The USS Harmon was a U.S. Navy Buckley class destroyer escort named after Leonard Roy Harmon, a Mess Attendant (Messman) First Class that served aboard the USS San Francisco. It was the first U.S. warship to be named after a Black American. It was launched July 25, 1943, by Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, MA, sponsored by Harmon’s mother and, seventy-seven years ago, today, it was commissioned. She spent nearly a year serving as an escort ship near New Caledonia. After a short period at Pearl Harbor, she joined the Luzon Reinforcement Group. By March 1945, she was an escort and an anti-submarine screen off Iwo Jima. She returned to Pearl Harbor for training, then to Mare Island for a weapons upgrade and, when the war was over, she conducted training operations with submarines.
Decommissioned March 25, 1947, she joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was stricken August 1, 1965 and sold for scrap January 30, 1967. She received three battle stars for her World War II service.
Leonard Roy Harmon, born in Cuero, Texas, on January 21, 1917, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 10, 1939, as a Mess Attendant Third Class. He trained at the Naval Training Station, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia and reported to [the] San Francisco (CA-38) on October 28, 1939. On November 12, 1942, [the] San Francisco was covering a force of transports disembarking reinforcements off Guadalcanal when Japanese land attack planes, carrying torpedoes, attacked. [The] enemy aircraft crashed into the ship causing “considerable damage and intense fires” that put the after anti-aircraft director and radar out of commission. One officer and 15 men were either killed outright or died of their injuries. Harmon rushed in to evacuate the wounded. He was then assigned to assist Pharmacist’s Mate Lynford Bondsteel in evacuating and caring for the wounded. While the ship was being raked by enemy gunfire, Harmon deliberately shielded Bondsteel in order to protect his wounded shipmate. Although Bondsteel managed to get his courageous shipmate below, Harmon died of his wounds soon afterward.
Harmon was awarded a Purple Heart and, in March 1943, the Navy Cross.
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Mess Attendant First Class Leonard Roy Harmon (NSN: 3600418), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty in action against the enemy while serving on board the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. San Francisco (CA-38) […]. With persistent disregard of his own personal safety, […] Harmon rendered invaluable assistance in caring for the wounded and assisting them to a dressing station. In addition to displaying unusual loyalty [on] behalf of the injured Executive Officer, he deliberately exposed himself to hostile gunfire in order to protect a shipmate and, as a result of this courageous deed, was killed in action. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Addition Reading & Sources:
First US Ship Named For An African-American (History & Headlines August 31, 2016)
USN Ships: USS Harmon (DE-678) (Ibiblio Database)
Citation: Leonard Roy Harmon (Military Times)
Modern Ships: USS Harmon DE-678 (Naval History & Heritage Command)
Ship Histories: Harmon (DE-678) (Naval History & Heritage Command)
USS Harmon (DE-678) (Naval Warfare Blogspot)
World War Two: Told In A Museum (New Caledonia Site)
Leonard Harmon (Smithsonian)
Leonard Harmon, USN (USS San Francisco Site)
Leonard Roy Harmon (Wikipedia)
Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (Wikipedia)
USS San Francisco (Wikipedia)
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Nine years ago, today, an EF5, multi-vortex tornado slammed into Joplin, Missouri. It formed at 5:34 pm CDT and dissipated at 6:12pm CDT. I remember this one, vividly. I had just moved back to North Carolina from Texas and was, literally, still unpacking. I was shocked at the devastation. ~Vic
[This] was part of a larger, late May tornado outbreak and reached a maximum width of nearly one mile […] during its path through the southern part of the city. This particular tornado was unusual in that it intensified in strength and grew larger in size at a very fast rate. The tornado tracked eastward across the city and, then, continued eastward across Interstate 44 into rural portions of Jasper County and Newton County. It was the third tornado to strike Joplin since May 1971.
[The] tornado killed 158 people (with an additional eight indirect deaths), injured some 1,150 others and caused damages amounting to a total of $2.8 billion. It was the deadliest tornado to strike the United States since the 1947 Glazier–Higgins–Woodward tornadoes, and the seventh-deadliest overall. Along with the Tri-State Tornado and the 1896 St. Louis–East St. Louis tornado, it ranks as one of Missouri’s and America’s deadliest tornadoes […]. It was the first F5/EF5 tornado in Missouri since May 20, 1957 [and] was only the second F5/EF5 tornado in Missouri history dating back to 1950.
It also ranks as the costliest single tornado in U.S. history.
