'lfhe Unfinished Story ofthe
LIEUTENANT LUTHER CLYDE CAIATER, JR.
cb. C., U.S.N.R. T'
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PRINTED AND MADE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY
JAMES J. GILLICK 8c COMPANY
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CAPTAIN A. B. REED
CAPTAIN J. B. EARLE
CAPTAIN A. T. BEAUREGARD QREAR ADMIRALJ
CAPTAIN M. E. MANLEY
CAPTAIN W. R. PURNELI. QREAR ADMIRALy
CAPTAIN A. H. GRAY A
CAPTAIN H. H. GooD fREAR ADMIRAL,
CAPTAIN W. S. DELANEY QREAR ADMIRALJ
CAPTAIN C. H. ROPER .
CAPTAIN R. O. DAVIS QREAR ADMIRAL,
CAPTAIN S. R. SI-IUMARER QDECEASEDJ
CAPTAIN J. D. H. KANE QDECEASEDD
CAPTAIN J. E. HURFF
EXECUTIVE OFFICERS l
COMMANDER M. L. HERSEY fCAPTAINJ
COMMANDER H. J. RAY QCAPTAIND
COMMANDER F. A. LAROCHE QCAPTAIND
COMMANDER I. C. SOWELL QREAR ADMIRAL,
COMMANDER G. HUTCI-IINs QCAPTAINJ
COMMANDER H. P. ABURNETT fCAPTAIN,
COMMANDER J. G. ATI-IINs CCAPTAIND
COMMANDER W. F. RIGGS fCAPTAIN,
COMMANDER O. F. NAQUIN QCAPTAIND
COMMANDER H. F. GOODWIN
The U. S. S. New Orleans in the Mississippi River at New Orleans. Official United States Navy Photo
he O Boat
THE UNFINISHED STORY of the U.S.S. NEW ORLEANS
THIS LITTLE BOOKLET is inspired hy the mothers, fathers, and wives of the men
who have served and are serving their country in this ship. It is written in the
knowledge that you, who wait long months and years, longto share the experi-
ence of yourvloved ones. V
There is nothing detailed, of course, -which would aid the enemy, nor is it
the purpose to give a log of the ship's life, rather, 'it is to give you a glimpse of
her travels, her traditions, some facts, and the magnificent role she is playing
in a war fought to guarantee that liberty shall not perish from this earth.
CHAPLAIN L. C. CARTER, Jn.
THIS SHIP, among others, is known as a "ghost ship," because she
has been declared "sunk" several times by the enemy. Hence,
there is a double-entendre in the affectionate nickname given the
New Orleans by her men, as a contraction of her name: the
"NO Boat", although, strictly speaking, one does not refer to a
seagoing vessel by any other term than "ship," O
The idea of this ship was born in the Armament Limitation
Conference of I 928 when the Five Powers met to discuss the com-
parative size of their respective navies. As a result of this confer-
ence, the United States made plans to build several Io,ooo ton
Cheavyj cruisers--the U.S.S. New Orleans was one of these.
The job of building her went to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New
York, where the keel was laid March 14, I 9 3 I. It took a little over
two years to complete her, and she was officially launched April
1 2, I 9 3 3 . p
Even while she was taking shape, the, men who were to man her
began to arrive. You will be interested to know that one of the
customs of the Navy is to place coins, heads up, underneath the
mainmast and foremast at their bases, as they are raised into posi-
tion. This was done on the O Boat and those coins are still there.
You may be saying to yourself,"Two years in the building of it?
They' certainly took long enough." But when you know what is in
a ship like this you will be amazed that it ididnot take three times
as long, for it is a veritable floating city.
