"Mystery Photos"

Page 2 ( Photos #11 - #20 )

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Page last updated: 12 April, 2020

Based on information furnished by diligent U.S.S. Little Rock crew members, as well as other credible sources, below is information we have received pertaining to "Mystery Photos" published on the U.S.S. Little Rock Association Web Site.

Mystery Photo #11
Edited Photo of
Cigarette Card

Photo 11 Small

Photo of original
Cigarette Card received from
Sgt. Al Newhouse USMC

Uneditted Newhouse Card
To the left is a picture of something that was commonly seen on the Little Rock at one time. (The picture has been altered slightly to mask its function.) The photographed item was furnished by Sgt. Al Newhouse USMC and will be displayed in the ship's museum.

Q.     Any idea as to what this item is?

A.     You guys are good (and FAST!). This is a cigarette ration card issued to sailors on the USS Little Rock (and to other military personnel as well) in the 1940's. The card allowed the bearer to purchase 2 cartons of cigarettes per month. Non-smokers it seems, bought their allotted cigarettes and then sold them to the highest "bidder".

Years later various items were rationed to help he local economies in foreign countries. This is still the case today. Here is an excerpt from a current Navy directive:
Ration Cards

Because of host nation tax laws, some items are rationed in the Commissaries and Exchanges. Gasoline is a big one. Other rationed items include cigarettes, distilled liquor, and coffee. You will be issued a ration card. You will need your ID card to obtain the ration card and must present the ration card and ID card anytime you buy a rationed item. Separate cards are issued for each adult family member authorized privileges and should be more than adequate for your needs. DO NOT abuse the privilege. Using your ration card to purchase items for someone not authorized privileges, except as a bona fide gift, is a violation of both military regulations and host nation tax laws. A result of abuse may be loss of privileges, fines, and disciplinary action.

After posting the photo to the left, two quick replies were received. They were as follows:

 On 27 Sep 07 Peter Krill (MM2 67-70) correctly answered:  "This is a cigarette card."


Which later the same day was expanded on by Kent Sears (SH3  73-75):

"Can't see it too well but it is a ration card for cigarette's or liquor,  we were issued these in Gaeta for cigs and liquor. These were used for  sea store cigs or cigs bought out of the waters of the US where they were not taxed. In port in the states we paid a cig tax, out at  sea we didn't pay that tax.

In the 70's a carton of sea store cigs went for $1.50 per carton. We were allowed 6 cartons of cigs per month and I think 6 fifths of liquor on the cards.

On the black market 6 cartons of Marlboro cigs (the cig of choice) could bring as much as  50,000 lira around 50.00 bucks. That was the reason for the rations was to keep us from selling them on the black market. Taxed cigs in Greece and most ports, of Marlboro at the time, went for about $1.50 per pack.  Back then that was high. But now in the states that is cheap. I wonder what they sell for now over there?  I'd say $10.00 per pack.

Once while we were out at sea off the coast, we ran into a  boat loaded to the gills with cases of Marlboro cigs, 90 cartons to the  case. By law we had to give them fuel as they had run out. I'm sure  they were reported but doubt they were caught. They sure had a big haul  of black market cigs. a fortune. Rayban sunglasses and Brute were big items the Italians loved."

Mystery Photo #12
Roasting Chicken

1964-65 Cruise Book Photo

Mystery Photo #12

Restaurant Tile

Q:  The photo to the left was received from a shipmate. It depicts something that many of the Little Rock's crew saw or experienced at one time.  (Clue: You would have had to make a Med Cruise.)

A:  This is a tile picture outside of the RESTAURANTE LOS CARACOLES in Barcelona, Spain


Here's what we heard from our readers:

Frank Berglas on 11/20/07 said "I'll kick off the replies by saying I haven't the slightest idea, and I did make one Med cruise.  (However, I don't think it is a picture of the officers' mess before lunch.)

I look forward to someone coming up with the correct answer.


Ralph DeWoody on 11/26/07 gave us our answer with: "Photo #12 is from RESTAURANTE LOS CARACOLES  in Barcelona, Spain.  My favorite place to eat in Spain."


Art Siehl on 11/29/07 added: "The photo reminds me of the hand painted murals I often saw. This one is reminiscent of the traditional holiday dinners or feasts.
Mystery Photo #13

Photo #13

Q:  There were two of these on the Little Rock and they were used almost daily. However, your chances of seeing this were better if you worked on the Deck Force.

