Posts Tagged ‘V-J Day’

John T. Ryan US Navy

John T. Ryan US Navy

If you read my previous post, the USS Hornet (CV-12) along with other vessels of the United States Navy ran into some rough weather in early June, 1945.  That was Typhoon Connie (sometimes called Typhoon Viper) and Hornet suffered some damage which included 24 feet of her flight deck smashed.  During the month of June, US Naval Command decided that Hornet needed to go in for repairs so off she went by the end of the month.

On the 7 July 1945, USS Hornet (CV-12) and her crew, including my father, Seaman First Class, John Thomas Ryan steamed through the Golden Gate. That must have been some site for Californians on the homefront.  This video, although from after the surrender of Japan, has a portion showing Naval ships coming through the Golden Gate.

Hornets planes and ammunition were off loaded and she entered dry dock at Hunters Point Naval shipyard.

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Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, 1945 – Notice the Victory Mail icon included in the image.

The photograph below is not from 1945.  It is from 3 July 1947; however the arrow indicator with the 4 is Hornet.  After her stay in drydock in 1945, Hornet had more service to provide yet but apparently its drydock again two years later.

At that time she was placed in drydock in July 1945, the crew were given 30 days well earned leave and rest.  According to documents in my father’s Naval records, this was his first leave since recruit leave for nine days in January 1943.  The document states granted 25 days leave with no travel time, commencing 1130, 8 July 45 and due to expire 0800, 3 August 45; however, he returned after 27 days.  Document states AOL 2 days, 9 hours 15 minutes excused as unavoidable.  He traveled home to Philadelphia.  I bet my Grandparents, Jerome and Margaret Ryan were glad to see him.

What was happening in August 1945 when my father returned to duty.  Some pretty important events.

During the final stage of World War II, the United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively.

The Enola Gay crew photographed the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima. The photos on the right show the city of Hiroshima before and after the blast.

On August 14 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as “Victoryover Japan Day,” or simply “V-J Day.” The term has also been used for September 2, 1945, when Japan’s formal surrender took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.

The excitement over peace turned ugly in San Franscisco so I am glad that my father was back on duty in the USS Hornet and not in the city.  After President Harry Truman announced to the nation that Japan was surrendering, the news resulted in the greatest explosion of mass euphoria in American history; however, something went dead wrong in San Francisco.  Thousands of frenzied, drunken revelers, an estimated 90 percent of them young Navy enlistees who had not served overseas, embarked on a three-night orgy of vandalism, looting, assault, robbery, rape and murder. By the time the “Peace Riots” burned themselves out on Friday morning, 13 people were dead, at least six women had been raped, 1,059 people were injured, and an incalculable amount of damage had been done to businesses, public buildings, streetcars, cars, traffic lights, signs, barber poles, marquees and everything else the rioters had gotten their hands on. They were the deadliest riots in the city’s history.

San Franciscans crowd 4th Street and Market Street on Victory Over Japan Day. Overnight the crowd, fueled by liquor and hysteria, would riot, leaving eleven dead, and 1,000 injured. Many of the injuries involved broken limbs and cracked noggins from fights and falls. The riot, which followed the Japanese surrender announcement by a day, was mostly confined to downtown San Francisco and involved thousands of drunken soldiers and sailors, most of them teenagers. They smashed store windows, attacked women, halted all traffic, wrecked Municipal streetcars. 30 streetcars were disabled, and one streetcar worker was killed. The rioters took over Market Street and refused to leave until military and civilian police drove them away long after nightfall following hours of chaos. At 11 o’clock that night, the authorities finally moved in on Market Street. The police and military moved up Market, sweeping the rioters before them. Hours later, the rioters dispersed. The State Theatre at 787 Market Street, designed by Alfred Henry Jacobs, closed in 1954.

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