should be in the form of a postcard with a return address on it. I am in the process of setting up an international Web site for this undertaking. Personal photographs of the people on site are also being filed and catalogued by their owners name for publishing/display reference.
Russell T. Parmerter
2216 E. 59th St.
Savannah, GA 31404-5116
I am writing to you in regards to the article "Mare Nostrum: PC Sub Chasers in Action in Europe," by William Veigele in your January issue. It was refreshing to see something in print on this little known subject of the Second World War. I am a descendant of one of the sailors killed aboard USS PC558 and wanted to clarify an error in the article.
The author writes that on 9 May 1944, USS PC-558 sank two oneman submarines and on the same day was herself sunk by the enemy. According to the Action Report PC558/P6-1/SS/(66) dated 23 April 1944, the two German one-man submarines were sunk off the coast of Anzio, Italy, on 21 April 1944. The entire crew was commended at quarters for the role in the sinking. USS PC-558 was lost to an enemy torpedo on 9 May 1944, while on patrol off the coast of Palermo, Italy.
Stephen R. Studnicki
Re: "Over the Bounding Main," April 2001 issue
Some comments: The USS PITTSBURGH did not "lay to" nor was the bow "wallowing" nearby. In a remarkable feat of seamanship, Capt. John Gingrich avoided a collision with the bow, which sank to where only about 12 feet showed above water. Captain Gingrich then chose to back through the rest of the typhoon, since only a thin bulkhead existed forward to take the storm. No personnel stayed with the bow.
The PITTSBURGH then proceeded very slowly and without escort (and a very nervous crew) to Guam, where some reinforcement was added for the trip to Pearl and then to Bremerton, Washington, where she was decommissioned after the war.
There was some humor involved. As we pulled into Guam, the skipper of a nearby cruiser also damaged, megaphoned Capt. Gingrich, "What's the matter, John, did you lose something?"
Also it was said that the vessel that sighted the bow radioed, "Have sighted the suburb of PITTSBURGH."
Years later, I was having lunch with a retired Admiral who had been a Lieutenant Commander in hull design of the Baltimore-class and he mentioned that an ensign had mentioned a weakness in design, but according to him, "Ensigns don't tell Lieutenant Commanders there is a problem." I had a few choice words for him!
Fair winds and following seas,
Robert B. Brown
U.S. Navy, 1941-1945