. The ship is 578 feet long with a be-am of 61 feet 9 inches. Did
you know she has an electric power plant and more than enough
wiring to take care of a medium sized city? There is also a water
plant and enough plumbing to take care oi the same city. Did you
know there is a huge refrigeration plant with storage space for
enough meat, vegetables, and perishable foods to supply the whole
crew for weeks? There is a laundry, bake shop, tailor shop, post
office, carpenter shop, machine shop, barber shop, a small clothing
store, and a store which corresponds to a drug store--minus drugs,
but complete with soda fountain. . i
Surprised? Just wait! Did you knowthere is a dental office,
equipped so well it would make your local dentist green with
envy? There is a small hospital, complete with operating facilities.
And there is also a church on board4ore at least what corresponds
to church at home. Although there is neither steeple nor pew,
regular church services are held, rain or shine, war or no war. An
ordained minister, known as the chaplain, serves the men. The
chaplain, sometimes affectionately called "'Padre," "Sky Pilot,"
or "Holy Joe," is much more than just the "preacher" to the men.
He is father, mother, family, friend, confidant, and general
trouble-shooter. It is his job to supervise the ship's library, which
supplies the men with plenty of good books and magazines, and to
provide recreation and entertainment.
You will want to know something about the recreation and
entertainment. In the past the ship has had a basketball team, it
won the trophy for cruiser championship in I939. There was an
baseball team which played ,in the fleet championship :finals in
1 9 3 8. There have been boxing, wrestling, and baseball teams-we
still have them, but of course they are greatly limited in oppor-
tunity. There's a game with bigger stakes going on. Since the war
began, a new game has been introduced which can be played on
boardg it is called commando ball, and it is similar to volleyball
except that a medicine ball is used, which is thrown over the netg
not batted, you may be sure. When the ship is in port, recreation
parties go ashore for games, si ght-seeing, and refreshments.
Our principal sources of entertainment on board are motion
pictures, which are shown as often as possible. Occasionally, a
smoker is given-a kind of vaudeville song-fest, using the ship's
talent. In the early days, I am told, the ship had a jazz band which
Chaplain Carter spins the pointer
for prizes at the Christmas party. e
Opposite--Many of the larger ships have musical organizations which are in great demand.
Movies are a regular part of the ship's relcreation program, and the latest film releases are shown.
played for ship's dances. While playing along the West Coast, the
band leader became ambitious and hired a young Woman vocalist.
The band, however, being sailors, fell for her, squabbled over her,
and finally broke up the band. Later the ship had a hill-billy band
called the Windjammers, 1 which afforded a lot of amusement.
About a year ago, the Windjammers were revived, but this time
as a Hfteen-piece swing band which is going strong. The men have
many ways of entertaining themselves besides reading. Some do
fine work making knives with ornate handles. Others do sketches
in pencil and watercolors. Some of the wives will be astonished to
find their husbands have become expert in tatting, various kinds
of needlework, and in creating beautiful belts, pocketbooks, and
other ornaments with combinations of knots. This last is an old
Well, we must get back to the just-launched ship which we left
floating in New York Harbor on April 12, I93 3. There are yet
many things to be completed before she is ready to be turned over
officially to the Navy and sent upon her fateful way.
, At this point, I want to tell you that the following accounts of
the prewar days of the N C Boat were gleaned from several old
"salts" who were aboard when she wascommissioned and are still
there. These mates are affectionately called "plank-owners." I
would like to give you a roster of all hands aboard, they being
singled out proudly, but wartime restrictions do not permit it.
It was they who told me of her early days, not always in chrono-
logical order, nor with too scrupulous a regard for the line be-
tween fact and fiction, but essentially the facts, despite the many
"salty" embellishments. I am presenting it much as I heard it from
One of these Chiefs told me that on the launching day, the ship
was to be christened by breaking on her bow a bottle of Mississippi.
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River water as she slid down the ways. For some undisclosed rea-
son, a bottle of champagne was used instead, much to the disap-
pointment of some of those present. .
