Friday, April 27, 2012

April 29 - 70 Years Ago This Weekend

"4/29/42 - Sworn into U.S. Naval Reserve at Recruiting Station, New Customs House, Philadelphia, PA.  Reported to Navy Yard, Philadelphia, for duty as Radio Technician 2nd Class."

This Sunday marks the 70th anniversary of Grandpa entering the service as a US Navy sailor on a submarine.  His first submarine boat, the USS Darter, is under construction at this time.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Qualities of a Natural Leader - From the Bluejacket's Manual 1940


Once in a great while a man is born a leader.  The rest of us become leaders by hard study and long practice of the rules of leadership handed down to us by the great leaders of the past.  Following are given the rules laid down by these leaders.  Study them and practice them, for your future success will depend upon your ability to master them, whether in the Naval service or later in civilian life.

Each man who desires to be a leader of men must learn the following essential points:

Obedience does not mean blindly carrying out an order or grudgingly doing what you are ordered or directed to do and then only doing enough to get by.  Obedience means first of all cheerful and willing obedience and, secondly, intelligent obedience.

Good Behavior and a clean record are necessary for promotion to positions of leadership.  Men sometimes fail of promotion to warrant and commissioned rank because of bad records during early enlistments.

Knowledge comes only through study and hard work. "There is no royal road to learning." Men always respect you for what you know. It pays to know, and to know you know. Know your own job. Know the job ahead of yours.

Fighting Spirit You know what this is. Without it, you are only a human biped who wears pants.  With it, you are a live, red-blooded go-getter--one who will succeed. Have you the grit to stay with a hard job? Never say "I can't". Forget there is such a phrase.  Don't be a quitter. "A man may be down but never out"--until he admits it.

Reliability. - Always do what you are told to do, and do it the best you know how. Can you be depended upon, whether alone on a job or with others? Get the reputation of seeing the job through.

Loyalty. - Stick up for yourself, your officers, your petty officers, your company, your ship.  As you show loyalty to them, they will show loyalty to you, and people under you will do the same. Boost. If you cannot boost, do not knock.

Initiative. - This is one of the outstanding qualifications of a leader. The man with initiative takes hold of the things that need doing and does them without being told, while the other fellow is standing idly by because no one has told him what to do. A man with initiative thinks on his feet. He can be trusted to take care of an unexpected situation because he is always on the alert and thinking ahead of his job.

Self-control. - Do not fly off the handle. It nearly always gets you into trouble and always lessens the respect that others hold for you. If you lose your self-control in little things, you are sure to do so in big things. The man who cannot control himself will never develop into a real leader of others.

Energy. - A lazy man never has time to do anything right or to do anything to improve himself, and he never gets far. Be "peppy." Put some drive into things. Carry a "self-starter." Don't have to be cranked every time to get started.

Courage. - A leader must have courage. He must have not only physical courage, he must have moral courage as well. He must be fearless in the face of his duty.  A courageous man admits it when he is wrong and takes his medicine.  He doesn't bluff.  And when he is known as a man of courage he doesn't have to bluff.

Justice. - Be square. Play the game hard, but play it squarely. Give a square deal to others and expect one in return. Act so that others can respect you as a man.

Truthfulness. - The final test of a man is: in a pinch, will he lie?  Lying is a dismissal offense in the Navy. Many a man who told the whole truth has been let off or given light punishment, where the liar was punished for the offense and for lying as well.

Faith. - Believe in yourself.  Trust yourself.  Count on yourself.  Count on yourself to be one of the best man-o-war's men in the whole Navy, and then go to it and make good. Trust your fellowmen. They are good fellows and will meet you halfway as a rule. Believe in and trust the Navy. Splendid men have made it what it is. Do all you can to keep it as good as it is, and make it even better.

Honor. - Act so that your home folks will be proud of you, and you will tell all of your friends what fine things you are doing in the Navy.  Act so that others will want to be like you.  Few men can survive dishonor. Remember you can never disgrace or dishonor yourself without bringing dishonor on your name, your people, and the uniform you wear.

Cheerfulness. - Smile and the world smiles with you. Smile when things go wrong. If you cannot smile, at least try to. You can surely keep the corners of your mouth up. When you are positive it is beneficial to others around you in a tight situation. If you can do it, they can do it.  If you are the only one who is gloomy, you will become unpopular very quickly.

Honesty. - Enough said. Without honesty your career is limited and you are sure to fail in the long run.  Nobody wants to deal with or associate with a cheat.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I have no idea where Grandpa would have gotten something like this, whether it was a Navy joke, a real sailor's fraternity of sorts, or a WWII Submarine Veterans thing. It's clearly meant to look like a membership card to some sort of fraternity. It's even signed by Davy Jones, "Ruler of the Raging Main" An amusing novelty trinket, but of dubious value. I guess at one time he carried it around in his wallet? As if he actually had to prove to anyone he was in the Navy. I always wondered where the name "Davy Jones' Locker" came from when referring to the ocean. I thought perhaps it was a modern Navy thing and referenced some Navy sailor's shipboard locker that was so dirty and disorganized that the nexus of the Bermuda Triangle could be in there. But who was he? Was there ever a real sailor who went by that name? 

