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USS Montpelier - History

USS Montpelier - History


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The capital of Vermont.

II

(CL‑57: dp. 10,000; l. 608'4"; b. 66'; dr. 20'; s. 33 k.; cpl. 992; a. 12 6", 12 5", 28 40mm., 10 20mm. cl. Cleveland)

The second Montpelier (CL‑57) was laid down 2 December 1940 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; launched 12 February 1942; sponsored by Mrs. William F. Carry; and commissioned 9 September 1942, Capt. Leighton Wood in command.

Montpelier arrived Noumea, New Caledonia, 18 January 1943 from Norfolk, Va. Rear Adm. A. S. Merrill chose her for the flagship of CruDiv 12. On 25 January, she reached Efate, New Herbrides, her home base for the next few months. While making a sweep around beleaguered Guadalcanal, she participated in the Battle of Rennell Island 29 January, the last naval engagement of the Guadalcanal campaign.

Montpelier covered the landings on the Russell Islands on 21 February. On the night of 5 to 6 March, she heavily bombarded the Vila‑Stanmore airfield on Kolombangara in the Solomons, and helped sink an enemy destroyer. She and three other cruisers bombarded Poporang Island on the night of 29‑30 June, in preparation for the invasion of New Georgia. On the night of 11‑12 July, she bombarded Munda, enabling troops to continue their conquest of New Georgia. She patrolled the New Georgia area for the next 4 months to prevent Japanese troop withdrawals.

After a run to Sydney, Australia, she joined TF 39 as its flagship for the invasion of the Treasury Islands and Bougainville. On 1 November Montpelier shelled the Buka‑Bonis airfields on the northern tip of Bougainville, and hit the Japanese defenses on Poporang and Ballale Islands, TF 39, consisting of cruisers and destroyers, engaged a superior Japanese force in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay while guarding transports on the night of 2 November. The result was a clear cut victory for the U.S. ships commanded by Admiral Merrill. The victory turned back the Japanese from what would have been a disasterous assault on the Bougainville landing forces. Besides assisting in the destruction of one ship, Montpelier gunners shot down five enemy planes.

Between 15 and 19 February 1944, Montpelier covered the amphibious landing on Green in the Bismarcks. In March she hunted shipping south of Truk and participated in the invasion of the Emiraus, and began shelling Saipan 14 June to support the Marianas invasion. She joined TF 58 and participated in the decisive Battle of the Philippine Sea from 19 to 21 June. During the engagement, Japanese carrier air groups were virtually annihilated. Montpelier returned to the Marianas, and continued her shelling of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. She left the Marianas 2 August for overhauling in the United States.

Returning 25 November, she joined a task group off Leyte Gulf. While steaming on defensive patrol off the gulf, she fought oft numerous kamikaze attacks, shooting down four planes. Beginning 12 December, Montpelier provided beach cover for the invasion of Mindoro. Fighting enemy suicide planes, she protected troops at the Lingayen Gulf landing in January 1945. In February she supported operations off Mariveles Harbor, Corregidor, and Palawan; and from 14 April to 23 April, she covered the landings on Mindanao. From her base at Subic Bay she steamed to Brunei Bay, Borneo, arriving 9 June. Between 17 June and 2 July, she sailed off the oil center at Balikpapen, providing support for minesweepers, underwater demolition teams, and amphibious forces. Australian troops were extremely grateful for the devastating shelling of enemy positions, which saved many Allied lives. During the latter part of July and early August, Montpelier made three antishipping sweeps in the East China Sea.

When hostilities ended, she anchored off Wakayama, Japan, and helped speed up the evacuation of Allied prisoners. After an inspection of Japanese ships, part of her crew went ashore to view the ruins of Hiroshima, ultimate reminder of the price of aggression. On 18 October she covered the landing of occupation forces at Matsuyama. Montpelier departed from Hiro Wan and Japanese waters 15 November for the east coast, having fought the enemy from their deepest point of advance to their very homeland.

She reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet 11 December and 1 July 1946 reported for duty with the 16th Fleet. Montpelier decommissioned and berthed in reserve at Philadelphia 24 January 1947. She was struck from the Naval Register 1 March 1959, and was sold for scrap to Bethlehem Steel Co. 22 January 1960.

Montpelier received 13 battle stars for World War II service.


