USS Blandy Carries Unknown Soldiers

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         On May 13, 1958 in Naples, Blandy picked up the World War II European Unknown Soldier. An around-the-clock watch as set as Blandy proceeded, with one stop in Gibraltar, to a rendezvous off the Virginia Capes with U.S.S. Boston. Boston had come from the Pacific through the Panama Canal and had aboard the World War II Pacific Unknown and the Korean War Soldiers. A highline transfer was made with Boston, where provisions were made to assure complete anonymity in the final selection of the World War II Unknown Soldier. The selection was held that day aboard U.S.S. Canberra. The 3 ships steamed together throughout the day. Following the selection service aboard Canberra by a World War II Medal of Honor recipient, a burial at sea was conducted for the other World War II Unknown Soldier. A highline transfer from Canberra of the World War II and Korean War Unknown Soldiers was made to the O-1 level of Blandy. The honor guard was re-set and Blandy proceeded to an anchorage in Cheasapeake Bay at the mouth of the Potomac River to make final preparations for the trip up the Potomac to Washington and a birth at the Naval Gun Factory.

         The trip up the Potomac was memorable. In keeping with Navy Tradition, The crew manned the rail and the ship's bell was tolled as the ship passed Mount Vernon, with full honor guard for the Unknown Soldiers. The ship was also under cover of TV news helicopters. On arrival around noon at the Gun Factory, the Unknown Soldiers were transferred to the fantail and final preparations were made for the transfer ceremony the following morning televised on the NBC Today Show. From Blandy, the Unknown Soldiers were taken to Arlington Cemetery for entombment at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Nearby, a plaque can be seen acknowledging Blandy's role in bringing the Unknowns to Washington.

         Below are a few photos from this event and a photo of Lt Jenkins presentaion of one of the flags which draped one of the caskets to the Washington Navy Yard to be displayed in a glass case there.

Crew Photos                                 Quartermaster Museum's Unknown Soldier Story                           Reunion Photos

Bruce Cogswell