Archive for January 2nd, 2006

The Battleship Idaho

I received one of the best Christmas gifts ever this year from my grandmother. She presented me with all of my grandfather’s Second World War papers and pictures. My mother’s father, Mark Trumbo, who went by Grum within our family, served as a radio officer on the battleship Idaho in the Pacific. The USS Idaho was built during the First World War, but up-armored and re-engined right before the Second — and went into action in the Pacific just in time to battle the Japanese at Massacre Bay in the Aleutian Islands. With massive 14 inch guns, the Idaho distinguished herself at the battle of Iwo Jima by pounding coastal defenses and entrenched mountain guns in support of the Marine amphibious assault. At Okinawa, the Idaho suffered a near deadly Kamikaze attack that left the ship badly damaged and listing dangerously to one side. Over the course of the Second World War, the Idaho traveled over 190,000 miles and fired nearly 13 million pounds of ordnance. The only fatalities were two airmen from the battleship shot down in their Kingfisher spotter plane.

My grandfather passed away in 1990. I’ve always been fascinated by his time spent in the Navy, since we was a life long pacifist and member of the ACLU. I was also surprised to find in his papers that he remained on active reserve until 1958. He was part of a different generation though, one that had enduring faith in governmental institutions and believed war was the last recourse in international affairs.

The battleship USS Idaho

My grandfather is in the first row, second from left

First wave of landing craft head for Iwo Jima

First wave of AMTRACS head for Iwo Jima

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