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tv   The Fighting Lady  CSPAN  August 8, 2015 8:00am-9:06am EDT

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each week american history tv's real america -- reel america brings you are cart -- archival footage. thefighting lady traces journey across the u.s. ocean of when theorktown aircraft carrier participated in the battle of the philippine sea. this film contains many scenes of combat. the uss yorktown is now on at the museumlay at patriots point in charleston, s.c.. this academy award-winning document three is about an hour.
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and imposing force of american power proceeds towards a rendezvous. this is the complement of a new carrier. fighters, dive bombers, torpedo bombers. with the air boot commander leading everyone and they are flying out to sea to join the
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ship that will be there floating home. is one of many carriers which the american people have build since pearl harbor. and there are now is our base. powerful, serene. in honor of all american aircraft carriers, let's call her the fighting lady. against a good solid wind our planes come into the bride -- broad of flight deck. case the planes huck fails to catch the landing gear there are a series of stout wire barriers.
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number one man on the flight deck now is the lso, the landing signal officer. i all aviators he would much rather be flying. come on in, sit down. the plane is out of the group and he waved it off. another time pilot, and we will take you aboard. when planes land they taxi quickly forward out of the way. later they will have to be shipped to the stern and rearranged in proper position for takeoff. this is called responding -- respotting the deck. here is our skipper, a veteran navy flyer. ours not impressed by earnest efforts, nor are the
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flight deck control officers. the skipper calls all hands together and gives us a piece of his mind. >> we will never be ready for combat unless you learn right now to work for a team. for long we will be in dangerous waters. watch out. keep that wing clear. get it over to starboard. way over to starboard. get the weight out of your pants. this is the way a deck should look when you are ready for action. our ship, our fighting lady, is a wonderful and strange place. from stem to stern the entire ship is a honeycomb of waterproof compartments. far below the waterline are engine rooms, fire rooms, fuel
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tanks. enoughes packed with explosives to blow us all to kingdom come. the hangar deck is like a gigantic tunnel, really two city blocks long and wide enough to house for freight trains of rest. four freight trains abreast. it would take us a week, a month maybe to learn our way around. as mysterious to us as it is cold and impersonal. our fighting lady is like a huge floating cave. elevators as big as a tennis court kerry asked topside to the flight deck. the great superstructure rising midship is called the island. it is truly the ships nerve center. it's fighting brain.
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us are volunteers in this war and have never been to see before. we learned our jobs theoretically an extensive training on shore. werey short while ago we college kids, bank workers, farm hands. now we are blue jackets, marines. members of a naval contract -- combat team nearly 3000 strong. green, but our curiosity and comradeship, and the instead -- instinct of self preservation are great teachers. some of us has to -- have to
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master the delicate instruments that control the fire, the guns that must defend the fighting lady when enemy dive bombers attack. we train and train to learn our forf and earn our e efficiency. the fighting lady's destination is still a closely guarded secret. no one can hide the fact that we are entering tropical waters. our ship seems more friendly and comfortable now. a suntan willfeel at least make us look like fighting sailors. scrappy, hasot, been at sea longer than us. some of the mystery that has been hanging over us is lifted
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when we enter the panama canal. of unprofessional nervousness about whether or not we are too big to get through the lock. by using lines is that offenders, we do get through. as the naval constructors new all along that we would. >> climb along. we are going places. now we stand out into the pacific. life aboard settled down into monotony. here are aircraft pilots, officers all. ships company called them the grammar boys. they are the men who fly and fight our planes. all the efforts of all the rest of us are concentrated on putting these people into the air and getting them back. most of us are hiding a certain amount of nervousness and anxiety. many of us are johnny-come-lately. reserve officers who only recently learned to fly in corpus christi and jacksonville. are
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reserves are called by the regulars, in a friendly way, 90 day wonders. the turn the enough -- annapolis regulars are called to the trade school boys. but all are bound together in a fraternity of close fellowship of navy men. among the ships personnel, almost 3000 blue jackets and 100 marines, the hottest shots of the aircrew. aerial gunners and radio men. these boys and the plane captains are the partners of the grammar boys in the air. zoomer's orled airedale. because they receive 50% extra paper flying they are sometimes flying theyy for
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are sometimes referred to as the bankroll boys. everybody aboard ship packs up the flight crew. this requires the effort of all manner of people. many of the jobs are far from glamorous. all the little tasks and services you find along main street must be performed by some members of our carriers crew. although the fighting lady is a powerful ship of war she is also a sizable american community whose population must be supplied with all the necessities and some of the comforts of home. sorenson, the pharmacist, is just like a village druggist. next door is our hospital, called sick bay. there are only a few patients now but soon it will be filled with our wounded. men like these who perform the humble jobs that make life above the carrier more bearable -- .he barbers, the cobblers they are seldom mentioned in communiques.
