History Podcasts

Salamonie AO-26 - History

Salamonie AO-26 - History

(AO-26: dp. 7,600 1. 553', b. 75', dr. 30'1" (mean); s. 18 k.; cpl. 210; a. 4 5", 12 20mm., 8 1.1"; cl.Cimarron )

Salamonie (AO-26) was laid down on 5 February 1940 under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 13) as Esso Columbia by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Va.; launched on 18 September 1940, sponsored by Mrs. Eugene Holman, designated for Navy use on 20 November 1940; and commissioned on 28 April 1941, Comdr. T. M. Waldschmidt in command.

After runs to various North American Atlantic ports, Salamonie got underway for her first overseas mission on 13 November 1942 in a large convoy headed for Casablanca, North Africa. Then, after several convoys to England, the oiler was overhauled in Norfolk, Va., and given radar.

She sailed for the Pacific, via Panama, on 8 July 1944 and reported for duty to Commander Service Force, 7th Fleet, at Milne Bay, New Guinea, on 23 August. Salamonie joined the Leyte invasion force in Hollandia on 8 October 1944 and later supported both the Morotai and Mindoro strike forces. She spent the final months of the war supporting Allied operations in the Philippines.

The sole war casualty on the Salamonie was caused by a strafing run by a single Japanese plane on 5 January 1945.

Following the formal Japanese surrender, the oiler provided logistic services to the Shanghai occupation forces along the Hwang Pu River.

Early in 1946, Salamonie returned to California for an overhaul at Long Beach, then sailed back across the Pacific. The next two and a half years were spent shuttling petroleum products between Bahrein in the Persian Gulf and United States naval bases in the Far East.

After returning to Long Beach in December 1948, Salamonie was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and arrived at Norfolk in May 1949. Western Atlantic and Caribbean operations with the 2d Fleet and deployments with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean took the oiler through the 1950's and well into the 1960's. Then, toward the end of the latter decade, she was designated for inactivation. Placed in reserve on 23 August 1968 and decommissioned on 20 December, Salamonie's name was struck from the Navy list on 2 September 1969. She was transferred permanently to the Maritime Administration and laid up in the James River, where she remained until 24 September 1970 when her hulk was sold to N. U. Intershitra of Rotterdam, Netherlands, for scrapping.

Case Study Salamonie Mills and AgLand Grain share labor, management, and AgVision

Sister companies Salamonie Mills and AgLand Grain of Warren, IN share common ownership, as well as some of their labor and management teams. Both of the businesses also use AgVision Agribusiness Software to manage their diverse product lines.

Salamonie Mills traces its history back to the late 1800s, making it the oldest existing agribusiness in Indiana, according to Kevin Drayer, co-owner of the two companies. AgLand Grain and Salamonie Mills have been operating under joint ownership since 2013, Drayer says.

The companies supply a wide range of agriculturally-related products, including livestock rations for cattle, swine, horses, sheep, and chickens. They also sell animal bedding and other animal products, fuel pellets, grass seed, bird seed, fly sprays, weed killer, and pond cleaner, among others.

All Operations

AgVision’s software is used for all of the companies’ operations, from receiving to loadout, for billing, accounts receivables, month-end reporting, and for all the complex grain marketing operations, notes Sarah Bohrer, who has been a grain merchandiser with the company since 2003. “AgVision has been phenomenal in helping us add those diverse products to our system, and it’s great in allowing us to enter feed rations in the system. It always ties everything together.”

Bohrer says AgVision helps the companies update prices continually in the rapidly changing financial environment of agribusiness. “There are products like pond chemicals that have a fixed price,” she relates, “but so many of our other products have constantly changing prices every minute of the day as the market changes, and AgVision helps us update all of those prices easily.”

Customer Portal

The companies have a risk-management service for farmer-customers who want help with their operations, Bohrer explains. “Our customers can track their grain deliveries and pull up their historical records off our website. It makes my life much easier that AgVision can do all of that.”

Salamonie Mills and AgLand Grain began using AgVision in 2013. “We looked at four or five other companies,” she states. “We liked AgVision because it’s user-friendly.”

