Nov 26

The First Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 26, 2015 12:01 AM


SMN Richard H. Hershberger (left) of Conton, Ohio, eats Thanksgiving dinner with Boatswain's Mate First Class Joseph E. Keating (rightt) of Quincy, Massachusetts, aboard the USS Boston on November 24, 1955. USNI Archives.

By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 19

The Measure of the Sierra Madre

Thursday, November 19, 2015 12:01 AM


An undated photo of the amphibious BRP Sierra Madre the Philippines have used as an outpost in the South China Sea.

On the 9th of May, 1997, the Philippine Navy’s dilapidated tank landing ship BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) ran aground on a reef near the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. She was stranded — but good — and it was certain the ship could not be removed under her own power. Six days later, two Chinese frigates are said to have steamed into the area, and to have trained their guns on the stranded hulk. It was alleged that no assistance was offered by the Chinese ships. But supposing they had, their assistance would neither have been desired nor… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 18

Salty Talk

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 12:01 AM



One of the most stirring sights for many of us is a painting of a full-rigged ship with all sails set, surging through a beautiful sea while overhead, puffy clouds proclaim beautiful weather. Such a ship might be displaying more than three dozen sails, comprising more than an acre of canvas aloft, and each of them with its own name.

Nov 17

From Our Archives-Tattletales

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 12:01 AM


Soviety Minsk 117 with Kiev 060 in background, from the deck of the USS South Carolina in the Mediterranean, Fall 1978

The United States Naval Institute has the largest private collection of sea service photographs in the world including some rare Cold War era images. A sizable number of photos of Soviet ships & submarines are within the collection. A sampling of images of Soviet vessels shadowing U.S. Navy ships are below. An example of a war fought without a front line.            

Nov 16

The Ubiquitous 5-inch/38

Monday, November 16, 2015 12:01 AM


A 5-inch/38-caliber gun in a twin mount on board the USS New Jersey (BB-62) fires on a North Korean target in 1951. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

Designed to fulfill the needs of battleships as well as destroyers, the 5-inch/38-caliber dual-purpose gun became one of World War II’s best regarded and most versatile naval weapons. It was the conflict’s iconic U.S. destroyer gun as well as the Navy’s workhorse on board capital ships, cruisers, and auxiliaries. Many more 5-inch/38s were made than any other World War II medium-caliber naval gun. In the 1920s, the Navy used different guns to deal with aircraft and with surface targets. U.S. battleships and some destroyers were armed with high-velocity 5-inch/51s (the second number refers the length of the barrel in multiples… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 12

Monument of the Month: The Phantom (II) of the Naval Academy

Thursday, November 12, 2015 12:01 AM



On 28 June 1967 Commander (later Vice Admiral) William P. “Bill” Lawrence was the flying the lead plane of the flight of 36 aircraft from VF-143 of the USS Constellation. Theirs was an attack mission on transshipment points in the city of Nam Dinh in North Vietnam. His F-4B Phantom II was part of group of 8 F-4s flying as flak suppressors for the other aircraft. As he he streaked in at over 500 knots, Lawrence remembered thinking “Boy, I won’t have to sweat the missiles today, because we’ll be outside the missile zone.” As he was rolling on target,… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 11

Ripley at the Bridge

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 12:01 AM


Charles Waterhouse’s painting depicts Captain John Ripley dangling from the bridge to thwart the advance of the North Vietnamese Army.

As a young man I was fascinated by a tale from ancient Roman history that told of a warrior whose courage was beyond all reason, yet was inspirational as an ideal worth trying to live up to. It is a story, often recounted by Roman authors and later preserved for English literature in a poem by Lord Macaulay that tells us of an Etruscan army marching on Rome, headed for a bridge across the Tiber River that, unless destroyed, would give the enemy access to the capital city itself. Their van will be upon us Before the bridge goes down;… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 10

Wrangling a Runaway U-Boat

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 12:01 AM


Captain Daniel Gallery (left) stands with Lieutenant (j.g.) Albert David, who received the Navy Cross for his role in the in-tact capture of U-505. (National Archives)

One of the U.S. Navy’s most celebrated feats of World War II was the 4 June 1944 capture of U-505, complete with enigma machines, codebooks, and bags of official communications. Much of the credit goes to Captain Daniel V. Gallery, commander of Task Group 22.3—a “hunter-killer” group composed of his flagship, the escort carrier Guadalcanal (CVE-60), and five destroyer escorts. After TG 22.3 sank U-515 on 9 April 1944, Gallery planned to capture the next U-boat he encountered and ordered that each of his group’s ships organize boarding parties.1 What follows is an excerpt from Captain Gallery’s account of seizing… Read the rest of this entry »