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a all have a place in our fighting team. weeks past. -- passed. now we are far out in the pacific which is a very considerable body of water. monotony sets in on us. nothing where we are bound is still our chief pastime. are we going to iron bottom bay? or maybe even to the aleutian islands? rumors are called scuttlebutt. throughout the ship men get together in little groups to take refuge from the heavy burden of waiting for something to happen. and then one day out of nowhere
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comes a tanker. we are refueling at sea. this tells us that we are not going to perl or any other land base for a long, long time. besides our skipper we have an admiral aboard. ac dog who has been a naval flyer for nearly 20 years. until now, only these officers have known where we are going to go. jocko reveals the plan. the fighting lady has been ordered to make a strike. through water where no carrier task force has ventured since the bloody battle of midway. 1943, longis is before we took the marshall islands. whether studies are made. and though this is a daily
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routine, somehow the whole ship senses that something is about to happen. even before the news a broad -- is broadcast to all of us, there is an atmosphere of expectant. then we are told we have traveled more than 7000 miles from panama city tomorrow, strike30th, 1943, we can the japanese on the market silence. deep within the enemies -- the marcus islands. deep within the enemies line of defense. the night before we strike we are briefed on the target. we are sticking out our next within a thousand miles of tokyo to divert the jobs -- japs'attention from other activity further to the south. those of us who have never seen battle asked a lot of questions of those who have seen action. >> push over fast. we try to seem
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composed and cheerful. a lot is going on inside our minds. we question our most inner selves. what will it be like? how will we take it? will we do already? -- will we do all right? this is the night when a lot of boys right one more letter home. -- write one more letter home. among those in the war room is a 20-year-old chevy nicknamed smoky. he is sitting on the far right. flown and 50 -- missions aquatic and 50 missions aquatic now he is ordered to take a rest. he would much rather the flying. battledark on the eve of our planes are loaded with bombs and gas so that each plane will be in its precise position.
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now all is perfect. we will strike at don. dawn. will strike at gq, generalew -- quarters. [bell ringing] every man on the ship goes to his battle station. his special place on the fighting team. the barber will pass any nation -- ammunition. the taylor is assigned to a first aid station. pilots are in their ready room. , theomber, torpedo bomber flyers get into their flight gear and receive last-minute instructions.
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on the flight deck our first battle dawn awaits us. our whole ship is on hairtrigger. the fighting lady is hardly 100 miles from the first target of her career. these last few minutes before the order for our first action are the toughest of all. a wise man once said, war is mostly waiting period we learned now with that can mean. >> red room three, roger. pilots, man your planes. ♪
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the fighters take off the first to form cover for the other squadrons. then the bombers. laden with instructions. the sun has risen now and we are alert for enemy submarines. but the fighting lady seems on target.
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the radio plotting room is the electric eye and year by which the fighting lady detects and keeps tabs on all planes and ships for miles around us. smoky, the fighter from arkansas, has been put in charge of this room. hunched among his assistance, smoky is like a super quarterback on a super football team. he is in touch with our entire air group. as our first fighters, race towards marcus island, they stay low. hoping to avoid detection by the enemy's radar. then they climb suddenly and dive, a surprise attack on the enemies airstrip.