SSN 765 - U SS Montpelier


Atlantic Ocean - October 2012


Norfolk, Virginia - February 2012


USS Montpelier background) returns to Norfolk - February 2012


Norfolk, Virginia - February 2012


Norfolk, Virginia - April 2011


Norfolk, Virginia - December 2010


change of command ceremony - Norfolk, Virginia - November 2010


Sonar Technician 2nd Class Earl Patterson and Machinist's Mate Fireman Michael McCord tighten the locking straps on an exercise torpedo
before transporting it to it's storage position aboard USS Montpelier (SSN 765). Montpelier is onloading exercise weapons in preparation for an
upcoming tactical readiness evaluation - Norfolk, Virginia - September 2010


Norfolk, Virginia - November 2009


Norfolk, Virginia - November 2009


Norfolk, Virginia - November 2009


Norfolk, Virginia - November 2009


Norfolk, Virginia - November 2009


change of command ceremony - Norfolk, Virginia - July 2008


Norfolk, Virginia - May 2008


Norfolk, Virginia - May 2008


Souda Bay, Crete, Greece - April 2008


Souda Bay, Crete, Greece - April 2008


Souda Bay, Crete, Greece - April 2008


Souda Bay, Crete, Greece - November 2007


Souda Bay, Crete, Greece - November 2007


Souda Bay, Crete, Greece - November 2007


Norfolk, Virginia - November 2007


Norfolk, Virginia - August 2005


Norfolk, Virginia - July 2003


Norfolk, Virginia - July 2003


trials - 1992


1992


1992

The third Montpelier (SSN-765) was laid down on 19 May 1989 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. launched on 23 August 1991 sponsored by Mrs. Nancy H. Sununu, wife of White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu and was commissioned on 13 March 1993 at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Cmdr. Victor R. Fiebig in command.

Montpelier, Cmdr. William J. Frake in command, deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom I, from 10 January - 10 July 2003. On 21 and 22 March, she joined 29 other U.S. and British ships and submarines that fired UGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) against Iraqi military targets. Montpelier fired a total of 20 TLAMs during the war, and on 3 December 2003, Frake received the Bronze Star for his command of the attack submarine during these battles.

On 27 May 2004 Montpelier went through an 18-month Depot Modernization Period (DMP) at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. The ship and crew completed this period three months ahead of schedule and, after successfully completing sea trials returned to their home port in Virginia. The boat entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 5 February 2010 for modernization, maintenance, and upgrades, expected to cost around $35 million for 640,000-man hours, and included changing the submarine's buoyancy characteristics and upgrading its sonar capabilities. The work was completed and the sub returned to the fleet on 26 July 2010, eight days earlier than scheduled.

Montpelier, Cmdr. Thomas Winter in command, collided with guided missile cruiser San Jacinto (CG-56), at around 1530 on 13 October 2012. The submarined carried out training with the Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) Carrier Strike Group - also including guided missile destroyer Gravely (DDG-107) - off the coast of Florida when the two vessels collided. Neither reported any casualties, but Montpelier came about and the following day began an initial assessment of her damage at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. San Jacinto assessed her injuries when she returned to port at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. Winter was subsequently relieved of his command in the wake of the mishap.


USS Montpelier - History

10,000 Tons
610' x 66' 6" x 20'
12 x 6" guns
12 x 5" guns

Wartime History
Departed Norfolk, Virginia and arrives Nouméa on January 18, 1943. Rear Adm. A. S. Merrill chose her for the flagship of CruDiv 12. On January 25, 1943 arrives Efaté.

While making a sweep around Guadalcanal on January 29, 1943 she participates in the Battle of Rennell Island. Next, Montpelier covers the landings in the Russell Islands on February 21, 1943.

During the night of March 5-6, 1943, bombards Vila Airfield on Kolombangara and helped sink an enemy destroyer during the Battle of Blackett Strait.

On June 29-30, 1943 during the night USS Montpelier with USS Cleveland, USS Columbia, USS Denver (CL-58) and eight destroyers bombarded Ballale and Poporang as part of the preparation for the American landings on New Georgia.

During the night of July 11‑12, 1943 bombards Munda. For the next four months, patrols the New Georgia area to prevent Japanese troop withdrawals.

After a run to Sydney, she joined Task Force 39 (TF-39) as its flagship for the invasion of the Treasury Islands and Bougainville.

On November 1, 1943 Montpelier bombards Buka Airfield and Bonis Airfield on the northern tip of Bougainville then again bombarded Poporang and Ballale along with USS Cleveland, USS Columbia, USS Denver (CL-58) and eight destroyers.

