USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story (Introduction)

Posted: June 27, 2013 in History, Uncategorized, World War II
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
John T. Ryan US Navy

John T. Ryan US Navy

I decided to start this introduction by repeating what I wrote in the blog’s “About”.

My father, John T. Ryan (Jack) was born in the early years after World War I and due to heart failure, he passed away before the Vietnam War was in the history books.  In between he grew to manhood in Philadelphia, enlisted in the US Navy, went to war serving on the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier (CV-12), met and married my mom in the late 1950s and fathered five children.  Due to my age when he passed away, I never really knew my father and so I never had the opportunity to hear his stories of World War II.  In this blog, I will attempt to tell his World War II story through the history of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12).  It will lack the personal stories that I just don’t have.  I welcome any comments to make it better.

In the beginning…

I know very little about my father’s childhood.  My uncle James Ryan was my father’s twin brother and there were a few quotes in a biography prepared for my Uncle’s 80th birthday that provide some insight.  My uncle recently passed away on his 90th birthday and at his viewing and funeral, I saw many photographs of the twins as boys.  I never saw these before and I hope to get copies.  I also found out through the eulogy that Jim and Jack were little entrepreneurs selling ice cream at Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium.

Connie Mack Stadium Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Connie Mack Stadium Philadelphia Pennsylvania

The twins lived in Philadelphia with their parents Jerome and Margaret Ryan.  In addition to the twins, there was one sister, Frances and three other brothers, Bernard, Jerome and Edwin.  When they weren’t working at their father’s A&P, the kids could be found playing at Fairmount Park’s Smith Playground and sneaking into the Philadelphia Zoo.

Kids using the famous Philadelphia zoo key for a talking storybook

Kids using the famous Philadelphia zoo key for a talking storybook

Smiths Memorial Playground and Playhouse

Smiths Memorial Playground and Playhouse

The twins were not model students and had a habit of being somewhat mischievous.  After a less than stellar career at Most Precious Blood Grammar School, Jim and Jack were asked to leave Roman Catholic High School in 1940.  That would have been at age 17.

Most Precious Blood of Our Lord School

Most Precious Blood of Our Lord School

Roman Catholic High School for Boys as it appeared in 1900

Roman Catholic High School for Boys as it appeared in 1900

While in high school and I believe afterwards, my father rowed for the Fairmount Rowing Club.  I see his name mentioned in the Fairmount Log, a newsletter published in the 1930s and 1940s and still today.  Like his older brother, Bernard, Jack had been a successful rower.  Bernard had the nickname “Big Ding” and they called my father “Little Ding”.  I am still trying to find out what the nickname meant.

Logo for Fairmount Rowing Association

Logo for Fairmount Rowing Association

In 1942 at age 18, my father was a shipfitter for the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company.

Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company During WWII, Sun was the largest single shipyard in the world, with over 35,000 employees. It introduced the all-welded ship, which significantly increased ship production and the T-2 oil tanker, which Sun built over 250 WWII tankers, 40% of those built in the world and repaired over 1,500 war-damaged ships. Established by the Pew family, it was located at this site from 1916 to 1982.

Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company During WWII, Sun was the largest single shipyard in the world, with over 35,000 employees. It introduced the all-welded ship, which significantly increased ship production and the T-2 oil tanker, which Sun built over 250 WWII tankers, 40% of those built in the world and repaired over 1,500 war-damaged ships. Established by the Pew family, it was located at this site from 1916 to 1982.

In October 1942, John T. Ryan enlisted in the US Navy.

In my next post, I plan to write about the building and commissioning of the USS Hornet (CV-12) Aircraft Carrier.

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Comments
  1. […] is an interesting connection to my other blog, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story.  By 1969, the famous Navy ship had its flight deck altered and renamed USS Hornet (CVS-12).  By […]

  2. Jerome Jerisek says:

    Ty so much for posting these WWII accounts. I am very interested in the story of the USS Houston’s history since my Father ( John A. Jerisek ) served on board with your Uncle at the same time of the ship’s torpedoing. I am endeavoring to build a scale model of the CL-81 Houston but accurate information is hard to come by. If you might have any more information that would help me in my quest, I would be very thankful. Please contact me at Jerome A. Jerisek, jjjdobro@yahoo.com

    • Thanks for reading. I don’t have any more information on the Houston. My uncle passed away last year and all I have is his written account that was handed out at his 80th birthday 10 years ago on board the USS New Jersey museum. That account is what I put in my post.

  3. Susan Gore says:

    My father was on the USS Hornet as well. He always said he was, but I thought it was just one of his stories.,then when he passed away in 2003 I got his dd214 Discharge papers it was listed that he was really on the Hornet! I feel bad because I did not take him seriously! He was also on the cruiser USS Point Cruz as well! Hope to hear more from your blog

  4. […] you follow my other blog, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story, you know that my father’s carrier was named in honor of the USS Hornet (CV-8).  On October […]

  5. Reblogged this on IF I ONLY HAD A TIME MACHINE and commented:

    In honor of father’s day, please enjoy the beginning of my blog about my father and his WWII ship, the USS Hornet (CV-12)

  6. […] Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.  I visited my father’s grave this weekend and placed a flag at his marker.  Although it is for remembrance of those that died in service, I like to think of veterans in general for Memorial Day even though we also have Veterans Day in November.  Although my father is no longer living and he served in the Navy during World War 2, he did not die in that service.  I am writing his war story in my blog USS Hornet (CV-12), A Father’s Untold War Story. […]

  7. […] The following are some of the facts about this great ship but you can also read the full story (a work in progress) of the USS Hornet on my other blog, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story […]

  8. […] Last entry date for this month is 24th of November and then people have between then and the end of the month to vote for their favorite, with the next competition starting at the beginning of December and the winner of this month setting the next writing prompt.  Here is my entry which I tribute to my father who served in WWII. (Read his story on my other blog). […]

  9. […] you follow my other blog, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story, you know that my father’s carrier was named in honor of the USS Hornet (CV-8).  On October […]

  10. […] I love to write my daily history posts and to participate in challenges.  My other blog about my father’s World War II Navy story is something that has become very dear to me.  Thank you 1,000 times and […]

  11. […] Today I reached a notable milestone.  This is my 100th post when I combine this blog and my other USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story. […]

  12. […] to audio books.  Recently I have been researching the war in the pacific for my other blog:  USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story so I am currently listening to Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. […]

  13. […] are articles written from interviews with war veterans.  I am not above promoting my own blog,  USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story which is my attempt to tell my father’s World War II story without ever hearing it directly […]

  14. […] is an interesting connection to my other blog, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story.  By 1969, the famous Navy ship had its flight deck altered and renamed USS Hornet (CVS-12).  By […]

  15. gpcox says:

    A wonderful tribute to your father. My site is also in honor of my father.

  16. Kathleen Pacifico says:

    Maryanne, this is great! If I have any pictures that you want just let me know.

    • Thanks Kathleen. I was going to let some time pass after your dad’s passing before asking if I could get copies or borrow and scan some of the pictures I saw on display at the viewing. I loved seeing all those old pictures and I had never seen any pictures of my dad as a boy (except some that Greg has on Ancestry). I loved your brother’s eulogy for your father and again I heard things I never knew. It was a wonderful discovery on such a sad occasion.

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