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Remember the - - - Akron?

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JohnInKansas 31 Mar 13 - 05:14 PM
Joe Offer 01 Apr 13 - 01:51 AM
Joe Offer 01 Apr 13 - 02:03 AM
JohnInKansas 01 Apr 13 - 02:15 AM
JohnInKansas 01 Apr 13 - 02:17 AM
Joe Offer 01 Apr 13 - 02:33 AM
JohnInKansas 01 Apr 13 - 03:04 AM
Joe Offer 01 Apr 13 - 04:00 AM
JohnInKansas 01 Apr 13 - 05:56 AM
catspaw49 01 Apr 13 - 06:28 AM
beardedbruce 01 Apr 13 - 08:19 AM
Joe Offer 03 Apr 13 - 05:49 AM
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Subject: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 Mar 13 - 05:14 PM

Forgotten US airship crash recalled 80 years later

By Rema Rahman, Associated Press
31 March 2013

> History buffs will gather this week near the New Jersey coast to commemorate a major airship disaster.

> No, not that one.

> Newsreel footage and radio announcer Herbert Morrison's plaintive cry, "Oh, the humanity!" made the 1937 explosion of the Hindenburg at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station probably the best-known crash of an airship.

> But just four years earlier, a U.S. Navy airship seemingly jinxed from the start and later celebrated in song crashed only about 40 miles away, claiming more than twice as many lives.

> The USS Akron, a 785-foot dirigible, was in its third year of flight when a violent storm sent it plunging tail-first into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after midnight on April 4, 1933.

> "No broadcasters, no photographers, no big balls of fire, so who knew?" said Nick Rakoncza, a member of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society. "Everybody thinks that the Hindenburg was the world's greatest (airship) disaster. It was not."

> A ceremony to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the crash, the deadliest airship disaster on record, is being held Thursday at a veterans park where there is a tiny plaque dedicated to the victims. Below it is a small piece of metal from the airship.

> Few in the area seemed to know about the disaster, let alone the memorial plaque; even a Navy officer sent on an underwater mission to explore the wreckage many years later had not heard of the Akron.

The article continues with more details about both the Akron and some other misadventures with US airships. Makes it look like we didn't really do a very good job with this "marvelous new tool."

John


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 01:51 AM

But just four years earlier (than the Hindenburg disaster), a U.S. Navy airship seemingly jinxed from the start and later celebrated in song crashed only about 40 miles away, claiming more than twice as many lives.


I wonder what the song was. I know about Dalhart's Wreck of the Shenandoah, but what was the song about the Akron?

-Joe-

Guess I should answer my own question with a message I posted a while back:
Thread #15327   Message #2210007
Posted By: Joe Offer
06-Dec-07 - 04:55 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Wreck of the Shenandoah
Subject: Lyr Req: The Crash of the Akron

I got a 3-disk set called People Take Warning! Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, 1913-1938. It has a 1933 Bob Miller recording of a song by Francis Sims titled "Crash of the Akron." The booklet has this fragment of the lyrics:
    Seventy-three good men perished
    They all died at their post
    Seventy-three passed on to Glory
    Out on that Jersey Coast

    ...An enraged element called lightning
    With fury in its grip
    Destroyed what once was such beauty
    Destroyed that noble ship.

I'll get around to a full by-ear transcription sooner or later - but if anybody has the lyrics and can post them and save me the effort, please do. I gotta go teach my kid now.

-Joe-


Transcription will follow. In the meantime, here's a video report of the crash of the Akron.


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Subject: ADD: The Crash of the Akron (Francis Sims)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 02:03 AM

Source: a 3-disk set called People Take Warning! Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, 1913-1938. It has a 1933 Bob Miller recording of a song by Francis Sims titled "Crash of the Akron."

CRASH OF THE AKRON
(Francis Sims, as recorded by Bob Miller)

Listen to this sad, sad story Of the Akron, queen of the air;
Once the triumph of the Navy, Now but a memory there.
We can always replace an aircraft, In beauty every way;
But we can't replace those brave souls Who lost their lives that day.

Seventy-three good men have perished, They all died at their post;
Seventy-three passed on to Glory Out on that Jersey Coast.
Our hearts cry with the families Of the gallant souls that are gone;
The seventy-three souls that perished, In that tragedy of the dawn.

[instrumental break - violin]

The Akron sailed from Lakehurst Seven-thirty Monday night,
An awesome silvery beauty That started on its flight;
An enraged element called lightning, With fury in its grip,
Destroyed what once was such beauty, Destroyed that noble ship.