TF 39, consisting of cruisers and destroyers, engaged a superior Japanese force in the battle of Empress Augusta Bay while guarding transports on the night of 2 November. The result was a clear cut victory for the U.S. ships commanded by Admiral Merrill. The victory turned back the Japanese from what would have been a disastrous assault on the Bougainville landing forces. Besides assisting in the destruction of one ship, Montpelier gunners shot down five enemy planes.

Between February 15-19, 1944, Montpelier covered the amphibious landing on Green Island. In March she hunted shipping south of Truk. On March 20, 1944 participated in the invasion of the Emirau.

On May 8, 1944 took a series of photographs of the shipwreck of Nagatsuki off Kolombangara Island. Montpelier attempted to silence a gun battery on Poporang Island but a shell hit her anchor chain causing the anchor to drop into the sea and departed.

She participated in the bombardment of Saipan on June 14. She joined TF 58 and participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea from June 19-21, 1944. Montpelier returned to the Marianas, and continued her shelling of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. She left the Marianas August 2 for overhauling in the United States.

Philippines
Returning to the Pacific on November 25, 1944 she joined a task group off Leyte Gulf. While steaming on defensive patrol off Leyte, Montpelier was slightly damaged by a kamikaze attack on November 27. She fought off numerous other kamikaze attacks, shooting down four planes.

Beginning 12 December, Montpelier provided beach cover for the invasion of Mindoro. Fighting enemy suicide planes, she protected troops at the Lingayen Gulf landing in January 1945. In February, she supported operations off Mariveles Harbor, Corregidor, and Palawan and from 14 April to 23 April, she covered the landings on Mindanao. From her base at Subic Bay, she steamed to Brunei Bay, Borneo, arriving 9 June. Between 17 June and 2 July, she sailed off the oil center at Balikpapan, providing support for minesweepers, underwater demolition teams, and amphibious forces. Australian troops were extremely grateful for the devastating shelling of enemy positions, which saved many Allied lives. During the latter part of July and early August, Montpelier made three anti-shipping sweeps in the East China Sea.

Postwar
When hostilities ended, she anchored off Wakayama, Japan, and helped speed up the evacuation of Allied prisoners. After an inspection of Japanese ships, part of her crew went ashore to view the ruins of Hiroshima.

On 18 October she covered the landing of occupation forces at Matsuyama. Montpelier departed from Hiro Wan and Japanese waters 15 November for the East Coast,. From the Pacific, the Montpelier sailed first for Hawaii, then to San Diego, California, before heading south to pass through the Panama Canal then proceeded to New York.

Postwar
She reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet 11 December and 1 July 1946 reported for duty with the 16th Fleet. Montpelier decommissioned and berthed in reserve at Philadelphia 24 January 1947. On March 1, 1959 struck from the Naval Register.

Fate
On January 22, 1960 sold for scrap to Bethlehem Steel Co. and broken up for scrap metal.

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Montpelier USS

For other ships with the same name, see USS Montpelier.

Laid down:
2 December 1940

Launched:
12 February 1942

Sponsored by:
Mrs. William F. Carry

Commissioned:
9 September 1942

Decommissioned:
24 January 1947

Speed:
32.5 kn (37.4 mph 60.2 km/h)

Range:
11,000 nmi (20,000 km) @ 15 kn (17 mph 28 km/h)

Complement:
1,255 officers and enlisted

  • 4 × triple 6 in (150 mm)/47caliber Mark 16 guns
  • 6 × dual 5 in (130 mm)/38 caliberanti-aircraft guns
  • 4 × quad 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors anti-aircraft guns
  • 4 × dual 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors anti-aircraft guns
  • 17 × single 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannons
  • Belt: 3 1⁄2–5 in (89–127 mm)
  • Deck: 2 in (51 mm)
  • Barbettes: 6 in (150 mm)
  • Turrets: 1 1⁄2–6 in (38–152 mm)
  • Conning Tower: 2 1⁄4–5 in (57–127 mm)

USS Montpelier (CL-57) was one of 26 United States Navy Cleveland-class light cruisers completed during or shortly after World War II. She was the second US Navy ship to be named for the city of Montpelier, Vermont. Montpelier was commissioned in September 1942 and saw service in several campaigns in the Pacific. Like almost all her sister ships, she was decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, and never saw active service again. Montpelier was scrapped in the early 1960s


