Author Topic: The Kidds and Post 9-11 word associations: Pearl Harbor, Columbia, Guantanamo...  (Read 1791 times)

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Offline GreyLmist

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USS KIDD Veterans Memorial -- Biography of RADM Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr.

Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr.
(1884 - 1941)

USS KIDD (DD-661) and USS KIDD (DDG-993) were both named for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr., one of the first American naval heroes of World War II. RADM Kidd was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Yearbook photo of Cadet Isaac C. Kidd, circa 1905.  Photo courtesy

of U.S. Naval Academy.

 RADM Kidd was a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He was born on March 26, 1884, to Isaac and Jemina Campbell Kidd. He was educated in Cleveland's public schools, graduating from West High School in 1902. On appointment from his native state, he then entered the U.S. Naval Academy, from which he graduated as a Passed Midshipman on February 12, 1906.

Passed Midshipman Kidd first served on USS COLUMBIA, which carried the Marine Expeditionary Force to the Canal Zone and participated in the round-the-world cruise of the "Great White Fleet." On May 17, 1907, he reported to USS NEW JERSEY. During this tour, he completed the two years at sea then required before commissioning and was commissioned an Ensign, USN, on February 13, 1908. He transferred on May 2, 1910, to USS NORTH DAKOTA, where he served until June 1913, except for target practice and training duty at Annapolis during the winter of 1911-12. He then joined USS PITTSBURGH on June 30, 1913, and during the Mexican trouble of 1914-16 he served as First Lieutenant. Following this tour, he served as Aide and Flag Secretary on the staff of Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, aboard the flagships PITTSBURGH
and SAN DIEGO. He returned to the Naval Academy in August 1916 and was serving as an instructor on the Academic Staff when the United States entered World War I.

In 1918, he joined USS NEW MEXICO, serving on that battleship during her fitting out, during her service in the last months of the war, and until July 1919. His next tours were as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, and in 1921 as Aide in Charge of Buildings and Grounds for the Superintendent of the Naval Academy. Cdr. Kidd then served as Executive Officer on USS UTAH from May 1925 until November 1926. He thereupon assumed his first command, on USS VEGA, which he held until June 1927.

There followed a long period of shore duty first as Captain of the Port at Cristobal, Canal Zone and then from June 1930 until April 1932 as Chief of Staff to Commander Fleet Base Force. For three years, he was in charge of the Officer Detail Section of the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C. He returned to sea duty from February 25, 1935, to June 7, 1936, as Commander Destroyer Squadron ONE, Scouting Force. He then completed the Senior and Advanced Courses at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, remaining there to serve on the staff for several months.

Photo of CDR Isaac C. Kidd, Sr.

during his time as commanding

officer of USS VEGA, circa 1927.

Captain Isaac Kidd (right) with

RADM Russell Willson aboard

USS ARIZONA in May of 1939.

Photo courtesy of

Richard E. Ammon, Jr.

In September 1938, Capt. Kidd assumed command of the battleship ARIZONA, serving until February 1940. He was then designated Commander Battleship Division ONE and Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Battleships, Battle Force, with the accompanying rank of Rear Admiral. RADM Kidd was serving in that billet when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In the attack, RADM Kidd became the first flag officer to lose his life in World War II, and the first in the U.S. Navy to meet death in action against any foreign enemy. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, with citation as follows:
"For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese Forces on December 7, 1941. He immediately went to the bridge and as Commander Battleship Division ONE, courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until the USS ARIZONA, his Flagship, blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge, which resulted in the loss of his life."
In addition to the Medal of Honor, RADM Kidd was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal. He previously had won the Cuban Pacification Medal (USS COLUMBIA), the Mexican Service Medal (USS PITTSBURGH), and the World War I Victory Medal, Atlantic Fleet Clasp (USS NEW MEXICO). He was also entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one engagement star; and the World War II Victory Medal.

RADM Kidd was survived by his wife, the former Inez Nellie Gillmore of Cleveland, and by a son, Isaac C. Kidd, Jr., U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1942.

That is the career history of RADM Isaac C. Kidd, Sr. But exactly who was this man, and why did the Navy choose to bestow his name upon two vessels in later years?

The first thing that we must know about him is that the Admiral did not like his name. In fact, he was usually known as "Cap" to family and friends. This was apparently derived from his days at the Academy when classmates dubbed him with the moniker after Captain William Kidd of pirate lore. In fact, according to son "Ike" Kidd, Jr., "one of his first letters to me when I first attended the Academy was of him apologizing for naming me after him. I never minded the name, but apparently he did."

Painting of RADM Isaac C. Kidd, Sr.

made posthumously after the

Pearl Harbor attack.

"Cap" was a boxer during his time at the Academy. He maintained a daily regimen of exercise throughout his life, both at sea and while in port. Whenever ARIZONA was in port at Pearl Harbor, he could be seen taking walks every day on Ford Island. According to many of the survivors of the ARIZONA, Kidd was also a father figure to many in his crew. He held their respect, being described as "fair" and "a working admiral." He would have little biographical notecards that he stuck to the mirror in his bathroom that kept him appraised of his men's lives-families, rent, conditions of their children. One story tells of a young Marine assigned to the Admiral who announced that he was getting married. Kidd delayed the ship's departure from San Francisco so that the young man could get his home and marriage started and in order before leaving. The first person to arrive with a housewarming gift was RADM Kidd.

When the attack at Pearl Harbor came, young Ike and his mother Inez were having lunch at Annapolis. Ike was just days away from graduating from the Academy. It wasn't until the next morning that mother and son learned of the elder Kidd's fate. [my note: presumed dead]

It was several days after the Japanese attack on Pearl that Navy divers swam out to inspect the damage to the partially submerged ARIZONA. Fires had burned for nearly two days aboard the battleship. Found in the charred wreckage of the ship's conning tower, an Academy class ring was found fused to the bulkhead. One of the divers separated the ring from the steel hull with a chisel. Inscribed inside was the name Isaac Campbell Kidd. Farther back in the stern of the ship, a cedar-lined wooden sea chest was recovered from the Admiral's quarters. Among the items inside were a heavy, Navy-blue cloak; a formal dress hat; and a sword belt.

