Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nautical by Nature

Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, it seems like all my favorite television shows these days are about bygone eras. There is just something so fascinating about looking into the past, when life was so starkly different. Well, they say one is bound to turn into one's parents so it's no wonder I have become a bit of a history nerd just like a certain father I know. When visiting the USS Constitution in Charlestown the other day, I got an impromptu famiy history lesson from said dad. After a visit to the museum, we wandered over to the adjacent navy yard where the USS Cassin Young is dry docked. A World War II era vessel, "she" was a destroyer ship that specialized in anti-aircraft and anti-submarine missions. I got to brush up on my nautical terms - we boarded the ship and had a good look around, viewing the decks, the galley, the berthing, the holds, and the mess hall, which ironically doubled as the surgery room!

It was great to hear some family stories that had never come up before. My grandpa enlisted in the Navy at age 17(!), serving on an oiler that supplied fuel to other ships. He scored well in shooting during training and thus was assigned to man one of the small cannons, very similar to the one below. It's not an easy task since to hit airplanes, such rapidly moving targets! The gunner aimed by looking through the sight, also shown below. A second person had to change the ammunition cartridge about every minute and further still, a third had to actually replace the end of the barrel frequently as it would become molten hot and warp under the intense heat created simply from operating the weapon. I his two years of service, drandpa went all over the globe, most notably to the battle of Okinawa, one of the last major WWII events. He went on to be an artist, meet my grandma and start a family in Paris, France. Here is grandpa below with my dad (right) and uncle.

1 comment:

  1. ......that is one handsome trio! Brought a tear to my eye, so glad that the stories get passed down the line.

    The Mums


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