Summary

Conflict Period:
World War I 1
Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Chief Petty Officer 1
Birth:
11 Nov 1893 1
Kewaunee, Kewaunee, Wisconsin, USA 1
Death:
22 Jan 1964 1
Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Walter Wisnicky 1
Birth:
11 Nov 1893 1
Kewaunee, Kewaunee, Wisconsin, USA 1
Death:
22 Jan 1964 1
Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA 1
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Marriage:
Neomi Pauline Bubnik 1
14 Jun 1919 1
Green Bay, Brown, Wisconsin, USA 1
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World War I 1

Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Chief Petty Officer 1
Service Start Date:
21 May 1917 1
Service End Date:
28 Jan 1919 2
Ship:
U.S. Carola 1
Ship:
U.S.S. Kanawha II 3

Other Service 1

Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Boatswain's Mate, 2nd class 1
Service Start Date:
11 Jul 1911 1
Service End Date:
10 Nov 1914 1
Ship:
U.S.S. Maryland 1

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Stories

Walter's First Tour of Duty 1911-1914

Walter Wisnicky enlisted in the Navy at Milwaukee in 1911. After a three months training course around Yuebra Benna Island, in San Francisco Bay, he was transferred to the U.S.S. Maryland.  He served on this ship for three years.

Walter was in the deck division of the boat, his chief duties being care of guns, gun practice, some general work and his specialty being seamanship. The Maryland is an Armored Cruiser, First Class.  The Armament consists of four 8-inch, fourteen 6-inch, eighteen 3-inch guns, one 3-inch field piece, four colts automatic rapid fire guns and twelve Bennett Mercer rapid fire guns, besides the usual small arms.

During the three years of service he has been in China, Japan, Philippine Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, South America and Alaska. The crew was assigned to attend the funeral of Emperor Mutsuhito of Japan that was held on September 13, 1912. 

While off the coast of Mexico, they would swim ashore to pick limes and avocados.  In the winter, the crew would spend 3 months mining the coal used to power the ship.

In November of 1914 Walter received an honorable discharge from the Navy at Seattle, Washington.  He was paid off as a boatswain's mate, second class.  He holds an intermediate gun captain's certificate.

Walter's Tour During WWI 1917-1919

Brest, France

As a crewmember of a converted 80-foot pleasure yacht, the U. S. S. Kanawha, Walter was among a handful of sailors that constituted the first American naval participation in the Great War.  The force was called U. S. Patrol Squadrons Operating in European Waters and was based out of Brest, France.  The fleet arrived in Brest on July 4, 1917.  Their first duty was to continuously patrol the waters off the coast of France.  The patrol was "so continuous and so thorough that the submarine activities, hitherto in a large measure undisputed, were materially hampered and the safety of the convoys passing through these waters was proportionately increased." (Joseph Husband, Ensign, U. S. N. R. F.)

The Kanawha was serving as escort to the convoy containing the armed transport Antilles when it was torpedoed and sunk, on October 17, 1917, outside of Quiberon Bay. 167 were rescued by the escorting yachts. On November 28, 1917 the lookout of the Kanawha spotted a periscope of an enemy sub that was sunk by the Wakiva a few hours later. On January 5, 1918, the Kanawha was an escort to a convoy that came under submarine attack just eight miles west of Penmarch. The Le Couer and the Kanaris were sunk, despite efforts of the escort crew to draw attention away from the fleet it was protecting.

The vital service Walter's fleet was providing to the war effort became personal when in late 1917 his brother Stanley was among the rescued  survivors of a hospital ship sunk of the coast of France. Stanley was picked up by a yacht escort. The Kanawha was part of the escort but a sister ship rescued his brother.

"During the first nine months of 1918 an approximate total of 752,402 troops was convoyed safely through the danger zone and landed at French ports. On one day alone sixteen ships containing over forty thousand men were brought in safety into a single port. Two hundred and sixty convoys, comprising 1,499 vessels, were convoyed, during the same period through the zone, proceeding either to French ports or homeward bound. And this was accomplished by a fleet, all told, which reached eighty odd vessels only a few weeks before the armistice was signed, and was manned by approximately eight thousand officers and men." (Husband)

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