AgVision’s customer service “is fantastic,” Bohrer says. “I can shoot them an email with a question, and they get back to me the same day. The grain industry changes every day, and there are specialty contracts that constantly need updating – their programmers make those changes very quickly.”

Grain Company

Salamonie Mills/AgLand Grain

Warren, IN • 260-375-2200

Kevin Drayer, Co-owner

Sarah Bohrer, Grain Merchandiser

Founded: 2013

Storage capacity: 3.2 million bushels

Annual grain volume: 13 million bushels

Annual sales: Salamonie Mills: $59 million

AgLand Grain: $16 million

Crops handled: Corn, soybeans, soft red winter wheat

Number of employees: 28

Software Vendor

Shelley Laracuente, Vice President-Marketing

Grain accounting software: AgVision Commodity Manager and Scale Interface.

Operating systems: Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft Windows Desktop.

Program at reservoirs on May 4 to explain about area dam concepts

"People have no concept of how it all works," says Marvin McNew, director of Upper Wabash Interpretive Services.

He is referring to Salamonie Reservoir's earth-filled dam.

But the Upper Wabash Interpretive Services team wants to change that.

On Saturday, May 4, they will host a "Reservoir Roots" slide show at both Salamonie and Mississinewa reservoirs.

The presentation features a collection of 50-year-old slides, taken by Clyde Dawson, that document the building of the dams at Salamonie, Mississinewa and Roush Lake.

The dam at Salamonie was built over the course of three years, from 1962 to its completion in 1965.

It, like the dam at Mississinewa, is earth-filled. This means it is created of compacted earth.
The dams in this area were built to prevent flooding.

Simply, a dam retains - or stores - water. Control gates, of which the Salamonie has three, measuring 5 by 16 feet, are used to manage water-flow out of the dam.

"So many people think . they lift the gates up to let the water in instead of the other way around," says McNew.

These are exactly the misconceptions he and the interpretive team plan to correct.

"All the questions last year concerning the drought made us realize we needed to do something like this," says Laura Whiteleather.

She will be presenting the slides on May 4.

In-depth information about the dam, as well as photos of the structure during and post-construction, will be presented, including explanation of intake tubes and windows, the two 30-inch pipes that release all water on normal river flow days, the tail water and spill way areas, the intake tower and the type of machinery used to build the dams.

Other historic information and photos will be shared, including photos of a covered bridge that was in Dora, one of the three towns that were lost when the dam was built. Photos of Dora, as well as other lost towns, will be highlighted on May 4.

"There was an area of the building of the reservoirs that was not too lovely. The people that grew up on that land had to move away from it," says Whiteleather.
The photos by Dawson accurately represent the full spectrum of the build - from the cutting edge construction machinery to the displacement of people from their homes.

But the excitement didn't stop when the dam construction was finished.

Now, the reservoir offers more to the Huntington area than just flood control.

"Recreation is a byproduct," notes Whiteleather.
She says boating, fishing, camping, swimming on the beaches, backpacking, horseback riding, ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross country skiing are all part of the recreation that takes place at Salamonie Reservoir.

Wildlife management is another result of the reservoir, she says.

All the while, the reservoir is "at work, doing its job," she says.

The Wabash River carries 75 percent of Indiana's watershed, she explains.

"One inch of water covering one acre of ground is more than 27,000 gallons," she notes.

"The reservoir is something we are quite fortunate to have."

She also points out the fortuitous nature of possessing copies of Dawson's slides.

"It's quite a treasure to have copies of those slides that someone took first-hand," she says.

When Dawson was alive, Whiteleather says he presented the slides himself with what she says is an in-depth report of the reservoir's operations.

In his notes, Dawson claims that the Salamonie dam prevented $237 million of damage from being done by flooding.

The dam protects downstream communities from dangerous, and damaging, flood waters.

The "Reservoir Roots" presentation on May 4 will be in the Interpretive Center at Salamonie Reservoir at 10 a.m. and at Mississinewa's office area at 2:30 p.m.

