December 2002

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year

Here we are in the middle of the holiday season and the end of another year!  Last month you were all asked to reach out to other shipmates and to help those who needed help.  For many just an e-mail or phone call would be enough to brighten their day. Please continue this throughout the holiday season and throughout the year. The bonds and spirit that made our ship great can continue to benefit others today.

2003 is going to be a great year for USS England. We’ll be together again in June in San Diego! This is a required reunion and all hands must attend! 

Best wishes to all USS England shipmates around the world and to your family and loved ones!  Happy New Year!

Operation Technology Time Machine
Way back when the USS England sailed the seas she brought a lot of technology and know how with her. It would be wonderful if we could document the systems and technology here on our USS England web site!  People who are curious about the Cold War Navy will then have a resource.

60’s Technology! A Univac CP-642B Flip Flop?

How did we fire missiles, track targets, sleep and make omelets? Many of you have pictures and expertise in the systems and methodologies that were implemented on our ship. These along with system diagrams and explanations would make an interesting addition to our site and help preserve this data for students now and in the future. Operation Technology Time Machine will accomplish this but only with you help!  Send your pictures, drawings, sketches, stories and more! Do it today!

How were missiles launched? 

History Corner: Long Beach Naval Station and LBNSY
Dennis O'Brien

USS England spent some time at  Long Beach Naval Station and had some yard periods in Long Beach Naval Shipyard.  Many of you likely have stories both good and bad about the facility. My own memories are from the 1980 yard period when the ship was a mess, completely torn apart and for a time we were forced to live in some fairly old barracks. I was able to visit the facility just before it closed, working on some medical instrumentation on the base allowed me a chance to drive around and remember my time there many years before.  It was then just being shut down and it was a sad thing to see. The facilities were completely closed in 1997.

Long Beach Naval Shipyard.

This past year I visited the location of the former naval base and found that very little remains of the installation. Bulldozers leveled nearly all of it! It seems that in the early 1990s it was decided that the US Navy did not need a shipyard in Long Beach or any facilities there for warships.  Then President Clinton along with others decided that the land would be leased to the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) as a container facility and port. Much legal and political fighting ensued and though it will still be a container facility, it will not be dedicated to the Chinese.

During World War II, the naval dry docks provided routine and damage repairs all types of ships. On 9 February 1943, the Secretary of the Navy established the facilities as the US Naval Dry Docks, Roosevelt Base, California. The name of this facility was changed to Terminal Island Naval Shipyard on 30 November 1945. The name became Long Beach Naval Shipyard (NSY) in March 1948. The Long Beach NSY was placed in an inactive status on 1 June 1950. The Korean War began less than one month later. Reactivation of the shipyard was directed on 4 January 1951. It remained a very active shipyard and home port for decades.

Container cranes where the shipyard ones stood.

Some items remain. Here is a ball diamond from the equipment building.

Many people wonder what became of the famous Titan crane (35OT GERCRANE (YD 171) that towered over the shipyard in red, white and blue, servicing ships for many years and even assisting with the removal of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose from its Long Beach Hanger.


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Titan placing 16” barrels on USS New Jersey in 1984.

The floating crane Titan was built in Germany in 1941 and acquired as war booty by the United States at the end of the war. It was moved to Long Beach, California, in 1948. The luffing type crane has a lifting capacity of 350 T from the two main hooks at the ends of the jib booms. The tip of the main boom towers 114 m above water level.

In preparation of closing down the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, the crane was stricken on 09/19/1994  and sold to the Panama Canal, where it is used for maintenance work on the canal. Before the crane was moved to Panama, it was completely refurbished. It was so tall that power lines the cross the cannel had to be raised in some places and it was weighted down with extra ballast to clear the Bridge of the Americas. Upon arrival Titan took its place next to the crane Hercules!


"Sea Swan" leaving Long Beach with"Titan" crane on deck
Titan on board the Sea Swan in route to Panama.


Panama Canal
Titan in Panama.