Joseph Venalia

Joseph Venalia

Joseph Venalia

Joseph Venalia joined the Navy in 1938, went through Boot Camp in Newport, RI, and was sent to Philadelphia, Pa to put the USS Nashville in commission in June, 1938. He transferred to Deer Island Signal Tower in July 1941. He was to be discharged in January 1942 but December 7th came along and he shipped over. He transferred to the USAT Edmund B Alexander 1941 to 1942, the SS Santore in June 1942 (torpedoed), the SS Alcoa Voyager 1942 and 1943, and the USS President Polk 1944 and 1945.

Pictured below is Joseph Venalia


Pictured below is the USAT Edmund B Alexander


Below is information on the USAT Edmund B Alexander



Displacement:  9,475 t.
Length:  608 ft 4 inches
Beam:  61 ft 8 inches
Draft:  19 ft 2 inches
Speed:  32.5 k.
Complement:  868
Armament:  15 6”; 8 5”; 8 .50 cal. MG

        The second NASHVILLE (CL-43) was laid down 24 January
1935 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; launched
2 October 1937; sponsored by Misses Ann and Mildred
Stahlman; and commissioned 6 June 1938, Capt. William W.
Wilson in command.

        NASHVILLE departed Philadelphia 19 July 1938 for
shakedown in the Caribbean.  In early August, she sailed for
Northern Europe on a good will visit, arriving at Cherbourg,
France, 24 August.  Getting underway 21 September from
Portland, England, with 25 million dollars in British gold
bullion aboard, NASHVILLE arrived at Brooklyn Navy Yard 30
September, offloaded the gold, and returned to Philadelphia
5 October.

        In the spring of 1939, NASHVILLE carried American
representatives to the Pan-American Defense Conference in
Rio de Janeiro, returning them to Annapolis 20 June.  On the
23rd, she sailed from Norfolk for the Pacific via the Panama
Canal, arriving San Pedro, California, 16 July for two years
of operations.  In February 1941, she and three other
cruisers carried marines to Wake Island.  On 20 May, she
departed Pearl Harbor for the east coast, arriving Boston 19
June to escort a convoy carrying marines to Iceland.

        From August to December 1941, NASHVILLE was based at
Bermuda for neutrality patrols in the Central Atlantic.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, NASHVILLE sailed to Casco
Bay, Maine, where she picked up a troop and cargo convoy to
escort to Iceland.  She continued escort duty to Bermuda and
Iceland until February 1942.

        On 4 March, she rendezvoused with HORNET (CV-8) off the
Virginia capes and escorted the carrier to the west coast,
via the Panama Canal, arriving 20 March at San Diego.
HORNET and NASHVILLE sailed, under Admiral William Halsey,
from San Diego 2 April, the carrier laden with 16 Army B-25
bombers under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle.  On
13 April, they rendezvoused with TF 16 north of Midway and
set course for Japan.  When 1,000 miles from Japan, on 17
April, the destroyers were detached; NASHVILLE, other
escorting cruisers, and carriers HORNET and ENTERPRISE
(CV-6) made a high speed run to the launching point, 500
miles from Japan.  The next day, the force was sighted by a
Japanese picket boat, who reported the task force before
being sunk by scout planes from ENTERPRISE.  A second scout
vessel was sunk by NASHVILLE, but the advantage of surprise
was lost.  The B-25s were launched 150 miles short of the
intended point in heavy seas.  Immediately after the launch,
the strike force reversed course and eluded Japanese forces,
except for patrol vessels which were sunk by the carriers'
aircraft.  NASHVILLE's guns destroyed a second enemy scout
vessel.  The "Shangri La" task force returned to Pearl
Harbor 25 April 1942.

        The cruiser left Hawaii 14 May to become flagship of TF
8 defending Alaska and the Aleutians, and arrived at Dutch
Harbor, Alaska, 26 May.  She sailed for Kodiak two days
later to join other units of the task force.  On 3 and 4
June, Japanese carrier planes struck Dutch Harbor; NASHVILLE
and her task force were unable to make contact with the
enemy due to heavy fog.  Admiral Yamamoto withdrew his
diversionary force from the Aleutians after the defeat at
Midway.  As the Japanese departed, they left occupying
forces behind on Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians.  From June
to November 1942, NASHVILLE patrolled the North Pacific, and
participated in the attack on Kiska, 7 August, in which
heavy damage was inflicted on Japanese shore installations.