Complete caption: This photo — originally taken by Clyde Dawson, a rural postal carrier from Lagro — shows the construction of the Salamonie Dam’s inner structure. Today the water would flow from right to left through the two 30-inch tubes sticking up from the construction. Salamonie’s earth-filled dam is 6,100 feet long and protects the area downstream from flooding. This and other photos may be seen in a slide show on May 4 at Salamonie Reservoir’s Interpretive Center.

Salamonie AO-26 - History

The phrase “May you live in interesting times” unquestionably applied when Biddle’s keel was laid in December 1963. The shock and horror of President Kennedy’s assassination two weeks before had stunned the world and drove this nation into deep mourning. The Cold War was raging hardly a day passed without another reminder that nuclear war not only possible, but also likely. The Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 and Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 pointed to Cuba as a trigger that could start World War III. At the same time on the other side of the world, the smoldering fire in Vietnam that France could not extinguish was a few months from flashpoint. Elements of the Seventh Fleet were already in the Gulf of Tonkin and U.S. advisors were on the ground in South Vietnam. These events are ancient history now, which my students at the technical college where I teach like to remind me. Perhaps they are, but they occurred at the zenith of the Cold War and define the time that created a Cold War cruiser, the USS Biddle.

At that time I was a freshman architecture major at a small junior college in San Angelo, Texas. The U.S. Congressman from our district had tried to get me an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, but my grades were not strong enough. So, with more bad grades than good ones on my transcript and the hot breath of the draft on my neck, I decided to follow the advice of my uncle and join the Navy. Uncle Pete, a Navy officer who served in USS Salamonie (AO-26) at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, was a positive influence for me 40 years ago and remains so today at the age of 86. After a few farewells and one last round of partying, I boarded the bus on 21 July 1964 that would take me to San Antonio to be sworn in. I turned to wave to my mom and dad - she was crying and he was smiling. Early in the morning on the next day, San Diego boot camp welcomed its latest batch of raw recruits – I was in the United States Navy!

Soon after arriving at boot camp, an event occurred that would change the lives of millions of Americans and divide this nation as few events have. On 2 August and again on 4 August 1964, the USS Maddox (DD-731) and USS Turner Joy (DD-951), while on patrol in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin, were allegedly attacked by North Vietnamese naval craft. In retaliation, President Johnson ordered attacks against North Vietnamese naval forces and shore positions. The Vietnam War had begun. Biddle’s hull was less than half complete.

Boot camp recruits couldn’t watch the evening news, but we did get letters from home – we heard rumors that something had happened in a place called Vietnam. Where the hell is Vietnam, anyway? We knew immediately that something important had happened because waves of military aircraft could be seen heading west over the Pacific almost daily. Many wondered if we would actually go to Vietnam.

After scoring high on the battery of tests given to determine job aptitude and then completing boot camp, the Navy sent me to Radarman “A” school at Treasure Island, San Francisco. The first phase of the school was basic electronics – DC and AC circuits, vacuum tubes, and basic radar theory. Deciding that electronics was something that I could use as a civilian, I studied hard and tried to stay out of trouble. The hard work paid off when the Navy offered to send me to Electronics Technician “A” school, also at Treasure Island. Again, I studied hard and applied myself and, again, the Navy made an offer I couldn’t refuse – extend my enlistment for two years and attend Data Systems Technician “A” and “C” schools at Mare Island, just up the road at Vallejo, California.

When I started Data Systems Technician “A” school in the summer of 1965, Biddle had recently launched her hull and superstructure were virtually complete. Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, I had discovered that the learning environment at Naval School Command, Mare Island, was outstanding. The structured classroom environment, excellent instructors, and fascinating subject matter combined to create an atmosphere that not only piqued my interest, but it also allowed me to achieve levels of learning that far exceeded any previous effort. One instructor, Data Systems Chief (DSC) Eggers I believe, seemed particularly interested that I perform well at school. His encouragement helped to keep me focused on the difficult task of learning about difficult subjects. The result was obvious – I consistently was number one or two in each class.

