While the Cushing did capture 4 small craft on this mission and even a 20 ton schooner with the aid of another US vessel, it real job was torpedoes. If you look carefully at the base of the mast you can see three men on the Cushing, above, with a long cylinder looking device. This could be one of the Howell torpedoes.
These devices were quite sophisticated for their day. Electricity was not even if most households at the time. Yet this device was state of the art, and designed to be self propelled at speeds up to 25 knots for through the water for up to 400 yards carrying 100 pounds of explosives. It was driven by a 132 lb flywheel that was spun up to 10,000 rmp then ejected, either above or below the waterline. It would not leave a wake so the enemy could not see where it came from.
They were brass encased and 11 feet long, and if it hit you, you would probably have a bad day. There were only 50 of these devices made before a second company started making an improved model. Only 2 are known to exists today. One just found a few months back by Ted. For some reason I can't find his last name.
The second one was found of the California coast just a few months back, was in two pieces with the warhead being non functional. When it was found a marker was weighted down beside it for later retrieval by navy experts.
It was raised and cleaned up and may well end up in the same display as the one to the left.
Ted had not signed any documents releasing this to the navy nor apparently sought any sort of a reward... other than a couple of good fish dinners probably. He found it by using dome bionic reader capabilities that could be examined to tell the shape and size and even how far away the object was.
The navy first places fakes that imitate know shapes and sizes of items on the floor... or maybe even under the floor and not only train the mammals to go and find them. but to then return to the ship and touch the front of the bow with their noses to indicate something is found. If nothing is found, they touch the back of the boat. They are also trained as above noted to then mark the device so that less talents beings (humans) can go and examine or recover them, and thus the find of a few months back.
Now Ted probably had nothing to do with the USS Cushing. But Thorold Ontario born John Everetts did. He signed up for naval service sometime before the Spanish American War started and had risen to the rank of Gunners Mate 3rd class by February of 1898. As one of the crew while operating in waters off Cuba, he heard the dreaded sound every sailor fears the most... Man Overboard... Man Overboard.
A gigantic wave swept the surface of the vessel and took an officer overboard. The cries were heard and immediately two life preservers were thrown out to the man. But they fell short. Another officer hollered out to drop a life boat and Everetts and another sailor jumped in but the water soon washed the boat over. The officer was not able to be saved, but the two men did managed to save themselves.
Just two months later the President approved the awarding of the Medal of Honor for both men who risked their lives in the attempted rescue.
It is believed that the two men involved in this attempt were the only two on the vessel to get Medals of Honor.
John Everetts continued to serve for an unknown time but it is know that upon release he had received further promotions and was a Chief Petty Officer by the end of his service.
John, pictured at left in his very early years in the US Navy, died in 1956 at the age of 83 and is buried in a cemetery in New York City. He is in very good company because in that same cemetery lay 18 other Medal of Honor recipients.
The award granted John his medal was dated 20 May 1898, 115 years ago Monday of this week.
On another matter, hopefully you have read about the recent unveiling of a new marker to Rowland Bourke here in Victoria BC. Rowland was awarded a DSO and then a VC and then a French Legion of Honor medal for saving 42 sailors lives during the famous raids at Ostend harbour in 1918. There were two, one in April and one in May...95 years ago this year.
Well just a few hours ago today a service was held at the newly updated Ostend harbour and an old monument to this battle, the actual bow of the HMS Vindictive was updated and as of today's unveiling, mounted at a new location at the very edge of the harbour where the battle took place. The following three images can be found at http://www.nieuwsblad.be/article/detail.aspx?articleid=BLDJA_20130524_001 You might want to have a look at them. Queen Paola and King Albert 11 officiated and where joined by many dignitaries including the American and Canadian ambassadors to Belgium.
This announcement may be the first of the day in Canada.