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Rocky Mount AGC-3 - History

Rocky Mount AGC-3 - History

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Rocky Mount

(AGC-3: dp. 13,910 (f.), 1. 459'2", b. 63', dr. 24', s. 16 k.
cpl. 503; a. 2 5", 8 40mm.; cl. Appalacian; T. C2-S-B1)

Amphibious force command ship Rocky Mount (AGC-3) was laid down for the Maritime Commission 4 December 1942 by Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.; launched 7 March 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Robert C. Lee; acquired by the Navy 13 March 1943, and after conversion by Bethlehem Steel Co., Hoboken, N.J., commissioned 15 October 1943, Capt. Stanley F. Patten in command.

Following shakedown, Rocky Mount sailed for Hawaii via the Panama Canal arriving at Pearl Harbor 27 December. On 10 January 1944 she became flagship of Rear Adm. Riehmond K. Turner, Commander, 5th Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet.

Rocky Mount was the 3d of a new type oi naval auxiliary: a specially-equipped command and communications ship, which had been Improvised for Admiral Hewitt in the Salerno operation. The increasing complexity of communications in modern amphibious warfare and the larger number of officers and enlisted men necessary to staff amphibious force headquarters, necessitated the new type.

On 22 January the 5th Amphibious Force got underway for the Marshall Istands and arrived off Kwajalein the 31st. This was the first of six important campaigns in which Rocky Mount played a significant role. Rear Admiral Turner directed operations from his flagship until Kwajalein was secured on 4 February.

Rocky Mount then became flagship for the task group which next took Eniwetok. On the 25th she departed the Marshalls for Pearl Harbor and overhaul

Vice Admiral Turner now Commander of Amphibious Forces, pacific, boarded Rocky Mount again, along with Lt. Gen. H. M. Smith, USMC, Commander 5th Amphibious Corps. The ship got underway 29 May as flagship for the "Jomt Expeditionary Force" attacking the Marianas Islands. On 15 June she reached Saipan and directed initial landings which came under heavy mortar and rifle fire and air attack. After 24 days, organized resistance on the island ceased. Rocky Mount proceeded to Guam 20 July, and 4 days later sailed for Tinian.

Rear Adm. Forrest B. Royal broke his flag on board Rocky Mount in Pearl Harbor on 26 August. On 15 September she departed for Manus, and 1 month later sortied for the assault on Leyte, Philippine Islands, as flagship of the Amphibious Force Fleet. From 21 to 24 October she participated in shore bombardment, temporarily silencing enemy

mortar fire which had damaged several beached LST's. The shiD then sailed for practice and drills in the Admiralty Islands and New Guinea.

Rocky Mount returned to the Philippines to participate in the Lingayen Gulf operation as flagship of Attack Group "Baker" 6 January 1945. The amphibious group was under frequent air attack from the enemy-held island of Luzon. For 5 weeks Rocky Mount acted as flagship, Lingayen Area Control Group. On 8 March she carried Lt. R. L. Eiehelberger, Brig. White, and Maj. J. A. Dow and their staff to Santa Cruz Bank for landings on Zamboanga Peninsula Mindanao. This ship observed and directed the assault for 2 weeks following her arrival on the 10th.

While anchored in Subie Bay, Rocky Mount welcomed Brig. Barham, RAA, 4 April, and departed for Morotai where all hands attended memorial services for the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On the 23d, Brig. Gen D. Whitehead, RAA, and his staff embarked and Rocky Mount got underway for landings on Tarakan Isiand, Borneo. Maj. G. F. Wooten, RAA, came on board at Morotai 3 May and the ship began its second part of the Borneo Campaign— the assault from Brunei Bay. After naval shore bombardment 10 June, Rocky Mount landed troops, and 1 week later she was underway for Leyte. En route Rear Admiral Royal died from a heart attack 18 June.

Ten days after Japan capitulated, Rocky Mount reported to Commander, 7th Fleet, as his flagship. She embarked part of his staff at Manila 1 September, and then sailed for Jinsen, Korea, where on the 10th, Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid eame on board and broke his flag. The next day the ship was underway across the Yellow Sea to the Yangtze River.

She led U.S. and Allied ships up the Yangtze and Whangpoo Rivers the 19th, and returned to Shanghai where they were met by cheering crowds along the shores.

