By TONY ROSS, Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — A great way for friends to make new friends is to buy a vintage photo album.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
It’s also the gift you might have forgotten you needed.
The latest offering from The National Archives and Records Administration is an extensive and stunning collection of photographs taken by U.S. Navy Capt. John E. “Skip” St. Clair in World War II.
“Skip” and his crew are often forgotten about in the annals of military history, but the photos of his crew, including the famous “Tailgaters,” make them a part of the history that should be kept, said Sarah Matson, executive director of the National Archives’ Prints and Photographs Division.
St. Clair, a former lieutenant colonel in the U. S. Navy, served in Japan during World War I. He was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Navy says.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served two tours of duty in the Pacific.
He married his first wife, Florence, in 1946.
After his second deployment, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to the USS St. Louis.
The USS St Louis went to the Gulf of Tonkin and sank on April 6, 1964.
It sank near Tinian, Philippines.
His death in an explosion on the USS Vincennes on March 19, 1965 was the deadliest U.K. naval disaster since World War One.
In addition to his photos, the collection includes about 100 artifacts from St. Claire’s command ship, the USS San Francisco, as well as items of military equipment including guns, torpedoes and aircraft.
The National Archives says there are hundreds of photos and documents from St, Clair’s command and two ships.
St. Clay was awarded a Bronze Star, the highest military decoration, for valor.
His crewmen are honored in a photograph by Rear Adm.
Michael D. Haney, commander of the U