I’m two weeks late on this post, because I guess there hasn’t been much drama in my family, or maybe I was just blissfully unaware. I can’t think of any family conflicts and I don’t know much about my relations’ involvement in war.
My dad, William D. Hahn served in the Navy during the Vietnam era, but thankfully, he was never in the war zone. I remember him telling us once that the submarine he was on physically bumped into a Russian sub. Both vessels were fine and went on their way is what he told me and my mom. The most tense situation, I guess, that he was involved in was the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I don’t remember ever really talking to my dad about the Cuban blockade, and I don’t know much about the situation. For this post, I decided to learn more about it.
According to my dad’s obituary, which he helped write, he served aboard the USS Tweedy during the standoff. The ship is not among those authorized to receive the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the action. A history of the ship published online by the U.S. Navy says the Tweedy was decommissioned in August 1962, a couple of months before the blockade, although it was in use as a reserve training ship.
The way I understand it, my dad was in the Navy for a couple of years out of high school, then he transitioned to the Naval Reserve for five years, while he worked at St. Regis Paper Mill. Then in 1962, he transitioned back to the regular Navy.
The Naval History and Heritage Command lists this information, for the period when my dad could possibly have been aboard during his Reserve service.
In response to the Berlin Crisis of August 1961, Tweedy was recommissioned on 2 October of that year. Following refresher training, she was assigned the home port of Newport and commenced antisubmarine barrier duties in the Caribbean early in 1962. Throughout the year, she engaged in fleet and type exercises, made goodwill visits, and served as flagship for Escort Squadron 12. On 12 June, as Tweedy steamed from Pensacola to Norfolk, she came upon nine Cuban nationals in distress after two days at sea in an open, 14-foot boat. Tweedy aided the refugees and, later in the day, transferred them to Coast Guard representatives for assistance on their way to Miami.Naval History and Heritage Command
In addition, it’s possible the Tweedy and other Navy ships around Florida could have been pressed into service to bulk up the numbers for the blockade, or perhaps the Tweedy was just in a support position for the main fleet.
The next ship Daddy served on, according to his obituary, was the USS Diamond Head, so, just to be sure, I checked for its name on the list of ships receiving the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s not there.
At some point, I will order my dad’s military service records, and perhaps I’ll learn more about exactly where he was during those 13 days in October, 1962. I have no doubt that every member of the U.S. Armed Forces, no matter where they were, were on alert as the nation sat on the brink of war. Thankfully, the situation ended peacefully.