The U.S.S. New Orleans is named for the city of New Orleans,
Louisiana, and is the third vessel of the Navy to have this
name. The first New Orleans was a wooden ship of the line, of
2,805 tons, carrying 74 guns. She was started at Sacketts Harbor,
New York, in 1 8 14- 1 8 1 5, but work was suspended February 14,
18 15. Work on this vessel was discontinued after the Treaty of
Ghent, which terminated the War of 1 8 1 2. This vessel was sold in
1 88 38 in accordance with the Act of Congress approved August 5,
188 2, having- remained in an uninished condition until that time.
. The second New Orleans was a cruiser of 3,430 tons, formerly
named the Anzazonas, which was- built by Armstrong, Mitchell
81 Co., Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, and launched December 4,
1 896. She was purchased from the Brazilian Government, March
16, 1898, and placed in commission March 18, 1898. She served
with distinction during the war with Spain and also during World
War I. she was finally placed out of commission on'November
1 6, 1 9 3 o.
The present New Orleans was commissioned as a warship of the
U.S. Navy on February 1 5, I934. In May of that year she set out
for Europe on her first cruise.This was known as the "shakedown"
cruise, a time for studying her general performance and, also, a
kind of celebration. At a dock in Stockholm, Sweden, her crew
"manned the rails" as King Gustav and his consort came aboard
to welcome her. In manning the rails, the crew is lined up in dress
uniform facing outboard at all topside lifelinesg it is a part of the
highest honors, rendered only on special occasions. I am. told that
the King was as excited over the ship as a boy, especially over the
function of the plane catapults, and that to gratify his interest,
the ship put to sea and demonstrated the manner of launching
planes from catapults. Upon arrival at Copenhagen, Denmark,
a celebration was held when Ambassador Ruth Bryan Owen, only
woman ambassador of the United States, came aboard. I am also
told that Queen Wfilhelmina visited the ship in Amsterdam, Hole
land. From there the ship sailed to Portsmouth, England, and was
viewed with amazement by the crews of His Majesty's Ships
Prince of Wales and Re pulse, who declared, "Blimey,, these Amer-
icans build battleships and call them cruisers!" fThe New Orleans
was one of the largest cruisers in the world at that time.J
The N O Boat returned to the United States in July 1934, just
in time to escort the cruiser Houston with President F. D. Roose-
Crossing the "line" is celebrated fervently and none too gently when pollywogs-officers and
men alike-are initiated into the ancient and salty order of Shellbacks, on the occasion of their
first crossing. On the day before the equator is reached, Davy jones boards the ship to summon
all pollywags to appear before King Neptune. On reaching the equator, Neptune with his retinue
comes aboard to hold his traditional court. On the following pages-top, left, a pollywog loses
his sense of dignity when the Shellbacks chastise him. Top, center, Shellbacks line up to wield
paddles upon the thoroughly wet anatomy of a pollywog- Tot, fight, N 617514110 solemnly COW'
siders the gravity of the po-llyw0g's offense and metes out suitable punishment., Bottom, left, the
hazing assumes aspects of a three-ring circus. Bottom, center, Neptunus Rex, the Royal Consoft,
the Royal Baby l with the cigar I, and the Royal N ursemaid. Bottom, right, The Royal judge with
his gavel, the Royal Prosecutor whose dark glasses possibly blind him to the woes of the polly-
wogsg The Devil himselfg the pollywogs' only "friend," the Attorney for the Defensei and,
on the right, Davy Iones. Time has hallowed the traditional horseplay with its informal rituals.
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velt embarked, to the Territory of Hawaii. En route, the ships
stopped to allow the President to visit Cocos Island, near the
Panama Canal, famed as Captain Kidd's treasure island. The story
is that some of the New Orleans' crew went ashore for recreation.
When the time came for departure, it was found that a dozen or
so of the men had wandered into the jungle Q looking for buried
treasure, no doubtj and had gotten lost. The men, much cha-
grined forholding up the Presidential party, were Hnally located
and the trip was resumed.
After the N O Boat had seen the President safely back to the
West Coast, she returned to the East Coast and cruised along the
New England coast, making trial runs to test the engines, and
stopping at several points along the way, and finally returning to
New York Navy Yard for some adjustments.