Surely angels up in heaven, All wept as they looked on;
Weeping for the souls that perished, For those gallant souls that dawn.
Surely that great Judge in Heaven, As He sits upon His throne,
Will welcome these gallant heroes, Into His heavenly home.


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 02:15 AM

The Wiki article on the USS Akron reports, way down at the end of the article:

"Songwriter Bob Miller wrote and recorded a song—"The Crash of the Akron"—within one day of the disaster."

The reference to the song carries a footnote "18" that shows a link to

^ "Newsweek: "Come All You True People, a Story to Hear"". Retrieved 2008-01-25

The Newseek article may give more information on the song, although it appears to be just a brief review of a collection of "Disaster Songs." I haven't made it quite far enough to see whether it all connects to something.

John


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 02:17 AM

And you cross posted with me with the same collection.

John


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 02:33 AM

I tried to get into the airship center at Lakehurst Naval Air Station when I was touring the Jersey Shore after the Getaway in 2000. I couldn't get in because it was an active naval base and it was just after the bombing of the USS Cole. I did get to see some zeppelin hangars and a mooring post through the fence.
Lakehurst is part of a huge government property in the middle New Jersey pine barrens. The property includes Lakehurst, Fort Dix, and McGuire Air Force Base. In 2009, the bases were merged to form Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

I spent my last day in the Army, picking up cigarette butts at Fort Dix and paying for a haircut I didn't want, while clerks processed my discharge paperwork.



-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 03:04 AM

I never had occasion to work on/around the old military airships.

Submarines were the "new secret weapon" when got into my early career.

They never got me inside one of those $!#@%! things either.

I'm not sure there was much processing to my discharge papers. I got a message telling me to report to the CO's office. Somebody there said "Here." I took the sheet of paper they handed me, saluted, and went home to load up the car. (Yuma AZ was a good place to put behind anybody.)

Aberdeen had a nice (and BIG) museum, but mostly artillery from what I saw of it.

We did make a stop at the Smithsonian on one trip past there, since it was "on the way to Aberdeen;" but it's way too big to even pick something to look at if you can't spend a week or two.

John


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 04:00 AM

A couple of years ago, I visited Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, California. The main thing I wanted to see there was Hangar One. Covering 8 acres, this zeppelin hangar is one of the largest buildings in the world. Since my visit, the outer covering has been stripped from the building, and the future of the base is uncertain.

I spent some time at the wonderful airship museum at Moffett, and then headed out. On the way out, a base police officer stopped me for making an illegal left turn from the right lane of a one-way street on the base. I didn't see any one-way markings, and there was no other traffic at all. He kept me for half an hour, and then let me go. I got out of my car and tried to take pictures of the hangar while I was waiting, but he yelled at me and reached for his gun. Asshole.

I wonder if they will restore that wonderful building or tear it down.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 05:56 AM

At some military bases they put up a map in the HQ lobby, and that's supposed to be "informative" enough that they don't bother with street signs. And a lot of the people who live on stateside bases don't know which way the streets go, unless they're field grade officers who have to drive every day to get to the free (for high grades) golf course.

The MP (AP?) officiator's badhaviour probably wasn't as rare as it should have been even some time ago.

Unfortunately, too many times the one who has the authority to demolish historical things feels compelled to do it just to prove (s)he has the authority, and history be d***d. But one can hope.

If there's to be a restoration, it likely would have to be done at outside (civilian/veteran) expense, based on some of what we've seen at local and nearby bases here. If left to the gov, they probably wouldn't even get a good salvage price for the scrap.

John


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 06:28 AM

If you two would read the Shenandoah thread, you'd realize the biggest airship junkie on this forum is ME. And the problem was not the "marvelous new tool" but that it was already outdated from the moment it flew.....sadly, all of them. The renamed Los Angeles served the longsest but none served long. None survived in any way althought the L.A. could have been decommissioned and saved for years to come. I supposes we saw no sense in that back then, but I am so disappointed not to have at least the framework preserved.

I'm tired this AM and not ready to write what I think but what I think would take pages and pages. And it starts with "Can you imagine...." Sadly we can't.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 08:19 AM

The Akron ( and its sister ship the Macon) were especially significant in that they were aircraft CARRIERS.

They provided a home base for up to 8 biplane fighters each.


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Subject: RE: Remember the - - - Akron?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 05:49 AM

Hmmm. Biggest airship junkie? Wanna make a competition out of this, Spaw?

I've been to both Lakehurst and Moffett Field, and to the blimp hangar at Southgate (near Watts) and to the blimp mooring spot in Carson, California. I also went to Point Sur, where the Macon crashed.

-Joe-


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