World War II Database


ww2dbase Light cruiser Montpelier was commissioned during WW2 to Captain Leighton Wood. On 18 Jan 1943, she arrived at Nouméa, New Caledonia, becoming the flagship of Cruiser Division 12's Rear Admiral Aaron Stanton Merrill. On 25 Jan, she arrived at Efate, New Hebrides, where she would based out of for the next few months. On 29 Jan, she participated in the Battle of Rennell Island, Solomon Islands. On 21 Feb, she covered the landings at the Russell Islands. Between the night of 5 Mar and the following day, she bombarded the Vila‑Stanmore airfield on Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands, and helped sink an enemy destroyer in the Battle of Blackett Strait. During the night of 29-30 Jun, she bombarded Poporang Island. During the night of 11-12 Jul, she bombarded Munda, New Georgia, and remained in the area for the following four months.

ww2dbase After a brief rest period at Sydney, Australia, Montpelier joined Task Force 39 as its flagship for the invasion of the Treasury Islands and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. On 1 Nov, she bombarded the Buka-Bonis airfields on Bougainville, and on the following day engaging in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay.

ww2dbase Between 15 and 19 Feb 1944, Montpelier covered the landings in the Bismarck Islands. In Mar, she patrolled south of Truk, Caroline Islands for Japanese shipping. On 9 Jun, after the death of Captain Wood, Captain Robert G. Tobin took command of her. On 14 Jun, she bombarded Saipan of the Mariana Islands. Between 19 and 21 Jun, she participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea as a part of Task Force 58. She remained in the Mariana Islands area until 2 Aug in support of the campaign.

ww2dbase On 25 Nov 1944, Montpelier returned to the front in the Philippine Islands. On 27 Nov, she was damaged by a special attack aircraft, and in the subsequent days she was the target of four more such kamikaze attacks. On 12 Dec, with the new Captain Harry D. Hoffman, she began covering for the invasion of Mindoro, Philippine Islands, and then performed in a similar role during the Lingayen Gulf invasion at Luzon, Philippine Islands in Jan 1945. Between 14 and 23 Apr, under Captain William A. Gorry, she covered the landings at Mindanao, Philippine Islands. Between 17 Jun and 2 Jul, she operated off Borneo, providing naval gunfire support for Allied troops on that island. Between late Jul and early Aug, she patrolled the East China Sea against Japanese shipping.

ww2dbase After WW2, Montpelier performed occupation duties until 15 Nov 1945. She returned to New York, New York, United States on 11 Dec. After serving with the US Navy's Atlantic Fleet and then the 16th Fleet, she was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States in 1947. She was sold for scrap to Bethlehem Steel Company on 22 Jan 1960.

ww2dbase Source: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2008

Light Cruiser Montpelier Interactive Map

Montpelier Operational Timeline

9 Sep 1942 Montpelier was commissioned into service.
24 Jan 1947 Montpelier was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Henry Kutten says:
17 Apr 2013 10:29:11 AM

Hello,
I am a WWII who was on the USS Montpelier CL-57. I am looking for a contact number for anyone who is still alive from this time who I may have served with. As far as I know, there are only 14 of us alive to this day from the association.

2. catherine scott goon says:
20 Sep 2013 06:50:02 PM

My father John Scott was on the Montpelier from 1944-1946. He is still alive & lives @ 1015 Ardmore Rd Baldwin NY 11510, phone # 516-223-3537. He went to several of the Montpelier reunions, did you go to any of them? you can contact John @ the above address or phone # or email me. Hope to here from you. Thanks Catherine

3. James Rodgers says:
2 Oct 2013 09:01:10 AM

I served aboard the USS Montpelier CL-57 from August 14, 1943 through the end of the war. I was in the engineering force. WT2/C was my rating. I am 88 years old and still kicking.

4. Jack Vallely says:
9 Oct 2013 06:22:56 AM

Hi,
I am the editor of the Waltham Museum newsletter. Jim Fahey, author of Pacific War Diary and USS Montpelier sailor (S/1C 40mm mount) was one of Waltham's favorite sons. I have written a newsletter on Jim for this issue. He had a pretty amazing story. Anyone wishing a copy or with information they would like to share (We have a pretty good Jim Fahey exhibit) please leave me a message at the Waltham Museum 781 893-9020 or write us at:
The Waltham Museum
25 Lexington St
Waltham Ma 02452
Thank you for your service.

5. Geoff Westbrook says:
13 Nov 2013 10:36:32 AM

Hello, I am the grandson of Captain Wood, has anyone here served with my grandfather? My email is [email protected], Thank You

6. Scott Guthrie says:
22 May 2014 01:58:34 PM

My grandfather served on the Montpelier from September 1942 until 1945. His name was Jack Alfred Petersen s/n 648-40-59. I think he was part of Item Gunnery Division. Any info about him or his service/job would be greatly appreciated.