Any ideas as to its name and/or function?

This  is a Missile Transfer Cart (sometimes referred to as a "Missile Transfer Dolly").


Here's the input we received from the crew:

Frank Berglas (YN3 60-61)

On 01/19/08 suggested:  ".......looks like a vehicle of some sort to transport the missiles?  But why would it be used every day?  So, not sure at all.  I'll wait for someone smarter to identify it correctly."


On 01/22/08 Al Yoder (FC2c 46-49) added:  "Photo not on CL 92, probably a missile storage and or handling unit."


And then on 01/29/08  Joe Stine (GMM3 66-69) gave us the straight scoop with: "I worked in the missile house from 1966 thru 1969 as a GMM3 . The photo is a missile dolly used to move missile, we used it daily to move missile(s) and the booster rockets to perform maintenance .There were two of these, one on each side of the missile house. I do not re-call the right name of dolly at this time."


Finally, on 01 Feb 08 Alton Sogard (GS3 59-62) confirmed: "I also worked in the missile house from 1959 to 1962 as a missile tech, and thought that was the missile moving dolly also."


As Joe Stine pointed out, two of these devices were used in the Missile House to move missiles and boosters between the Missile House's Magazine, Ready Service, and Checkout Areas. On rare occasions s dolly traveled out onto the Main Deck, to an area just forward of the Missile House, to transport a missile to the fueling / defueling area. This would be the only opportunity for non-missile house crew to see one of these in action.
Mystery Photo #14

Mystery Photo #14

Q:  A shipmate recently sent in this great photo showing the arrival aboard the Little Rock of a special guest. We'd like to identify ALL of the men in the photo, but our Mystery Photo "Attaboy" award will go to whoever correctly identifies the distinguished looking Four-Striper.

Once identified, we'll be adding this gentleman to the "Famous Visitors" page.

A:  We promised an "Attaboy" award would go to whoever correctly identified the distinguished looking Four-Striper in this Mystery Photo. Well, here are the responses we received:

 Jerry Hall (MM2 68-72) on 28 Feb 08 offered:

"How about Douglas Fairbanks? Check the Cruise Book from 1970."


Then Bob Baker (RM2 69-72) on 06 Mar 08 said:  "Concur with Jerry.....a cropped photo appears in the 1969 cruise book and identifies the visitor as Captain Douglas Fairbanks, Jr."


Well, with that we have a winner!  I'm probably going to be accused of splitting hairs, but the "Attaboy" award goes to Bob Baker.  The runner-up "Close-But-No-Cigar" award goes to
Jerry Hall.

Jerry said the four-striper was Douglas Fairbanks, and that is almost correct. However, the gentleman is Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (the son).  Since I don't have a copy of the referenced Cruise Book, I assume from Bob Baker's answer that the full name is given in the Cruise Book.

As it turns out, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was a significant player in some of the WWII invasions in Europe.  I have posted some of his bio on the "Famous Visitors" page.

FYI: The Marine who is standing on the left to the rear of the "welcoming committee" is none other than Rick Materna L/Cpl USMC (67-69). Rick furnished the photo used. The other Marine (facing Capt. Fairbanks) is Rich Wallace

We'd like to know who the sailors are, and why Capt. Fairbanks was aboard Little Rock. Any ideas?


On 14 Aug 11 we received the following additional info from Kenneth Thomas (Feb 67 - Jan 69):

"I have info on Mystery photo #14. It is indeed Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

The photo was taken during the 20th anniversary of NATO. This took place in late June 1968.  He flew aboard by helo, and was given sideboy honors amidships. I have an uncropped copy or a different photo of this.

I was one one of the sideboys (cropped out of this copy). Sorry I can't help with other names.

The ships photographer was a friend who gave me lots of photos I was in. At the same time, we greeted SecNav (Paul R. Ignatius), General LeMay CO of NATO, and many others. A reviewing stand was set up on the foredeck to watch the parade of ships as well as a display of naval armaments in action." (Ed: Citations needed)

For more info on Captain Douglas Fairbanks Jr. please refer to our "Famous Visitors" page.

Mystery Photo #15

Photo 15


Flagship of
Admiral Nelson

The ship in the background is the USS Little Rock, but what about the ship in the foreground?

