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The most important ship of the operation was the SS Ohio , the only available fast oil tanker. The Ohio , a 9, ton tanker, was built on the River Delaware at Wilmington in the United States for the oil giant Texaco , but had been requisitioned and manned by a British crew.

Malta was critical to the Allied war effort in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations , with submarines and aircraft based there responsible for inflicting huge losses on supply convoys from Europe to Rommel 's Axis army facing the British in the Western Desert Campaign in Libya and Egypt. In summer the Axis forces had advanced far eastwards into Egypt, threatening to reach the Suez Canal and thereby cut Allied communications with India and the Far East. The continued resistance of Malta was key to stopping Rommel, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered that the convoy must "get through at all costs".

Most of the merchant ships in the convoy were British owned and British crewed. She was carrying 7, tons of aviation fuel in drums.

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Commanding an anti-aircraft gun on top of the bridge, [1] the most exposed position on the ship with no cover available [8] he took part in the initially successful defence against three days of heavy attacks while steaming eastwards from the straits of Gibraltar towards Malta. Air attacks were constant and as many as fifteen submarines stalked the freighters in the narrowing straits, [9] but the Santa Elisa would fall to a different foe. In the darkness before daybreak on the fourth day, the Santa Elisa was attacked by two Italian MAS motor torpedo boats.

One raked the ship with fire from its heavy machine guns, killing three men from Dales' gun crew, while the other attacked from the opposite side and hit the ship with a torpedo. Dales successfully fired back and hit and sank the first attacking boat, but the aviation fuel carried by the Santa Elisa had been ignited by the torpedo hit, and the crew were forced to abandon the blazing ship about 25 miles southeast of Cape Bon in Tunisia , and still 90 miles short of Malta. By this time the Ohio had already become the primary focus for Axis attacks on the convoy, having been torpedoed by the Italian submarine Axum and hit by successive waves of dozens of Stuka dive bombers which attacked continuously for five hours.

The torpedo had caused catastrophic damage and initially brought the ship to a dead stop, while near misses from bombs caused further damage and put some of the ship's defensive armament out of action. The crew were twice forced to abandon ship as further air attacks caused yet more damage. HMS Penn , with Dales still aboard, was one of several British destroyers that came alongside the Ohio to render assistance. The crews made attempts to tow the crippled tanker, before eventually sandwiching it between HMS Penn and HMS Bramham in order to drag it along while preventing it from sinking.

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Top 10 Reasons Why The US Merchant Marine Is Failing

Dales and four British crewmen volunteered to go with him. Between them, they were successful in bringing the gun back into action. Dales and the other crew members then operated the gun as the ungainly gaggle of ships struggled slowly towards Malta. The three ships became an obvious target for the Axis aircraft and torpedo boats, and endured an ever increasing series of attacks. In the chaos, all but one of the British aircraft carriers supporting the convoy had been either sunk or seriously damaged, reducing the number of aircraft available to defend it.

The Ohio finally reached the Grand Harbour at Valletta in Malta on August 15, , and her vital cargo of fuel was safe.

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Four of the surviving freighters had reached Malta the day before, but all the rest were lost, out of fourteen merchant ships that originally set out. The convoy's arrival was described by some historians as having changed the course of World War 2. The arrival, welcomed by huge crowds of people lining the harbour and waving British and Maltese flags, [11] coincided with the Feast of Santa Marija , and Operation Pedestal became known in Malta as the Santa Marija Convoy.

Dales was interviewed in connection with the 60th anniversary celebration of Operation Pedestal in , and said that he would always remember the Maltese people's grateful response to his actions on board the Ohio. Merchant Marine Academy's National Maritime Hall of Fame in , one year after the ship he had defended received the same honor.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Main article: Operation Pedestal. Main article: SS Santa Elisa. Main article: SS Ohio. Polaris Magazine.

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Our sample size was small but included political, academic, military and shipping industry leaders. Here are their top 10 reasons:. Nearly every study of politics in the past few years lists the media as a primary influence on voters and Donald Trump himself has made it a daily crusade to eliminate FakeNews.

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He does this because he fully understands the role media has influencing votes and gaining the political will to fund projects. When was the last time top Washington journalists walked its halls? When was the last time they took journalists and bloggers out to ride aboard ships?

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The Navy does it at great expense. MARADs failure to keep information up to date on their webpage — press conferences, history, or just plain statistical facts — makes it difficult for journalists to write articles about shipping in the United States. The media is risky. Inviting bloggers and journalists into the inner-sanctum of MARAD headquarters does come with considerable risk.

There is a lot that MARAD probably wants to hide from journalists but they are mandated to advocate for the merchant marine and any lawyer will tell you that advocacy always comes with risk. It could be a global hub of information and education. On the slow news days that bookmark tragic events every media outlet looks for positive stories to buoy readers and they turn to press releases to find stories.

Media outlets love them because they contain all the photos, quotes and contact information needed to write a story quickly. Companies love them because they can control the message. Big media loves them too. And what about videos? MARAD lists a grand total of 13 videos produced in the last 15 years!

A list of Bollywood movies! The shipping industry is slow to change and one old school budget item the industry still spends money on are lobbyists. This figure does not include the money spent by executives to travel and meet with leaders in smoke-filled rooms, donate to golf tournaments and otherwise influence the rich and powerful. Some Americans mariners are pleased to know that so much money is spent influencing politicians and many contribute directly via their unions to these funds.

A few factors make this spending wholly ineffective:. Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further but cooperation — between men and between departments — is what we must strive for today. Ray brought numerous officers to CMA , the largest US conference of shipping industry leaders, this year this is a good thing!

George W. But Republicans have also done considerable damage.

Op-Ed: the Merchant Marine, America’s fourth arm of defense

And what about carrying American shale and LNG? How many Republicans have joined the recent attack on cargo preference? America first?