,It was some time in I 9 3 5 that the ship made her first visit to the
city for which she is named. While she stopped at a small island
port in the Caribbean, the ship was dressed with flags and pen-
nants from stem to stern, then proudly sailed for the mouth of
the Mississippi. Small craft along the way tooted their whistles
and dipped their colors. As the ship was proceeding up the river
estuary, a 'dispatch was received from the Army engineers re-
questing the ship toincrease speed asshe steamed up the narrow
channel in order that they might observe how the government
dikes would withstand the wash of the ship.The speed was stepped
up to I8 knots Cabout zo miles per hourj and a frantic message
was received to slow down, for the wash was so tremendous that
the dikes were threatened, house-boats were breaking loose, and
small craft were being swamped.
Upon arrival at'New Orleans, the ship was given a grand re-
ception and the crew feted. The Mayor and 'his committee came
aboard and with an impressive ceremony presented the ship a
magnificent silver service. The school children in each of the
State's sixty-four parishes contributed a ine goblet to add to the
silver. The crew was presented with a piano. In addition to all this,
the people of the City of New Orleans 'presented a great ship's
bell weighing about 3 50 pounds and measuring two feet in diam-
eter. I am given to understand that the bell was originally pre-
sented to the preceding U.S.S. New Orleans and had been saved
for this ship.The people of the city gave thousands of dimes which
were melted down and cast in the metal ofthe ship's bell, giving
it a rich, musical tone. g
O From New Orleans the ship proceeded to join the fleet for the
first time and took part in fleet maneuvers near Hawaii. Shortly
afterward she sailed with other cruisers for a visit to Alaska. The
crew thoroughly enoyed the breath-taking beauty of mighty
glaciers, the inquisitive, comical looking seals which bobbed up
alongside with dripping whiskers and barked questioningly, and
the busy sea otters which swam on their backs, juggling their
young in the air. Fish were so abundant that a shiny hook over
the side was the only bait needed. One of the Chiefs told me the
Officers anrl crew gather in the ship's hangar for movies and other recreation, as occasion offers.
Whole fan-tail Cafter deckj was at one time loaded with fish
caught in this Way fone of those "sea stories," no doubtj . Of
course, all hands had a ration of polar bear meat, too..
It Was some time in 193 6 that the whole fleet crossed the equator
and Pollywogs Cthose who are about to cross the equator for the
first timey Were duly initiated into King Neptuneis realm as
trusty Shellbacks. The New Orleans put in at Callao, Peru, and
recreation parties Visited Lima and the great Andes Mountains.
Later in I93 6, the ship returned to New York, and, quite by
chance, made her debut in a ,feature motion picture. Several cam-
era shots were taken of her as she steamed up to the anchorage
near the George Waslnngton Bridge and "dropped the hook."
There was another trip to the West Coast for fleet maneuvers
in December, 1936, after which the next thing of note occurred
during fleet exercises in the Caribbean in 1939. Apparently, ac-
cording to one of the "plank-owners," the Japanese were little
busy-bodies even then, for a Jap tanker began following the fleet
around during the maneuvers, until the N O Boat was dispatched
to go back and tell the Japs to "scram"-in Navy language, of
i At the end of these exercises, the ship again put in at New
Orleans, but had hardly stopped before receiving orders to pro-
ceed fo Pearl Harbor, where she arrived in October, 1939.
Pearl Harbor became the "home" port, so most of the crew
moved their families to Hawaii. Those were happy days, when
life was easy and pleasant with only occasional fleet maneuvers-
until suddenly, one Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, death
and treachery fell from the skies!
1 - 3
Divine services are held regularly aboard ship. Above-Chaplain Carter pronounces benediction.
Below-Attendance at divine services is voluntary. All religious faiths are served by chaplains.
Her bow blown completely away, the No Boat limped to Tulagi, where she was laboriously
camouflaged for concealment from Iap planes until temporary repairs enabled her to make the
dangerous trip to Australia. Tulagi natives-the "Tulagi Lumber Co."-cut necessary timbers.
