President Gerald Ford in WWII Typhoon

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President Gerald Ford in WWII Typhoon

Postby Whiterook » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:00 pm

Recently, I was reading and article on Typhoon Cobra, which nearly decimated the United States' 3rd Fleet in WWII, which had been operating in the Philippine Sea. The fleet was conducting air raids against Japanese airfields in the Philippines when it inadvertently ran into the center of the killer storm in December 1944.

The US Third Fleet consisted of seven fleet carriers, six light carriers, eight battleships, 15 cruisers, and about 50 destroyers. The carriers were on their way back from the Philippines, and the ships were being refueled. Many of the destroyers were running low on fuel, and when the storm hit, the procedure had to be aborted before it was complete.

In the 100 mph winds, some ships experienced rolls of over 70° and the damage suffered by the fleet was severe. Three of the destroyers, Spence, Hickox, and Maddox, had nearly empty fuel stores and therefore did not have the stabilizing effect of the extra weight, and they were relatively unstable.

The carrier Monterey was among these gallant ships, and was nearly lost in flames, as its airplanes crashed into bulkheads and exploded during the violent rolls. One of the sailors fighting the fires aboard Monterey was then-lieutenant Gerald Ford, who would later become President of the United States. Ford later recalled nearly going overboard; when 20° and greater rolling caused aircraft below decks to careen into each other, igniting a fire. With great difficulty, the ship’s crew was able to contain the fires, and the ship got underway again.

I can only imagine the horror of such an ordeal. It has to have a toll on even the most hearty sailors and airmen aboard carriers. I also believe events like that shape a man's character. For one, whom later became President of the United States of America, one can't help but those quiet moments in the Oval Office, with the burdens of a Nation on your shoulder; did he think back to that time of living through a typhoon, and perhaps provide him a sense of balance to strive on in that adversity?
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Re: President Gerald Ford in WWII Typhoon

Postby Frizzenspark » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:03 pm

John McCain had a similar rough experience when the Forrestal caught fire.... there is footage of him leaping over flames to get off of his A-4 Skyhawk. The Forrestal received the ignomious title "Forest Fire". An explosion on board took out the dedicated damage control crew. it was a tragic event.
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