Rocky Mount's service during the war was highly successful. From the day she arrived at Pearl Harbor, 27 December 1943 the ship never left the combat area of the Pacific and eame through all of the operations unscathed. She was dubbed "The Rock" and "Veteran Queen of Amphibious Fleets." Bhe decommissioned and was placed in reserve with the San Francisco Group, Pacific Fleet, on 22 March 1947. She remained in this status until struck from the Navy list 1 July 1960.

For her service during World War II, Rocky Mount earned six battle stars, and the Navy Unit Commendation

Invasion Of Saipan: Scenes Aboard Command Ship USS Rocky Mount, Admirals Turner, DeLany & Royal, 06/22/1944

Hey, WW2Archive. I know how difficult it is to put something out there and receive a small amount of gratitude in return. It sucks. But I would also try to keep in mind just exactly how large the scale of your collection is. You have posted a hugely commendable thousands of WWII films and documents to this archive, many of them extremely hard to find and only available here. Your videos are referenced on Wikipedia as external links for many of these films. You have one of the most extensive collections on this website, and that's saying something considering the amazing stuff the Internet Archive has to offer.

And I would ask you to consider this as well: the millions of brave men and women who died in the footage you have posted deserve to have their stories told. Where would our world be be today if the Allies had dropped their weapons to the Axis powers because they heard a couple of people back home said they were ungrateful for the sacrifices our military was making with their lives and blood? Those people don't matter. What matters is that those brave men and women fought on, despite opposition from enemies foreign and even sometimes domestic. They disregarded the "haters", because they knew what they were doing was right and their mission was way too important to give up on.

History is alive, breathing all around us. The spirits of WWII still haunt us today, and it is through films and documents like those that you have so graciously posted that we continue to be able to communicate with them. YOU CAN'T STOP NOW. Thanks again for the great videos!

The source file at the National Archives isn't that great. Unfortunate that you posted this. Not going to upload my other 1200 items now.

Rocky Mount AGC-3 - History

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.

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Size 4.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 100 items)
Abstract The Nash County Historical Association (NCHA), a non-profit group headquartered in Rocky Mount, N.C., was organized in 1970 to promote the study and preservation of local history and genealogy. Since 1975, NCHA has been responsible for the administration, restoration, and preservation of Stonewall Manor, an antebellum plantation home in Rocky Mount. The collection consists of account books, 1806-1928 physicians' ledgers, 1835-1874 a mathematical instruction book, 1827 Saint Anne's Guild meeting minutes, 1919-1921 a log from the Claims Committee of the United States House of Representatives, 1892-1893 and other items. Most of the materials are from Rocky Mount or surrounding Nash and Edgecombe counties. Among the individuals mentioned in the materials are Bennett Bunn (1787-1849), a Nash County planter and builder in 1830 of Stonewall Manor Redmond Bunn (1806-1883), builder of the Benvenue plantation Redmond Bunn's son, Benjamin Hickman Bunn (1844-1907), a Civil War veteran, mayor and postmaster of Rocky Mount, who served three terms in the United States House of Representatives other Bunn family members James Jones Philips (1798-1874), a physician and planter of Nash and Edgecombe counties other Philips family members and Thorp family members. A few items contain records of schools or church groups, and there are also some references to slaves owned and sold, as well as a few accounts of African American schools, field hands, and house workers.
Creator Nash County Historical Association.
Language English
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Expand/collapse Information For Users

Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

  • Account books.
  • African American schools--North Carolina.
  • African Americans--Education--North Carolina.
  • African Americans--Employment--North Carolina.
  • African Americans--North Carolina.
  • Bunn family.
  • Bunn, Benjamin Hickman, 1844-1907.
  • Bunn, Bennett, 1787-1849.
  • Bunn, Redmond, 1806-1883.
  • Edgecombe County (N.C.)--Commerce.
  • Edgecombe County (N.C.)--History.
  • Estates (Law)--North Carolina.
  • Families--North Carolina--Social life and customs.
  • Mathematics--Instruction and study.
  • Medicine--Practice--North Carolina--History--19th century.
  • Nash County (N.C.)--Commerce.
  • Nash County (N.C.)--History.
  • Nash County Historical Association.
  • Philips family.
  • Philips, James Jones, 1798-1874.
  • Physicians--North Carolina--History--19th century.
  • Plantations--North Carolina.
  • Rocky Mount (N.C.)--Commerce.
  • Rocky Mount (N.C.)--History.
  • Schools--North Carolina.
  • Slavery--North Carolina.
  • Thorp family.
  • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Claims.