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these plumes floating up at us so lazily our antiaircraft air fire. only one shell in three are equipped. pollywogslike a fiery are traces from our own air. all through these battle fixtures, realized we are looking down our own gun barrels. these pictures are taken automatically by the same mechanism that operates the guns. the pictures shake when the guns recoil. our ally is now the very -- our eye is now the very high -- of our fighting airplanes. the enemy's picket boats and supply ships offshore are thoroughly destroyed. no longer will be his craft brewing rice and sake -- will
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this craft bring rice and sake, and ammunition, too sure. shore. our bombers flying higher see the island beginning to burn. a moment ago it looked like a little shade trinkets -- jade trinkets in a cobalt sea. as the fighters and bombers swinging notoriously away from marcus island, the columns of smoke showed the victorious job our boys have done. isk aboard ship, smoky tracking the fighters with care to be sure no one is missing and no enemy planes are trying to follow them back to our ship. as our planes come aboard there
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begins an operation almost as exciting as the attack its self. battle. after our cruise are trained to step. the landing signal officer performs an elegant adagio on the fighting lady's stern, a warning to the rest of the cast tuesday off stage. ♪
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the pilots go below to report to their combat intelligence officers. they have hot news. good news. they tell what they saw. how many rounds of ammunition they fired. how many bombs they dropped. what they hit. what they noticed at the targets that was new or different, or what might be heading again. as our combat photographers develop their pictures, the story becomes other and better. every single jap bomber on marcus has been destroyed. stations, gas dumps, ammunition dumps. marcus is now a lovely mess. but smoking is worried. there are planes still out there he is wondering about. they are delayed by battle
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damage. carriera plane on the is the crucial tech -- test of how well trained and study a flyer is. the fighting lady now has met her enemy. the pilots for this morning felt new and nervous now talk like veterans. we have been baptized by fire and have survived. we of the fighting lady are growing up. transportallf our strategy of the whole pacific campaign. smash straight through japan's network of violence. recapture the philippines. land on the mainland of asia.
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japan's supplyny from the south east indies and leave the far-flung island garrison marooned. then we will reach out and help our ally, china. our carrier task forces have been in many battles. and now, early in 1944, the fighting lady's target is kwa jakein. jap they are bombing the island apart. our fighter pilots have improved with the confidence that comes from experience. they estimate their range by watching their traces. until theireir fire wing points converge at 300 yards.
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they should in bursts and set up in study scream -- study streams -- steady streams which heat up the guns.
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after our bombing attacks, assault craft filled with marine and army hit the beaches. very soon after that, the island is ours. word comes to our island -- our admiral that the japanese are 1400 miles to our west. perhaps we can surprise them. the fighting lady's squadron and some other carriers make off for,. a lot of mouths are dry at the thought of our target. seat gunners look back at the fighting lady wondering when and if they will ever
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return to her. all we know we know from some photographs taken on navy reconnaissance a few days ago. we see a complex of how -- heavily fortified island. next two days, more than 1000 of our carrier-based planes uke going to sweep in on tr in relays. their airspeed is a good 70 knots. we again andtruk turn on our guns. we smack them hard.
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the hearts that were in men's malice before this began now settle back into place. there is something really grand. something historic. about diving in on this place which japan has been building and guarding jealously for 20 years. we died in low and take a good look at fighter strips, seaplane branches. in an almost vertical dive the pilot may blackout or go blind
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for a moment when he pulled up and out, but the camera will not blackout. it cannot be the landing of our own bombs, or -- for we will be up and away. but it records the hit of other planes ahead of us. we had hoped to find thejap fleet here but most of it is gone. some lingering ships are finding
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-- hiding in sheltered coves. vessels which we are now seeing are other fleet auxiliaries. with bursts of 50 caliber incendiaries and armor piercing slugs, we bursts them wide open.
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razing ships filled with tnt is not very healthy for pilots who dive too low, that it is hard to tell who is carrying what until bang comes.-- returning to the deck at 130 , all a pilot can hope to save is his own skin. here comes our new air crew commander. he is headed for trouble. he has to feel his way aboard. anlow altitude he took antiaircraft birth right in the face. he will live to fly again. return, butwill not other cut -- others come back
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to land somehow. our losses are astonishingly light. from truk to our secret rendezvous in the marshall islands. a magnificent new fleet, a new naval base. time we, whoirst have been operating as separate task forces, reassemble the enormous mass of naval power. million pieces of american fighter steel. which japan could never conceive, let alone produce.
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we -- that we are able to maintain the fly lines over the vast pacific is one of the miracles of this war. in the comforting presence of so much power we relax and refresh our battle strained nerves. [crosstalk] post office does really big business. letters from home. letters from us to friends and family. our center is no our collective mood. the stuff is really getting out here now. >> i can't tell you much about
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it, but oh boy. well the sooner i will be seeing you. calledhands are together. o has beenipper jock promoted admiral. >> men, as soon as i finish talking we are getting underway. our fighting lady is now designated part of test force 58. our final destination is a place called tokyo. we will have to fight hard to get there. but when we get there i am going to throw a party. all members are cordially invited.
