Monday, December 7, 2015

Remembering Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941 is a day that forever changed our nation’s history and must not be forgotten. While Grandpa Hughie was not in the service when Pearl Harbor was attacked, it was the incident that motivated him to enlist in the Navy Reserves and join the submarine service to strike back at the Japanese navy. 

David H. McClintock,  the Captain of the USS Darter, was a Pearl Harbor survivor.

Source: Navy History & Heritage Command (http://history.navy.mil/)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Evolution of the DARTER patch design (digitally restored scans of originals)

My grandfather designed the official patch of his original WW2 submarine, the USS Darter. The design must have been originally his, since he appears to have concept sketches that look nothing like the final version. I don't know what year these drawings are from, but they are probably after the war. He made the patch in the 1970's for the Submarine Veterans reunions. The design appears on Navy publications after 1945. During the war patrols and the frantic life aboard a sub, it's highly doubtful he would have had the time to neatly draw these designs.

The "darter" fish is a small, distinctly-patterned freshwater fish in the perch family, found mainly in streams in North America. The subspecies depicted in his design appears to be a rainbow darter. Ask Wikipedia for a visual.  What's a darter fish?

Anyway, I think the reason the "Darter" was chosen for the vessel was because the darter is a very small, harmless-looking fish. Much how submarines are much smaller than other navy ships, but are capable of destroying the biggest enemy fleet ships with a few well-aimed torpedoes, which are also nicknamed "fish". Many diesel submarines from this period were named after different types of fish.

1. The earliest drawing I can find shows multiple darter fish swimming around a torpedo. The fish are also not quite anatomically accurate.

2. Then, the design evolved into this. The shape of this one suggests a shoulder patch emblem. This has the basic elements of the final design, in that the fish is throwing torpedo-shaped darts at a big target on the side of a Japanese ship, which also looks like the Japanese flag. He was just experimenting with logo shapes at this point, but the concept was solid.

3. Here we see the inked version of a more finished-looking design. The ship is bigger and the target smaller. Notice this is a flipped version of the final design at the bottom.

4. Colored pencil study of the square logo. We see he was trying to play around with color ideas for the border of a circular design.

5. Marker full color rendering of the square design. For whatever reason, he liked the flipped version of this design better, and thought the logo should be in a circle (perfect squares don't embroider well)

6. Finalized design in a circular shape. Everything looks better in a circle. Logo design 101.

7. And finally, the embroidered finished product. The final patch is quite large and measures at least six inches in diameter.

Using my own talents, I scanned and traced this final design in Adobe Illustrator and turned it into a logo as would be painted on the side of a ship. I combined elements of the Task force 'M' patch, showing the date of the battle of Leyte Gulf and the Darter's final war patrol in which it was lost.

Hughie was a highly skilled draftsman, I'm not sure if he took any classes in mechanical drawing but he must have. Keep in mind this was much harder when you had to do everything on paper with inks and pencils. Once he had a nice clearly inked drawing, he could photocopy it and mail it (via real postage) to an embroidery place and have them create the custom patch. The process took many weeks. They did have machine-stitched embroidery then without a doubt, since World War II saw an explosion in individual unit insignia and uniform patch designs. This was the first conflict in which every regiment and division, fleet or aircraft wing had a distinctive and colorful emblem.

Now you see where my graphic design skills came from.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Time Capsule: Hugh Siegel's Navy Uniform

In observation of Veteran's Day, I would like to once more share this piece of history.

One day in April 2012 I was cleaning out the crawl space above the stairs in my Grandma's house that we called her "attic." It was a pretty scary place, with cobwebs almost as thick as the fake ones you buy in Halloween stores.  Through the choking dust I saw two very large pretzel cans. Wondering what could be in them, I carefully rolled them down the ladder.  As I pried the lids off, I instantly realized I was opening a time capsule.  Inside each was a blue World War II US Navy uniform, with the shoulder patch of an eagle and three lightning bolts for Radioman Third Class. The submarine Dolphins patch is on the right cuff. Unmistakable as that of Hugh Siegel's.

They were put away fresh and still smelled like they were steam cleaned last week. He was very clever to store them in these airtight metal cans. The one I brought home is in pristine condition, with no moth holes or decay whatsoever.

What surprised me about these? He was smaller than I thought.

The lightning bolts was the symbol for Radioman.
This is not a common patch that turns up in collections of Navy patches.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Finalized Dace & Darter Patch Designs

I could have posted these a long time ago. These are the actual embroidered patches my grandfather designed and produced for the US Navy WWII Sub Veteran reunions.  I have one of each in my possession.

 He designed both. I love these. The patches are really big, about the size of the bottom of a coffee can.

Hugh's commemorative patch for the Dace-Darter rescue designed for the reunions.

Go Here for the earlier post of his preliminary sketches for the Darter patch...

...And the Dace patch designs can be found Here.

Hugh's efforts were invaluable after the war in organizing reunions and keeping his former crewmates together. He was very proud of his service and these patches were a great way to commemorate their unique experience. Other submarine crews made patches like this, but but I think this is special because I have the ones my grandfather designed.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Historical Image Archive

U.S. Navy sailors doing open order M1 rifle drill, presenting before an unidentified officer. 
Undated photo from Hugh's collection. Most likely in Australia.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The DARTER Submarine II (SS-576)

A Navy publication photo of SS-576, taken sometimes in the 1970's.
"In October 1956, thirteen years after the original DARTER (SS-227) was commissioned, the new DARTER (SS-576) was commissioned at Electric Boat Company, Groton, Connecticut. 

Since her construction, DARTER (SS-576) has continually undergone modernization and conversion to make her performance comparable to the newest submarines of her type.

The new DARTER has been homeported at New London, Connecticut; Charleston, South Carolina; San Diego, California and most recently Sasebo, Japan. She has seen service in the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Western Pacific.

Statistically, the new DARTER is 285 feet long, has a beam of 27 feet, displaces 2,050 tons, and is propelled by diesel-electric drive through twin propellers. Her complement is 75 men and 3 officers."

The new USS DARTER remained in service through 1981, a career spanning almost 30 years. There is a letter dated 1981, in which the Skipper of SS-576 requested a copy of the famous photograph of the SS-227 aground on Bombay Shoal.  Hugh personally saw to it that the SKipper obtained a copy, which was framed and kept in the officer's quarters. 

The new DARTER sub was decommissioned October 6, 1989.  My grandfather was invited to the ceremony and recorded a VHS video of the occasion. Maybe someday I will put this on Youtube.

The officers of the SS-576 awarded Hugh with a wood and bronze plaque bearing the coat-of-arms of the new ship, which he kept in his living room next to the USS MENHADEN one.

A personally autographed photo of the USS-DARTER SS-576 from 1981.

Hugh's commemorative beer stein decorated with the seal of the submarine.