North High School Wall of Honor
Calvin V. Twining
Would have graduated in Class of 1943
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953.
Calvin V. Twining
Calvin would have graduated in the North High class of 1943, but he entered the US Merchant Marines in 1942 in Des Moines. His next of kin was Mr. and Mrs. George I. Twining, Sr. who lived at 2719 Sheridan Avenue, Des Moines, IA. Calvin's service number was 4314-00404.
Calvin V. Twining
Year   Rank   Status
1942 x Enlisted in
US Merchant Marines
x In the Merchant Marines in Des Moines, IA.
1943   x   Would have graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
July 27, 1943 x Enlisted/
Merchant Marines
x Date of enlistment in Des Moines, IA
1943 x Enroute x Train/Des Moines to Chicago to New York.
April, 1943 x Basic Training/
*Merchant Marines/ Messman
x Basic Training; Sheepshead Bay Training Station,
Brooklyn, New York, which was active from
September 1942 to February 28, 1954.
date x Training x 1-1/2 months' training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station,
Great Lakes; Sailing on J.H. Sheadle.
date   Enroute   HITCHHIKED from Great Lakes to Long Beach, CA
April, 1943-
June, 1043
x Duty x Sailed on J.H. Sheadle from April, 1943 to June, 1943. This was an iron ore boat from Clevland, OH to Superior, WI.
late summer
x Enroute x Long Beach, CA to Bombay, India on
**S.S. Uruguay
1943 x Enroute x To New York. Then New York to England via M.S. John Ericsson (a Swedish vessel)
date x On Location x During Omaha Beach, on vessel in French waters.
1945 x On Location x In Philippines during first atomic bomb drop
Aug.15, 1945 x Back In Des Moines x **"Unofficially" left U.S. Merchant Marines.
Jan., 1950-
March, 1968
x Employed x Des Moines Fire Department. Left in March, 1968
Mar., 1968-
x   x Living in MN.
**NOTE: x re Military
x In 1988, the US Government officially (and finally) recognized
the U.S. Merchant Marines of the U.S. Maritime Service as "military service."
*The 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.

The ships of the U.S. Merchant Marine and U.S. Army Transport Service were on the frontline as soon as they left their docks and harbors. The enemy mined some harbors, and submarines and raiders waited for their prey outside of the harbors, especially on the East and Gulf coasts of the United States.

Boyhood, USMM top: S.S. Uruguay (Moore-McCormack);
above: S.S. Argentina (Moore-McCormack)
**S.S. Uruguay/complete 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.
***S.S. Argentina/complete history of S.S. Argentina
The U.S. Maritime Commission took the 3 ships in 1937 and extensively refurbished them for the South American trade. They were then given to the American Republics Line, a subsidiary of Moore-McCormack Lines, to operate for the U. S. as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Good Neighbor Policy". The Pennsylvania was renamed Argentina, the "California" renamed "Uruguay" and the "Virginia" renamed "Brazil". Her passenger load was revised to 500 and one large funnel replaced her smaller two. She was also outfitted to carry 450,000 pounds of cargo, including 95,000 refrigerated. 10/01/38 began her operation as the "SS Argentina". She served on the route until the United States entry into the Second World War. 01/02/42 to 07/01/42 the "Argentina" was returned to the Maritime Commission and was converted to an Army Transport (USAT) for the War Shipping Administration. She sailed under her civilian name. 05/06/46 the "Argentina" was returned for civilian operations. 11/04/46 she went to Bethlehem Steel's 56th St Shipyard, Brooklyn NY for reconversion for liner service. 01/01/46 Moore-McCormack resumed operating her for the Maritime Commission. 08/05/58 she was de-activated and laid up in the James River Reserve Fleet. In 1964 the "Argentina" was sold to Peck Iron and Metals, Norfolk, VA for scrap; then subsequently sold again to Luna Bros and scrapped in Kearny, NJ.
Served on these ships:
Date Vessel
April 14, 1943 May 25, 1943 J.H. Sheadle; Steam; Great Lakes; Cleveland, OH
July 27, 1943 October 27, 1943 SS Uruguay; Steam; Foreign; Los Angeles, CA
December 6, 1943 January 10, 1944 SS Seven Pines; New York, NY
January 29, 1944 March 10, 1944 M.S. John Ericsson; Motor; Foreign; NY, NY
March 20, 1944 April 24, 1944 M.S. John Ericsson; Motor; Foreign; NY, NY
July 22, 1944 December 11, 1944 Lord Delaware; Steam; Foreign; New York, NY
January 13, 1945 February 18, 1945 SS Argentina; Steam; Foreign; New York, NY
March 17, 1945 May 2, 1945 Benjamin Hawkins; Steam; Foreign; New York, NY
May 28, 1945 November 6, 1945 SS Sieur de LaSalle; Steam; Foreign; Houston, TX
October 1, 1945 November 6, 1945 SS Sieur de LaSalle; Steam; Foreign; Texas

U.S. Merchant Marine

U.S. Maritime Service Seal

US Merchant Marine Seal

Calvin V. Twining
U.S. Merchant Marines
U.S. Maritime Service

United States Merchant Marine Medal; Pacific War Zone Bar;
Atlantic War Zone Bar; Mediterranean Middle East War Zone Bar;
Merchant Marine Emblem
(1) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Calvin V. Twining's 1943 class page is:
06/07/10. Living in MN.
Music: "Heave Ho! My Lads! Heave Ho!"
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