Additional Reading & Sources:
May Tornadoes Struck Joplin Twice in the 1970s (Joplin Globe)
Joplin Tornado (National Weather Service)
F5 & EF5 Tornadoes of the US (NOAA)
Tornado Damaged Joplin From Above (The Atlantic)
Joplin Tornado (Tornado Facts Site)
2011 Joplin Tornado (Wikipedia)
Mike Bettes Has A Hard Time
This entry was posted in History, Thoughts, Unusual, Weather and tagged 1947, 1971, 1973, 2011, april 9, bad weather, brad belk, EF5, F5, flashback, flashback friday, Flashback Fridays, funnel clouds, glazie-higgins-woodward, History, jasper county, joplin, joplin globe, may 11, may 22, may 5, mike bettes, missouri, multi-vortex, national weather service, newton county, noaa, one mile, the atlantic, the weather channel, tornado, tornado facts, tornado outbreak, Weather, weather channel, wikipedia.
Seventy-one years ago, today, something happened in Roswell, New Mexico. The Roswell Daily Record printed the story of the crash of a flying saucer on a ranch roughly 30 miles outside of Roswell proper. The Sacramento Bee picked up the story and printed statements from the Roswell Army Air Field.
Over the years, I’ve seen documentaries and read accounts of the initial debris field pieces that were retrieved from the owner of the land. I’ve seen the interviewees on camera and read their statements. I also know that there was a concerted effort by our military to keep what they found out of any more newspapers and, to quickly change the narrative to the weather balloon story.
I’ve actually been to Roswell, NM, spending the night in a local motel just for the complete experience in September of 2002. It’s cattle ranch territory and it smells that way especially in the morning. I’ve been to the Roswell UFO Museum. It is really quite fascinating to walk through it. Some of it is tongue-in-cheek but, there is a lot of information despite the government’s desire to make it “a joke”. A local waitress in a diner, where my *then* husband and I went for breakfast, said that the whole thing was a blessing and a curse. It brought in tourism dollars but, it was also a sore point for some of the older residents whom, at that time, still remembered the events when they happened. As she poured our coffee, she leaned over and told us that there were many locals that swore it was a craft…information passed quietly from neighbor to neighbor, family descendant to family descendant, much like Native American verbal history, handed down through time. Frankly, I never believed the official story. There were too many questions left unanswered and too many things that didn’t add up. Plus, our government lies to us all the time. Why should this be any different.
From The Universal Soul, pages 82 & 83 (an excerpt):
[…] these were a race we have come to call The Greys. The Greys originate on a star system many galaxies distant from us. […] their own name for themselves does not translate into anything pronounceable by the human voice box. These beings have been observing Earth for many centuries […] The Greys behave a little like human teenagers in that they have a certain level of knowledge but, cannot quite put it into context. The first real contact we had with these beings was with the Roswell crash in New Mexico in 1948 [sic]. This was an event where a Grey ship malfunctioned and crashed into the desert near the town of Roswell. As with just about anything that happens in America, the military took control. The crash provided them with an alien ship and three survivors. The Greys were reluctant to become involved in human affairs but, the American military had three of their beings. So began a relationship […] The American military looking for ‘advanced’ technology to give them global military advantage and, in return, the Greys received free access to the genetic material available on Earth.
[Note: Chris Thomas is many things but, not the best typist. His books have a few typos.]
From The Human Soul: Universal Soul 2, pages 125 & 126 (an excerpt):
Their home galaxy is too far distant for us to have a name for it. This race is responsible for some of the human and animal abductions that have taken place on Earth in the past 40 years. As they were causing some disruption to human plans, they have, effectively, been banned from our solar system since 2000. This race has been working with the American miliary since the Roswell crash in 1947 and has given over a great deal of its technology in exchange for permission to carry out some animal experimentation and medical examinations of people.
From Project Human Extinction: The Ultimate Conspiracy, pages 128-131 (an excerpt):
During the Second World War, a great many ‘unidentified’ flying craft were observed as the skies were watched with far more zeal than was previously necessary. Several of these craft were shot down but, because it was war time and it was known that Hitler was developing many innovative weapons, it was assumed that crashed UFOs were Nazi in origin. During the war, the American military began to experiment with many forms of weapons and energy devices and, in particular, energy devices that would help shield ships or aircraft from the newly developed enemy radar. […] the technology was kept for later experiments which the American military began in the late 1940s. In 1948 [sic], the experiments began in a region of New Mexico, although this time, the machinery was land based […] They ran experiments for three days and each day at least one UFO fell out of the sky, the most famous one being the crash at Roswell. There is so much disinformation spread about this race that the only way of finding out any form of truth is to look to the Akashic. In exchange for new ‘alien’ technology, the American military ‘granted’ the Greys permission to abduct and study human physiology. Since 2000, the Greys have been asked not to travel to our solar system, a request with which they have generally been happy to comply.
From Synthesis, page 40:
Their first real contact with Earth was the Roswell crash […] The military have mainly been interested in Grey technology which the military mainly use for psychic attack purposes. The Greys are very interested in human physiology and are responsible for some human and animal abductions. Please note: the vast majority of human and animal abductions, and mutilations, have been carried out by the military.
Still believe our government? Still believe our military? If you are unsure of what the Akashic is, that will be for another post. ~Vic
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