The Darwin Exception

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My Grandfather and The USS Detroit

Posted by thedarwinexception on December 8, 2006

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. That made me think of my Grandfather. Not that he was in the war at the time of Pearl Harbor. He was in the Navy earlier than that – from 1921 to 1925. My Grandfather was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Detroit, when it was first commissioned in 1923. After a shakedown cruise to the Mediterranean, the Detroit joined the Scouting Fleet for exercises and maneuvers along the East coast and in the Mediterranean. After my Grandfather had left the Navy and the Detroit had completed several missions,  Detroit’s home port became Pearl Harbor. She was moored at her base with the ships Raleigh and Utah when the Japanese attacked on December 7th, 1941. The other two ships bore the brunt of an attack by six torpedo planes, and despite several strafing passes the Detroit was able to get underway safely and set up an antiaircraft fire which accounted for several planes. She was ordered to sail
at once to investigate the west coast of Oahu for any indications of a landing by the Japanese, then to join the search for the retiring Japanese force.

So the day makes me think of my Grandfather.

And, of course, I have tons of pictures of the U.S.S. Detroit, lots of pictures of the men that my grandfather served with, and a lot of pictures of the exotic ports of call they visited. I’d love to know of some other people who had grandfathers or relatives who might have served at the same time, and maybe even are in the photographs that I have. I have looked online for Crew Lists, message boards of various crafts, and various Navy message boards, but haven’t come across any that relate specifically to the Detroit during this time period. Maybe someone would really love to have copies of the pictures.

So today, we pay tribute to my Papa, and all the men he served with in the Navy, and all the military personnel who lost their lives and served in Pearl Harbor in 1941, and all our military people now – fighting another war.

This is a picture of some of the men who served with my grandfather on the USS
Detroit in the early 1920’s. I don’t know who they are, but if you have
relatives who served at the same time, take a look and see if one of them might
be your relative. It does look like they had a good time, though, doesn’t it?

Same as above – my grandfather looks to be the one in the front on the far right
bent down.

This is one of the more interesting pictures to me. On the back of the picture
is a note identifying the young man as “Frenchy”, and requesting a return
picture from my Grandfather.

I don’t know who any of these men are – they don’t look like sailors, but this
picture was amongst all the Navy pictures in an album, so they must have had
something to do with my Grandfather’s Navy days. They look like a page out of
the “Soprano’s”, to me.

More unidentified shipmates.

I love this picture. I am going to have it enlarged and framed and hang it in my
hallway. Sailors on camel back, in the Valley of the Kings. Priceless.

My Grandfather is on the left. I don’t know who the others are.

My Grandfather is on the left.

Looks like the entire crew of the USS Detroit.

Again, the crew on board the ship.

Some unidentified crewmates.





5 Responses to “My Grandfather and The USS Detroit”

  1. Que Barbara said

    Awesome photos. I have been decorating for Christmas and getting all sentimental as I go through some of the decorations that have been passed on to me by my Mom and Grandma (still alive at age 95, BTW). I think an important part of Christmas is remembering those who have left us.

  2. Greg Goss said

    Detail nitpicking, though geography nitpicking is a wasted sport on Kim. “The Valley of the Kings” is a valley with lots of tombs much further south than the pyramids. The pyramids aren’t really IN a valley.

    The valley of the kings is near Luxor (Thebes). The pyramids are at Giza, near Cairo. On a map of Egypt, you can see that Cairo is near the outflow of the Nile, while Luxor is more than halfway to the southern border of the country.

  3. You’re right – it’s a wasted sport.


  4. Tom Duemling said

    I was doing some on line research on the USS Detroit and came upon your pictures. My father was on the Detroit during WWII. He was Commander Arnold Duemling, MD.

    I don’t have pictures but wondered if others out there might. My dad was actually too old to be drafted but volunteered as the Navy needed medical personnel. He served 2 + years of active duty before receiving a service related disability and left the navy.

    • Anonymous said

      Tom – YOur grandfather left the Navy Possibly from a very bad back – that is the story I heard as to why he left surgery and became a Dermitologist . I met you and your brother Gary? and sister Jane when you were small children . Your father was my great uncle which would make you my Uncle – Arnolds sister was my grandmother . Barb.

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