THE U. S. S. N EW ORLEANS AND WORLD WAR II
BEFORE the morning 'of December 7 was past, the Japanese had
left our fleet badly hurt. The N ew Orleans, untouched through-
out the attack, had blazed away at the enemy. Chaplain Howell
M. Forgy, then serving in the NO Boat, moved among the men,
cheering them on with his now famous words, "Praise the Lord,
and pass the ammunition!" W
Chaplain Forgy has chronicled what happened from that mo-
ment on and through the year of I942 in his book " . . . And Pass
the Ammunition." The book is a vivid, never-to-be-forgotten
record of that period. p
The Japanese were occupying the islands of the Pacific one by
one, and closing in on Australia. It was the tremendous task of
the surviving U.S. Navy to keep the supply lines to Australia
open and to check, if possible, the Jap advance.
The first few months of 1942 were spent in.escorting great
convoys to Australia and the southwest Pacific. New Caledonia,
very important to the safety of Australia, had not been occupied
by the Japs, and to forestall such a move, the New Orleans set out
with a convoy of transports, cargo ships, and two destroyers to
occupy the island. Three Jap carriers were known to be in the
area, 'but they were not encountered, and the occupation was
completed successfully. A
There was a brief stop at a South Sea Island base. The story is
told that a handsome, brown native came alongside, his canoe
laden with hula skirts, which he sold to the eager sailors for 54.00
apiece. When all were sold, he pulled away and shouted, "Any of
youse guys from Brooklyn?" He was an Army sergeant who had
disguised himself as a native and sold the 25-cent skirts torthe
The ship escorted a convoy to Australia, then returned to Pearl
Harbor, running the gantlet of a Jap sub pack. Soon afterward
she joined a task force in the Coral Seauwhich was out to stop the
Jap advance. Our carrier planes, from the Lexington, and York-
town, surprised and sank many Jap ships at Tulagi, Florida Island,
and at Lae, New Guinea. A Jap task force was contacted and our
planes sank two Jap carriers. The next day at the climax of the
Battle of the Coral Sea, after downing many Jap planes, the Lex-
ington was sunk.The New Orleans rescued 7oo of the Lexington?
crew and raced with them to safety. s
At this point, the ship was ordered to make all possible speed
to Pearl Harbor. Our Navy Intelligence had learned that a great
Jap occupation force was moving in from the northwest, pos-
sibly intending to take the Hawaiian Islands and thereby threaten
our West Coast. The New Grleans joined a task force with the
carriers Yorktown and Hornet and the Battle of Midway was
joined. This was the great turning point in the war, for our car-
rier planes sank four Jap carriers and four cruisers.
Back to the southwest Pacific again to help push the Japs out
of the islands, the ship escorted the great landing force that moved
in on Guadalcanal and Florida Islands in August, I942. A Jap
force tried,to interfere, but was repulsed with heavy loss by our
carrier force made up of the Enterprise and Saratoga. Our force,
including the New Orleans, then patrolled the Coral Sea until
our Guadalcanal Marines were well established. The NO Boat was
finally ordered to escort a crippled ship back to Pearl Harbor. It
had been 76 days sinceshe had, last weighed anchor. Provisions
had 'gotten so low that the men had been eating Spam and rice-
breakfast, dinner, and supper--for days.
After our landing on Guadalcanal, the Japs tried regularly to
send convoys to reinforce their troops. This became known as
the 'fTokyo Express." On the pitch-dark night of November 30,
1942, the "Tokyo'Express" had arrived with a convoyof ships at
the northwestern tip of Guadalcanal and were landing troops on
Tassafaronga Beach. In the darkness the New Orleans and other
cruisers .moved in and blazed away at the surprised Japs.-.KThe
"Tokyo Express" was never the same. again. i
The Japs had let loose a great screen of torpedoes when we
opened fire-+one of these struck the New Orleans. There was a
mighty explosion and 125 feet of the bow parted from the ship,
swung around, struck the ship aft, and sank from sight. One-
third of the ship was gone, yet she miraculously stayed afloat. As
Above, opposite-Bugles sound "Taps" at the buriallgrouml on Tulagi Island, at the conclusion
of bnrzal serwces for the men lost in the battle of Guadalcanal. Below-Navy guard of honor.
the battle continued to rage, the wounded NO Boat limped into
nearby Tulagi Harbor, Florida Island.