The basement lab, which was filled with equipment that we had learned about in the classroom, was my home away from home. It was the crucible of the course. After instruction about a particular piece of equipment in the morning, the class would get “hands on” experience on the same equipment in the afternoon. That evening, I would supplement the classroom instruction with many more hours alone in the lab studying schematics, taking measurements, sharpening my troubleshooting skills, and becoming even more familiar with the equipment.

The Univac Digital Trainer (UDT) was one piece of equipment that attracted my attention. A functional, transistorized 8-bit digital computer with memory, arithmetic logic unit, and a Friden Flexowriter for input and output, the UDT was an excellent training device and a crude precursor of today’s personal computer. Many hours were spent writing simple programs, storing them on paper tape, and then reading them back later. Like its much bigger brother the Univac CP-642 computer, the UDT had front panel lights and switches that allowed a programmer to enter a “bootstrap” program which, when executed, allowed more complex programs such as operating systems, to be loaded. We didn’t call them operating systems back then, they were “Executive Routines,” I believe.

The lab was populated with most of the equipment I would see aboard ship – the display consoles and readouts, central pulse amplifier, symbol generator, and radar azimuth converters. I had the most fun was when one of the radars on the roof was turned on and I could chase signals from the input of the radar azimuth converter, through the radar signal distribution switchboard, to a console’s display.

The basement lab also served as a test bed for new equipment. Bob Gerity, while an instructor/division head at DS School, recalled that “Down in the basement some serious testing was taking place on the first generation of a direct digital-to-digital fire control system. Having served in an analog Talos cruiser, I had seen the problems trying to get target data from the radars in CIC to the fire control system. This new system, to be installed in the DLG-28 Class frigates, promised nearly instantaneous transfer of target coordinates from CIC to the Fire Control System.”

Digital logic circuits – simple building blocks connected to perform complex functions - fascinated me. No less fascinating was learning that there were numbering systems other than base ten. The binary and octal systems, which use only the digits zero and one and zero through seven respectively, seemed to be a natural way to count. Today, the hexadecimal system (base 16), which uses zero through nine and the characters A through F to represent numbers, is the most common way to count and address physical memory in the personal computer world. Adding hexadecimal numbers such as BADF00D (yes, BADF00D is a legitimate number) and 4520FF3 in my head and converting some numbers from decimal to hexadecimal is not difficult at all – thanks to my Navy training and almost 40 years in the business.

Life as a student at Mare Island had a limited, lighter side. Other than a data processing course I took at Vallejo Junior College at night and playing pool at the barracks, little time was spent off base. Mare Island Shipyard, where nuclear submarines were built, was a large part of the base. I recall strolling by the USS Vallejo (SSBN-658) on the day she was launched. After a tour that included the missile room, I took the opportunity to watch the launching ceremonies with the crowd directly in front of the brand new boat. When the submarine finally and reluctantly slid down the ways, a group of officers stood at attention on both planes and saluted forward, in the direction of the crowd. Just as the boat hit the water, most of the officers lost their balance. Some were precariously hanging on a rope fence, their feet directly over the water. At that moment, a formation of Navy jets that were on the deck, in the middle of the channel, pulled vertical in full afterburner – BAM! BAM! BAM! - directly over the sub and much to the delight of the crowd. It was quite a sight – almost like something out of McHale’s Navy.

At the conclusion of data systems school in the spring of 1966, I had received a first class education courtesy of the United States Navy. I knew as much about electronics, computers, radars, and equipment in the Data Display Group of the Naval Tactical Data System as a young man could. The education not only prepared me for the job to be done aboard ship, but it also became the genesis from which subsequent educational pursuits began, including graduating summa cum laude from college with a degree in computer science. Equally important, my two-year Navy technical education and four years of practical experience aboard Biddle implanted a deep and inextinguishable desire to learn, explore, and excel.

Salamonie River flows through Indiana history

I continue our look at some of Indiana’s lesser known rivers with one of the many rather large streams found in the northern section of our state: the Salamonie River. This is the Miami Indian name for the spring wildflower, the bloodroot, which can be found growing along this river in wooded areas.