7. faith o lovett says:
4 Jul 2014 07:26:46 PM

my father, Eddy Warford Opdycke, served on the Monpelier during WWI and especially in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He didn't talk much abt the war but he did buy James Fahey's book. I think I remember that he said he shot 16 inch guns? Could that be correct? There was a quick photo of him in the gun tuuret on the history channel a couple of years ago. If anyone has any info on him, I would appreciate it. He wore the Seahorse patch on his fatigues. Thanking you in advance.

8. Ray Saiz says:
3 Feb 2015 12:42:54 PM

My father Frank G Saiz was on the USS montpieler during wwII he passed away at 88 in 2010!
i wish this site was up when he was alive!
but he was proud of his service and the men he served with!

9. R Saiz says:
3 Feb 2015 12:46:59 PM

just to let you all know!
i am in posession of newsletters from the ship during the war. would like to donate them to a museum

10. Bobby Clarke says:
1 Mar 2015 12:14:17 PM

My Dad( Russell Keith Clarke) served on the Montpelier from when it was commissioned until Oct. 1945. He was previously on the USS Babbitt. He was BM2 when he left the Navy. He passed away in 2008. If anyone knew him let me know. My email is [email protected]

11. rene j fournier sm2c lsm54 lci 503 ff says:
2 Mar 2015 06:28:32 PM

i was on flag staff landing lsm 54 made all the same phillippine inculding the borneo landings with the montpelier recently met grandson of one of your crew members name is barret we live in vt ny

12. Anonymous says:
20 Jun 2015 05:14:41 PM

My father was an Australian Prisoner of War in Japan. They were repatriated from Wakayama Harbour to Manila on the USS Montpelier. I have a copy of the ships newsletter from that time. Is there a museum or historical sight for the Montpelier.

13. Phillip Jones, Jr. says:
14 Jul 2015 12:45:00 PM

My Grandfather, Floyd F. Jones served on USS Montpelier and is still living in St. Louis, MO. His phone number is 314-426-5150 and he would love to speak with anyone else that woudl have served with him.

14. Michael Ball says:
24 Dec 2015 12:06:38 PM

I've read James J. Fahey's book, Pacific War Diary, several times, and was always impressed of his description of life on a light cruiser in a war area, and all of the problems involved. I'm hoping to get to the Waltham Museum and view it's exhibits.

15. Anonymous says:
30 Jan 2016 02:40:04 PM

My father John gray kennedy, sr. Served on this ship as fireman 1st class he died Jan 30,1974. Known as Johnny kennedy

16. Michael E Reinier says:
19 Mar 2016 10:54:57 AM

My grandfather served on the USA Montpelier. His name is Wendell Collison. He was a gunners mate. He also boxed and I've heard stories of him beating the world champion at the time. He also told me of a story when the Marines took an island then the army couldn't hold it and the Marines had to go back in and take it back. If anyone new my grandfather I would love to here from them. Much appreciated.

17. John J Stefanik says:
2 Apr 2016 08:43:07 AM

i came aboard the Monty in 1944 @Mare Island navy yard the ship was in dry dock for repairs when we left the states we operated the ADMIRALTY ISLANDS NORTH OF australia to the mouth of the Yangse river inChina the Monty has 13 battle stars i was on for 4 the MONTY WAS THE FIRST us SHIP INTO hIROSHIMA 60 DAS AFTER THE BOMB DROP

18. Jeff Baird says:
6 Jul 2016 06:27:25 PM

I have conducted quite a bit of research on the Monty and Chief Gunner's Mate Lyman Longfellow who was on board throughout the war. If anyone has any information regarding him, I would appreciate it!

19. Robert F. Jones, Jr. says:
13 Sep 2016 08:47:59 AM

I am the son of Robert F. Jones, Radioman and gunner who flew on one of the SOC planes off the USS Montpelier. Dad passed on May 30, 2013. Anyone who would like to hear the stories he told me, please email me at [email protected]
Thank you for your service!

20. a. buenaflor says:
26 Sep 2016 05:58:03 PM

my father felix buenaflor was amd. merrills steward.dad didn't talk much about the war, after I served in the navy uss Randolph cs-15. he started telling us about the battle of empress bay, and other battles. Montpelier was in the reserve basin phila naval shipyard. everytime I went down the yard(it was along broad st), stood there and remembered his words, and saluted. bless all who sailed in her.