Q:  Can you tell us:
        (1)     What the name of this square-rigger is? 
        (2)     Where is it located? and
        (3)     What was the occasion of the two ships being at the same place at the same time?

Bob Hedgeman (BM2 67-68) gave us the "most complete" answer. This is the HMS Victory,
      a 100 Gun Ship of the Line located in Portsmouth, England,
a port of call in 1964

Here's what we received:

On 03/13/08 John Meyers checked in with: "Try HMS Victory. Portsmouth, England"


Followed on 4/01/08 with Bud McLean suggesting...... "Square rigger ? USS CONSTITUTION Boston Harbor 1972 Little Rock in dry dock I believe."


Then on 04/03/08 John L. Burnham (LT  65-67) elaborated with: "Looks like the HMS Victory which is located at the Portsmouth Royal Navy Dockyard in Portsmouth, England. As for when, I haven't a clue as it did not happen during my tour '65-'67."


On 04/04/08 John Meyers added:

"The disk and arm radar antenna on the rear mast (SPS-30?) is still haze gray in this picture.  I believe it was installed in late 1962, or early 1963.  It replaced the grid antenna (SPS-2?). The rear mast antenna is black in later pictures of Little Rock.  I suspect the antenna turned black from stack smoke and soot while the ship was underway.

If this picture was not taken during the '65 to '67 time period as John Burnham remembers, it was probably taken 1963 to 1964.  I would guess 1963.

Can someone confirm that the SPS-30 and SPS-2 antenna are correct?  I was trained to work with crypto and radio communications and had little knowledge of the radar systems."

(Ed: John is to be commended for picking up the time frame based on the Little Rock's appearance.)


On 05/16/07 Dan Murphy gave further enlightenment with:

"Indeed, if you go to http://www.portsmouthvideos.co.uk, you'll see the Victory at the dock yard."


Bob Hedgeman (BM2 67-68) on 04/15/08 elaborated with:

"Mystery photo #15 is the HMS Victory, a 100 Gun Ship of the Line.
Location : Portsmouth, England  Portsmouth is the Permanent Berth for the Victory.

Portsmouth was a Port of Call for the U S Navy when I was in the 6th Fleet 1964-1968, so I believe that's why the "Rock" is in the Photo."

Ed. Bob is correct. The facts are as Bob stated them, and he wins the "Attaboy" Award. The picture was taken in the summer of 1964 while the Little Rock was on a North Atlantic / Midshipmen Cruise.

Mystery Photo #16
Mystery Photo 16
We need input from CL 92 sailors to determine what this picture is all about. This picture comes from U.S. Navy photo archives and has very little in the way of a description.

Q:  Can you tell us:
      (1) Where this is?
      (2) What is it that we are looking at here?

A.  This was a puzzler that only CL 92 sailors could answer. And guess what? Al Yoder nailed it.
     From: Allan Yoder  FC2/C 46-49
     Subject: Mystery Photo # 16
     Re: Photo

          Port: Naples Italy, 1946
          Moored next to sunken ship used as gangway to beach.

Thanks Al.  I have been trying to come up with a "story to go with this. So far here is all I know...

    1.   From 1946 Chronology page we know that USS Little Rock CL 92 was only in Naples once, and that was 27 Aug - 03 Sep 1946.
   2.   There was a massive cleanup effort by the US Navy of the harbor in Naples, Italy (among others) after the conclusion of WWII. The Germans had scuttle a large number of civilian and military vessels to prevent the harbor being used by the Allies.
Mystery Photo #17

Mystery Rating Badge
Q.  Does anyone know what Rate this represents? I assume it is a Chief, but of what?

 Got some quick responses on this one. All zeroed in on the fact that this is a "Specialist" or later "Emergency Service" Rating Badge as indicated by the "diamond".  It's exact designation depends on the date it was used. Confused?  Here's the skinny extracted from Bluejacket.com (  www.bluejacket.com  ):

Specialist (1942-1948)

    The rating of Specialist was created at all four petty officer grades just prior to World War Two.....to accommodate the rapid expansion of the Navy and the need for special skills.....Emergency rating badges are distinguished by a diamond with a letter of the alphabet inside the diamond which is below the eagle.   One example is Welfare & Recreation Leader,  a "W" inside a diamond.  Additional letter designators were added with the total for the Navy reaching twenty-two Specialist categories most with subcategorizes.....