Expand/collapse Historical Information

The Nash County Historical Association (NCHA), a non-profit group headquartered in Rocky Mount, N.C., was organized in 1970 to promote the study and preservation of local history and genealogy. Since 1975, NCHA has been responsible for the administration, restoration, and preservation of Stonewall Manor, an antebellum plantation home in Rocky Mount.

Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of account books, 1806-1928 physicians' ledgers, 1835-1874 a mathematical instruction book, 1827 Saint Anne's Guild meeting minutes, 1919-1921 a log from the Claims Committee of the United States House of Representatives, 1892-1893 and other items. Most of the materials are from Rocky Mount or surrounding Nash and Edgecombe counties. Among the individuals mentioned in the materials are Bennett Bunn (1787-1849), a Nash County planter and builder in 1830 of Stonewall Manor Redmond Bunn (1806-1883), builder of the Benvenue plantation Redmond Bunn's son, Benjamin Hickman Bunn (1844-1907), a Civil War veteran, mayor and postmaster of Rocky Mount, who served three terms in the United States House of Representatives other Bunn family members James Jones Philips (1798-1874), a physician and planter of Nash and Edgecombe counties other Philips family members and Thorp family members. A few items contain records of schools or church groups, and there are also some references to slaves owned and sold, as well as a few accounts of African American schools, field hands, and house workers.

Note that titles of the materials were largely supplied by the Nash County Historical Society.

Rocky Mount AGC-3 - History

Planning the Attack

In May 1943, the Combined Chiefs of Staff decided to seize them. This difficult assignment fell to Admiral Chester W. Nimitz who bore the impressive titles of Commander in Chief, Pacific, and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CinCPac/CinCPOA), based at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He turned to four very capable men who would carry out the actual operation: three admirals who were experts in amphibious landings, fast carrier strikes, and shore bombardment, and Major General Holland M. Smith, who was the commanding general of the Marines' V Amphibious Corps and now also would be Commanding General, Expeditionary Troops. It was he who would command the troops once they got ashore. Original cautious plans for steppingstone attacks starting in the eastern Marshalls were modified, and the daring decision was made to knife through the edges and strike directly at Kwajalein Atoll in the heart of Marshalls' cluster of 32 atolls, more than 1,000 islands, and 867 reefs.

Kwajalein is the largest atoll in the world, 60 miles long and 20 miles wide, a semi-enclosed series of 80 reefs and islets around a huge lagoon of some 800 square miles. Located 620 miles northwest of Tarawa and 2,415 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor, its capture would have far-reaching strategic significance in that it would break the outer ring of Japanese Pacific defense lines. Within the atoll itself there were two objectives: Roi and Namur, a pair of connected islands shaped like weights on a four-mile barbell in the north end, and crescent-shaped Kwajalein Island at the south end. The 4th Marine Division under Major General Harry Schmidt was to assault Roi-Namur, and the Army 7th Infantry Division under Major General Charles H. Corlett would attack Kwajalein. After these islands were taken, there was one more objective in the Marshalls: Eniwetok Atoll. This was targeted for attack some three months later by a task force comprised of the 22d Marine Regiment (called in the Corps the "22d Marines") and most of the Army's 106th Infantry Regiment. Brigadier General Thomas E. Watson, USMC, would be in command.

(click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

As a preliminary to these priority operations, the occupation of another atoll in the eastern Marshalls was planned. This objective was Majuro, which would serve as an advanced air and naval base and safeguard supply lines to Kwajalein 220 miles to the northwest. Because it was believed to be very lightly defended, only the Marine V Amphibious Corps Reconnaissance Company and the 2d Battalion, 106th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division were assigned to capture Majuro. To support all of these thrusts there would be a massive assemblage of U.S. Navy ships: carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and an astonishingly varied array of transports and landing craft. These warships provided a maximum potential for intensive pre-invasion aerial bombing and ship-to-shore bombardment the increased tonnage in high explosives, the lengthened duration of the softening-up process, and the pinpointing of priority enemy targets were all lessons sorely learned from the inadequate preparatory shelling which had contributed to the steep casualties of Tarawa. For the Marshalls, there were altogether 380 ships, carrying 85,000 men.

With the plans in place and a very tight schedule to meet the D-day deadline, the complex task of assembling and transporting the assault troops to the target area was put in motion. Readying the Army 7th Division was the easiest part of the logistical plan it was already in Hawaii after earlier operations at Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska. The 22d Marines, however, had to come from Samoa (where it had been on garrison duty for some 18 months), and the 4th Marine Division was still at Camp Pendleton in California, where it had recently been formed. On 13 January 1944, the division sailed from San Diego to commence the longest shore-to-shore amphibious operation in the history of warfare: 4,300 miles!

