Archive for May, 2012

May 28

First Female Midshipmen Graduate from U. S. Naval Academy

Monday, May 28, 2012 1:00 AM

May 28th, 1980

First women graduate from USNA

In October, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a bill which included a mandate stating that the United States’ military academies were to begin admitting women in the fall of 1976. This full integration of the sevice academies required much forethought and preparation to ensure that female students would have the same experiences and opportunities as their male counterparts, but it was a landmark acheivement for women in the services. In April 1976, Proceedings incleded a special news release from the U. S. Naval Academy which detailed the many changes and considerations which had been made in anticipation of the incoming female midshipmen. The article also offered a view of what the lives of these female midshipmen would be like, from the extracurricular activities they would participate in to their living arrangements in Bancroft Hall, and even included a description of their uniforms and dress codes. Most importantly, the article noted the high hopes and expectations for these women midshipmen, which the fifty-five female graduates of the class of 1980 surely met.

As the U. S. service academies enter the country’s bicentennial year, they will end more than a century of male-only admission policies. Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 24

NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch and MDSU2 Survey SB2C Helldiver Wreck

Thursday, May 24, 2012 4:34 PM

The Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) is currently cooperating with the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) and U.S. Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit TWO (MDSU-2) to investigate a WWII-era SB2C Helldiver aircraft wreck off the coast of Jupiter, FL. The objectives of the investigation are to identify the aircraft using its numbered identification plates, measure and map the wreck site, and document the aircraft.

Investigation operations are being conducted from USNS Apache (T-ATF 172), one of MSC’s four Fleet Ocean Tugs and one of the 14 ships in its Surface Support Program. USNS Apache’s main mission is to render assistance to the US Navy’s numbered fleets by providing towing, diving platform and other services. UAB is also pleased to have the opportunity to once again work with MDSU-2. Their expertise and support were much appreciated aboard USNS Grasp, during the 2011 collaborative survey expedition to locate the wreck of USS Bonhomme Richard in the North Sea. (Photo to the left courtesy of Military Sealift Command Ship Database)

In addition to assisting UAB with its archaeological investigation, this project also provides MDSU-2 divers the opportunity to gain valuable training experience by performing deep water, mixed-gas dives up to 185 ft (56.4 m); collecting measurements of underwater sites; and conducting underwater navigation exercises. Over the previous four days, MDSU-2 divers have assisted with measuring the wreck site, documenting the aircraft, and mapping its disarticulated pieces. All divers are equipped with live video feed in their helmets, which allows MDSU-2 dive supervisor and UAB representative underwater archaeologist Heather Brown to observe underwater operations from aboard Apache in real time.

The wreck was first discovered and filmed by a local dive charter operator late last year, who then contacted NHHC about the find in early 2012. Video footage of the wreck (photo on the right is a still taken from video by Randy Jordan) shows that it is relatively intact and currently rests in an inverted position on the sandy ocean floor. The vertical stabilizer, ailerons, flaps, and elevators initially appeared to be missing, however portions or fragments of those elements have since been located on the site. The propellers and engine have been separated from the fuselage and lie several meters away from of the main body of the wreck. There are a number of ropes wrapped around the propellers and what appears to be a lobster trap lying beside the engine, suggesting the wreck may have been previously snagged by a fishing boat. (Sonar image of the SB2C site shown at the right)

As the wreck is resting in an inverted position on the sandy bottom, the cockpit and the aircraft bureau number were not readily accessible to the divers. However, they were able to locate a model number plate, heavily covered in marine growth and currently illegible, and carefully remove it. The plate is being sent to the Underwater Archaeology & Conservation Lab at NHHC headquarters on the Washington Navy Yard, DC, where it will be treated and examined by UAB’s conservation team and hopefully provide data to help identify the aircraft.

(The heavily corroded data plate)

Stay tuned for more updates as the project progresses!

Click the below link to watch Local News Channel 5 WPTV.com interview with NHHC underwater archaeologist Heather Brown:

 
May 17

Underwater Archaeology and STEM Programming

Thursday, May 17, 2012 2:04 PM

The U.S. is currently prioritizing their public education agenda to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) and its Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) have created a pilot program to highlight aspects of the underwater archaeology field in order to complement STEM initiatives. The purpose of this Underwater Archaeology STEM Program Pilot Project is to expand the reach and influence of both the NHHC and the history and archaeology career field, and educational opportunities associated with underwater archeological science and technology.

Archaeologists from the NHHC’s UAB and educators for the National Museum of the U.S. Navy presented the pilot program at the recent NHHC Professional Development Workshop, held a the Navy Yard in Washington, DC.

The UA STEM program fulfills curriculum requirements for teachers and faculty; efforts are currently pointed towards high schools in DC, MD & VA that are focused on STEM programming and offer courses in either oceanography, archaeology or marine sciences. The target audience is:

  • High School Students: STEM candidates, and students involved in history, social sciences, mathematics, engineering, technology or marine science. 

 

  • Undergraduate Students: With disciplines in history, social sciences, bio-sciences, engineering, technology, meteorology, archeology, or other related fields.