One year and nearly three months later, widow Inez Kidd served as the sponsor for DD-661, launching the ship which would bear her husband's name and bring the fight back to the shores of Japan during the remainder of World War II. In the wardroom guest book which she presented to the crew of the new ship, she wrote "May the destiny of the USS KIDD be glorious! May her victories be triumphant and conclusive!"

Inez Kidd, widow of RADM Isaac C.

Kidd, Sr., prepares to christen

USS KIDD (DD-661).

The Admiral's son, "Ike," would serve with distinction throughout World War II and the Cold War era, eventually attaining the rank of Admiral.  In the 1960s, he flew his flag for a brief period from the mast of DD-661, the very ship upon which his father's name had been bestowed.  Admiral Kidd would serve as Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO before retiring from active duty in 1975.

Angelique Kidd Smith, granddaughter of RADM

Isaac Kidd, Sr., christens the second ship to bear

his name: DDG-993.

In 1979, Marie Angelique Kidd Smith`”granddaughter of RADM Kidd`”followed in her grandmother's footsteps, serving as sponsor for the christening of the second ship to bear her grandfather's name-USS KIDD (DDG-993).

Generations of Navy sailors were made aware of RADM Kidd's role in history during the career of DD-661. When DDG-993 entered the Fleet, she carried aboard her memorabilia of both the Admiral and the elder destroyer in the Officer's Wardroom and the Crew's Mess. The latter destroyer's crest bore the family motto: Nil sig namo labore, . . . "Nothing without much labor."

When DDG-993 decommissioned in March of 1998, the crew requested that RADM Kidd's Medal of Honor and Purple Heart`”which had resided in their wardroom`”be
sent to Baton Rouge to be added to an exhibit on the late Admiral at the USS KIDD Veterans Memorial. School children and people from around the world learn about the ARIZONA's "working admiral," about the sacrifice of him and his crew, and about the ships which bore his name in the fight to deter aggression and keep the peace throughout the span of fifty-six years.

DDG-993 was still in the midst of transfer and sale to the Taiwanese Navy when the Kidd legacy saw a new addition.  On January 22, 2005, the 50th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, DDG-100, became the third vessel to bear the name of RADM Kidd, christened by his granddaughters Regina Kidd Wolbarsht and Mary Corrinne Kidd Plumer.  As an example of the legacy being inherited by this new vessel, the red-white-and-blue ribbons from the bottle used to christen DD-661 in 1943 by Inez Kidd were attached to the bottles now used to christen DDG-100.  Following the ceremony, the ribbons were collected and`”along with DD-661's original bottle`”brought to the museum in Baton Rouge for display by CAPT Isaac C. Kidd, III.

Sisters Regina Kidd Wolbarsht (left) and Mary

Corrinne Kidd Plumer (right) christen the third

vessel to bear the name USS KIDD (DDG-100).

Photo courtesy of Northrup Grumman Shipyards.

With the launching of DDG-100, the KIDD name gains the notoriety of having all three vessels that have borne the name still afloat simultaneously and capable of docking side by side.

This article was compiled from several sources, including conversations with Adm. Isaac C. Kidd,, Jr., USN (Ret); the official U.S. Navy biography of RADM Isaac C. Kidd, Sr.; and an article by Mike Gordon that appeared in the December 7, 1998, edition of The Honolulu Advertiser, portions of which were reprinted here by permission.

Photos courtesy of U.S. Navy unless otherwise noted.

**Copyright 1997-2006 by Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission**

Offline GreyLmist

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USS Columbia C-12

USS Columbia C-12

Displacement: 7,375 tons Length: 413' 1" Beam: 58'2" Draft: 24' 6" Speed: 23kts. Complement: 30 Officers-447 Enlisted men Armament: (1) 8-inch 40 cal. main gun, (2) 6-inch 45 cal. secondary guns, (8) 4-inch 40 cal., (12) 6 lb, (4) 1 lb, (4) Gatling, (2) 3-inch AA Guns (4) 18" torpedo tubes. In 1910 her torpedo tubes were removed and her 8-inch gun was replaced by a 6-inch 45 cal. and in 1919 her armament had been altered to (3) 6-inch guns and (4) 4-inch guns. Armor: 1.5-2.5 inch deck. Machinery: 3 sets of vertical inverted triple expansion engines. 3 screws. Boilers: 8 double-ended, 2 single-ended cylindrical. Designed H.P. 18,500 giving 22.8 kts., Coal: 750 tons normal, 1,561 tons maximum.
The fourth Columbia (Cruiser No. 12) was laid down on 30 December 1890 and launched 26 July 1892 by William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Co., Philadelphia, Pa., Sponsored by Miss H. Norton, and commissioned 23 April 1894. Captain G. W. Sumner in command. At the time she was commissioning she was the longest ship in the U. S. Navy. She was built as a commerce raider and her speed was her greatest advantage. Because of her speed she was relatively lightly armored and her guns were not as heavy as they could have been. This would have put her at a disadvantage had she been engaged in actual major sea battles with another ship of war. A typical crew of the Columbia under the command of Captain J. H. Sands consisted of 30 Officers and 447 enlisted men.

The William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Co., shipyard of Philadelphia enhanced its reputation as the premier maker of modern ships in the naval program of 1890 with the construction of the battleships USS Indiana and USS Massachusetts, armored cruiser USS New York, and protected cruisers USS Columbia, and USS Minneapolis, Cramp-built vessels comprised three of the five capital ships that defeated the Spanish fleet in 1898 at Santiago de Cuba, an event that heralded America's emergence as a great power.

The armament consists of one 8-inch standard breech-loading rifle, two 6-inch rapid-fire rifles, and eight 4-inch rapid-fire rifles. The secondary battery is composed of twelve 6-pounders, four 1 pounders, and four Gatling guns. The vessel is provided with four torpedo launching tubes. The 6-inch guns are loaded at one operation, as fixed ammunition is used, the powder and shot being combined in an immense cartridge, standing nearly 6 feet high.

