|48 STAR FLAG & MATCHING COMMISSIONING PENNANT OF THE WWII ERA, SELDOM EVER FOUND IN A MATCHING PAIR, BROUGHT HOME BY U.S. NAVY AMPHIBIOUS FORCES GROUP SAILOR LUTHER VOIGHT LINGLE, WHO SERVED ON THE U.S.S. REEVES, THE FIRST AMERICAN SHIP TO DROP ANCHOR IN JAPANESE WATERS BEFORE THE SURRENDER
|Frame Size (H x L):||45" x 66"|
|Flag Size (H x L):||flag: 29" x 54.5" Pennant: 2" x 49.5"|
|Despite having owned many U.S. Navy flags and commissioning pennants dating to the 19th and 20th centuries, I have seldom ever encountered matching pairs, evidently from the same ship and intended to be flown together. It is for this reason that, while the specific history of these two is sadly not known, the discovery of these two flags was nonetheless very interesting. Beyond the academic nature of the find, the fact is that the pair is beautiful together and makes for a wonderful display.
Commissioning pennants are the distinguishing mark of a commissioned U.S. Navy ship. A ship became commissioned when this pennant was hoisted. Flown during both times of peace and war, the only time the pennant is not flown is if a flag officer or civilian official is aboard and replaces it with their own flag.
Commissioning pennants were once very important in their role as signals and thus needed to be seen from great distance. During the 18th and 19th centuries, they usually exceed ten feet in length, with some reaching as long as a hundred feet. During the 1st quarter of the 20th they became largely ceremonial and customary. Most range between four feet (like this example) and six feet in length. Today the largest commissioning pennants measure two-and-a-half inches by six feet.
Note that there are two sizes of stars, 3 larger and 4 smaller. Typically there are 4 larger stars and three smaller. The reason for the variation here is probably a result of human error. It is interesting to note that, according to the U.S. Navy, the reason for the choice of 7 stars was not recorded. I have always suspected that the number might reference the "7 Seas", though this is an ancient term and geographers disagree on the precise meaning. The number may just as likely have represented what seemed like a logical design choice when the overall length was substantially shortened.
The flag and pennant were brought home by Luther Voight Lingle (b. Nov. 24, 1922, d. Nov. 2, 2008) of Salisbury, NC, who was a U.S. Navy Amphibious Forces Group Sailor. He and his wife of 62 years had no children when Luther passed in 2008 at the age of 85. The flag and pennant were acquired by a antiques dealer/picker/collector from Luther’s niece. According to the niece, Luther served from mid-1944 - 1946 in the Pacific Theatre.
A copy of Lingle’s draft card and a copy of a ship’s roster were found when researching his service record. The roster, is from the U.S.S. Reeves (APD52) and reflects the last Quarter of 1944, ending Dec. 31st of that year. It supports the niece’s information, stating that Lingle had enlisted on the 27th of June, 1944. It can be assumed that he entered the Navy boot camp, and probably wasn’t assigned to the Reeves until it was modified and re-designated, a process that began in September. The overhauled ship re-launched on December 23rd of that year. Lingle appears on the ship’s records until June 1st, 1946. What happened to him after this time with regard to his term of U.S. Navy Service is not known.
History of the U.S.S. Reeves (DE-156/APD-52):
The first U.S.S. Reeves was a Buckley-class destroyer escort, named in honor of Warrant Officer Thomas J. Reeves (1895–1941), who was killed in action while serving aboard the battleship California (BB-44) during the attack on Pearl Harbor. For his distinguished conduct to bring ammunition to anti-aircraft guns, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and further honored with the ship’s name.
The Reeves was laid down by the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, on the 7th of February, 1943, was launched on the 23rd of April, and sponsored by Miss Mary Anne Reeves, niece of Chief Radioman Reeves. The ship was commissioned on June 9th of that year, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Mathias S. Clark.