 

  • Graduate Students: With disciplines in history, social sciences, bio-sciences, engineering, technology, meteorology, archeology, or other related fields.

Underwater archaeology incorporates all aspects of STEM education: 

SCIENCE

  • -Chemical Processes, Physics, Oceanography, Geology, Geography, Environmental Science, etc.

 

TECHNOLOGY

  • -ROVs, AUVs, Side Scan Sonar, Multi-beam Sonar, submersibles, dive equipment, GIS, computer programming, 3D Imaging, etc.

 

ENGINEERING

  • -Civil, Mechanical, and Ocean Engineering.

 

MATH

  • -Site Mapping, Data Plotting, GIS, diving, navigation, etc.

 

Students and groups are currently invited to tour the Underwater Archaeology Conservation Laboratory and the National Museum of the U.S. Navy. The NHHC and the UAB also have an energetic public outreach program geared towards students and veterans groups. The Underwater Archaeology Branch takes in spring, summer, and fall interns to complete projects either at the conservation lab, on policy and permitting, or archaeological site survey and reporting.

 
May 9

First Flight Over the North Pole

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 2:47 PM

May 9th, 1926

LCDR Richard Byrd and Chief Machinist Mate Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole

Fifteen years after Robert Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole, Richard E. Byrd, along with his pilot, Floyd Bennett, became the first men to fly over the pole. Because the North Pole lies within the Arctic Ocean, rather than upon a fixed landmass, its exact location cannot be precisely determined. Thus Byrd’s observations and recordings, much like Peary’s, were subject to intense scrutiny from scientists and mathematicians before he could lay claim to his achievement. Both Byrd and Bennett received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their feat, and Byrd later went on to become the first man to fly over the South Pole as well.

A few months after Byrd’s Arctic flight, the August 1926 issue of Proceedings contained an article reprinted from the New York Times about the verification of Byrd’s claims by the National Geographic Society, which demonstrated the success of his mission. The article is excerpted below:

New York Times, 30 June, 1926.—Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd arrived at the North Pole “very close” to nine hours three minutes Greenwich civil time on May 9, the committee of experts named by the National Geographic Society finds after a careful examination of his data. Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 9

Battle of the Coral Sea

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 7:54 AM

 

70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea

 

 
 

May 8th, 1942

May 8th, 1942, marked the end of the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first carrier vs. carrier battle, which took place between the United States and Japan over the course of five days. In April 2006, Naval History printed a revised account of the battle from John B. Lundstrom’s book, Black Shoe Carrier Admiral: Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal. Lundstrom’s account focused on the many difficulties encountered by both sides in locating enemy forces, and described the sense of anxiety that pervaded American and Japanese leaders as they tried to determine where and to what degree they would eventually engage their opponents in a drawn-out battle that ended, at last, with the sinking of the Japanese carrier Shoho.

Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, USN

 

 

Sunset on 6 May 1942 drew the curtain on the last unalloyed strategic success Japan would enjoy in the Pacific war. Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 5

First U. S. Manned Space Flight

Saturday, May 5, 2012 1:00 AM

May 5th, 1961

CDR Alan Shepard Jr. mans first U. S. space flight

 

Fifty-one years ago, the United States launched its first manned spacecraft, Freedom 7. The flight, which lasted almost fifteen-and-a-half minutes, marked a monumental step towards the U. S. space program’s goal of placing a man on the moon. In this, and many other acheivements made by the United States in space exploration, the Navy played an instrumental role, not only in supplying astronaughts to man spaceflights, but in aiding the launching and rescue of these flights as well. In January 1963, almost two years after Commander Shepard’s flight, Proceedings published an article by Captain Malcolm W. Cagle, about the Navy’s role in space. In his article, excerpted below, Captain Cagle speculated on the what the next ten years of space exploration would bring for the Navy, and described the new duties that would be placed upon the Navy, as well as future concerns for national defense as other nations began to join the space race.

Ten years hence, when the U. S. Naval Institute is a century old, what impact will rapidly accelerating space operations and technology have on the U. S. Navy? What can and should our Navy do in space? Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 1

Battle of Manila Bay

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 1:00 AM

May 1st, 1898

Commodore George Dewey wins the Battle of Manila Bay

Official Battle Report as published in Proceedings

 The Battle of Manila Bay marked the first major victory in the Spanish-American War. The battle, which ended in less than a day’s time, demonstrated the naval prowess which earned the United States a quick and decisive victory in the war against the Spanish Empire, which only lasted four months. Furthermore, as a result of his successful leadership in the battle, Commodore George Dewey became the first and only person to hold the rank of Admiral of the Navy. In the year following the war, Proceedings published a report of the battle written by Dewey himself, in response to a previously-published account of the battle, which Dewey found to be erroneous and inaccurate. Dewey’s report, and a letter from the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation requesting that the Naval Institute publish his report, appear below:

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY. BUREAU OF NAVIGATION.

WASHINGTON, D. C., September 21st, 1899.

SIR:—The following is a copy of a letter received from Admiral George Dewey: Read the rest of this entry »