21. Bo Crawford says:
1 Feb 2017 10:04:36 PM

My father Buck l Crawford served on the monty during WWII.

22. M Hinshaw says:
10 Sep 2017 12:03:12 PM

My father, William E. (Bill or Elbert) Hinshaw served in WWII on the Mighty Monty.

23. Susan (Tompkins) Price says:
31 Dec 2017 01:56:01 PM

My dad Richard H. Tompkins and his brother Raymond served on the Mighty Monty is there any one left alive who served with them

24. Anonymous says:
13 Jan 2018 07:21:38 PM

my grandfather Walter Green served on the mighty monty. He passed in 2015. Would love to hear from anyone who served on or is family of anyone who served on the ship

25. Susan Langstroth Chase says:
26 Feb 2018 08:52:01 PM

My father, Lovell Langstroth Jr served on the Mighty Monte as a medical doctor. My father died just short of 100 years in 2016.

26. Anonymous says:
15 Mar 2018 09:08:11 AM

My father was a gunner and then a radar man and when the ship was torpedoed he lost 70% of his hearing in one ear and never compensated, Times were different back then and my father never thought he would come back from sea alive!

27. Terry stanek says:
15 Mar 2018 07:07:42 PM

My father John Albert Stanek served on the mighty Monte for the duration of WWII. My father died of colon cancer in 1997 and after having 9 lives at sea died of a humiliating death.

28. Anonymous says:
15 Mar 2018 07:23:35 PM

My father told me the new captain said “we only change the riders, but never the horses” which is funny considering captain Harry D. Hoffman who was promoted to admiral was nicknamed “The Horse”. My dad called him Harry the horse, but he was the rider,lol.

29. Brian Schreiber says:
26 Apr 2018 06:46:28 AM

My grandfather Homer Patchin severed on the Montpellier for the duration of the war. He died in 2012 at 107 years. We miss him .

30. Will Pearson says:
25 Aug 2018 10:12:08 PM

Grandfather served on this ship William bill pearson

31. Tony Rogers says:
4 Nov 2018 07:33:42 PM

My grandfather Clarence Shelton served along the brave men on the 'Mighty Monty'.

32. Anonymous says:
27 Sep 2019 05:24:10 AM

My father- in- law, James Bryant Miller, served aboard the Mighty Monte. We are looking for any information on the ship and him as well. Thanks in advance. My email is [email protected]

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.


USS Montpelier - History

Seven hundred years later, as the American war machine moved slowly but inexorably across the Pacific towards their home islands, the Japanese again called upon the kamikaze for salvation. This time the "Divine Wind" took the form of suicidal pilots who sacrificed their lives in order to assure that their explosive-laden planes hit their targets. It became the Japanese weapon that the American Navy feared most.

The Kamikazes made their first appearance during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. By 1945, they were a terrifying threat, "the only weapon I feared in war," declared Admiral Halsey. Their most devastating attacks occurred during the battle for Okinawa where the suicide pilots inflicted the heaviest losses the US Navy ever suffered in a single battle.

The last suicide attack occurred after the Japanese surrender when the commander of the kamikaze forces led a flight of eleven planes on an attack against US ships at Okinawa.

Experiencing the Kamikaze: "Jap planes were coming at us from all directions."

James J. Fahey joined the Navy in October 1942. He became a Seaman First Class aboard the cruiser USS Montpelier and saw action from the Solomon Islands through the end of the war. On November 27, 1944 the Montpelier was in the Leyte Gulf in support of the American invasion that would eventually liberate the Philippines. The task force that the Montpelier was a part of consisted of 18 ships and this morning they were refueling - the most vulnerable time for an enemy attack.

To protect themselves, the ships formed a defensive circle around the fuel-laden tanker while each took its turn at refueling. If the enemy arrived, sailors armed with axes aboard the refueling warship would cut the fuel lines to allow the ship to get into battle position and as far away from the tanker as possible.

James Fahey kept a diary of his experiences. We join his story as the Montpelier's alarms announce a Japanese attack:

It was not long after that when a force of about 30 Jap planes attacked us. Dive bombers and torpedo planes. Our two ships were busy getting away from the tanker because one bomb-hit on the tanker and it would be all over for the 3 ships.