' Even in the face of such calamity, American humor was alive.
As the ship moved into Tulagi, an amazed sailor on a patrol boat
called out,"What happened to your bow?" One of the men yelled
back,"Termites ! "Another gag concerned "wintering in Floridafi
In the cemetery on Tulagi Island lie some of the men who lost
their lives that night, but many more lie at thebottom of the sea,
encased in the steel vault which was once the bow of the New
In his book, Chaplain Forgy gives a vivid account of how the
ship was camouflaged against air attack, the forward bulkheads
reinforced with logs, and the perilously slow trip made to Sydney,
Australia, when there was extreme doubt as to whether the ship
could stay afloat. But the N ew Orleans, as her crew aver with good
reason, is a "lucky ship." Having survived damage that by all the
rules should have sent her to the bottom of the sea, she fought
stubbornly through a terrific storm that threatened momentarily
to crash through her fragile bulkhead, until she came rather sud-
denly out of a thick fog to find Sydney Harbor right where her
navigator said it should be.
I They made it! The crew were welcomed by the people of
Sydney as heroes, and hearts and homes were opened to them. So
fine was the hospitality of Sydney that the men have come to
think of it as the next best place to home.
A temporary stub bow was put on the ship at Sydney, and she
returned to a West Coast Navy Yard where a new bow was wait-
ing for her. In record time she was back in the ight. 4 I
In Cctober, I 943 , came the first in the series of offensives which
were to push the Japs slowly out of the Pacific, when a great task
force blasted Wake Island into uselessness- the often "sunk"
U.S.S. N ew Orleans was there.
The guns of the New Orleans spoke in the bombardment of the
Gilbert Islands assault in November, I943. She was a part of the
carrier task force which shortly afterward made the daring strike
at the Marshall Islands.
You can imagine how happy the crew were when we were able
to celebrate Christmas in Pearl Harbor. We were fortunate
enough to get a real Christmas tree, which had been sent from the
States. All hands turned to and decorated it until it looked like
home. On Christmas Eve the ship had a big party with music,
gifts, stunts, and plenty of refreshments. Afterward, the men put
their hearts into the singing of all the familiar Christmas carols.
The Prince of Peace was near to all.
Immediately after the holidays began the grim preparations for
the occupation of the Marshalls. The N 0 Boat was a part of the
great armada which struck in February, I 944. Cur principal task
was bombardment. During the bombardment, I was standing
with one of the men looking on, when a Jap shell shrieked past
and landed in the water nearby. We ducked involuntarily, and
my sailor companion in mild astonishment remarked, "Say, it's
getting so the War isn't safe any more!" i
The Japs have not only declared this ship to be "sunk," but
now, since she is proving to be embarrassingly active, they have
declared her to be "obsolete!" All she asks is for them to -come out
of hiding and try to prove that. O
For security reasons, no more may be told at present of the
actions of the New Orleans, except that she is a vital part of the
Pacific Fleet's fast, hard-hitting team. is
Since the New Orleans was launched, she has averaged a dis-
tance of once around the globe for each year of her life 41934-445.
She has a lot more traveling to do yet-and all roads lead to Tokyo!
After that great daycomes, it is the desire of all the men to sail
her proudly up the Mississippi River. again to New Orleans, 'the
city for which she was named,.and join in a victory celebration
at Mardi Gras time Whichwill make even their gayest old-time
Mardi Gras seem a drab affair. ' 1
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