The Salamonie River begins near the Indiana-Ohio border just south of the hamlet of Salamonia.

From its headwaters, the Salamonie flows northward to its confluence with the Wabash River near the village of Lagro.

Just upstream from the Wabash is Salamonie Reservoir, formed by the construction of a 6,100-foot-long, 133-foot tall dam across the Salamonie River.

This 2,665-acre lake completed in 1966 is part of an 1,636-area property that offers a variety of recreation opportunities and is well worth a visit.

There are five boat ramps around Lake Salamonie and two more on the Salamonie River below the massive dam. One can fish, hunt in season, camp, swim or just enjoy the scenery along this lovely body of water.

Noted as a world class bird watching site, Salamonie has two wetlands, Switchgrass Marsh and Majenica Marsh, that attract many of the birds found in this area.

Southeast of the lake are the towns of Warren and Montpelier. These towns, as well as Portland further up the Salamonie, were in an area where the first commercial gas well in Indiana was drilled in 1886.

This led to a big natural gas boom much like today in some sections of the United States that was an economic bonanza to a number of towns in the region.

Montpelier was one of the towns impacted by the gas boom. The manufacture of glass was very important, as well as other industries that used the natural gas to produce its products. The town became known as the “Zinnia City” for all these flowers that were planted in its town parks.

Portland, another town on the Salamonie, also boomed during the “gas craze,” as it came to be known. It was here that the first well was drilled.

To show how the supply of cheap gas impacted this area, the population of Portland increased from 500 to more trhan 3,000 in hjust a few months.It seems all good things must finally come to an end. When the gas began to run out, many of the factories that needed gas moved to other locations or went out of business.

Portland has several claims to fame other than the first gas well. It was the birthplace of Elwood Haynes, the designer of one of the first automobiles. Later in his life, Haynes moved to Kokomo and became a leader in the new automotive industry.

Another claim to fame — this one rather tragic — is that Portland was the home of John J. Williams. At the start of the Civil War, he enlisted in the 34th Indiana Infantry Regiment and served with distinction during this terrible war.

In the last battle of the war, a rather minor fight at Palmetto Ranch, Texas, on May 13, 1865, Williams was killed. He is listed as the last soldier to die in the Civil War.

South of Portland is College Corner, a small hamlet that was the location of Liber College founded in 1853.

All went well at Liber until a black student was accepted into the school. This caused a major uproar that led to the administration of the college becoming involved in a bitter dispute that led to the founding of a rival school that became known as the Farmers Academy.

Due to loss of funding Liber, was forced to close its doors, all over a black man wanting to get a proper education.

Sad to say we have not learned from the mistakes of the past.

The Salamonie River is a pretty, rather tranquil stream that passes through a region that saw a period of boom and bust due to natural gas, that has still not fully recovered from its reliance upon one source of energy.


Captain Joseph A. Felt enlisted in the Naval Reserve in September 1947 and later was commissioned as an Ensign after graduating from Brown university in 1953. His first duty assignment was with Beach Master Unit TWO. This was followed by a tour at the THIRD Naval District Headquarters and subsequent assignment as First lieutenant and Weapons Officer on USS Salamonie (AO-26).
Following a course of instruction at the CIC officer and Air Intercept Controller Schools in 1959-60 at Glynco, Georgia, Commander Felt reported to USS Decatur (DD 936) and served subsequently as Operations Officer and Executive Officer. A tour on board USS Bigelow (DD942) as Executive Officer preceded Commander Felt's assignment to the Naval War College as a student and then a faculty member in 1963. During his tours aboard these ships he made a total of four Sixth Fleet deployments and participated in the Cuban Quarantine of 1962 as well as several NATO exercises in the North Atlantic and one CENTO exercise in the Indian Ocean.
From 1966-1968 Commander Felt served as Commanding Officer USS Mills (DER-383) making two operation Deep Freeze deployments to the Antarctic including two round the world cruises en route to and from. He served a tour of duty from 1968 to 1971 as Navy Action Officer for Surface Combatant Forces in the Strategic Plans and Policy Division of OPNAV, working with Navy, JCS and National Security Council policy papers. He reported to USS Richard B. Anderson (DD-786) as Commanding Officer in 1971.
Commander Felt is authorized to wear the Meritorious Unit Commendation from his service aboard the USS Richard B. Anderson as well as the Combat Action Ribbon. Other personal awards include the Bronze Star with Combat "V" with gold star in lieu of second award, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star. Commander Felt has six other campaign, service and foreign decorations.