The 2 ships finally got away from the tanker and joined the circle. I think the destroyers were on the outside of the circle. It looked funny to see the tanker all by itself in the center of the ships as we circled it, with our guns blazing away as the planes tried to break through. It was quite a sight, better than the movies. I never saw it done before. It must be the first time it was ever done in any war.


Kamikaze Pilots sit for a
portrait before their last flight
Jap planes were coming at us from all directions. Before the attack started we did not know that they were suicide planes, with no intention of returning to their base. They had one thing in mind and that was to crash into our ships, bombs and all. You have to blow them up, to damage them doesn't mean much.

Right off the bat a Jap plane made a suicide dive at the cruiser St. Louis there was a big explosion and flames were seen shortly from the stern. Another one tried to do the same thing but he was shot down. A Jap plane came in on a battleship with its guns blazing away. Other Jap planes came in strafing one ship, dropping their bombs on another and crashing into another ship. The Jap planes were falling all around us, the air was full of Jap machine gun bullets. Jap planes and bombs were hitting all around us. Some of our ships were being hit by suicide planes, bombs and machine gun fire. It was a fight to the finish.

While all this was taking place our ship had its hands full with Jap planes. We knocked our share of planes down but we also got hit by 3 suicide planes, but lucky for us they dropped their bombs before they crashed into us. In the meantime exploding planes overhead were showering us with their parts. It looked like it was raining plane parts. They were falling all over the ship. Quite a few of the men were hit by big pieces of Jap planes.

We were supposed to have air coverage but all we had was 4 P-38 fighters, and when we opened up on the Jap planes they got out of the range of our exploding shells. They must have had a ring side seat of the show. The men on my mount were also showered with parts of Jap planes. One suicide dive bomber was heading right for us while we were firing at other attacking planes and if the 40 mm. mount behind us on the port side did not blow the Jap wing off it would have killed all of us. When the wing was blown off it, the plane turned some and bounced off into the water and the bombs blew part of the plane onto our ship.


James J. Fahey, 1943
. A Jap dive bomber crashed into one of the 40 mm. mounts but lucky for them it dropped its bombs on another ship before crashing. Parts of the plane flew everywhere when it crashed into the mount. Part of the motor hit Tomlinson, he had chunks of it all over him, his stomach, back, legs etc.The rest of the crew were wounded, most of them were sprayed with gasoline from the plane. Tomlinson was thrown a great distance and at first they thought he was knocked over the side. They finally found him in a corner in bad shape.

. Planes were falling all around us, bombs were coming too close for comfort. The Jap planes were cutting up the water with machine gun fire. All the guns on the ships were blazing away, talk about action, never a dull moment. The fellows were passing ammunition like lightning as the guns were turning in all directions spitting out hot steel. The deck near my mount was covered with blood, guts, brains, tongues, scalps, hearts, arms etc. from the Jap pilots. The Jap bodies were blown into all sorts of pieces. I cannot think of everything that happened because too many things were happening at the same time."

References:
James Fahey's account appears in: Fahey, James, Pacific War Diary 1942-1945 (1963) Inoguichi, R, Nakajma T., and Pineau, R. The Divine Wind: Japan's Kamikaze Force in World War II (1959).


World War II [ edit | edit source ]

Montpelier arrived Nouméa, New Caledonia on 18 January 1943 from Norfolk, Va. Rear Admiral A. S. Merrill chose her for the flagship of Cruiser Division 12 (CruDiv 12). On 25 January, she reached Efate, New Hebrides, her home base for the next few months. While making a sweep around beleaguered Guadalcanal, she participated in the Battle of Rennell Island on 29 January, the last naval engagement of the Guadalcanal Campaign.

USS Montpelier before her 1944 refit.

Montpelier covered the landings on the Russell Islands on 21 February. On the night of 5–6 March, she heavily bombarded the Vila‑Stanmore airfield on Kolombangara in the Solomons, and helped sink an enemy destroyer in the battle of Blackett Strait. She and three other cruisers bombarded Poporang Island on the night of 29–30 June, in preparation for the invasion of New Georgia. On the night of 11–12 July, she bombarded Munda, enabling troops to continue their conquest of New Georgia. She patrolled the New Georgia area for the next four months to prevent Japanese troop withdrawals.

After a run to Sydney, Australia, she joined Task Force 39 (TF 39) as its flagship for the invasion of the Treasury and Bougainville Islands. On 1 November, Montpelier shelled the Buka‑Bonis airfields on the northern tip of Bougainville, and hit the Japanese defenses on Poporang and Ballale Islands. TF 39, consisting of cruisers and destroyers, engaged a superior Japanese force in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay while guarding transports on the night of 2 November. The result was a clear cut victory for the U.S. ships commanded by Admiral Merrill. The victory turned back the Japanese from what would have been a disastrous assault on the Bougainville landing forces. Besides assisting in the destruction of one ship, Montpelier ' s gunners shot down five enemy planes.

