Memorial Markers and Plaques
US Seagoing Marine Monument
on Semper Fi Trail, National Marine Corps
Installed 15 November 2007
Dedicated 25 April 2008
The United States Seagoing Marine Association has an ongoing project, U.S. SEAGOING MARINE ASSOCIATION WARSHIP MUSEUM PLAQUE PROJECT, to place plaques on museum warships that once included Marine Detachments. That program had been expanded to include non-shipboard museums such as the USS Albany Heritage Exhibit in Albany, NY. Twenty-three plaques had been donated to date. Other museums which had been honored included the USS Constitution, the USS Massachusetts, the USS Hornet, the USS Wisconsin, and the USS Salem. Cities also honored included Indianapolis MN, Portland ME, Phoenix AZ, San Francisco CA, and Vincennes IN.
A special presentation was made to the USS Albany Association by the United States Seagoing Marine Association. The ceremony took place on Monday, 10 November 2008 at the USS Albany Heritage Exhibit in Albany, New York. Steve Johnson, a member of the USS Albany Association and the Seagoing Marine Association, presented a brass plaque to “honor all Marines who served aboard the CA-123 and the CG-10”. Monday, November 10, 2008 was the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Other members and guests of the Albany Association at the ceremony included GySgt. Steve Johnson’s wife Judy Johnson, Bart Hutchins, Wayne & Judy Van Amburgh, Bob & Donna McConnell, Rich & Rose Zeimet, Dick Desrochers, and representing the city and county of Albany Sue Cleary, and Kathy Quandt. The plaque was permanently mounted at the USS Albany Heritage Exhibit along with other memorabilia from the Marine Detachments.
Aboard the NORTH CAROLINA, the U.S. Marines formed the 7th Division in the Gunnery Department. There were approximately 85 Marines. They shared their compartment on the 2nd deck with signalmen and hospital corpsmen.
The Marines were trained in ship to shore duties, so they served as the ship’s landing force, a duty they fulfilled just prior to the surrender in August 1945.
Other duties included:
Manned 5-inch and 20mm guns
Provided guards for the brig
Aided chief master-at-arms
Served as orderlies for the captain and executive officer
Assisted in summary and general courts martial
Provided security for the ship when in port
Richard Fox, USMC, recalled: “The reason the Marines had the 20mm guns (for battle stations) was because we had a lot of practice with the small caliber guns before we went aboard. The Marines had two 5-inch mounts as part of their duties. The Marine captain had the guys down there practicing on the loading machine. Those 5-inch shells weighed about 50+ pounds and they got so good at it that the guns were always ready to fire.”
Sailors on BB-55 agreed. “The Marines had two of the 5-inch mounts and they always had more rounds than the sailors. We didn’t have a gun crew to match. They were in top physical shape because they were all pre-war Marines. They had to be around six feet tall for sea duty. They drilled everyday on the loading drill. You’d see them up there everyday, so naturally they got it down to a fine art. We tried to beat them a lot of times, but no way.” Michael Horton.
“I think one time Tokyo Rose said that we had a new weapon, a 5-inch machine gun. That is how fast the Marine mount was firing those guns during an air raid.” Jackson Belford.
“We were sitting one night at general quarters. A bogey had been reported on the radar. We were standing easy at our guns. All of sudden this Marine jumped up and commenced firing this 20mm gun. The sky lit up with a light out there. A plane hit the water. It was burning. I saw the gasoline burning on the water. I don’t know how he knew that this was an enemy plane or how it was there. He must have seen the exhaust.” Ollie Goad.
“One of my guys was in the brig during an air attack and was shaking the bars demanding the Marine to let him out. He got on the Marine’s nerves so bad that he pulled out his .45 caliber and pointed it at him and said, when I let you out, you’ll get out.” Paul Wieser.
USMC Detachment Commanding Officers.
They held the rank of Captain and/or Major
Harvey Tschirgi, March 1941 to June 1942
Harland Draper, June 1942 to May 1943
Duncan Jewell, June 1943 to May 1944
Joseph Bruder, May 1944 to November 1945 (below, on watch in Sky Control)
“I am expecting to have a few adventures in the time to come.”
PFC Jim Ramentol, March 1941
He served on BB55 to February 1944
“The Marine Detachment was in the Gunnery Department. The Marines stood lookout watch and in battle manned 20mm and (provided officers in two) 40mm mounts. (They also manned a 5-inch mount early in the ship’s career.) The Marines also furnished twenty-four hour orderly services to the captain and the executive officer. In port the Marines were responsible for the security of the ship. The Marines helped with provisioning the ship and taking on ammunition. All Marines were trained in ship to shore operations, so in addition to helping with the security of the ship in port, we were prepared to be a landing force when necessary. This was necessary near the end of the war when all Marines in our battle group transferred at sea to attack transports and went into Yokosuka, Japan. This preceded the signing of the peace treaty by several days. The Marine officers stood top gunnery watches, officer of the deck and junior officer of the deck watches, and regularly assisted in summary and general courts martials acting either as the prosecuting or defending officer.”
- Captain William Romm, USMC, Marine Detachment
“The Marine Detachment, as long as I was aboard from November 1943 to November 1945, was charged with the responsibility of upkeep and maintenance of the ship’s 20mm battery which grew from about 24 mounts to 48 or 60 when we came out of Bremerton in September 1944. The gunner on each mount was usually a Marine and the loaders were from the galley, bakery, and captain’s mess. This latter group, the captain’s stewards, never forgot me when we got into port – especially Hawaii and I always had papaya or avocado with my meal compliments of the captain’s galley just above my seat in the wardroom.”
- Captain Joseph Bruder, USMC, Marine Detachment Commanding Officer
“We had quite a group of Marines. We (the signalmen) were very friendly with them. They used to spend hours on the practice machine. It is a (5-inch) loading machine that they practiced on. They were right below the signal bridge. We used to watch them for hours practicing down there. I think one time that Tokyo Rose said that we had a new weapon, a 5-inch machine gun. That is how fast the Marine mount was firing those guns during an air raid.”
- Jackson Belford, Signalman 3/c
“We could get out some fast loads, but the Marine had two of the (5-inch) mounts. The Marine always had more rounds than we did. We didn’t have a gun crew to match the Marines. They drilled every day on the loading drill. So naturally they got it down to a fine art. They were in top shape, the Marines were. We had the best.”
- Michael Horton, Seaman 1/c
“We were sitting one night at general quarters. A bogy had been reported on the radar. We were standing easy at our guns. All of a sudden this Marine jumped up and commenced firing this 20mm gun. The sky lit up with a light out there. A plane hit the water. It was burning. I saw the gasoline burning on the water. I don’t know how he knew that this was an enemy plane or how it was there. He must have seen the exhaust. Everybody was excited and talking about it.”
- Ollie Goad, Seaman 1/c
“The Marines stood guard over the brig. One of their duties was to man the brig if we had someone locked up.”
- Wilburn Thomas, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c