The Columbia cannot only run away from a line-of-battle ship but can lead such a vessel a chase that would soon consume all the available fuel. The nominal radius of action of the Columbia that is, the distance that she can steam without re-coaling will be 26,240 miles. This is the theoretical radius; but without doubt the Columbia will have a practical cruising radius of 15,000 miles. It is upon this wonderful power of making long runs, half way round the world if necessary, that the Columbia will deserve the name which she bears equally with her sister ship Minneapolis, of the "Pirate". This name is, of course, not officially recognized by the Department of the Navy, but was given by the ship-builders when the vessels were only known as cruisers Nos. 12 and 13.

Columbia joined the north Atlantic Squadron, and from 30 July 1894 to 6 January 1895 cruised to protect American interests in the Caribbean. She visited Europe in the summer of 1895 and represented the United States at the ceremonial opening of the Keil Canal in June. During her trip across the Atlantic she set a speed record of just under 7 days with a speed of 18.4 knots. Returning to the east coast in August, she operated in the western Atlantic until going in ordinary, in reserve at Philadelphia Navy Yard 13 May 1897. She was re-commissioned on 15 March 1898 in view of the possibility of war with Spain. A Flying Squadron was formed for the defense of the eastern seaboard commanded by Acting Commodore Winfield Scott Schley. The squadron consisted of USS Brooklyn (ACR 3), USS Massachusetts (BB 2) and USS Texas, USS Columbia (C 12) and USS Minneapolis (C 13). Due to the growing threat of Spanish Admiral Cervera's squadron Columbia was detached from the Flying Squadron and was ordered to patrol between the capes of Delaware and Bar Harbor, Maine as part of the North Patrol Squadron, under the command of Commodore J. A. Howell, for a possible attack from Admiral Cervera's Spanish squadron.

On 29 May 1898 Columbia returned to New York for repairs as a result of a collision with the British steamer Foscolia, which sank as the result of the collision. During June of 1898 Cervera's fleet was blockaded in Santiago harbor, Cuba and Columbia was detailed to Cuban waters on 30 June 1898. The Columbia raced to Cuba in order to take action against the Spanish fleet but on 3 July 1898 the Spanish fleet attempted to run the blockade and was destroyed at the entrance to the harbor at Santiago, Cuba. The Columbia and her crew had missed their first chance at action against an enemy fleet.

She convoyed troops and took part in the landings led by General Nelson Miles at Guanica, Puerto Rico on 26 July 1898 and aided in its occupation until 14 August 1898. As part of General Miles fleet, the Columbia assembled with many other ships in Guantanimo Bay, Cuba by mid-July. On 19 July, a transport ship entered the harbor having been refused permission to dock in Santiago Harbor thirty miles to the west due to an outbreak of Yellow Fever in the military units at Santiago. A Red Cross volunteer nurse on board that transport recognized the four smokestack design of the Columbia and requested permission to visit with the young naval cadet on board the Columbia named Tom Wheeler. To his surprise and delight it was his sister Annie and she was able to spend the day visiting. In only two days, the fleet would be sailing to Puerto Rico carrying 3300 troops for the invasion. Rumors of additional Spanish ships coming from across the Atlantic kept the seamen alert and ready for action throughout the 4-day journey. But when the Spanish ships never arrived, the invasion of Puerto Rico on July 25, 1898 went easier than planned. The war against Spain ended more suddenly than it began with the official end of hostilities declared on August 12, 1898. Secretary of War Alger ordered the men of the invasion force to Camp Wikoff at Montauk Point, Long Island, New York. The Camp was selected as a place of quarantine against the threat of an epidemic of yellow fever and malaria. Within a couple of weeks the Columbia herself would arrive at Montauk Point, New York.

The story of Naval Cadet, Thomas Wheeler ended at Montauk Point, New York, where on 7 September 1898, a tragedy struck. A shipmate of Tom's was in trouble. Tom and his friend were "surf bathing" in the chilly Atlantic waters along the shores of Montauk Point. Perhaps pulled under by the tide, the young cadet was struggling and needed help. Tom Wheeler dove in after his friend in an attempted rescue. Both boys drowned. At age 17, young Thomas Harrison Wheeler died attempting to save the life of a friend.

The city of Philadelphia hosted a celebration to the end of the Spanish-American War. This was known as The Peace Jubilee and was held 25-28 October 1898. This celebration began with a naval parade and all gathered at the waterfront to see the gathering warships. This naval parade, which opened the celebration was reviewed by Secretary of the Navy John Long and as a Marine band on board the USS New Orleans played the "Stars and Stripes Forever" the USS Columbia led the parade of ships down the river.

Columbia was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Philadelphia Navy Yard 31 March 1899. Due to the fact that her powerful engines gave her a fast speed for a ship of her size they also consumed coal at a good rate and it became expensive to run the Columbia, and so for most of the time in between the Spanish-American War and WWI she was laid in reserve much of the time. Following her re-commissioning on 31 August 1902, Columbia served as receiving ship at New York and from 9 November 1903 as a part of the Atlantic Training Squadron. During 1904-1905 the Columbia was under the command of Cmdr. John Bowyer. On 1 January 1907 Columbia was assigned special duty as training ship. On 10 February 1907 in the Movement of Vessels section of the Washington Post it was reported that the Columbia arrived in port at New Orleans, Louisiana. Once more she was placed in reserve at Philadelphia on 3 May 1907. Then on 22 June 1915 following tensions arising over the sinking of the Lusitania, Columbia was re-commissioned and then joined the Submarine Flotilla as flagship. After cruising between the various Atlantic submarine bases on inspection tours, she was detached from this duty on 19 April 1917.

Columbia patrolled off the Delaware Breakwater from 21 April 1917 as flagship of Squadron 5, Patrol Force until July where she joined the Cruiser Force as a convoy escort, which lasted until 13 November 1918. During this time she escorted the British liner Danube from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Between 1 January and 13 November 1918, she made five Atlantic escort voyages, protecting the passage of men and supplies for the American Expeditionary Force in France. On her detachment of convoy duty 7 January 1919, she became flagship of Squadron 2, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, operating along the east coast and in the Caribbean. She was relieved as flagship on 29 May, but continued cruising until decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard 29 June 1921.

