Collection (1942-1988) including correspondence, oral reminiscences, logbooks, technical data, veteran's information, and newsletters, newspaper clippings.
Dallas B. Long, Jr., was born in December 1925 in Winston-Salem, NC. He joined the Navy (1944), and was assigned (October 1, 1944) to the aircraft carrier USS TICONDEROGA (CV-14) stationed at Pearl Harbor, HI. Long worked as an aviation machinist mate 3rd class, and as a plane captain for a Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter. Long saw action with the carrier in the Philippines, South China Sea, and air strikes on Japan near the end of the war. Long left the ship and the Navy in late 1945, while the TICONDEROGA was berthed at Tacoma, WA, where Long met his wife and worked for Woolworth Department stores. After his wife died (August 22, 1981), Long became involved in the Big "T" Veterans Association, founded in 1972. Led by Jim H. Morgan and Elton Whitney, the Big "T" Veterans Association began with ten members, incorporated in 1975, and had over seven hundred members by the late 1980s. The association holds an annual reunion for its members as well as "mini" reunions for specific regional areas, and publishes a newsletter. The group has sponsored display rooms in the Heritage Museum at Ticonderoga, NY, and at the YORKTOWN Memorial in Charleston, SC. Dallas Long joined the association in 1983, and began research on a book he intended to write about the TICONDEROGA and one of her captains, Dixie Keifer. His research and veteran activities continued for a number of years until his death (October 30, 1988).
The collection's general correspondence is concerned primarily with Long's research for the Big "T" story and official letters of Big T" Veterans Association officers. Beginning in 1984, the letters show a gradual increase in contacts and information thatLong accumulated over the course of his involvement with the Big "T" group. Early correspondence focuses on Long's attempts to solicit information and war stories from people he served with, and from government archives. Of special interest in this section are the documents obtained on the TICONDEROGA's name change. Also included is Long's attempt to get Nancy Reagan to join the association as an honorary member. Later correspondence moves toward the giving out and receiving of information from contacts Long had established. The Big "T" Association is heavily documented in this section, as is the split in membership that led to the creation of a VFW post for the TICONDEROGA separate from the association. War reminiscences throughout the later correspondence include a particularly interesting one from Robert Rochon (April 4, 1986) concerning his development of an upward-looking radar for the TICONDEROGA, the first one of the war.
Another set of correspondence (March 1984-October 1988, nd) concerns Long's attempts to identify two kamikaze pilots who crashed into the TICONDEROGA (January 21, 1945). Working through the US and Japanese governments, Long found the names and service histories of the two pilots, contacted their families, and received replies from them. Other records pertain to a questionnaire that Long sent to his fellow shipmates to record their war experiences. Questions included where servicemen lived aboard ship; what experiences they found unique or humorous during their time on the TICONDEROGA; and what they knew and felt about the ship's first captain, Dixie Keifer. He also asked about the men's actions when the ship first came under fire, and what happened to them and their reactions when the two kamikazes hit the ship. Long received replies that ranged from being very brief to several typed pages.
In addition to the correspondence, there is an extensive amount of information Long accumulated during his research. Included with information specific to the carrier TICONDEROGA are copies of newspaper articles, ship information bulletins, and histories of the carrier's battles. There are also copies of holiday food menus prepared on the ship; TICONDEROGA's shipboard newspaper printed during World War II (1944-1945); copies of the daily deck log, and a microfilm of the crew rosters. Another focus was Captain Dixie Keifer. Clippings copied from newspapers and official Navy biographical data establish a base that the personal war experiences of Keifer's men enlarge upon. There is also some correspondence relating specifically to Long's attempt to accumulate information about Keifer.
The collection also contains a number of short biographies of people and ships from World War II that were related to the TICONDEROGA'S career. A sizable amount of material on the general history of World War II has been gathered by Long from various books, magazines, and archival sources. Carrier Air Groups (CAG) received particular attention from Long. He collected information on CAGs in general, but alsoconcentrated on the TICONDEROGA's air groups, CAG-80 and CAG-87. The collection contains action reports for CAG-80's operations around the Philippines (November 1944). Official histories of the CAGs, and many of their composite fighter, bomber, and torpedo squadrons, such as VF-80, VT-80, VBF-87, and VB-87 are also present. Another item of particular interest is the reproduced flight log (October 19, 1944-March 27, 1945) of Ellsworth Stevens, a torpedo plane pilot from CAG-80. Stevens wrote about flying activities, his opinions of the raids, and activities on board ship that impacted on or interested him. Also of interest are two official service interviews with Commanders W. O. Burch and J. S. Thach by the Bureau of Aeronautics (1942). These items focus on the pilots' experiences fighting the Japanese and their recommendations for improvements in the war effort. In addition, the collection also contains some of the histories and technical information of the planes that composed the CAGs. These include the Grumman F4F Wildcat, TBM/F Avenger, F6F Hellcat, Curtiss SB2 Helldiver, Douglas TBD Devastator and SBD Dauntless. A history of Grumman Corporation and the technical details of the F6F and TBM/F are also included.
Remaining materials focus on the carrier's post-war deployments. There are numerous copies of the shipboard newspaper (1950s-1960s) and some information bulletins for the ship's destinations. Also included are items on the new cruiser USS TICONDEROGA (CG-47) that are general in nature, and are comprised primarily of copied material, newspaper clippings about the ship's commissioning, and its first deployment.
Additional information about the Big "T" Association comes mainly in the form of an incomplete set of newsletters (1975-1988). By-laws and rosters for the association are also in this section, and reunion information for the mid-1980s is provided here. Other veterans' groups represented in the collection come from the aircraft carriers USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) and USS YORKTOWN (CV-10). Other information includes material on the post-war lives of Fighter/Bomber Squadron 87's pilots. Also included is an incomplete series of newsletters for Navy retirees called Shift Colors (1984-1988), and a folder of information on writers' groups in North Carolina.
Long's unfinished manuscript concerning the TICONDEROGA and various pages of notes follow, reflecting the extent of his research. The notes seem to be patterned by the order he took them and largely reflect material elsewhere in the collection.
The final segment of the collection is concerned with printed material, miscellaneous items, and audio tapes. Printed material includes published songs, pamphlets on military topics and museums, the United States Naval Training Center recruit book (1950s), newspaper clippings, and issues of Newsweek and Time magazines (January 1945). Miscellaneous items include stickers, maps of various areas of the world,and U.S. flag information. Audio tapes provide conversations with other veterans. One is a a copy of a wartime radio program with Dixie Keifer's voice on it. Other tapes, including ones from Thomas Lusk, George Graham, C. Chamblin, and Max Silva, elaborate on shipboard life. A tape with George Stark recounts the filming of a movie aboard the TICONDEROGA during World War II. Many of the tapes have details about Captain Dixie Keifer, and many describe the activities on the day the kamikazes hit the ship. Especially informative are the descriptions by Otto Mackey and Eugene Forsht. The tapes are numbered, and a list is included in the box. An oversized folder includes a poster promoting the Big "T" Association and copies of the newspaper World War II Times.
Gift of Mrs. Sherrie Long Brewer
Gift of Mrs. Maureen Long Sikes
Processed by R. Earl
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.