Major General Holland M. Smith

One of the most famous Marines of his time, General Smith was born in 1882. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1905. There followed a series of overseas assignments in the Philippines, Nicaragua, Santo Domingo, and with the Marine Brigade in France in World War I. Beginning in the early 1930s, he became increasingly focused on the development of amphibious warfare concepts. Soon after the outbreak of war with Japan in 1941, he was assigned to a crucial position, command of all Marines in the Central Pacific.

As another Marine officer later described him, "He was of medium height, perhaps five feet nine or ten inches, and somewhat paunchy. His once-black hair had turned gray. His once close-trimmed mustache was somewhat scraggly. He wore steel-rimmed glasses and he smoked cigars incessantly!" There was one other feature that characterized him: a ferocious temper that earned him the nickname, "Howlin' Mad" Smith, although his close friends knew him as "Hoke."

On board Rocky Mount (AGC 3), newly designed and equipped to serve as a amphibious command ship, MajGen Holland M. Smith, V Amphibious Corps commander and commander of Expeditionary Troops at Roi-Namur in the Marshalls, points out a feature of the battle to his chief of staff, BGen Graves B. Erskine. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 72162B

This characteristic would usually emerge as irritation at what he felt were sub-standard performances. One famous example of this was his relief of an Army general from his command. It came when an Army division was on the line alongside two Marine divisions on Saipan in the Marianas Islands campaign following the Marshalls operation. A huge interservice uproar erupted!

Less than two years later, after 41 years of active service, during which he was awarded four Distinguished Service Medals for his leadership in four successive successful amphibious operations, he retired in April 1946, as a four-star general. He died in January 1967.

Life at sea soon settled down into a regular routine. All hands soon became acquainted with the rituals of alerts for "General Quarters" in the blackness of predawn, mess lines stretching along the passageways, inspections and calisthenics on the cluttered decks, the loudspeaker with its shrill whistle of a "bosun's pipe" and its "Now hear this!," fresh water hours, and classes and weapons-cleaning every day. Off duty, the men took advantage of the opportunity to sleep, play cards, stand in line for ice cream, write letters, and, of course, engage in endless speculation about the division's objective (which was originally known only by the intriguing title of "Burlesque and Camouflage").

On 21 January the transports carrying the Marines anchored in Lahaina Roads off Maui, Hawaii, and visions of shore leave raced through the minds of all the men: hula girls, surf swimming, cooling draughts in a local bar—just what was needed after the long nights in the crowded, humid troop compartments during the voyage. Over the ships' loud speakers, sad to say, came a not unexpected announcement, "There will be no liberty. . . ."

After one day filled with conferences and briefings for the senior officers, the task force sailed again. Next stop: the Marshall Islands! En route, crossing the 180th Meridian, there were the traditional, colorful ceremonies in which the old salts initiated the men who had never before crossed the International Date Line into the "Domain of the Golden Dragon." On 30 January the ships threaded their way through the eastern atolls of the Marshalls, and the following morning (dawn, 31 January) they halted before their objectives, with the northern component off Roi-Namur and the southern component facing Kwajalein Island. On every transport the men crowded the ships' rails to stare at the low-lying islets which they must soon attack. The 23d, 24th, and 25th Marines were assigned to the Roi-Namur operation, and the 32d, 17th, and 184th Infantry Regiments of the Army's 7th Division were to take the Kwajalein Island objectives.

Meanwhile, the small group assigned to Majuro (2d Battalion, 106th Infantry, plus the V Amphibious Corps Reconnaissance Company) had split off from the main task force and would make its own landing on 31 January. Advance intelligence estimates of minimal enemy forces proved accurate there were no American casualties and just one Japanese officer was captured on the main islet. Three days later more than 30 U.S. ships lay at anchor in the Majuro lagoon.

Forward at the main theater, an awesome pre-landing saturation bombardment, begun on 29 January, was in full swing. U.S. Navy ships moved in on Roi-Namur, with some at the unprecedented short range of 1,900 yards, and poured in their point-blank massed fire. Continuing the repeated aerial strikes which had begun weeks earlier from the carriers, waves of planes swept in low for bombing and strafing runs. Key enemy artillery and blockhouse strong points had earlier been mapped from submarine and aerial reconnaissance, and individual attention was given to the destruction of each one. The combined total of shells and bombs reached a staggering 6,000 tons.