Post card photo dated January 1919 as the Columbia was flagship of Squadron 2, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet and written on the front is "USS Columbia Flagship Destroyer Force. Jan-1919 Admiral Roberts and Officers and visiting party from Santa Cruz del Sur." (Cuba) This was also written on the back from a Columbia crewman named only as Ed. He writes on the back side "Don't look for me on this picture because I did not want to be on it. I only associate with the President of U.S.A."

A view of the Columbia's 8-inch 40 cal. main gun looking down from the bridge.
Writing on the back side of the photo states "After the first shot has been fired. USS Columbia"

In May 1919, Columbia sailed to the Azores to observe and support the historic first aerial crossing of the Atlantic, made by four Navy seaplanes on 8-31 of May. These were the Curtiss (NC) Flying Boat nicknamed the "Nancy Boat". Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy and a leading proponent of the flight, petitioned Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels for approval of the flight. Roosevelt traveled to Rockaway Beach prior to the transatlantic flight, asked for and received a ride in the number 3 plane, NC-3 piloted by his boyhood friend Lt. James L. Breese, USNRF.The famous polar explorer Cmdr. Richard E. Byrd, USN, invented aerial navigation instruments that made the flight possible and later used them in his polar explorations. There were 61 station ships on the route to assist in navigation and weather information and to supply fuel and supplies. The Columbia was one of 3 ships stationed in the Azores Detachment. Of the four Navy Curtiss Flying Boats only one, the NC-4 made the historic trip. The other 3 planes were damaged and could not finish.

Classified CA-16, 17 July 1920, she was renamed Old Columbia 17 November 1921 and sold 26 January 1922.

The Columbia under way in 1898

Starboard view of the Columbia again in 1898

[cont. below]

Offline GreyLmist

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A Murder aboard the Columbia

I was contacted by Steve Dimond [ ] who told me this story of his Great-Uncle who was murdered while serving on the USS Columbia. This is the story of Samuel Jacob Diamond, Chief Printer, USS Columbia.

Samuel J. Diamond

This final episode in my Great Uncle's life and his Naval career was also the final episode in the life and Naval career of the U.S.S. Columbia herself. By the time we get to the death of my great-uncle and the events in the Court of Inquiry, the well-worn U.S.S. Columbia had put in many years of dedicated service to the United States Navy and our beloved Country. She had been launched in July of 1892 and had received her first commissioning in April of 1894. The events of my story begin when my Great Uncle Samuel Jacob Diamond, Chief Petty Officer and Chief Printer became attached to the Columbia in September of 1920. By this time period doubtless the Columbia had seen many a generation of young sailors come aboard and serve within her hulls. Also certainly by the year 1920 the Columbia had seen many seasoned officers lead their men and serve their country from her decks.

USS Columbia Saluting in New York Harbor in August of 1898
I posses a copy of the above picture, picture. It is of the U.S.S. Columbia, no doubt shortly after her re-commissioning into service during the Spanish-American Conflict. This picture is titled, "Columbia Salutes New York, August 1898." In this very moving photograph Columbia sits proudly upon the waters of New York Harbor dressed in the red white and blue. The handsome young ship took a great picture that day. I'm brought to realize, that as that historic photograph was being taken, just a short distance away in the southern end of the borough of Manhattan, lived a little 4 year old boy. That young boy was Samuel Jacob Diamond. I can't help but wonder if just perhaps young Samuel Jacob, through the teeming cheering crowds of proud Americans that day, may have been able to get a glimpse of that new ship Columbia, as she sat young, strong and proud in New York Harbor that day? Whether or not the young eye of the child Samuel Jacob was able to catch sight of the young ship on that great day in August of 1898, we don't know. But it is amazing to realize that some 23 years later, the Naval Career of that young boy Samuel Jacob would become inseparably attached to the Naval career of that great young vessel, the U.S.S. Columbia. And what is so very solemn to me, is that 23 years after that great day in New York Harbor, who could have known that the now old ship, renamed "Old Columbia" and the now full grown man Samuel Jacob Diamond, would complete their Naval careers together, almost simultaneously.

Samuel Jacob Diamond died while serving our country on board the U.S.S. Columbia in March of 1921. And just a few months later, the Columbia too finished her Naval career. The old ship was decommissioned in June of 1921, and sold the following year.

I posses another photograph of the Columbia (below). This one was taken of her when she was at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in January of 1921. Undoubtedly my Great Uncle was on board or nearby at the time of the photograph. This picture posses such clarity that if you take a photographer's magnifier and put it up onto the photograph and view the image you can see clearly the men standing on the ship looking toward where this photograph was being taken from. So clear is the photograph that with the use of the magnifier you can see their laundry that they have hung up to air-dry.

USS Columbia at anchor in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba January, 1921

A Murder aboard the Columbia

Saturday March 12, 1921

It was 10:00 p.m. on a quiet Saturday evening as the U.S.S. Relief lay moored off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But that quiet was about to be broken. For a gig sent out from the U.S.S. Columbia was approaching the Relief carrying four men who were accompanying a wounded sailor. As the small boat came alongside the Relief, Commander Hargrave (MC) from the Columbia called out for the doctors onboard the Relief. He explained that he, along with the Columbia`s chaplain and two young enlisted men had brought a seriously wounded sailor to the Relief for emergency surgery. As crew and medical personnel from the Relief gathered on the deck they assisted the men from the Columbia in getting this wounded man onto the ship. On the stretcher covered with blood lay an unconscious sailor who was bleeding profusely from a head wound.

