The Rock

Drawing of a Dragon blowing
out a candle on a birthday cake frosted with the names of the 
landings.
Happy Birthday to the Fighting Fifth!


U.S.S. ROCKY MOUNT PRESS NEWS THURSDAY, AUGUST 24.

A YEAR AGO, ON AUGUST 27TH, 1943 TO BE EXACT, ADMIRAL TURNER ANNOUNCED TO THE NAVAL WORLD THAT THE NEWEST COMMAND IN THE PACIFIC, THE FIFTH AMPHIBIOUS FORCE, WAS OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

THE CHILDHOOD OF THE FORCE WAS SPENT IN TRADITIONAL AMERICAN FASHION, FOR THE HEADQUARTERS ON THE SECOND DECK OF THE CONTRACTORS BUILDING AT THE CORNER OF 8TH STREET AND AVENUE E WERE AS NEARLY LIKE A LOG CABIN AS COULD BE FOUND IN THIS MODERN WORLD OF WONDERS. ON THAT HOT AUGUST DAY A YEAR AGO, THE FORCE HAD A ROOF OVER ITS HEAD, TO BE SURE. BUT BY DINT OF FAST TALKING AND SOME SUCCESSFUL FORAYS ON THE SUPPLY DEPARTMENT, HOWEVER A COLLECTION OF EQUIPMENT WAS GRADUALLY MADE.

NOR HAD THE STAFF REACHED ITS FULL STRENGTH. THE ADMIRAL WAS THERE, AND LT. COMMANDER STARK, THE FLAG SECRETARY. THE MARINE CORPS WAS REPRESENTED BY COLONEL KNIGHTON, ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF AND THE ARMY BY LT. COLONEL HERRON. CAPTAIN GILLETTE AND HIS FAMILIAR CIGARETTE HOLDER OCCUPIED ONE CORNER OF THE FLAG OFFICE. CAPTAIN WELLS AND MAJOR SHULER HELD DOWN THE INTELLIGENCE OFFICE WHILE COMMANDER J. M. TAYLOR AND LT. COMMANDER J. "OP" LEWIS REPRESENTED THE GUNNERY AND OPERATIONS DEPARTMENTS RESPECTIVELY. LT.COLONEL BOWEN WAS SERVING AS ASSISTANT COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, AND FOUR JUNIOR OFFICERS, FRESH FROM CINCPAC, REPORTED FOR COMMUNICATIONS DUTY.

THE STAFF AND THE FORCE HAD FILLED OUT RAPIDLY WITH BREATH TAKING SPEED, FROM A FOUNDLING ORGANIZATION THAT NO ONE KNEW OR CARED ABOUT, TO A NAVAL POWER THAT WIELDS OPERATIONAL CONTROL OVER MORE THAN 850 SHIPS AND LANDING CRAFT. THE FORCE HAS BECOME THE DOMINANT ACTIVITY IN THE CENTRAL PACIFIC AND HAS HANGING FROM ITS BELT THE SCALPS OF MAKIN, TARAWA, APAMAMA, ENEWETOK, KWAJALEIN, MAJURO, SAIPAN, TINIAN, AND GUAM.

AFTER THE WAR, THE EX-SCHOOL TEACHERS ON THE FORCE STAFF WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE THE HISTORY OF THE OPERATIONS IN THE GILBERT ISLANDS, THE MARSHALL ISLANDS, AND THE MARIANNAS ISLANDS COME TO LIFE FOR THEIR STUDENTS.

LIKE MOST ORGANIZATIONS, THE 5TH AMPHIBIOUS FORCE REFLECTS THE SPIRIT OF ITS LEADER. IT DID NOT TAKE LONG FOR ADMIRAL TURNER TO WIN THE ADMIRATION OF HIS NEW STAFF. NO ONE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE GALVANIC OPERATION WILL FORGET THANKSGIVING NIGHT, 1943, WHEN THE ADMIRAL OUTWITTED AND OUTGUESSED THE 8 JAP PLANES ATTEMPTING TO ATTACK OUR FORMATION. CINCPOA'S AIR OFFICER, COLONEL EARECKSON, TERMED IT "THE MOST MAGNIFICENT MANEUVERING" HE HAD EVER SEEN.

IF ADMIRAL TURNER DRIVES HIS HELP HARD, IT IS BECAUSE HE DOES NOT SPARE HIMSELF. IF HE IS IMPATIENT OF INCOMPETENCE AND BUNGLING, IT IS BECAUSE HIS OWN MIND HAS THE EDGE AND TEMPER OF FINE STEEL.

SO, WITH A YEAR OF GROWTH BEHIND, WE SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE 5TH AMPHIBIOUS FORCE. GOOD LUCK TO OUR COMRADES IN ARMS, THE 5TH AMPHIBIOUS CORPS, AND TO OUR GREAT FLAGSHIP THE U.S.S. ROCKY MOUNT. OUR TOAST TO THE NEW YEAR IS SIMPLE AND HEARTFELT: "ON TO TOKYO WITH THE FIGHTING FIFTH"


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