As a result of the underwater obstacles and beach mines uncovered at Tarawa, for the first time Navy underwater demolition teams had been formed for future operations. Fortunately, they found no mines at Roi Namur and were not needed at Kwajalein.

Major General Harry Schmidt

MajGen Harry Schmidt Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 11181D

The leader of the 4th Marine Division at Roi-Namur was born in 1886 and entered the Corps as a second lieutenant in 1909. By extraordinary coincidence, his first foreign duty was at Guam in the Marianas Islands, an area he would return to 33 years later under vastly different circumstances!

The Philippines, Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua (where he was awarded a Navy Cross—second only to the Medal of Honor), interspersed with repeated stays in China, were the marks of a diverse overseas career. At home, there were staff schools, paymaster duties, and a tour as Assistant Commandant.

By the end of the war, he had been decorated with three Distinguished Service Medals. Retiring in 1948 after 39 years of service, he was advanced to the four-star rank of general. He died in 1968.

A contemporary described him as "a Buddha, a typical old-time Marine: he had been in China he was regulation Old Establishment a regular Marine."

Another factor which would assist the assault troops was the configuration of the atoll. The two main objectives, at the north end and at the south, were each adjoined by islets, and these neighboring locations were to be seized on D-day, 31 January, as bases to provide close-in artillery support for the infantry landing. On either side of Roi-Namur the 14th Marines would bring in its 75mm and 105mm howitzers and dig them in to support the main landing from islets which carried the exotic names of Ennuebing, Mellu, Ennubirr, Ennumennet, and Ennugarret. As is always the case in war, there were problems. The task was assigned to the 25th Marines, and, because of communications difficulties, the different units going ashore on different islets could not coordinate their landings. Their radios went dead from drenching sea swells that swept over the gunwales of the amtracs (LVTs, landing vehicles, tracked, or amphibian tractors). Nevertheless, by nightfall, the beachheads had been secured, and, for the first time, U.S. Marines had landed on a Japanese mandate.

On board the transports outside the lagoon, the men of the 23d and 24th Marines spent the afternoon of D-day transferring to LSTs (Landing Ships, Tank). That night saw a muddled picture of amphibian tractors stranded or out of gas inside the lagoon, with many others wandering in the blackout as they sought to find their own LST mother ship.

Shoulder patch of the 4th Marine Division: a gold "4" on scarlet background, official colors of the U.S. Marine Corps. This emblem was designed by John Fabion, in the division's Public Affairs Office before the Marshalls campaign, and his commanding officer was astonished to find that the layout of the runways on the Japanese airstrip on Roi were "an exact replica." Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A707113

The 4th Marine Division

This division was formed as the result of the organization of several other units. The 23d Marines began as infantry detached from the 3d Division in February 1943, the same month that an artillery battalion of the 12th Marines became the genesis of the 14th Marines and engineer elements of the 19th Marines formed the nucleus of the 20th Marines. In March the 24th Marines was organized, and then in May it was split in two to supply the men for the 25th Marines.

This war-time shuffling provided the major building blocks for a new division. The units were originally separated, however, with the 24th Marines and a variety of reinforcing units (engineer, artillery, medical, motor transport, special weapons, tanks, etc.) at Camp Pendleton in California. The rest of the units were at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. This East Coast echelon moved to Pendleton by train and transit of the Panama Canal in July and August. When all the units were finally together, the 4th Marine Division was formally activated on 14 August 1943.

After intensive training, it shipped out on 13 January 1944, and in 13 short months made four major assault landings: Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima, suffering more than 17,000 casualties. It was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations and a Navy Unit Commendation, and then deactivated 28 November 1945. In February 1966, however, it was reactivated as the lead division in the Marine Corps Reserve, and major units later served with distinction in the Persian Gulf.

While this scramble was going on, the assault troops on board the LSTs were facing, each in his own way, the prospect of intensive combat on the following morning. One rifleman, Private First Class Robert F. Graf, remembered:

As I thought of the landing that I would be making on the morrow, I was both excited and anxious. Yes, I thought of death, but I wasn't afraid. Somehow I couldn't see myself as dead. "Why wasn't there fear?" I wondered. Even though I was nervous, it was with excitement, not fear. Instead there was a thrill. I was headed for great adventure, where I had wanted to be. This was just an adventure. It was "grown up Cowboys and Indians, it was grown up" Cops and Robbers. . . . Thoughts of glory were in my mind that night. Now it was my turn to "carry the flag" into battle. It was my turn to be a part of history. To top it all off, I was going into battle with the "Elite of the Elite," the United States Marines. Just prior to falling asleep, I prayed. My prayers were for courage, for my family, and I prayed to stay alive.