From 15–19 February 1944, Montpelier covered the amphibious landing on the Green Islands in the Bismarck Archipelago. In March, she hunted shipping south of Truk and participated in the invasion of the Emiraus, and began shelling Saipan on 14 June to support the Mariana Islands invasion. She joined TF 58 and participated in the decisive Battle of the Philippine Sea from 19–21 June. During the engagement, Japanese carrier air groups were virtually annihilated. Montpelier returned to the Marianas, and continued her shelling of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. She left the Marianas on 2 August for overhauling in the United States.

Aerial view of the Montpelier in 1945

Montpelier ' s main batteries firing during the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay

Returning on 25 November, she joined a task group off Leyte Gulf. While steaming on defensive patrol off the Gulf, Montpelier was slightly damaged by a kamikaze attack on 27 November. Ώ] She fought off numerous other kamikaze attacks, shooting down four planes.

Beginning on 12 December, Montpelier provided beach cover for the invasion of Mindoro. Fighting kamikazes, she protected troops at the Lingayen Gulf landing in January 1945. In February, she supported operations off Mariveles Harbor, Corregidor, and Palawan, and from 14–23 April, she covered the landings on Mindanao. From her base at Subic Bay, she steamed to Brunei Bay, Borneo, arriving on 9 June. From 17 June to 2 July, she sailed off the oil center at Balikpapan, providing support for minesweepers, underwater demolition teams, and amphibious forces. Australian troops were extremely grateful for the devastating shelling of enemy positions, which saved many Allied lives. During the latter part of July and early August, Montpelier made three anti-shipping sweeps in the East China Sea.

Post-War [ edit | edit source ]

When hostilities ended, she anchored off Wakayama, Japan, and helped speed up the evacuation of Allied prisoners. After an inspection of Japanese ships, part of her crew went ashore to view the ruins of Hiroshima. On 18 October she covered the landing of occupation forces at Matsuyama. Montpelier departed from Hiro Wan and Japanese waters on 15 November for the East Coast, having fought the enemy from their deepest point of advance to their very homeland. From the Pacific, Montpelier sailed first for Hawaii, then to San Diego, California, before heading south to pass through the Panama Canal, with her final destination being New York City.

She reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet on 11 December, and on 1 July 1946 reported for duty with the 16th Fleet. Montpelier decommissioned and berthed in reserve at Philadelphia on 24 January 1947. She was struck from the Naval Register on 1 March 1959, and was sold for scrap to Bethlehem Steel Co. 22 January 1960.


GAO Report on U.S. Attack Submarine Maintenance Backlog

The following is the Nov. 19, 2018 Government Accountability Office report, Navy Readiness: Actions Needed to Address Costly Maintenance Delays Facing the Attack Submarine Fleet. Read More &rarr


USS Montpelier - History

USS Montpelier , a 16,000-ton (displacement) transport, was built at Rostock, Germany, in 1912 as a 6161 gross ton German commercial freighter. She was seized by the U.S. Government in 1917 under the name Bochum . Later renamed Montpelier , she operated under charter to the Army during World War I. In March 1919 she began conversion to a transport and, when this work was completed, entered commissioned service as USS Montpelier (ID # 1954). The ship was decommissioned and returned to the U.S. Shipping Board in October 1919.

This page features all available views concerning USS Montpelier (ID # 1954) and the freighter Bochum .

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Bochum (German Freighter, 1912)

In port after being taken over by the U.S. Government, possibly on 24 August 1917 when she was inspected by the 12th Naval District.
Later renamed Montepelier , this ship served as USS Montpelier (ID # 1954) in 1919.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 62KB 740 x 420 pixels

In port, possibly when she was inspected by the 3rd Naval District on 11 April 1919.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 59KB 635 x 675 pixels

In port, with a New Mexico class battleship alongside, 1919.
The original image is printed on postal card ("AZO") stock. The card's reverse bears the pencilled inscription "The boat I came home on from France".

Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 56KB 740 x 440 pixels

Dressed with flags in a French port, 1919.
The original image is printed on post card ("AZO") stock.


Watch the video: USS Cleveland Class Light Cruiser,Design,Specification and Military History (June 2022).


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