If you can identify the four remaining ribbons in the ribbon
bar marked (?) above, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Marine Medals In order;
War Zone *
Middle East War Zone *
Joseph Stropole was awarded the medals marked ith an
asterisk. He served in the Merchant Marine from the 1930's until the late
1950's. I am also a decorated Merchant Marine Officer....
P. Stropole, Chief Engineer.
The stern of the John W. Brown showing also her after gun mounts.
The after gangway where we boarded the ship.
View from aft looking forward while still at the pier.
Underway at last. Water all around. Another view looking forward across
the after cargo holds toward amidships, with the Key Bridge in the
background. As the skipper is wont to say, "It's GREAT to be at sea
Isaiah, Matt, Ashley, and Amanda in the wheel house of the John W. Brown.
View from the enclosed wheel house at the helm looking forward. As you
can tell, the visibility isn't the greatest. Liberty Ships such as the Brown
were generally conned (steered) from the open flying bridge above the enclosed
bridge except in inclement weather or when the ship was under attack.
Today's mission was to honor America's veterans by giving them a tour of the
Baltimore Harbor. Here some of the vets man the rail to get a view of
Baltimore's Fort McHenry. This fort successfully withstood an
intensive British naval bombardment in September 1814 and inspired Francis
Scott Key to pen the poem 'The Defense of Fort McHenry" which has
become our national anthem.
AIR ACTION PORT! Suddenly the sky is filled with vintage World War II
fighter aircraft. What to do?
Sea Scout Isaiah knows what to do. He hops on the nearest anti-aircraft
gun and prepares to fill the sky with flack!
Suddenly nautical reinforcements arrive unexpectedly in the form of the
Chesapeake Flotilla Wardroom's Sea Scout Training Vessel der
PeLiKan. Some of our fellow Sea Scouts are also spending the day
Sea Scouts Matt and Isaiah prepare to render honors as der PeLiKan passes
astern of the Brown.
Isaiah, Matt, Ashley, and Amanda gaze at the Dundalk Marine Terminal complex
as the Brown completes her turn-around and begins to head back to the
Although we were the only Sea Scouts onboard for the voyage, we weren't the
only BSA Venturers onboard. Here we sailors pose with Venturers from
Reading, PA who specialize in World War II army living history impressions.
Isaiah's neckerchief gets an improved tight roll under the watchful eye of a
re-enactor who is also on active duty in the Navy.
One of the Abbott and Costello impersonation team speaks with some vets.
All too soon our voyage drew to a close as the tug McAllister came up
on our starboard quarter and began to ease the John W. Brown back
into her berth.
Back on dry land, Sea Scout Matt is welcomed home as a returning hero by a
bevy of beautiful young ladies. As Matt is always wont to say,
"Sea Scouts DO have more fun."
Matt was so overcome by his good fortune in meeting these lovely girls that
we thought for a moment that to revive him he'd need medical attention
onboard the retired U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Sanctuary berthed
at the next pier. Fortunately, Matt eventually recovered on his own,
and we headed back home after a great experience.
As Sea Scouts, we had a great time during our day in the John
W. Brown and we are looking forward to next year when we hope we can
come again. This adventure has our 5-star recommendation!
The following information about the Liberty Ship John W.
Brown and Liberty Ships in general comes from the web site Tech
Pubs. To visit that web site for much more great information about
Liberty Ships in general, click
The Liberty Ship John W
Brown was launched in 1942 in Baltimore, and has had an interesting
history. She initially carried cargo, before being converted to a
troopship in the Mediterranean. As a troopship, she was present at the
beachheads of Anzio, Salerno and southern France. After the war, in
1946, she was converted to a maritime school in New York, where she remained
for the next 36 years. Eventually, Project Liberty Ship took her over
and she moved to Baltimore, where she is now berthed.