Or maybe the "locker" refers to the ocean and how it buries its secrets for all time. Maybe "Davy" was just chosen arbitrarily because that name rhymes with "Navy." 

Or maybe he's this guy. Who knows.

...Or what if it's this late Davy Jones of the Monkees stardom? Did he have a secret Navy career nobody knew about? :)

David "Davy" Jones was the lead singer of the Monkees, the Beatles "wannabe" group that made many teenage girls of the 1960's wet their pants.  Ask your Mom who he was.  I don't personally know much about him or the history of his band, besides the fact that they were actors picked for TV publicity who in the beginning had no musical talent and couldn't even write their own songs, and yet somehow managed to sell millions of albums.

He died this year on February 29, 2012.

More likely the Monkees' Davy Jones was named after this mysterious character the Davy Jones of the sea.  He's an enigmatic figure of unknown origins like the Easter Bunny.

Rest in peace, Davy.  And no, I'm not cleaning out your locker.

And rest in peace, Hughie.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Grandpa's "Navy Blues"

These are Grandpa's Navy "Blues", worn in cold weather or as a dress uniform. I found this and 2 other identical outfits in a metal pretzel can. I'm keeping one of them, Andrea is keeping one, and the third is being donated to the Pearl Harbor Museum later this year.

They are made of very dark, almost black wool, about the same weight as my Civil War outfit, and they look HOT (as in uncomfortably warm). We can see the small white dolphin patch on the right (your left) forearm which designates him as a submariner. On the uniform's left sleeve (your right) we see his arm patch that indicates he was a Radio Operator, third class. The lightning bolts are the symbol for ship's radioman.

The US Navy has (or rather had) a library of symbols to represent each and every man's role on a boat. In the next post I will post a Scribd link with a PDF chart illustrating all of these symbols.

Also interesting to note are his Navy "bell bottom" trousers. This was a Navy thing a very long time before it became in vogue in the 70's of the twentieth century. See how the crotch panel opens up with all those buttons?

The exact reasons for this are unclear. It would make more sense to me to have that flap in the back of your pants on an old sailing ship, so when men leaned over the edge to "drop some depth charges" (use your imagination) they wouldn't need to pull down their pants. Really, I have no idea why the flap is in the front. It would make more sense to just have a zipper, all those buttons take time to undo when you need to "Hose down the deck", ie take a pee. Not visible in this photo, but just above this "flap" are two small narrow pockets that have zipper closures for tiny personal items. So it's not like zippers weren't on military uniforms of this period.

Just another tradition, I guess.

The United States military has always upheld tradition and retains certain practices which may seem antiquated or obsolete. Like ceremonial swords as part of an officer's uniform, for example. Or General Patton's ivory-handled revolvers on a Civil War leather waist belt. Or maybe the fact that he wore horse-riding breeches in a tank. {George Patton was an exception to the norm though. He was just an exceptionally badass guy who totally had an excuse to wear whatever he damn wanted as long as it made him look tougher ;) }

As a general military historian, I also noticed that today's dress uniform for any branch of the military is typically the combat uniform of several generations ago.

For example the dark blue uniform my grandfather wore in the 1940's looks strikingly like this photo of a young crewman from the Spanish-American war.

(photo comparison below)

my Grandpa - 1941

Unidentified Sailor - 1898

I can't find any good image examples, but the bright red US Marine Corps marching band uniform of 1942 really uncannily resembles some red British uniforms of the turn of the century (Napoleonic era). Also the dress uniform of the US Marines in 1861 looked a lot like the Crimean War infantry of the British Army 1855-1859.

It's all deeply entrenched in centuries of tradition. The military is all about tradition.

Monday, April 9, 2012

US Navy Service Diary from 1942-1951

Service Log 1942-1951

Hugh's bronze star citation

"The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Bronze Star Medal to HUGH NELSON SIEGEL, RADIO TECHNICIAN FIRST CLASS, UNITED STATES NAVAL RESERVE, for service as set forth in the following:

CITATION: For meritorious service as radar operator on the U.S.S. DARTER, during the fourth war patrol of that vessel in enemy Japanese-controlled waters, from September 1 to October 24, 1944. Expertly operating radar equipment during tracking procedures , SIEGEL contributed materially to the success of his ship in sinking one enemy heavy cruiser and damaging another. His devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Siegel is authorized to wear the combat "V" for valor.

For the President,
James Forrestal
Secretary of the Navy

Link to original document: http://www.scribd.com/doc/88638328/Bronze-Star-Citation