        NASHVILLE arrived at Pearl Harbor 22 November 1942 and
proceeded south to the Fiji Islands on 24 December.  At
Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, she became flagship of TF 67.
After escorting troopships to Guadalcanal, NASHVILLE, HELENA
(CL-50) and ST. LOUIS (CL-49) inflicted heavy damage on the
Japanese air base at Munda on the night of 4 January 1943.
Subsequent attacks were made on Kolombangara Island and New
Georgia in the next several months.  While shelling Vila
Airfield on Kolombangara on the night of 12 May, she had an
explosion of powder charges in one of her forward turrets,
killing 18 and injuring 17.

        Leaving Espiritu Santo 22 May, NASHVILLE arrived at
Mare Island Naval Shipyard for repairs and modernization.
Departing San Francisco 6 August, she arrived at Pearl
Harbor on the 12th to join carrier task forces for strikes
on Marcus and Wake during the next two months.

        NASHVILLE returned to Espiritu Santo 25 October and for
the next seven months shelled targets in New Guinea and the
Admiralty Islands.  As the Allies pursued the Japanese along
the New Guinea coast, NASHVILLE provided fire support for
the landings at Bougainville and Cape Gloucester, New
Britain.  After bombarding Wadke Island, 21-22 April 1944,
NASHVILLE provided fire support and carried General Douglas
MacArthur to the amphibious operations at Hollandia,
Tanahmerah Bay, and Aitape, on 22-23 April.  On 27 May, the
light cruiser was a member of the assault force invading
Biak, Schouten Islands, where on 4 June, she sustained
moderate damage from a near miss while repelling a Japanese
air attack.

        After repairs and patrol duty out of Espiritu Santo,
NASHVILLE twice more carried General MacArthur and his staff
to invasions, at Morotai in mid-September, and on his return
to the Philippines, for which she sailed from Manus 16
October.  She provided fire support for the Leyte landings
20 October and remained on station at the mouth of Leyte
Gulf until 25 October, guarding the beachhead and
transports.  Returning to Manus for brief repairs, NASHVILLE
left the Admiralties 28 November as flagship for Commander,
Visayan Attack Force, en route to the invasion of Mindoro.
On 13 December, she was struck by a kamikaze off Negros
Island.  The aircraft crashed into her port 5-inch mount,
both bombs exploding about 10 feet off the deck.  Gasoline
fires and exploding ammunition made her midships area an
inferno, but although 133 were killed and 190 wounded, her
remaining 5-inch guns continued to provide antiaircraft

        The Attack Group Commander shifted his flag, and the
damaged cruiser sailed for San Pedro Bay, Pearl Harbor, and
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, arriving 12 January 1945, for
permanent repairs.  Underway 12 March, NASHVILLE departed
San Diego 15 April after training exercises.

        Arriving at Subic Bay 16 May, NASHVILLE became flagship
of TF 74.  The closing months of the war found her providing
fire support for the landings at Brunei Bay, Borneo, and
protecting carriers in the Makassar Straits.  On 29 July,
NASHVILLE made a brief sortie from Subic to intercept a
Japanese convoy reported off Indochina, but the sortie was
cancelled, ending the cruiser's final wartime operation.

        NASHVILLE, CTF 73 embarked, entered Shanghai harbor 19
September 1945.  CTF 73 hauled down his flag 17 November,
and NASHVILLE sailed for the west coast with 450 returning
troops.  Picking up 90 more in Hawaii, she reached San Pedro
California, 3 December, then immediately sailed to Eniwetok
and Kwajalein for more returning troops.  Nearing the west
coast 3 January 1946, NASHVILLE came to the aid of ST.
MARY’S (APA-126), laboring in heavy seas with engine
breakdown and 1,800 men aboard.  The cruiser took ST. MARY’S
in tow, delivering her safely to tugs at the San Francisco
Lightship, 6 January.

        NASHVILLE departed San Francisco 21 January and arrived
at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for preinactivation overhaul.
Decommissioned 24 June 1946, she remained in reserve until
1950.  After overhaul at Philadelphia, she was sold to Chile
9 January 1951.  In 1970 she still serves in the Chilean
Navy as CAPITAN PRAT (03).

        NASHVILLE received 10 battle stars for World War II


Transcribed by Michael Hansen

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