Meet the ship girl: O’bannon

Hey! Hey! Commander! Hey! Hi Commander! I’m here! Fletcher class destroyer USS O’Bannon has arrived!

You look… Am I too early?

Whoops. Well, I hope you don’t mind Commander.

You know, sometimes I feel like I was just born to mess with people. Not that I mean to go around ruining people’s day, but there’s some odd form of satisfaction with annoying the hell out of certain people.

I guess you can say it’s a skill I’ve honed through my experiences. Come on. Running circles around a battleship while she couldn’t even bring her guns down low enough to hit me? Throwing potatoes at a submarine? Hell, looking at the awards I’ve got, in the Navy it’s a GOOD thing to be annoying! Haha.

Guess I should apologize when I get the chance.

See, the important part of messing with people is that in the end no one actually gets hurt. You hurt someone? That’s just being mean. I get no satisfaction from being mean.

It’s why your perfect target is someone like Pennsylvania. She’s full of herself, generally disregards the opinions of others, and so argumentative to the point where I can’t say anything to her without pissing her off for some reason. She’s practically asking for someone to go and annoy her for kicks. Most importantly, though, she doesn’t take what you say or anything you do personally. She just gets all shouty for a bit. Important thing is that at the end of the day, she’s calmed down, some of the other girls get a kick out of it, and life goes on. See, no one gets hurt.

Someone you don’t want to target is Oklahoma. Poor girl’s just too unsure of herself that she’d be hurt by anything you’d do, even if it’s all in good fun.

Point is, you mess with people who either can take it, or just outright deserve it. Japan back during the war? They deserved it. These Abyssals, well, I’d say they deserve it too. Let’s give it to them, Commander.

STEC notes that O’bannon was the second of the Fletcher class destroyers to be commissioned. Named after Presley O’bannon, the Marine hero who led the successful attack during the Battle of Derna in the first Barbary War, O’bannon shares a similar fighting spirit. The historical USS O’bannon held the honor of being the most decorated destroyer of the war, with seventeen battle stars and a presidential unit citation Participating in the battles of Kula Gulf, Kolombangara, and Vella Lavella, it comes as a surprise to many that the USS O’bannon suffered no crew casualties to enemy fire.

While her combat accomplishments are vast, two particular events stand out:

During the naval battle of Guadalcanal, O’bannon lauched an attack on the Japanese battleship Hiei, getting close enough that Hiei could not depress her guns low enough to hit O’bannon. O’bannon fired two torpedos, although both were duds. Hiei would be heavily damaged in the battle, and later sunk by american air power the next day.

More humorously, on April 5th, 1943, O’bannon sighted the Japanese submarine RO-34 on the surface. Closing to engage, O’bannon found itself sailing alongside the submarine. Being too close to use the guns and fire at the submarine, the crew of the O’bannon ended up grabbing potatoes and throwing them at the Japanese submarine. The crew of the Japanese submarine -thinking that the potatoes were hand grenades- were too preoccupied dealing with the potatoes to man their deck gun. This gave the O’bannon time to gain distance and sink the submarine with her guns.(STEC also notes that while potatoes aren’t STEC standard issue equipment, the shipgirl O’bannon does seem fond of carrying potatoes into battle.)

The shipgirl O’bannon is an active girl, good at heart but at the same time a chronic troublemaker. She maintains a strong friendship with Maury, although Maury does stay away from any and all of O’bannon’s antics. O’bannon is commonly seen pulling practical jokes, though she is quick to apologize or fix things if she senses that things have gone too far. In combat she has the remarkable ability to turn anything into a weapon, and is an effective fighter in practically all combat conditons. STEC recomends she be used as a part of a quick reaction force, being able to strike quickly and take down any threat. Pairing her with USS Maury is also recommended.


 

Those of us familiar with vol. 1’s Chester know her to be something of a prankster. The ship girl I’m about to introduce to you, however, is just as prone to practical jokes. Meet O’bannon. She’s mostly designed by K9, who alongside me also dictates US policy and story structure.

One funny thing, though, is that O’bannon’s hairstyle went through a lot of revisions. Those of you who saw her sketch know that she first had the double-odongo/sailor moon type hair. We ended up choosing something else because we didn’t want her to be typecasted or shoehorned into one particular character interpretation. Not to mention, I personally think that with how she’s written and her relationships, giving her short hair makes a lot of sense.Originally she’s not scheduled to show up until much later, but she managed to make it into this book because we wanted to give San Francisco – another star of our book – a good friend. Not to mention this happens to be the historical ship that – out of all things – contributed to the sinking of a sub by throwing potatoes. This Fletcher-class DD not only trolled Hiei (likely to her demise) because the venerable Japanese battleship could not depress her main guns well enough to hit it, but happens to be one of the few ships that saw as much as action as the USS Maury.

A lot of folks have suggested that she carries something to symbolize the original marine, O’bannon, who is still to today regarded as a hero of the UMSC. The mameluke sword was an idea that K9 had when we first decided to draw her. A few other things of note include, in no particular order:

  • Unlike Maury, whose equipment isn’t at all visible, O’bannon’s ship girl “gear” is clearly something closer to standardized equipment. This is to highlight an aspect of her characterization – as a nod to history, USS O’bannon was one of the many Fletchers produced during WWII. We want to set her apart from Maury, who’s closer to a mecha prototype if we’re talking anime-like inspirations.
  • Her red hair speaks to her personality but also to history. The historical O’bannon had – depending on artistic depiction – reddish brown to brown hair. Considering that O’bannon was of Irish descent, the ginger-ness fits. Plus, it fits her personality.
  • Her hair-pin says “CAN DO”, which is a triple reference. Her ship’s emblem, of course, is a green four-leafed clover with the phrase “Can do” written on it. Her crew’s unofficial motto was also that, and it just so happens that the can-do attitude is prevalent across USN destroyers as a whole.
  • Given that we make it a point of pride to make our ship girls unique (let’s just say that if we ever make an RPG-TBS hybrid, we gotta give the players a reason to use them), we chose to focus on O’bannon’s fighting style. If Maury’s Captain America (complete with acrobatics), O’bannon’s a classic comedy brawler. Think Jackie Chan in Rush Hour. Anything O’bannon can get her hands on she can weaponize. In fact, the abyssal learned that the the worst thing they could do when running into her is causing environmental damage. O’bannon’s plenty deadly already. Trust me, the abyssals really don’t want to see what happens when she picks up a ladder or a towel or half a coconut…
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