Jammed all together in the fetid multi-tiered bunks below decks, Marine troops welcomed being in the fresh air on deck even if they were also crowded there. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 146975

By the next morning, D plus 1, 1 February, the LSTs had moved inside the lagoon. Up before dawn, the infantrymen filed into the cavernous holds of the LSTs and clambered on-board their amphibious tractors. Graf described his equipment:

Landings were made with each person loaded with weight. We wore our dungarees, leggings, and boondockers (shoes). Our skivvies (underwear) had been dyed green while we were still in the States. White ones were too good a target. In addition, our packs were loaded with whatever gear we thought we would need, such as extra socks, toilet gear, poncho, and our "D" and "K" rations. Extra cigarettes were stuffed in also. Believe it or not, some of us carried books that we were reading.

I wore two knives. The K Bar [knife] that was issued was tucked into my right legging. The throwing stiletto that I had purchased was on my belt a leather thong at the bottom of the sheath was tied around my leg so that the knife would not flop around. My bayonet was in its sheath and attached to my pack. On went the loaded pack. Around my waist went the cartridge belt, fully loaded, with ten clips of M1 rifle ammo, each clip holding eight rounds. Over my shoulder were two bandoleers of M1 ammo, holding an additional eighty rounds. Hanging from my pockets were four hand grenades, only requiring a pulled pin to be activated. We donned our helmets with the brown camouflaged covering. Finally we slung our gas masks over our shoulders. Now we were ready for bear!

Out of the deafening din of the ships' holds, eerily lit by red battle lamps, down the ramps of the unfolding bows, lurching into the rough seas whipped up by the wind, the columns of amtracs went to war.

Rocky Mount AGC-3 - History

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Merry days and best wishes for 2021! We are hoping everyone is staying in and safe! The History Museum & Research Library are closed due to continuing COVID-19 related health concerns. Our current expected re-opening date will be announced. Watch for details on how this will be accomplished. We do not plan to initially offer opportunities for individual research - however, we are happy to accept requests for information and to research families/historic sites and more as we are able. We are accepting book, map and other orders by mail or email or phone. Just let us know what you'd like to purchase. (We need the business and are hoping you need the materials to occupy yourselves during the new normal of "social distancing.") Please call 540-483-1890. You'll likely get a message and we'll get back as soon as possible. Watch social media and here for rescheduled events and more. Hope to see you soon in person.

2021 marks our 53rd anniversary! Happy new year to us - and you!

The Franklin County Historical Society was chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1968 for the purpose of collecting and preserving the history of Franklin County, Virginia. In later years, we added "sharing" to our mission. Our over-riding goal is to present history accurately and fairly.

Huge thanks to our unsung hero(es) at Howl'n Dog Designs in Boones Mill! Not only did this company design our website - and continue to offer support - Howl'n Dog also hosts the website for us (translation: pays the fees). Short commercial: if you need a newsletter, a website or a myriad of other techie type things done - call 'em up.

We offer memberships to the general public to encourage interest in local history. We operate a history museum and research library to provide public access to our collected materials .

Old times are not forgotten in Franklin County, Virginia. let us show you or your group around. A variety of tours, in and out of the Town of Rocky Mount, are offered to groups of all sizes for a minimal per person fee. Lunch is provided, if you wish. This service will be available again as soon as possible in 2021.

Our postal mailing address is PO Box 905, Rocky Mount, VA 24151

Contact us by e-mail at [email protected]

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Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1940-1945

These vessels are fitted as flagships for Chiefs of Combined Forces, with accomodations for Marine or Army units attached. Radio and radar equipment is particularly elaborate.

Additional Resources

Ancon Class:

  • Displacement: 14,200 tons (full load)
  • Length: 493'6"
  • Beam: 64'
  • Draft: 26'
  • Armament: 2 5"/38 DP 4x2 40mm 10x2 20mm
  • Speed: 18.5 knots (max) 10 knots (econ) range: 8,000 miles at 12 knots
  • Complement: 707
  • Geared turbines, twin screws 10,000 h.p.