Once onboard the Relief the anxious Dr. Hargrave was met by Lieutenant Douglas D. Martin (MC) and Commander George B. Tribble (MC). These doctors quickly and intently made their way along with the stretcher to the dressing room of Ward G within the Relief. While doing so Commander Hargrave explained to these doctors the identity and status of this wounded sailor. The wounded man was Samuel Jacob Diamond, Chief Printer, U.S.S. Columbia. Dr. Hargrave explained that about 20 minutes earlier Diamond had been found unconscious on his cot in the Print Shop lying in a pool of blood.

Having made their way to the appropriate room within Ward G, the three doctors began their attempt to save Diamond`s life. Upon removal of the blood soaked bandages there was revealed a large triangular wound of the left mastoid region from which blood was escaping. Brain tissue could be seen around the left ear indicating that a blow to the head was sufficiently heavy enough to crush the skull and cause brain tissue to ooze out through the hole behind the ear. It was also observed that, although unconscious, Diamond was struggling to breathe owing to his air flow being blocked and interrupted by the uncontrolled movement of blood through his nose, throat and mouth. After one particularly great effort at breathing he expelled a large quantity of blood through his nose and mouth. There was a large hematoma covering the left side of Diamond`s face and head, and the pupil of his left eye was found to be completely dilated. The doctors, seeing the urgency of Diamond`s condition administered ether and the surgery was begun.

Samuel J. Diamond, Chief Printer, U.S.S. Columbia

Samuel Diamond had enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 19, 1912, at a New York City Naval recruiting office. At the time of his enlistment he was 18 years old. Sam had been an apprenticed printer prior to his enlistment and developed himself in this trade after entering the Navy. He was attached to the U.S.S. Washington during this enlistment and was honorably discharged from the Navy on June 18, 1916; while stationed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. However, according to his naval record, on the following day, June 19th, he walked back into the recruiting office and re-enlisted for another four years. During this second enlistment Sam was attached to the U.S.S. Louisiana. And it was during this enlistment; on April 15, 1918 that he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer and Chief Printer. He received his second honorable discharge on June 18, 1920. Sam had deep convictions with regard to serving his country, and it seemed that it was in the service of his country that he wanted to spend his life. So on the following day, he again re-enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

Sam had a reputation of being an outspoken individual with regard to his political views. Besides his love for family and belief in the God of his ancestors, Sam vocalized a deep love and loyalty to his country and his belief in the causes for which his country was involved. As a result of repeated acts of German aggression at sea, President Woodrow Wilson had declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. This sparked the war effort of 1917 as well as the creation of the War Industrial Board. All levels of American society were encouraged to do their part to help the country carry forth this war to defend liberty and democracy. Sam had very deep convictions regarding the war effort and America`s involvement in the war. As an older man, Sam`s brother Harry recalled that at the start of the First World War when Sam would come home on leave, the two young men would spend time walking down the busy avenues of New York City while Sam would speak of Navy life and his convictions about the war. Harry remembered that on more than one occasion as he and his brother were walking down the crowded avenues, Sam would look out over the crowds of people passing by. He would then find a wooden crate and place it at a street corner. Then without any premeditation or rehearsal he would jump up onto the crate and with a loud booming voice he would call out to the throngs of people passing by. As the people would gather around to hear him, Sam would passionately exhort his fellow Americans of the rightness of their country`s course in aiding the allies in this war to defend and preserve liberty and democracy. Then Sam would encourage the people to do all they could do personally in assisting the war effort through the purchase of United States War Bonds. From this time onward Sam`s convictions earned him a reputation among family, friends and acquaintances of being a gifted public speaker who possessed the ability to speak very powerfully, passionately and persuasively.

Tensions in Columbia`s print shop

Three months into Sam`s third enlistment he was attached to the U.S.S. Columbia. Prior to Columbia`s departure from her home port of Philadelphia in September of 1920, Lieutenant Commander Miller spoke to Captain Hellwig about a concern he had regarding one of the new crew members. Miller told the Captain that he felt it in the best interest of the ship and crew if Raymond Parkinson Gill, printer First Class be left in Philadelphia and not be allowed to sail south with the Columbia. Miller explained that Gill was a bad influence on the ship and that he was known to be a Bolshevik and an anarchist. Captain Hellwig agreed with Commander Miller, but since Gill belonged to the Staff, the matter had to be taken before the Staff. Captain Hellwig sent for M.P. Refo Jr, Lieutenant Commander, Flag Secretary to Commander Train, Atlantic Fleet. The Captain told Commander Refo of the report and recommendation he`d received from Commander Miller with regard to Raymond Gill. Refo told the Captain that he believed Gill to be an excellent worker and that he was too valuable to the ship to transfer elsewhere. Captain Hellwig acknowledged the force of Commander Refo`s argument, but explained that he had just taken command of the Columbia, and he wanted to free the ship from any disturbing influence that might adversely affect the ship later on. The Captain stated that it was his belief as well as the belief of the Executive Officer that Gill ought to be left in Philadelphia before the ship went south. But the decision of the Staff prevailed, so Gill was allowed to remain onboard the Columbia for her next assignment in the Caribbean.

Within the hulls of any naval ship there is always a melting pot of political convictions as well as religious beliefs and ideals. But perhaps nowhere was there a greater clash of ideas than that which existed in Columbia`s print shop between Sam Diamond and Ray Gill. Sam held strongly and vocally to his loyalty to America`s ideals and his faith in God, while Ray Gill was an outspoken Bolshevik and professing atheist.

Not long after the Columbia`s departure from Philadelphia, late into the nights, Diamond and Gill could be heard arguing in the Print Shop. Their arguments were loud and heated, and witnesses to these nightly disputes said the printers argued about everything from the duties within the Print Shop, to politics and religion. On one occasion late one night the hollering between Diamond and Gill became exceptionally loud and vulgar. So loud was their yelling and so profane was their language that Ensign Good, whose cabin was next to the print shop got out of bed and went into the Print Shop and reproved both Diamond and Gill for the foulness of their language, especially as that night the Chaplain`s wife was onboard with the Chaplain just a few feet up the corridor from the Print Shop.