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>> our task forces are built compactly now. we have speedy new battle wagons at our side. the carrier's skipper never leaves the bridge because carriers or their planes are the first to strike the enemy or to be struck by him. our aircraft pilots are constantly on call. becauseite the mass -- despite the mass of power spread out around us these are still dangerous waters. our pilots know this all too well but it does not worry them. they are seasons now. they know how. there are a lot of new faces but most of these men had been in action. our rear seat gunners and radio men are old hands now. their faces are different to
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because there have been replacement. a lot of them have been made commissioned officers. there is a saying in the navy that you never learn to love a carrier until you get hurt. well, perhaps we don't really love our fighting lady but we have become mighty fond of her. we are comfortable, almost like home. occasionally they will bring us that one thing we crave the most -- one touch of something utterly american. like jocko our new skipper bixie is an old pilot.
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they are like big league baseball managers. northwest we steam. never before in history has an ocean scene such naval power. this is our ocean. this is our air. we are seeking a japanese battle fleet to prove it. with our cruisers, our biggest new battle wagons, we are strong enough to hope that we may provoke the japanese fleet into accepting a fight. we are joined by plotting coast guard and navy transport. marines again.
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another amphibious assault is cooking. our patrols have spotted a japanese patrol plane and are harassing her. emily. it this emily is a tough old girl. fort now she is screaming help and telling tokyo, by radio, where we are. are floating in on us. so long emily.
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now that the enemy knows where we are, and we know he knows, our brass it's together on final arrangements for what may turn into another midway. the first of -- many an hour drive through to the philippines and china -- will be the marianas. we will make good use of a multitude of weapons, and specialty techniques, which have been involved in the many years since the u.s. navy first took to the air. fightersdid our naval create the aircraft carrier itself, it was they who devised the torpedo plane and perfected divebombing.
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all about our flight deck are all manner of deathdealing objects. thousand pounds of bombs. the kind of anti-personnel bombs we call safety cutters. some of our bombs are for fragmentation. others have delayed action fuses to prolong the effect of our bombardment for hours after we have delivered it. rockets, whichw packed the same wallop as a three inch shell. they weigh little and because there is not much recoil they can be fired from planes. we are toldf battle
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to scrub up, to lessen the danger of infection in case we are wounded. as well as our bodies we must prepare our souls. always on the eve of battle services are held in relays so that every one of our fighting lady's 3000 sons has a chance to attend. as the eve before that old thing since there is the usual waiting period again we are reminded that war is mostly waiting perio.
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the cox work all night long preparing a hearty meal of steak and eggs for our 3:00 a.m. battle breakfast. we are being attacked. we are being attacked a japanese torpedo planes. war.ring to all they want is one hit on our flight deck. we have nearly 90 planes fueled and loaded with bombs ready for takeoff.
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each patch of flame is a burning just -- jet. in this surprise attack 19 jets are polished off by our battery. not a single carrier is hit. we have been fortunate. now commences and other major moment in the fighting lady's career. warfare the young are like squires to armored knights of old.
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in this operation a lot of other fighting ladies will be involved. nearly 2000 carrier-based planes, all of them attacking in air groups like our own. from now on we tighten our belts and study our hands as our navy makes progressively bigger attacks nearer and nearer the heart of japan. at his post tracking down enemy planes and cursing the luck that keeps them out of the air, smoky hates to be grounded on a day like this. p airbases in the
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mariana islands, and the special base, guam. hascomes word that the japs sent strong air reinforcements to an island that flanks go on -- flanks guam. record just what our guns and bombs due to the enemy. these pixels enable our air combat intelligence officers to adjust as they swooped down.
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while our planes return for more , the servicenition planes will take over. attempts to take the beaches we are going to hit. some of our oldest and proudest battleships are here. the colorado. the tennessee. and the uss pennsylvania, flagship of world war i. winging home to the fighting lady, several of our planes crippled, make a game attempt to land. now is when the landing signal must estimate the battle damage of plans like these. planes like these. and flight deck emergency crews,
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firefighters, rescue details, almostical crews exhibit perfect action. the pilot of a torpedo plane has been unable to breach his load of incendiaries. takes retain about 75 gallons of high-octane gas. these men deserve every citation they guess. get.very citation they
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in the ready rooms, intelligence officers question that old weary pilots. what did you see? carriers insights? sight? then comes uncomfortable news. japanese carriers and dive bombers are approaching. our engine room orders flank speed in case we need to take evasive action. are delighted to let the fighting lady outdo herself if necessary. the engine room people turn on the heat. the fighting lady leaps through the sea, on her guard.
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dixie gears himself for action, and so does wise old scrappy. and now here they come.
