When The New York Times Magazine published my story about the hunt for the wreck of the U.S.S. Wasp, an aircraft carrier sunk by torpedoes in the Pacific during World War II, I expected a certain amount of correspondence from readers who had a particular connection to the ship. There were 2,248 men on board when it was hit. More than 2,000 of those men survived.
Dozens of people wrote — either to me, or on the comments below the online article — about the experiences of husbands, brothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers and great-uncles who had served on board the Wasp. One reader described how the explosions after the torpedo strikes knocked his grandfather’s shoes “clean off.” Another said her father, who swam for 17 hours after the order to abandon ship, spoke of “the water being on fire and the sharks.”
Jane Pepper from Media, Penn., told me about her late husband, G. Willing Pepper, who served as an officer, and who often told his family the story of the “awful day” the ship was hit. Willing Pepper spent eight hours in the water, without a life vest, before being rescued by a nearby American warship and treated by doctors. The medics, however, did not know Pepper was allergic to the penicillin with which they treated him, and he slipped into a coma. When he awoke weeks later, the first words he remembered hearing were: “Good heavens, he’s going to live.” Pepper died in 2001, at the age of 93.
Perhaps the most remarkable exchange I had in the aftermath of the story’s publication was with someone who remembered the Wasp as if it was yesterday. Brig. Gen. Reginald Van Stockum was born on July 8, 1916, exactly one week after his father, an English infantryman, was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme — the bloodiest day in British military history. His mother remarried an American, and the family settled in Washington State. In 1937, when he was 21, Van Stockum was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. In 1941, he boarded the U.S.S. Wasp and took command of the Marine detachment on the ship.
In May 1942, he played a part in perhaps the Wasp’s greatest achievement, which was delivering British Spitfire planes in the relief of the island of Malta. During this period, he got to know many of the officers who would feature so heavily in the story of the Wasp’s sinking, five months later. My descriptions of the men on board the Wasp were drawn from naval and newspaper reports. Here was a man who had served with those characters, shoulder to shoulder.
Van Stockum fondly remembered John Shea, author of the heart-rending letter to his son, as a fine naval officer who hid his intellectual capabilities from his fellow sailors. He laughed when he spoke about Shea’s superior, Michael Kernodle, a “character” who was known as “the ugliest man in the Navy” — a sobriquet he apparently wore with pride and good humor. Van Stockum recalled that, in the Mediterranean, another officer, Benedict Semmes Jr., had patiently showed him how to steer the ship from the bridge, and had identified the towns of the North African coast that to Van Stockum appeared only as twinkling lights. (Calm and patience appeared to be strong qualities in Semmes: months later, after the Wasp was hit, he chose not to tell a group of fellow swimmers that a shark was circling them, lest he cause a panic.)
[For more stories about the experiences and costs of war, sign up for the weekly At War newsletter.]
When the Wasp transferred back to Norfolk Naval Yards later in 1942, the carrier came under the command of Forrest P. Sherman. Van Stockum recalled that Sherman was a kind and reasonable officer who transformed the atmosphere on board. In June, when the Wasp reached San Diego, shortly to depart for the Pacific theater, Van Stockum was told he would be leaving the ship, bound for other duties with the Marine Corps. He entreated Sherman to let him stay on the Wasp, but the orders had been given.
Van Stockum was replaced by a Capt. John Kennedy. Some weeks later, Van Stockum received a “very fine” letter from his successor. “We’re still afloat,” it read, “and I hope we stay that way.” On Sept. 15, 1942, Kennedy was killed with nearly 200 other sailors. Throughout the rest of World War II, during which Van Stockum fought with the Marine Corps with distinction in the Pacific theater, he survived many other close calls. But he would never forget his service on the Wasp.
Ed Caesar is a writer in Manchester, England, and the author of “Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon.”
Join us at the New York State Health Foundation conference, “Can the V.A. and Community-Based Care Coexist?” We’ll explore how veterans feel about the care they receive from the public and private sectors, and how the two sectors can collaborate to deliver high-quality health care.
Former V.A. Secretary Robert A. McDonald will deliver the keynote address and Jennifer Steinhauer, The Times’s Washington correspondent focusing on veterans affairs, will moderate a discussion about public/private care for returning veterans. While you’re there, stop by The Times’s table to pick up a special keepsake and learn about our At War series.