No. Name Comm. Notes (: Lost)
AGC-4 Ancon 1939

Converted from Transport AP-66

Appalachian Class:

  • Displacement: 12,690 tons (full load)
  • Length: 459'
  • Beam: 63'
  • Draft: 24'
  • Armament: 2 5"/38 DP 4x2 40mm 10x2 20mm
  • Speed: 17 knots (max) 12 knots (econ)
  • Complement: 31-54 officers 442-579 enlisted
  • Geared turbine engines, single screw, 6,000 hp C2-S-B1 type

No. Name Comm. Notes (: Lost)
AGC-1 Appalachian 29 Jan 43
AGC-2 Blue Ridge 7 Mar 43
AGC-5 Catoctin 1943 (ex-SS Mary Whitridge)
AGC-3 Rocky Mount 7 Mar 43

Mount McKinley Class:

  • Displacement: 12,690 tons (full load)
  • Length: 459'
  • Beam: 64'
  • Draft: 24'
  • Armament: 2 5"/38 DP 4x2 40mm 10x2 20mm
  • Speed: 17 knots (max) 12 knots (econ)
  • Complement: 50-54 officers, 562-632 enlisted
  • Geared turbine engines, single screw, 6,000 hp C2-S-AJ1 type

No. Name Comm. Notes (: Lost)
AGC-10 Auburn 1944 (ex-SS Kathay)
AGC-11 Eldorado 1944 (ex-SS Monsoon)
AGC-12 Estes 1944 (ex-SS Morning Star)
AGC-7 Mount McKinley 1944 (ex-SS Cyclone)
AGC-8 Mount Olympus 1944 (ex-SS Eclipse)
AGC-13 Panamint 1944 (ex-SS Panamint)
AGC-14 Teton 1944 (ex-SS Witch of the Wave)
AGC-9 Wasatch 1944 (ex-SS Fleetwing)

Adirondack Class:

  • Displacement: 12,690 tons (full load)
  • Length: 459'
  • Beam: 63'
  • Draft: 24'
  • Armament: 2 5"/38 DP 3x2 40mm 6 20mm
  • Speed: 17 knots (max) 12 knots (econ)
  • Complement: 54 officers, 579 enlisted
  • Geared turbine engines, single screw, 6,000 hp C2-S-AJ1 type

Biscayne Class:

  • Displacement: 2,865 tons (full load)
  • Length: 311'
  • Beam: 41'
  • Draft: 12'6"
  • Armament: 2 5"/38 DP 3x2 40mm 6 20mm
  • Speed: 18.5 knots (max) 10 knots (econ)
  • Complement: 50 officers, 287 enlisted
  • Diesel engines, twin screws 6,400 hp

No. Name Comm. Notes (: Lost)
AGC-18 Biscayne 1941

Converted from Small Seaplane Tender AVP-11

Bibb/Treasury Class:

  • Displacement: 2216 tons
  • Length: 327'
  • Beam: 41'
  • Draft: 13'
  • Armament: 2 5"/38 DP, 3x2 40mm, 4-8 20mm
  • Speed: 20 knots range: 8,000 miles at 12 knots
  • Complement:
  • Geared turbines, twin screws 6,200 h.p.
  • Converted from USCG Bibb/Treasury class Cruising Cutter (WPG)

No. Name Comm. Notes (: Lost)
AGC-6 Duane 1936

Converted from USCG Bibb/Treasury class Cruising Cutter (WPG) retained for Coast Guard service as WAGC-33

Return to HyperWar: World War II on the World Wide Web Last updated: September 6, 2000

On June 12, 2021, Downtown Rocky Mount, Franklin Street, was host to about a 1,000 visitors thoroughly enjoying numerous activities. The Farmers Market, the Herbal Reserve Stage, and Franklin Glass offered a Kidz Zone, live music, and food. The first prize winner of the lovely bake off contest was Brenda Shelton Strickland. And, the Queen of the pie eating contest was Alice Underwood Smith for the 2nd year. What a special time to enjoy our friends and our community!

Thank You to the 2020 and 2021 Sponsors: Carter Bank & Trust, The Town of Rocky Mount, and Franklin County Office of Economic Development. Additional major sponsors are The Franklin NewsPost, McAirlaids, B99, Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, Franklin Finance, TNT Auto Body Repair, Flora Funeral Home, Rhodes/Ferguson/Stone Attorneys, Haywoods, Rocky Mount Burger and Franklin County Parks & Recreation.