Emergency Service Rating 1948-1957

    A major revision of Navy ratings in 1948 replaces the Specialist with Emergency Service Rating (ESR).  Although, many changes are made in the new ESR structure, the diamond with letter is retained.....All personnel holding an ESR are to be members of the Naval Reserve subject
(to) activation only in time of nation emergency.

    Letters are reused as needed.  In example, the diamond B, a Master at Arms (Shore) from 1948 to 1954, is a Stevedore from 1958 to 1965.

...."S" indicates one of the following, depending on date used:

          Entertainer 1942-1942,   Shore Patrol 1942-1943,
          Shore Patrol and Security 1943-1948 (changed to ESS Shore Patrolman),
          Master at Arms (Wave) 1943-1943,
          Personnel Supervisor 1943-1948 (changed to PN Personnelman),
          Shore Patrolman 1948-1954.

Full details can be found at: http://www.bluejacket.com/usn_ratings_emergency.html#navy

Here's how the answers came in:

John Meyers 06/02/08

"I believe the diamond indicated a "specialist" rating -- for WAVES and men?   A diamond with a "P" stood for photographer.  Someone from the 1940 period should have more information about the meaning of "S" inside the diamond."      

Frank Cherwin
LI3 (66-68) on 06/06/08 contributed:

"I did a Google search and found this. From the Bluejacket's Manual 12th. ed. - 1944   Specialist S  Shore Patrol or Master at Arms."

On 06/08/08 Bob Baker RM2 (69-72) added :

"It is an ESR (Emergency Service Rating) insignia for a Shore Patrol Chief.  Twenty-two emergency service ratings (distinguished by a letter in a diamond) were formed during and shortly after WW2; the last one was discontinued in the early 70's."

Finally, John
Meyers on 06/08/08 added this additional bit of info:

"Check this link. http://www.bluejacket.com/usn_ratings_emergency.html   It appears the Navy used the diamond "S" to designate an Entertainer in 1942.  Where is the logic with that?
Mystery Photo #18

Photo #18

This photo of the U.S.S. Little Rock has an interesting detail. It will require that you click on the photo to see a larger view. An arrow has been added to the photo to point out two (2) round black dots in the rigging.

Q.  Has anyone any idea as to what these "dots" might represent?

A.  Here's what we heard from our shipmates:

Tom Hallinan LTJG (66-68) on 26 July 08 said:

   "Art, I believe the Rock is displaying two black balls indicating she is not under command and is being towed."

On 27 Jul Bob Baker RM2 (69-72) added:

Concur with Tom.  The black balls are visual dayshapes (1 ball indicated ship was anchored; 2 meant not under command (unable to maneuver under own power); 3 meant the ship was aground.  There were others to indicate other information to ships in visual signaling distance.

On 28 Aug Al Yoder
FC2/C (46-49) added:

Hi, Art, both commenter's are correct, the ship should have been showing three black balls. She was in fact aground.
Time period was either 4-6 January, 1947 or 2-6 Feb, 1947, arriving or leaving the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Location East River , New York.,  Captain Henri Smith-Hutten.  Tugs attempting to pull her off.

Art Tilley (Moderator) concluded on 29 August

It certainly looks as if the ship is getting a big assist from at least three tugs. Two can be seen working mightily at the stern, and then there is a line attached to the bow that looks like it is under a heavy strain from at least one other tug. Also the ship looks as if it has been lightened significantly... notice the waterline.  If she's in fact aground, then three day shapes are in order.

However, here's something to ponder...  there is no Union Jack on the jackstaff, nor is there any US Ensign flying. Is it possible that the photo is of the Little Rock BEFORE she was commissioned?  Perhaps being moved from one berth to another? That would explain the high waterline (ie: no ammunition, no fuel oil, no stores, and no crew). If she's being moved before commissioning then she is not under command, in which case two day shapes are in order.

Al Yoder is correct regarding the ship being in New York in early January 1946. The ship returned from exercises in the North Atlantic in December of 1945 and spent Christmas in New York. She was in Newport on 05 February 1946, and was in Charleston on the 8th of that month. We don't have any further information as to events on dates in between those.

On 30 September we sort of came to the conclusion that the photo is of the USS Little Rock being towed, probably on her way to conversion in January 1957

Regarding the grounding, here are some 
recollections provided by Fred Hoeppner (LCDR (45-47):

...... I remember this very well. I was Navigator at the time.