Tuesday, May 14 | 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
New York Institute of Technology Auditorium
The conference is free for attendees, but registration is required. Please respond by May 3.The Latest From At War
Military Drills in Arctic Aim to Counter Russia, but the First Mission Is to Battle the Cold: Moscow is moving to claim Arctic territory as barriers between Russia and North America melt. Yet still bitter temperatures pose an immediate threat to NATO troops defending icy waterways.
The Fall of Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the ‘Spider’ at the Heart of Sudan’s Web: Over 30 years, he forged a maze of security agencies and militias to bind his often ruthless rule. But he was undone in a middle class revolt over the economy.
German Woman Goes on Trial in Death of 5-Year-Old Girl Held as ISIS Slave: In one of the highest-profile cases against a female ISIS member, German prosecutors accused the defendant and her husband of holding a 5-year-old Yazidi girl as a slave and letting her die of thirst.
Richard Cole, 103, Last Survivor of Doolittle Raid on Japan, Dies: He was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot in the first airstrike against the Japanese homeland, an event that buoyed Americans still reeling from Pearl Harbor.
A N.Y. Firefighter Went to Serve in Afghanistan. He Was Killed by a Roadside Bomb.: Christopher Slutman, who was a staff sergeant in the Marines, was also a decorated 15-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department.
Casimir Pulaski, Polish Hero of the Revolutionary War, Was Most Likely Intersex, Researchers Say: Disputed remains were the right height and age and showed injuries consistent with the general’s life. There was just one catch: “The skeleton looked very female.”
Bonded by Service, Freshman Veteran Democrats Are an Occasional Thorn in Their Party’s Side: Their military backgrounds have made them among the most moderate members of a caucus in which there is increasing pressure to slide firmly to the left on various policy issues.
We’d love your feedback on this newsletter. Please email thoughts and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or invite someone to subscribe through this link.
Read more from At War here or follow us on Twitter.B:
三中三有什么过算法【第】【二】【天】，【虞】【菀】【身】【为】309【第】【一】【个】【起】【床】【者】，【把】【熟】【睡】【的】【室】【友】【一】【个】【一】【个】【拍】【醒】。 “【起】【床】【啦】！”【她】【怕】【力】【度】【不】【够】，【有】【喊】【了】【一】【句】，“【军】【训】【啦】！” 【结】【果】【等】【她】【洗】【漱】【完】【毕】【出】【来】，【宋】【湉】【湉】【她】【们】【还】【在】【床】【上】【慢】【吞】【吞】【地】【换】【着】【衣】【服】，【眼】【睛】【都】【没】【挣】【开】，【跟】【盲】【人】【摸】【象】【似】【的】【找】【着】【衣】【服】。 【虞】【菀】【无】【奈】，【友】【情】【提】【醒】【了】【一】【句】：“【还】【有】【四】【十】【分】【钟】【哦】。” 【寝】【室】
【中】【央】【圈】【外】【二】【墙】【管】【理】【中】【心】： “【终】【于】【要】【结】【束】【了】。【全】【员】【听】【令】，【一】【定】【要】【坚】【守】【到】【最】【后】！【中】【央】【圈】【的】【援】【军】【很】【快】【就】【会】【到】，【大】【家】【再】【加】【把】【劲】！”【布】【勒】【结】【束】【同】【一】【墙】【管】【理】【者】【帕】【尼】【欧】【丹】【的】【通】【话】【后】，【鼓】【舞】【着】【大】【家】【的】【士】【气】。 “【报】！【根】【据】【二】【墙】【外】‘【监】【测】【球】’【发】【回】【的】【最】【新】【情】【况】【显】【示】，【反】【叛】【军】【的】【人】【数】【在】【不】【断】【减】【少】，【而】【且】【对】【二】【墙】【的】【火】【力】【攻】【击】【也】【开】【始】【分】【散】。
【余】【姚】【从】【血】【脉】【中】【挣】【脱】【出】【来】，【睁】【眼】【就】【看】【见】【眼】【前】【朦】【朦】【胧】【胧】【的】【一】【片】【水】【色】，【还】【有】【方】【辰】【担】【忧】【的】【脸】。 【她】【伸】【手】【想】【碰】【碰】【方】【辰】【的】【脸】，【但】【先】【碰】【到】【的】【却】【是】【周】【围】【兴】【奋】【到】【微】【微】【跳】【跃】【的】【水】【流】。 【它】【们】【欢】【呼】【着】，【蜂】【蛹】【着】【撞】【了】【上】【来】，【好】【像】【在】【用】【身】【体】【摩】【擦】【着】【她】【的】【指】【尖】。 【然】【后】【这】【些】【拥】【有】【生】【命】【的】【水】【流】【顺】【着】【皮】【肤】【涌】【进】【了】【她】【的】【身】【体】【里】。 【在】【那】【一】【刻】，【她】【甚】【至】【感】三中三有什么过算法【面】【对】【凌】【厉】【袭】【来】【的】【金】【红】【刀】【光】，【那】【名】【近】【神】【者】【只】【觉】【死】【亡】【的】【气】【息】【迎】【面】【扑】【来】，【面】【色】【登】【时】【大】【变】，【惊】【叫】【一】【声】，【直】【接】【全】【力】【爆】【发】。 【须】【臾】【间】，【就】【见】【他】【的】【身】【体】【像】【是】【充】【了】【气】【的】【气】【球】【一】【样】【猛】【然】【鼓】【起】，【瞬】【间】【膨】【胀】【一】【圈】，【体】【表】【片】【片】【白】【磷】【浮】【现】，【迅】【速】【覆】【盖】【住】【浑】【身】【上】【下】，【变】【成】【了】【犹】【如】【龙】【人】【一】【样】【的】【生】【物】。 【而】【他】【的】【双】【掌】【同】【样】【长】【出】【了】【尖】【锐】【如】【利】【刃】【的】【指】【爪】，【合】【拢】
【正】【如】【大】【家】【所】【见】，【新】【书】《【余】【烬】【之】【铳】》【又】【名】《【二】【流】【侦】【探】【与】【他】【亲】【爱】【的】【温】【彻】【斯】【特】》【已】【发】【布】。 …… 【几】【曲】【悠】【扬】【的】【旋】【律】【下】，【雾】【气】【笼】【罩】【的】【建】【筑】【缓】【缓】【露】【出】【真】【容】，【随】【着】【蒸】【汽】【机】【的】【轰】【鸣】【运】【转】，【幽】【暗】【泥】【泞】、【尔】【虞】【我】【诈】、【三】【教】【九】【流】【的】【旧】【敦】【灵】【扑】【面】【而】【来】。 【阴】【影】【里】【扭】【曲】【的】【血】【肉】【挣】【扎】【蠕】【动】，【下】【水】【道】【里】【携】【带】【着】【疫】【病】【的】【鼠】【群】【四】【腾】【奔】【走】。 【在】【这】【诡】【异】
【最】【初】【是】【一】【份】【玩】【心】。 【沈】【砚】【觉】【就】【算】【再】【怎】【么】【会】【看】【人】，【却】【也】【不】【可】【能】【一】【眼】【就】【看】【出】【唐】【七】【洛】【是】【唐】【门】【的】【人】。 【但】【这】【是】【第】【一】【个】【对】【他】【的】【脸】【不】【为】【所】【动】【的】【人】。 【沈】【砚】【绝】【长】【的】【艳】【丽】，【甚】【至】【于】【他】【能】【够】【排】【上】【这】【七】【公】【子】【之】【一】，【也】【有】【这】【部】【分】【的】【原】【因】【存】【在】。【为】【他】【这】【脸】【起】【心】【思】【的】【人】【不】【在】【少】【数】，【他】【走】【江】【湖】【几】【年】，【形】【形】**【的】【人】【也】【是】【见】【了】【不】【少】，【最】【是】【了】【解】【的】【便】【是】
【只】【是】【她】【回】【头】【的】【时】【候】【房】【门】【已】【经】【关】【闭】【了】，【他】【压】【根】【儿】【没】【有】【看】【到】【安】【然】【所】【看】【到】【的】【一】【切】。 【即】【便】【是】【看】【到】【了】，【男】【人】【和】【女】【人】【的】【立】【场】【终】【究】【不】【是】【一】【样】【的】，【所】【以】【感】【觉】【也】【是】【不】【一】【样】【的】。 “【没】【什】【么】！”【仅】【仅】【只】【是】【一】【个】【侧】【脸】，【让】【安】【然】【有】【些】【懊】【恼】，【但】【她】【很】【快】【整】【理】【好】【了】【自】【己】【的】【情】【绪】，【将】【从】【地】【上】【捡】【起】【来】【的】【口】【红】【递】【给】【了】【化】【妆】【师】。 【化】【妆】【师】【只】【是】【随】【意】【看】【了】【一】