Following shakedown, Reeves returned to Norfolk and on August 16th and got underway on her first transatlantic escort run, a slow convoy to Casablanca. Arriving at New York 6 weeks later, she underwent availability and further training at Casco Bay, then returned to escort duty and for the next 12 months shepherded fast tanker convoys between New York and the UK. On March 18th, 1944, following the sinking of the S.S. Seakay, Reeves rescued 83 of the merchantman's 84 man crew. For heroism during that rescue, one of the escort's coxswains, E. E. Angus, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. The following day, Reeves took the U.S.S. Donnell (DE-56) in tow, after she had been torpedoed, and stood by until relieved by tugs, then continued on, carrying the damaged escort's more seriously wounded men.
Through D-Day and the summer of 1944, Reeves continued to escort fast convoys. On the 23rd of September, she completed her last Atlantic escort mission and entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for conversion to a Charles Lawrence-class, high speed transport.
Redesignated APD-52 on 25 September, the U.S.S. Reeves emerged from the shipyard on December 23rd and after amphibious training, headed for the Panama Canal and duty in the Pacific. Arriving at Ulithi on February 26th, 1945, she continued on to the Philippines in early March to rehearse for Operation Iceberg, the invasion of the Ryukyus.
On March 26th, the ship arrived off the Kerama Retto invasion area, and following initial duties as a standby ship for Underwater Demolition Team operations, shifted to anti-submarine and anti-aircraft screening duties. She served on that harrowing duty for 109 days, interrupted only for a fast convoy to Ulithi and a brief availability in the Philippines. Detached on August 18th, the APD delivered men, mail, and provisions to ships of the fleet, then sailed north to Japan. There, into October, she assisted in the repatriation of former POWs, including Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, (b. 1912, d. 1988), the famous Marine Corps fighter ace who flew a P-40 Warhawk with the legendary "Flying Tigers," then supported the United States Strategic Bombing Survey mission assigned to the Nagasaki area.
The U.S.S. Reeves was the first American Ship to drop anchor in Japanese waters before the surrender.
The ship sailed for the United States on November 26th and, after stops in the Volcano, Marshall, and Hawaiian islands, arrived at San Diego on December 23rd. Three days later she continued on and arrived at Boston to begin inactivation on the 10th of January, 1946. Assigned to the Florida Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet, she was decommissioned on July 30th of that year at Green Cove Springs, FL, where she remained until struck from the Navy List on June 1st, 1960 and transferred to the Government of Ecuador for use as an electric generator plant.
The Reeves earned one battle star during the war.
Information on Luther Voight Lingle (1922-2008):
Born Nov. 24, 1922, in Rowan County, he was the son of the late Julian Ralph Lingle and Ethel Safrit Lingle. Mr. Lingle graduated from Mount Ulla High School and served in the United States Navy during World War II. He retired as a superintendent from Wagoner Construction Company and was a member of Franklin Presbyterian Church, where he was a former Elder Emeritus. When he passesd, Mr. Lingle was survived by his wife of 62 years, Mabel Kluttz Lingle, and two sisters, Mrs. Ailene Safrit of Salisbury and Mrs. Faye O'Bryant of Florida.
Parents: Julian Ralph Lingle (1900 - 1997) and Ethel Irene Safrit Lingle (1900 - 1945)
Spouse: Mabel Kluttz Lingle (1919 - 2013)
Siblings: Luther Voight Lingle (1922 - 2008), Julian Locke Lingle (1928 - 2000), Ailene Safrit, Faye O'Bryant
Burial: Franklin Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Franklin, North Carolina (Rowan County)
Headstone Inscription: S1 US NAVY WWII; Find A Grave Memorial #: 67551110
Construction: The blue cantons and the red and white stripes of each flags are made of wool bunting. The stars are made of cotton and are appliquéd with a zigzag, machine stitch. There is a sailcloth canvas binding along each hoist. The commissioning pennant has a single, white metal grommet. “Nav. Com 7” is stamped along the hoist in black ink. The numeral is a size designation. The flag has four grommets. This heavy-duty feature is indicative of flags made for Navy use.
Mounting: The flag was back-stitched to 100% silk organza for support on every seam and throughout the star field. Both it and the pennant were then hand-stitched to 100% hemp fabric. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.
|Collector Level:||Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything|
|Flag Type:||Sewn flag|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1941|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1945|
|War Association:||WW 2|
|Price:||Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281|