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torpedort peto -- bomber miraculously keeps coming. got but everything we still she comes. if he ever releases that torpedo .- he missed it either the pilot was already dead, or his release gear jammed. when the pride of arkansas hears that one, he almost takes off. now our reconnaissance has spotted the japanese and task forces. this is the moment we have been praying for. every qualified pilot is ordered
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to the air. at last smoky gets his moment to fly. >> pilots, men your planes. man your planes. the philippine trade wind is tearing down our flight deck. thunders outrcrew behind the group commander. jap intoja ters pilots, mostly zeros.
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this is still called the marianas turkey shoot. jap planes are shot down on a single day. sacrificedane makers firepower for speed. likehave no armor plating ours do. monkeys are fancy flyers. acrobatics can win dogfights, whereas we beat -- we believe in careful fighting -- flying and shooting.
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and now, at last, through a late afternoon haze, from high
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altitude, our air combat group strikes the imperial japanese battle fleet. these are the first pictures ever taken of a great formation like this. there it is. and imperial fleet. us as inound below violence, evasive action. we seeking down on them just who they think they are. some of them are scampering away. when you look straight down on them, they quit.
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we engage a big destroyer at the bow, and he shoots back. plenty. let's go down after that cruiser. he answers it emphatically from a forward current. t- from a forward current -- urret. now a jap carrier is going to get it. watch 5:00 on the camera, the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
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just watch this. and now we come home from the battle of the philippine sea. p warships have been sunk or severely damaged. several of our returning planes have been badly shot. a dive bomber comes in out of gas. he pulled over star board but knows is over because his wheels are down.
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this pilot has 73 holes in his plane. and his leg almost shot away. to clear the deck for other planes, number 30, badly damaged, is jettisoned. given the deep 6. watch carefully. this man's controls are all but shot away. he steps out of it fine. and now it is time to tally up the scores. on this fine morning just a year after being commissioned the
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fighting lady is beginning to .ook like a stamp album she has done her share. at massing -- amassing a grand total but there's another score to add up. our own casualties. quite a few faces are no longer with us on the fighting later. among them, commander upson, skipper of our torpedo squadron. yes, smokey is missing, too. salute them under their
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country's flag, for they were brave, they were gallant. others will come forward to take , for the battles we have fought on the sea and in the sky are only the beginning. still hungry for battle will be our carrier, serene, powerful, unafraid. she and her planes will come home again some day, god grant, but not until the bitter, .lorious end for she is, and we salute her, the fighting lady. ♪ narrator: this weekend on the
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c-span networks, politics, books, and american history. tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span, congressional profiles with 4 freshmen members. sunday night at 9:00, with elections coming in october, we will show you a debate among the 4 national party leaders in canada. , charles murray argues that through the use of technology, we can rein in the power of the federal government. the cityening at 7:00, and people of now the sake, japan, from the morning it was bombed on august 9, 1940 5, 2 today. this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, we commemorate bombingsersary of the of hiroshima and nagasaki, japan.
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our programming starts his morning at 10:00 with a conversation with president harry truman's grandson, clifton truman daniel. theer, we will visit american university hiroshima-nagasaki atomic tom bomb exhibit.mic sunday, our coverage continues with a documentary on the making of the atomic tom and later, interviews with two bomb survivors. get our complete schedule at >> this month, c-span radio takes you to the movies. here the supreme court oral argument from 4 cases that played a part in popular movies from this number possible "woman in gold" to the free-speech case from the 1996 movie "the people versus larry flynt," the watergate case from "all the president's men," and "the loving story" about the landmark civil rights case invalidating interracialhibiting
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marriage. here the supreme court arguments for the laws that played a part in these movies. listen to c-span radio at 90.1 fm in the washington, d.c., area online at, or .ownload our c-span radio app >> theodore roosevelt becomes president after the assassination of william the kinley. family, first her lady edith roosevelt renovates .he entire floor by adding a social secretary to the payroll, she creates the office of the first lady and changed the name from executive mansion to the white house. it is roosevelt, this sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's original series, "first ladies: influence and image," examining the public and private lives of the women who filled andposition of first lady
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their influence on the presidency. sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> coming up next, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell , a kentucky republican, on the career of john sherman cooper who represented kentucky in the u.s. senate between 1946 and 1973. senator mcconnell talks about cooper's personal life and his impact on the state. this 55 minute program was hosted by somerset community college in somerset, kentucky. rep. rogers: senator mcconnell, president jill, distinguished guests. jill marshall did a great job introducing me. she went above and beyond the truth, but like mae west said one time, too much of a good thing is simply wonderful.


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