Indiana State Parks

Hikers and horseback riders are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season.

Horse Trails Main Access Provides riders from outside the forest access to the trail system. A short trail with easy riding on mostlylevel terrain.

Wood DuckSeasonal trail, open from Memorial Day weekend through the end of October. It is closed during the restof the year due to wet trail conditions and hunting season. A flat area, with easy riding through stands ofpines. In late spring and early summer, riders may see or hear wood ducks in this area.

Riverview/BoundaryThis winding trail varies in topography as it meanders in and out of ravines and overlooks along theSalamonie River. It is moderately difficult to ride with some rugged areas that are more challenging.

Waterfall A moderately difficult trail that wanders in and out of ravines and provides views of two rocky gorges withwaterfalls.

Boundary/ReservoirThis easy trail provides access to the Salamonie Reservoir Bridle Trail. Maps of this trail are available inthe self-registration station in the Horseman's Camp and at the state forest and reservoir offices.


Author Tom Clancy summarized Beach's many accomplishments and contributions when he wrote:

Ned loved the Navy as a man might love his own family. For the Navy was his family, the junior officers he trained and the enlisted men who did so much of the hand-labor in the boats. He served with distinction approaching perfection and, like his father, would then write about the things he'd seen and done. More than once I spoke with him about the psychological aspects of combat, and every time he told me what I needed to know, always from his own rich experiences. Ned was a serious student of history -- he wrote several splendid books on this subject -- and of human nature. What he didn't know had never happened. [37]

Ed Offley of DefenseWatch wrote:

Beach once told an interviewer, "What is there about the Navy? To me, it's always been a tremendous feeling that I am part of an organization that's much bigger than I am." The submariner was inaccurate. It is sailors like Capt. Edward L. Beach Jr. - who died on December 1 at the age of 84 - who make institutions like the Navy bigger and greater than they otherwise would be. [38]

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03 March, 2011

50 Years Ago Today – Mullinnix Departs Naples, Italy

Excerpt from “The Last Gun Ship - History of USS Mullinnix DD-944” - A Historical Novel By Frank A. Wood

With the aid of civilian pilot Captain Cocorulio, she got underway from Naples at 0715 on Friday, 3 March. Before the end of the midwatch on 4 March, Mullinnix was operating in the Tyrrhenian Sea. At 0915 she transferred two German officers from USS Little Rock CLG-4.

“Here come the Krauts”, announced FTG3 Smythe as twin-trails of smoke leaked from his nostrils.

“Yep, just think. Less than 16 years ago, we were kick’in their ass all the way back to Berlin”, figured Smythe’s buddy McGhee.

GQ was sounded at 1300, setting material condition ZEBRA. At 1339, the ship conducted ABC defense drills.

“I don’t know about you, but these drills scare the shit out of me”, said Smythe.
“Why’s that?” asked McGhee.

“Spooky. They’re just damn spooky. You know what ABC stands for, right?”

“Atomic Bacterial Chemical attack. Why?” Answered McGhee.
“Tell me somethin’. We’re on a ship with 3 5” guns, 2 double-barrel 3”, and a couple torpedo tubes.”

How in the fuck are we suppose to survive a fuck’in A-bomb? Or a fuck’in bug attack or some fuck’in-ass chemical, huh? Tell me that.”

“We don’t. We take one for the bigger ships – like the carrier”, said McGhee.

“Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. I need a smoke”, Smythe answered.

“Like a said, spooky. Here I am practice’n how to turn green inside, or out, or both, and the Navy tells me I can’t smoke. Fuck me…”

Watch the video: Lost History: The Forgotten Jewel of Arabia - Al-Ula (January 2022).