High School Wall of Honor
John Harry Connors
Graduated in Class of June, 1942
|Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953. PAGE IN PROGRESS|
|John Harry Connors|
|John graduated in the North High class of June, 1942. He enlisted in the US Merchant Marines in 1942 in Des Moines. His next of kin is listed as Mr. John J. Connors, 2100 Olive Avenue, Des Moines, IA. John's service number was ________.|
USMS (US Maritime Service) was first established under the Coast Guard
and later supervised by U.S. Navy officers. Many of its first recruits
in 1938 were from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Men, caught
up in the patriotic fervor of the time, came forward to serve in the
fledgling U.S. Maritime Service. There were 37 Official U.S. Government
Recruiting Offices set up around the country. Radio and newspaper ads
brought in the thousands of young patriotic men, as young as 16 years
of age, from every State who answered their country's call to serve.
Some Offices were located next to Navy and Coast Guard Offices. Many
men were sent to the USMS by U.S. Navy and Coast Guard recruiters who
said, "That's where your service is needed."
Thousands of active and retired mariners, Navy, and Coast Guardsmen were pressed into duty to serve as administrators and instructors in the U.S. Maritime Service. They believed then, and still believe today, they joined a uniformed, armed service! Many of these were cheated out of service and retirement time. [They are still seeking veteran status from the Air Force Secretary. The USMS was an official U.S. Government organization, while the WASPs and most of the other groups who received veteran status were either under contract to the Government or unofficial organizations. WASP instructors and women who failed the training program received veteran status.]
The USMS took over 250,000 raw recruits and turned
them into fighting mariners. They taught them operation of anti-aircraft
guns and cannon. They taught navigation, engine operation and maintenance,
and deck operations aboard training vessels that operated in hazardous
waters subject to mines and attack by German and Japanese submarines.
The United States Maritime Service trained men for
the U.S. Merchant Marine, and U.S. Army Transport Service to transport
supplies and personnel in the largest fleet of freighters, tankers,
and transports in history to bases all over the world for U.S. and
Allied forces. Men at the fronts depend on this important service
for bombs, gasoline, shells, ammunition, food, guns, vehicles, planes,
medicine, and other materials for warfare.
history of S.S. Uruguay
The California was sold to U.S. Maritime Commission and refurbished (including removal of one funnel) for passage from New York to Buenos Aires by American Republics Line, operated by Moore & McCormack Lines. To carry out President Roosevelt's wishes for good will with South America, the California was renamed the S.S. Uruguay, and became the flagship of the Good Neighbor Fleet.
February 12, 1943:
While transporting 5,000 troops in an Atlantic convoy crossing, the USAT Uruguay was rammed U.S.S. Salamonie creating a 70-foot wide gaping hole. The tanker had steering equipment problems and hit the Uruguay amidships with a force that drove the tanker's bow into the ship's hospital. 13 Army soldiers were killed (7 dead and 6 missing) and more than 50 soldiers were injured. The impact lifted a soldier from his cot, dropping him on the tanker's deck. The ship withdrew and the transfer of the soldier was not known until after the troopship had turned towards Bermuda for repairs. (Note: Based on information provided by Jan Narkiewicz, we have determined that there were in fact three soldiers dropped on the tanker's deck. Two of them were lost at sea.)
A temporary bulkhead was constructed and three days later the ship was brought into a safe harbor. Master Albert P. Spaulding saved many lives, his ship, and her cargo. At a later date, the President of the United States took pleasure in presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to Albert P. Spaulding, Master of USAT Uruguay.
|03/07/09. Died 03/07/09. Des Moines, IA 50316.|
|Music: "Heave Ho! My Lads! Heave Ho!"|
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