Of the 2,710 Liberty Ships
completed, 253 were lost during the war, a loss rate of 9%. The wide
cause of losses shows the wide range of hazards that these ships were exposed
to. Losses occurred due to kamikazes, torpedoes, surface raider guns,
aircraft bombs, collisions (made more likely with blacked-out ships traveling
close together in convoy) and to the weather (an ever-present hazard, even
Ship was 441 feet 6 inches long overall, with a maximum beam of 57 feet
and a depth of 37 feet 4 inches. Liberty Ships
had five cargo holds, three forward of the accommodation and two aft, and
the deck was designed with minimal obstructions to enable cargo to be
carried on top of the holds. The
single machinery space was located below the accommodation, although there
was a slight overlap forward over the number three hold. This space
contained two boilers and a triple expansion steam turbine. A single
propeller was fitted (normal practice in merchant ships) which gave a
speed of 11 knots (comparable with many general cargo vessels of the
day). Accommodation was provided for 81 people. This was
initially intended to be 45 crew and 36 gunners, however changes in this
arrangement were not uncommon. Four lifeboats were provided, two
with capacity for 25 people and two with a capacity for 31 people.
The John W. Brown was later converted to carry up to 550
troops in the holds in bunks five tiers high.
Ships saw service all over the world: they were present in the Atlantic
and Russian convoys; they anchored off the beachheads in North Africa,
Europe and in the Pacific islands; they carried food to civilians as well
as supplies and equipment to the armed forces; as hospital ships they
treated the wounded; they transported prisoners away from the fighting;
they evacuated rescued Allied prisoners from Asia; in perhaps their most
welcome role, they brought the troops home again after the fighting was
To visit the
Liberty Ship John W. Brown official web site, click
Subsequent to the
initial posting of this page to the web, we received the following
information from veteran Sea Scouter Steve Nichols:
The JOHN W. BROWN was built at the
Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore.
her keel was laid on 7/28/1942; She was launched on 9/7/42; and she
was delivered on 9/19/42. She
was the 62nd of 384 liberty ships built at Fairfield between
April, 1941 and October, 1944. Approximately
2400 of this type were built by 18 yards.
My Grandmother sponsored the THOMAS
NELSON PAGE, launched at Fairfield on June 1, 1943.
I have in my possession, the Champaign bottle used in the christening.
The triple expansion steam engine
produced 2500 horsepower at 72 rpm. The
cylinder diameters were 24-1/2”, 37”, and 70”.
The stroke was 48 “. She
used 30 tons of fuel a day, and was capable of making 11 knots.
The engine weighed about 135 tons.
The engine was made by 20 different companies.
the engine for the JOHN W. BROWN was made by the Worthington Pump
and Machinery Corporation, Harrison, NJ.
The ship had two boilers, with a steam pressure of 220 psi.
All the auxiliary engines were steam reciprocating.
The JOHN W. BROWN
survived as a school ship for many years in New York.
One Liberty, the THEODORE PARKER,
was sunk as an artificial reef off Morehead City, NC.
I have gone diving on this wreck.
In the early 60s a Tsunami hit
Kodiak harbor in Alaska. They
brought in a liberty ship to use as a fish processing factory.
Today that ship sits on dry land, with a doorway in her hull for
forklifts, and is still used for fish processing.
The JEREMIAH O’BRIEN is an
operational liberty ship museum in San Francisco. They
do occasional day trips and the ship is available for tours, including the
engine room, on a daily basis.
There is a book, “the Liberty
Ships” by L. A. Sawyer and W. H. Mitchell, published by the Lloyds of
London Press Ltd. in 1985 that is a wealth of information on this topic.
/s/ Steve Nichols
Here is another interesting item: "Jan.
14, 1944 - The Liberty Ship James A.
Wilder is launched at Wilmington, California. Named after the first
Chief Seascout, the ship's launching ceremony is attended by representative
Sea Scout leaders from Southern California. The James A. Wilder thus
joins the Liberty Ships William D. Boyce and Daniel Carter Beard
as the third Liberty Ship named after prominent Scout leaders." Found
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