The tension between Diamond and Gill soon began to spill over into the daytime work in the Print Shop. As a result of Gill`s resentment toward his superior, he began making attempts to frame Diamond. His first attempt at framing Diamond occurred when Gill planted some printing type in Diamond`s locker. Gill then took five photographs of the type and brought the pictures before the officers of the ship to show that he had caught Diamond trying to steal type from the Print Shop. When this attempt at framing Diamond failed Gill then reported to the officers that Diamond was engaged in `sharp financial practice.` Gill explained that Diamond was taking things he had printed on the Columbia such as the ship`s newspaper, menus, etc, and when he had the occasion he would sell these things at exorbitant prices. Once this matter was looked into it too was found to be false. On another occasion Gill reported to the officers that Diamond had put together a plan for the counterfeiting of Peruvian money. When Gill was asked how Diamond was going to do this, Gill replied that he himself had been approached by Diamond, who had asked him to assist him in the counterfeiting of Peruvian currency. Gill went on to explain that Diamond had assured him that he had easy access to the plates in New York. After an investigation was conducted it was found that this also was another attempt on Gill`s part to discredit his superior on false charges.

The tension between the two men was well known throughout the ship. It even became a common saying onboard the Columbia that the printers got along like cats and dogs. It was at this point in time that certain crew members and officers later recalled that on various occasions they heard Gill make threats toward Diamond. On one occasion Gill said, `someday someone will get Diamond.` On another occasion Gill was overheard saying, `That son of a bitch, I`ll get him.`

In March of 1921 while the Columbia was stationed at Guantanamo Bay Diamond took aside his old friend of eight years, Arden Handy, Seaman 2nd Class and began to explain to him his concerns about Gill. Diamond told Handy that he personally held no ill will toward Gill, but that he knew Gill like a book and that he had also come to learn of Gill`s past criminal history. Diamond explained to Handy that he knew it was only a matter of time before Gill would act against him again. Diamond believed that Gill would either again attempt to run him up on false charges or else try to steal some of Diamond`s many souvenirs. Diamond confessed that he was now lying awake at night in order to watch over the souvenirs. So certain was Diamond that Gill would soon act out against him in one of these two ways that Diamond asked Handy to promise to stand by him and to testify on his behalf in that day. To this Handy agreed.

Is the Executive Officer Present?

It was almost 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday when Columbia`s, crew had finished eating and most were preparing to attend the moving picture show that was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on the main deck. On this evening there was a steady stream of visitors who stopped into the Print Shop to chat with the printers, each for a few minutes, and then move on. As the stream of men would come and go, Diamond was sitting on his cot reading a book while Gill was standing and leaning against a type case writing a letter. At the time when J. Anderson, storekeeper was in the Print Shop Diamond looked toward Anderson and in a concerned personal tone asked Anderson how he had been doing of late. Anderson replied that he was not doing well at all. To which Diamond inquired why? Anderson explained that he had worked at Guantanamo Bay for three years prior to his enlistment in the Navy. Then just after his enlistment in the Navy he was assigned to Guantanamo Bay for what was supposed to be only one year. Anderson explained that he was completing his second year at Guantanamo Bay and that he very much dislikes this place and was eager to leave. After hearing of Anderson`s frustration Diamond told him to cheer up, as the ship would definitely be going north soon. Anderson said he`d be glad when that happened. At that point, it being about 7:15 Anderson left the Print Shop as Diamond went back to reading his book and Gill continued writing his letter.

It was now 7:25 p.m. and Earl Johnson, Seaman 2nd Class was on the port side of the main deck making his way to the moving picture show. As he was doing so he was approached by Raymond Gill. Gill moved in closely to Johnson, grabbed his hand and in a whisper told Johnson that something was going to happen before morning. Gill immediately scurried off and went below deck. Johnson continued to the show not sure what to make of what Gill had said. Ray Gill was generally regarded as an erratic and a rather peculiar fellow, and therefore many of the things he would say were not taken especially seriously.

It was now 9:35 p.m. aboard the Columbia and the greater part of the Ship`s Company, officers and men were attending the moving picture show. Suddenly a figure appeared coming up the hatch from below deck. As the figure emerged from the hatchway he called out in a loud voice, `Is the Executive Officer present?` Immediately Lieutenant Commander Miller stood up and peered into the darkness to see who had called out to him. Miller recognized Ray Gill and said to him, `What do you want?` Gill replied, `I want to be locked up.` Miller asked him what for, and Gill replied that he could not say. Miller summoned the Chief Master-at-Arms to bring Gill to his office, while Miller also called for Lieutenant Hargrave, the senior medical officer on board for the purpose of examining Gill. Once seated in Miller`s office, Gill began to cry. Miller noticed a spot of bright blood on Gill`s pants, but he gave it no thought at that moment. Dr. Hargrave, having arrived at Miller`s office was ordered to accompany Gill who was in the custody of the Chief Master-at-Arms to Sick Bay and evaluate him. Once in Sick Bay Gill was crying and in a very nervous state and unwilling to answer any questions as to the reason for his present condition.

At the same time that Dr. Hargrave was beginning his examination of Gill, below deck Chief Electrician Helmerson happened to be walking down the corridor leading by the Print Shop. As he was doing so he heard a very loud and peculiar snoring sound coming from the Shop. Being curious about such an unusual sound, he peered in. Upon doing so he saw Diamond lying on his cot in a pool of blood. Helmerson immediately came running aft and hollered up to the Officer-of-the-Deck demanding to know where the doctor was. Meanwhile, Commander Miller, who was standing on deck pondering Gill`s strange conduct, heard Helmerson`s cries from below deck. Miller yelled down to Helmerson saying, `What`s the matter?` Helmerson replied, `Something has happened to Diamond, the Chief Printer.`

Back in Sick Bay Dr. Hargrave was attempting to evaluate Gill when suddenly a pharmacist mate threw open the door and made the announcement that the Chief Electrician had been walking by the Print Shop and found the Chief Printer seriously hurt. Dr. Hargrave left Gill in Sick Bay in the custody of the Chief Master-at-Arms while he himself ran below deck to the Print Shop. Upon arriving at the Shop Hargrave found Diamond lying on his cot in an unconscious condition his head and face covered with blood and breathing very heavily. He was laying on his right side with his head resting on the edge of the cot and the injured side of his head turned upward. He was dressed in his underwear and was partially covered with a blanket. His cot was soaked with blood and there was a pool of blood on the floor beneath his head. As Hargrave began to examine Diamond he immediately saw a large triangular penetrating wound behind Diamond`s left ear with evidence of a severe fracture of the skull beneath the wound.