We were proceeding up the marked channel with a yard pilot at the conn. A tug and tow was crossing our bow so we had to stop to give way. I was keeping a plot of our position and suddenly noticed that we were drifting on to a shoal to stbd. I informed Capt. Smith-Hutten and the pilot immediately. A couple of minutes later my plot showed that we were not moving! A visual on a buoy close aboard confirmed same. The pilot tried to back off, but the falling tide caught us fast.

The grounding was so soft that no one even felt it.

The pilot then called the yard for tugs that pulled us clear and then we proceeded to the yard where we were dry-docked for inspection. No damage was found and the matter was closed.

I think that having the pilot at the conn determined the decision. If it had happened without the pilot I am sure the Captain and I would have faced a courts martial."

Mystery Photo #19

Mystery Photo #19

We recently found the above photo in a pile of old USS Little Rock archives.
There must be someone out there who can add to the information on the photo.

The text on the photo reads:

Play-Mate of the Month

Lovely Lisa Alpa - Genoa's main attraction for Sixth Fleet sailors for some 20 years - keeps the New York Club jumping with jokes and antics. Her ambition? To have her own Career Counselor's badge . . . . She'll probably get it too!

Q.  Does anyone remember Lisa? And can you contribute to the story? If so, go to the Mystery Photo #19 topic on the Message Board to give us your input.

A.  On 22 Sep 08 Frank Berglas YN3 (60-62) provided the following: "I remember Lisa Alpa very well.

She was a stand-up comic at the New York Club, which was a bar in Genoa.  In 1961 Lisa became the first Italian female to do simultaneous impersonations of Jackie Kennedy and Sophia Loren.  I am sure you can see the physical resemblance.

Signorina Alpa also would visit the ship during her off hours and practice her deck skills as a boatswain's mate apprentice.  She immediately was advanced to BM 1st Class, after she mesmerized Captain Chenault with her ability to tie intricate seamens' knots in his shoelaces.  Lisa took her turn piloting the Captain's Gig and also prepared wonderful dinners of lasagna and her own, Sicilian breakfast version of SOS.

Later on, long after her brilliant comedic career ashore, she was exposed as a Russian NKVD agent and deported by the carabinieri to Brooklyn - where she still lives and runs a pizza parlor on Bushwick Avenue.

(Ed: I'm a bit skeptical about Frank's story. He'll need someone to verify it before I will buy it!  Art T.)
Mystery Photo #20
This Mystery Photo isn't so much a "What Is It?" question, as it is a "Tell Us What You Know" question.

This piece of equipment, as well as several more like, it were commonplace on the Little Rock in the 60's and 70's. However, when I was aboard in 1962-1963 this was not aboard. It apparently came afterwards.

If you know any details about this neat looking piece of hardware, give us your input on the Message Board under the Mystery Photo #20 posting.

(Click on the photo to get a slightly better view.)

Larry Wallace, SKSN 1959-62, on 11/29/08 correctly stated:  "The mystery photo is the Drone. They were aboard in 61 as V-2 Drone Detachment. The drone was used as target services for AA gunnery during the med cruise of 61."

Frank Berglas, YN3 1960-61, on 11/29/08 added "Art - Larry is right on the button.  A drone - and we did have them and their handlers aboard on the 1961 Med cruise.

I remember being at GQ, when the firing practice would occur.  As the phone talker for Captain Chenault I would get to relay info from the drone detachment to the Skipper.  Many were the times I would pass on the word, "Captain, drone's in the air."  Within a minute or two I'd inform him, "Sir, drone's in the water!"  He'd just roll his eyes.

Actually, the drone did fly much more often than not - but those very short parabolas were what I recall most."

Paul Jett, FTG3 1962-65, on 12/01/08 submitted: "All I remember shooting at was sleeves for 5" AA practice and sleds for 6" surface engagements.  The missile guys may have shot at a drone, but I don't remember it. "

Maybe the drone pulled the sleeve?  Something had to pull it and I think it was tracked with an offset for the sleeve.   I don't think we were actually supposed to hit anything, but that whole scenario sure taxes my memory."

- - - - - -

We will add the Drone to the Armaments and Weapons page. Additional information pertaining to the Drone and its support personnel will be added to that page as it is received.

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