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Tyhpoon Cobra

US Military History Throughout The Years

Short bits of history you know and some you may not!

  • Typhoon Cobra: Monday, December 18, 1944 – The Typhoon of 1944, also known as Halsey’s Typhoon was a powerful storm that hit the Pacific Fleet during WW2. The storm would hit Task Force 38, under Admiral Halsey, sinking three destroyers, damaging 9 other ships, sweeping aircraft off of carrier decks and killing 790 Sailors. TF 38 had been conducting operations against the Japanese east of Luzon, in the Philippine Sea, and were headed to refuel. Information given to the fleet about the storm was incorrect and the fleet headed right into the typhoon, even with conditions worsening around them. Smaller, lighter and near empty of stores, ships would roll as much as 70 degrees in the storm, with three capsizing and sinking in the storm. The winds and sea would wreck or blow overboard 146 planes as they sat on carrier decks and would damage many other ships. Lt Gerald Ford, later President Ford, fought fires aboard the USS Monterey as crashing airplanes rolled and exploded. The fleet was scattered in the storm and days would be spent rescuing the few survivors from lost ships. Admiral Halsey would be found to an “error of judgment” but no action would be taken against him, though he would pass command of Third Fleet the next month to Admiral Spruance.
  • Last Confederate: Saturday, December 19, 1959 – Possibly the last surviving veteran of the Civil War, Walter Williams, dies at 117. Williams claimed to be a forager from Hood’s Brigade, part of the Confederacy, and was either born in 1842 or 1854. His claims to being a veteran are doubted by most, as no absolute record of his service could be found anywhere, even his true age was not known. Even with the doubts to his claims he was recognized by the US Government as the last surviving veteran from the war.

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