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How Were The Rocky Mountains Formed?

A woman hiking on the Rockies in Colorado with her dog. Image credit: Larry Barrett/Shutterstock.com

The mountains began as a series of rocks, with the interior mountain range consisting of pieces of continental crust that are over one billion years old.

The Rocky Mountains formed during the Laramide orogeny period between 80 million to 55 million years ago. The Laramide orogeny period, also known as the mountain-building period, saw the Farallon ocean plate move underneath the North American tectonic plate at a low angle. This unusual subduction resulted in the forming of mountains, but further inland than what would be expected of this kind of tectonic activity. A series of pulses in conjunction with strong tectonic activity caused the earth’s crust to pile on top of each other this began the formation of the Rocky Mountains along the west of North America.

The mountains get their shape from the erosion that has taken place over the last 60 million years. The glaciers of the Pleistocene and Holocene Epochs had a particular impact in forming the Rockies. The rocks and sediment in the moving glaciers carved out the landscape and created the rugged mountains that still stand today. Remnants of the ice ages can still be found throughout the Rockies’ national parks in the form of much smaller glaciers, moraines and glacial lakes.

The Amphibious Force Flagships

In his comments on the Guadalcanal landing, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Ernest J. King, had expressed the need for a specially equipped ship to serve as a command center for amphibious operations. To support the Sicily invasion in July 1943 a former troop transport, USS Ancon, had been outfitted with extra radars, enlarged CIC, plotting rooms and staff facilities to provide this function. In this case, fighter direction was done aboard the attack transport Monrovia by a team of army controllers directing army fighters. During the September Salerno invasion, army fighter directors were embarked in Ancon to control army fighters over the beaches while Royal Navy fighter directors aboard the anti-aircraft Ship HMS Ulster Queen controlled carrier airplanes. Experience with Ancon showed the value of ships outfitted for amphibious force command and sparked a new construction program.

The first three ships built specifically as amphibious force flagships, designated AGC, were:

  • USS Appalachian (AGC 1) commissioned 2 October 1943,
  • USS Blue Ridge (AGC 2) commissioned 27 September 1943, and
  • USS Rocky Mount (AGC 3) commissioned 15 October 1943.

Their radar complement was one SK large-ship air search radar, two SG microwave surface search radars, and a small portable emergency radar. Relatively small CICs were built into the superstructure. In the beginning the CICs did not have standard plotting tables, just ordinary tables. They had one remote PPI radar scope, and the SK radar set control was in an adjoining room. Later, before deploying to the Pacific, Rocky Mount was refitted with a larger CIC on the main deck next to the Joint Operations Room. The new CIC had standard intercept plotting tables, a large vertical summary plot, one remote PPI scope, and a dead reckoning tracer. One enclosed corner of the CIC housed the SK radar set control and one SG surface search PPI. The other two AGCs went off to war with the older layout. [13, p.32]

The amphibious force flagships were provided a team of radar operators, a CIC/Fighter Director Officer, and eight assistant CIC officers, all qualified as FDOs. Their CICs worked primarily to maintain a complete radar picture of the invasion area from own-ship and other ship’s radars, and from dispatches. The CIC/FDO Officer was concerned primarily with keeping the invasion commander updated on the tactical air situation, sending out invasion force air warnings, and stationing/coordinating picket destroyers. The CIC Officer or his assistants occasionally conducted live intercepts, but this was not their primary function. Appalachian and Rocky Mount first saw combat when they supported the Marshall Islands Kwajelein Atoll invasion in January 1944. Combat Information Center spaces were enlarged in follow-on AGCs to allow more status boards and blackboards, improved plotting tables, and vertical summary plots. As with other ship classes, fighter direction experience reinforced the need for height finding radar. Finally in November 1944, USS Eldorado (AGC 11), fitted with an SP height finding radar, joined the Pacific Fleet. [13, p.33]

June 12th – Greatbend KS, S.R.C.A Drag Strip
June 13th – Drive Day
June 14th – Pueblo CO, Pueblo Motor Sports Park
June 15th – Denver CO, Bandimere Speedway
June 16th – Drive Day
June 17th – Kearney NE, Kearney Race Way Park
June 18th – Greatbend KS, S.R.C.A Drag Strip

Spectator tickets are available at the gate. $15 each.

* Children 12 and under are free.

Gates open at 12:00 | Racing starts at 3:00

Watch the video: Joody Booty (August 2022).