As Dr. Hargrave was examining the severity and extent of Diamond`s injury, Executive Officer Miller and Captain Hellwig rushed into the Print Shop. Hargrave immediately conveyed to Captain Hellwig and Commander Miller that Diamond`s injuries were life threatening and therefore he must be immediately transferred to the hospital ship the U.S.S. Relief for emergency medical treatment. Upon hearing this Captain Hellwig ran on deck and gave orders that the gig be made ready for an emergency trip. The Captain then proceeded to the bridge deck where the ship`s company was still watching the moving picture show, and with a loud voice he called out into the darkness that if anybody could run a motor boat he was to get out to the gig double time as this was an emergency. The gig now being made ready, the Captain gave orders for J. A. Topper Lieutenant (MC), a medical Officer on board the Columbia to be called from his cabin and to report to Sick Bay to examine Gill, whose peculiar actions over the last few minutes had cast suspicion upon him. Within minutes of the Captain`s order, a gig carrying Diamond, Dr. Hargrave, Columbia`s chaplain and two enlisted men was making its way to the Relief.

Dr. Topper responded to orders to report to Sick Bay, but between the shock and confusion over all that had occurred, the Captain failed to tell Dr. Topper of the murderous attempt made on Diamond`s life. So as Dr. Topper was examining Gill he did not know why he was ordered to do so; he only knew that it was an order from the Captain. As Topper was examining Gill he was not able to make any progress, for Gill was crying and in a hysterical condition. Finally, out of frustration with Gill, Topper said to him, `If you want me to help you, tell me your trouble!` To which Gill replied, `No doctor can help me for what I did.` Dr. Topper knew nothing of the attack on Diamond, so hearing such a strange response from Gill caused the doctor to take note of this unexpected comment.

Emergency Surgery

The gig having arrived alongside the Relief, Dr. Hargrave explained to the chief doctors of the Relief the severity of Diamond`s condition, and the doctors hurried him away for surgery.

Upon removal of the blood soaked gauze there was revealed a large triangular wound directly behind the left ear. The lower wound was determined to be a large compound and comminuted fracture. Extending about three inches from this original wound was a long laceration fracture which extended upward through the mastoid portion of the temporal lobe and onto the vertex of the skull above the left ear. Branching off of this long fracture were many smaller radiating fractures of the skull.

The doctors made an incision through the lower wound extending upward through the swollen area. On deepening the incision and exploring they found that a portion of the bone about two or three inches in diameter had been driven inward by the force of the blow. These depressed fragments of bone were lifted out revealing the dura, which was without pulsation. In addition, the dura was tense, bulging and discolored by the clots of blood beneath it. The doctors incised the dura and still no pulsation was detected. It was at this point that the doctors realized that in spite of surgical interference, the extent of this injury made it inevitable that death would occur within a few hours. Therefore the doctors closed the wound in the best possible way, applied a loose bandage and Diamond was taken to a quiet room. Death came seven hours later, at 5:25 a.m. Sunday March 13, 1921. The cause of death was intra-cranial injury due to a compound comminuted fracture of the skull involving the left temporal and parietal regions of the skull.

An Investigation Onboard the Columbia

It was early Sunday morning on Columbia when the news was received that Diamond had died at 5:25 a.m. as a result of the injury he had received. By this time Commander Miller remembered that when he had first spoken to Gill in his office, he had noticed blood on Gill`s trousers. Orders were immediately sent to Ellis Gamber, Coxswain, who was acting as Master-at-Arms to go to the brig and have Gill`s trousers removed. Gamber went to the brig and was accompanied by R.F. Rice, who was the brig sentry on watch that morning. Once the two men were in Gill`s presence Gill was ordered to remove his trousers. Upon receiving this order, in the presence of Gamber and Rice Gill said, `I was a fool not to get rid of these trousers last night, but nobody knows how that blood got on there but me.` Once the trousers were viewed by the officers it was seen that they contained one large spot of blood along with many smaller splashes of blood.

A thorough search was made of the Print Shop in an attempt to piece together the events surrounding Diamond`s death and also to locate the murder weapon. A delicately balanced type case was found leaning up against a locker only a foot from Diamond`s cot. The delicate balance of the type case indicated that no struggle had taken place between Diamond and his assailant, as any struggle would have caused the type case to fall over. So it seems that Diamond was asleep when the attack occurred.

An inspection of the print shop in the area surrounding Diamond`s cot revealed many blood spots splattered on the wall and lockers. The blood spots were fresh and when measured the majority of them were found to be 32 inches above the ground. When Gill`s trousers were examined it was found that the majority of the blood stains on them were also 32 inches from the ground.

As the search for the murder weapon was being carried on it was noted that the large heavy port wrench belonging to the print shop was missing. As the sailors were gathered together and questioned it was recollected that the previous Wednesday, in preparation for the Captain`s weekly inspection Diamond had ordered Gill to take the port wrench out of the shop and bring it to the port side of the ship and hang it in its specified overhead rack. Gill had indeed done this because Frank Lozeau, Seaman 2nd class recalled that on Thursday March 10th he saw the large wrench hung up in it`s rack and borrowed it for a few hours and then returned it to the rack. In addition Jack Morton, Seaman recalled that on the previous afternoon, that is the afternoon of Saturday the 12th he saw this port wrench hung up in its specified rack, and as he was walking past it, he grabbed onto it and swung on it. However, on the next day, the morning of Sunday the 13th a thorough search was made throughout the ship for the port wrench, but it could not be found. A diving party was then sent out to search the waters below Columbia in an attempt to locate the wrench. But the murky conditions of the water made finding the wrench impossible.

