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The Big Spud

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The Big Spud: The U.S.S. IDAHO in World War II: A War Diary by a Member of Its VO Squadron
  • by William Schumann
    • Merriam Press World War 2 Memoir Series
      • Fourth Edition 2012
      • 308 6x9-inch pages
      • 79 photos
      • 43 documents
      • 2 maps
The decision made on September 2, 1941, was one Bill Schumann would never regret making. War broke out a short three months later as he was acquainting himself with this mighty battleship, the USS Idaho, having mustered onboard her in Iceland on December 6, 1941, only hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.
     Bill was to remain onboard this warship, fondly referred to by its crew as "The Big Spud," throughout the entire conflict, and duly credit her and her skillful crew for bringing them safely through the most horrendous conflict the world has ever known, World War II.
     The ship is no more, having been stricken from the Naval vessel register and sold to Lipsett Inc. on November 24, 1947, to be cut up for scrap. A seemingly cruel act for such a great warship, yet today the memories live on in the hearts of those men who so many years ago did time onboard her, when she was a fighting ship in the most powerful Naval fleet the world has ever witnessed.
     During his tour of duty, Bill had often wondered what was so special about the Idaho, the fact that they had traveled so far, always at great risk, and yet had so few casualties.
     Bill wasn't one who believed in miracles, or for that matter a religious person, but a little known event that took place on the Idaho during the ship's commissioning twenty-two years before his tour of duty, may in some way have contributed to their safe journey.
     Only three cherished friends, all members of the ship's VO-3 (aviation) squadron, had given their lives during the long conflict; strangely all were away from the protection of the ship when they died. A mere coincidence, he thinks not—it has made a believer out of Bill. 
 
Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Glossary
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Boot Camp and the North Atlantic
  • Chapter 2: Force Duty West Coast and Hawaii
  • Chapter 3: Aleutian Islands Campaign
  • Chapter 4: Gilbert Islands Campaign
  • Chapter 5: Marshall Islands Campaign
  • Chapter 6: New Hebrides and Kavieng
  • Chapter 7: The Mural and Beautiful Sydney
  • Chapter 8: Mariana Islands Campaign
  • Chapter 9: Palau Islands Campaign
  • Chapter 10: Iwo Jima (Kazan Retto)
  • Chapter 11: Okinawa
  • Chapter 12: Philippines and Home
  • Appendix 1: Roster of "V" Division Personnel, 1942-45
  • Appendix 2: "Kingfisher" OS2U-3/OS2N-1 Information 
  • Appendix 3: Aircraft Assigned to VO-3 Squadron, USS Idaho (BB-42), 1941-45 
  • Appendix 4: Battleship VO Squadrons, World War II
    The Author
     
    Born October 23, 1920, passed away January 20, 2012. Beloved husband of Bernadine (nee Elfring); devoted father of Cheryl Waterhouse (Dennis), Stephen (Luanne), Cynthia Timbers (Gene), Bryan and Gregory (deceased) (Kathleen); loving grandfather of Jason, David (Katherine), Joseph, Hunter, Alisha and Megan; cherished great-grandfather of Owen; dear brother of Jack (deceased). Bill was a World War II Navy veteran, he completed 7 years of active duty on the USS Idaho iun its VO-3 Squadron. He worked for American Greetings in Cleveland until he retired in 1985. 

    Reviews

    Liked the book although the daily diary format is not my preferred type of reading. The book certainly presents the naval war in the Pacific from a rare point of view that is interesting and that I have never before seen. The Pacific naval war as seen by a U.S. Navy enlisted man serving as a Aviation Radioman/observer aboard a battleship scout plane. Its an interesting read and worth your time if you are a WW2 history buff.
    —Charley

    Each new encounter I read about is amazing, knowing I'm experiencing all the stories I've heard from my father who served on the Idaho. Knowing that he was right there for all those campaigns really gives life to them. Great reporting. A new admiration and respect for all involved.
    —Anonymous

    A personally gratifying experience. My father served on the USS Idaho and kept a similar type of journal in the letters he wrote his family over the years of his service. I even found his name and signature in the duty logs contained in this book. Biased though I am, I enjoyed this clearly documented first-hand journal of a battleship crewman. I can't describe briefly the opportunities to appreciate life with such discipline, risk, coordination of tasks, reliance on leadership and individual commitment. Thank you, William Schumann!
    —Anonymous

    I'm a sister of Carlos Ezekiel McGlone, MM, who went on the USS Idaho in the Aleutian Islands. He informed me that a pilot on board was writing a book about the ship, which he planned to name Salt. I've been looking for the book for years, just under the wrong title. All efforts failed until recently, when I asked my nephew Vincent if his dad had shared the possibility of a book. He hadn't heard about it, but typed in USS Idaho. How exciting after years of questioning anyone I thought would know! My library found the book on Intra-Library loan, which I received and read immediately. I will return it soon and enjoy my own copy from Amazon, with one for Vincent. The Big Spud covers many things which were somewhat familiar to me, and many that weren't. I'm overjoyed that I was able to read, and eventually own my copy. I still have my brown bracelet of cat eye shells. What memories I have! They mean so much more now. The Big Spud is a Super Account of the USS Idaho. Several friends have asked to borrow. Congratulations, Mr Schumann!
    —Betty M. Kibbey

    My father recently purchased your book The Big Spud, about the USS Idaho in WWII. He was a member of the crew from 1942 to 1945, and I can't tell you how much the book has meant to him. Keep up the good work!
    —Steve Rodgers

    Charley in Gaon March 24, 2017
    Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
    Liked the book although the daily diary format is not my preferred type of reading. The book certainly presents the naval war in the Pacific from a rare point of view that is interesting & that I have never before seen. The Pacific naval war as seen by a US Navy enlisted man serving as a Aviation Radioman/observer aboard a battleship scout plane. Its an interesting read & worth your time if you are a WW2 history buff.

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