Court of Inquiry

On the morning of Sunday March 13, 1921 the Commanding Train of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet gave the order for a Court of Inquiry to be held for the purpose of inquiring into circumstances surrounding the death of Samuel Jacob Diamond, late Chief Printer, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Columbia. After four days of examinations, it was the opinion of the Court of Inquiry that,

`Samuel Jacob Diamond, late Chief Printer, U.S. Navy, met his death from a blow inflicted by Raymond P. Gill, Printer First Class, U.S. Navy, at about 9:00 p.m. on March 12, 1921, on board the U.S.S. Columbia, then moored in the harbor of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba`¦`¦`

On April 22, 1921 the Navy Department`s Bureau of Investigation sent a copy of the Court of Inquiry to the office of the Judge Advocate General. The letter accompanying the Court of Inquiry reads as follows:

`In accordance with the Department`s instructions the Bureau has this date directed the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Columbia to transfer Raymond P. Gill, Printer First Class, U.S. Navy, to the receiving ship at Philadelphia upon its arrival at that place in order that he may be turned over to the Federal Civil Authorities for trial. The Bureau has also communicated with the Department of Justice urgently requesting that Gill`s trial be conducted during the six weeks which the U.S.S. Columbia and the U.S.S. Relief are scheduled to stay at the Navy Yard at Philadelphia.`

Samuel J. Diamond, Chief Printer, U.S.S. Columbia
April 10, 1894-March 13, 1921
Beloved Son, Brother, Husband, Father and Patriot

From Sam's Scrapbook

January of 1916. Sam Diamond is the young man on left, above. I don't know who the light haired young fellow is but it may be his old friend of eight years, Arden Handy, Seaman 2nd Class. They may be both home on leave. Sam would have been almost 22 when this was taken.
Sam Diamond posing by a small deck gun aboard the Columbia.
These two shots were obviously taken minutes apart. You'll notice the same people and same animals in almost the same positions. Perhaps this was R&R time on board the Columbia.

Sam Diamond is in both pictures. He's the sailor that is kneeling and giving something to the dog in the top picture. And in the bottom picture Sam Diamond is the one standing and leaning forward toward the dog and giving something to the dog. In that picture Sam's rank is visible on his arm. I believe it signifies 2nd class Petty Officer.

They did seem to have a lot of animals on the ship. Sam Diamond is the man holding the baby goat on the right.

The Columbia's Muster Roll

As I find names and stories of men who have served on the Columbia, I will list them here:

Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr. (1884-1941)

He was born on March 26, 1884, to Isaac and Jemina Campbell Kidd of Cleveland, Ohio. On appointment from his native state, he then entered the U.S. Naval Academy, from which he graduated as a Passed Midshipman on February 12, 1906. Passed Midshipman Kidd first served on USS Columbia, which carried the Marine Expeditionary Force to the Canal Zone. On May 17, 1907, he reported to USS New Jersey. During this tour, he completed the two years at sea then required before commissioning and was commissioned an Ensign, USN, on February 13, 1908. He transferred on May 2, 1910, to USS North Dakota, where he served until June 1913, except for target practice and training duty at Annapolis during the winter of 1911-12. He then joined USS Pittsburgh on June 30, 1913, and during the Mexican trouble of 1914-16 he served as First Lieutenant. Following this tour, he served as Aide and Flag Secretary on the staff of Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, aboard the flagships Pittsburgh and San Diego. He returned to the Naval Academy in August 1916 and was serving as an instructor on the Academic Staff when the United States entered World War I.

In September 1938, Capt. Kidd assumed command of the battleship Arizona, serving until February 1940. He was then designated Commander Battleship Division ONE and Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Battleships, Battle Force, with the accompanying rank of Rear Admiral. RADM Kidd was serving in that billet when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In the attack, RADM Kidd became the first flag officer to lose his life in World War II, and the first in the U.S. Navy to meet death in action against any foreign enemy. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, with citation as follows:

"For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese Forces on December 7, 1941. He immediately went to the bridge and as Commander Battleship Division ONE, courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until the USS ARIZONA, his Flagship, blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge, which resulted in the loss of his life."

In addition to the Medal of Honor, RADM Kidd was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal. He previously had won the Cuban Pacification Medal (USS Columbia), the Mexican Service Medal (USS Pittsburgh), and the World War I Victory Medal, Atlantic Fleet Clasp (USS New Mexico). He was also entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one engagement star; and the World War II Victory Medal.

USS KIDD (DD-661) and USS KIDD (DDG-993) were both named for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr., one of the first American naval heroes of World War II.

Captain Harry L. Brinser, U.S. Navy

Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Mercury & U.S.S. Columbia was awarded the Navy Cross during World War I. His citation reads: The Navy Cross is awarded to Captain Harry L. Brinser, U.S. Navy, for distinguished service in the line of his profession as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Mercury and the U.S.S. Columbia, engaged in the important, exacting and hazardous duty of transporting and escorting troops and supplies to European ports through waters infested with enemy submarines and mines.

Photos of the Columbia and Her Crew

Port side photo of the USS Columbia taken by famed photographer E. Muller as she looked in 1904.

This is a port side stern view of the Columbia proudly flying the colors. If you look closely you can see her name on her stern. This was a postal card and was postmarked 5 June 1917 from Newport News, VA. It was send by a crewman of the Columbia to a Mr. L. W. Johnson, 1238 Seminole Ave., Detroit, MI and the message reads: "A pretty good view of our ship don't you think. Just had a letter from the girls. Will write." Signed "Wilfred"

This photo is identified as "Gabs and a Santa Cruz Chicken" dated January 1919. A Columbia crewman named Ed wrote this on the back of the photo: "Some Chick. I sure got next to her. Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba."

Ed writes on this photo: "Taking advantage of a Liberty party at Santa cruz del Sur, Cuba, Ed."

Another one of the photos identified by Columbia crewmen named Ed. He writes: "January 1919, Hot? I should say, USS Columbia, "

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This page was created 7 Sept., 2001 and last modified on: 8/22/05

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