Archive for July, 2013

Jul 30

First WAVES

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 10:11 AM
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WAVES in a R4D transport plane, Nov. 1944

On July 30, 1942 President Roosevelt signed into law the establishment of the WAVES (Woman Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). Establishing the WAVES was a lengthy effort. Inter-war changes in the Naval Reserve legislation specifically limited service to men, so new legislation was essential. The next few months saw the commissioning of Mildred McAfee, and several other prominent female educators and professionals, to guide the new organization. Just one year later in July 1943, 27,000 women wore the WAVES uniform.

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WAVE aircraft mechanic turns over the propeller of a SNJ, 1943

The WAVES performed jobs in fields such as aviation, clerical, medical, communication, legal, intelligence, and science and technology. The wartime Navy’s demand for them was intense as it struggled to defeat Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and the Japanese in the Pacific. At the end of the conflict, there were well over 8,000 female officers and some ten times that many enlisted WAVES, about 2 ½ percent of the Navy’s total strength. In some places WAVES constituted a majority of the uniformed naval personnel and many remained in uniform to help get the Navy through, the post-war era. On June 12, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Public Law 625, the “Women’s Armed Services Integration Act”, which approved regular and Reserve component status for women in the military and disbanded the WAVES.

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WAVES visiting USS Missouri, 1944

 Women are an essential part of our nation’s military tradition. Throughout the U.S. Navy’s 238 years’ of history, its female Sailors have steadily integrated into jobs that were once opened only to males. Earlier this year, following a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members. As part of the new policy, the services are reviewing about 53,000 positions now closed by unit but that will be open to women who meet standards developed for the positions. Women make up about 15 percent, or nearly 202,400, of the U.S. military’s 1.4 million active-duty personnel. Over the past decade, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 152 of them have died*. Today is a great day to celebrate the accomplishments of Women through our nation’s history.

*Pellerin, Cheryl (2013). Dempsey: Allowing Women in Combat Strengthens Joint Force. American Forces Press Service.

For more information on the history of women in the Navy, please visit the NHHC website: http://www.history.navy.mil/special%20Highlights/Women/Women-index.htm

 
Jul 26

NHHC Logo Contest Underway

Friday, July 26, 2013 1:17 PM

The logo contest is in full swing, and we’ve received a smattering of entries that run the gamut. Thank you to all who have submitted their entries so far, and we’re looking forward to the creativity of those who are yet to apply.

We’re accepting entries until Labor Day (September 2, 2013) so there’s still time to put your creativity and ingenuity to work and make your stamp on naval history.

Here are two examples of the entries we’ve received:

This submission from Robert Moose contains three images in the middle; a diver helmet, a signal light, and an electronic disk, that represent traditional naval information activities under the sea, on the surface, and above the water.

130702Robert Moose

 

 This entry from Tim Armentrout utilizes an Arleigh Burke class destroyer to symbolize the strength, versatility, and technological advancements of the Navy, and a silhouette of a sailor to evoke a sense of dedication by Sailors past and present.

 

130719 Tim Armentrout_image

Reflecting the past and boldly charting the future…

 

It’s been said that writing history is more important than making history… and that a picture is worth a thousand words. We’re not math whizzes, but if there’s truth in these sayings then YOUR entry could really rock the naval history boat – err, ship.

For complete rules and information visit our website: http://www.history.navy.mil/logocontest.html and we look forward to seeing what YOU come up with!

 

 

 
Jul 19

Set Sail With the USS Constitution

Friday, July 19, 2013 7:14 AM

As I stepped across the brow onto the deck of USS Constitution the sense of history was almost overwhelming.

It was on these decks that the Sailors from past ages had fought and died for the colors that were whipping in the warm breeze above my head.

 

Guests of the USS Constitution boarding, 4 July, 2013

Guests of the USS Constitution boarding, 4 July, 2013

 

It’s July 4th, and time for Old Ironsides to get underway once again as she always does on Independence Day. The maneuvering watch is set and they are preparing their charts and instruments to plot the course down the Charlestown River to Castle Island, a familiar course, but still the motions are required as a Sailor assigned to Constitution must be proficient in these skills in order to be called a Constitution Sailor.

I introduce myself to the Sailors on watch and they say “Welcome aboard the Constitution and just let us know if there is anything we can do to help sir!”

Finding a place on deck, aft, near the Quartermaster’s station, , a simple table with a chart of Boston Harbor and a few tools of the Quartermaster rating and I begin to take a few quick photos.

Among my first impressions was the size of Constitution, it is a real surprise to me, not having ever seen her up close I quickly realized that she was as large as a WW II Destroyer Escort and slightly wider.

As I look around I see the details one misses in simple photographs of the ship. The mooring lines dressed out on deck, the smooth bore Cannon surrounding the deck perimeter and the fighting tops almost 100 feet above my head speak to me, knowing that it was at these locations some of the real fighting took place with Marine sharpshooters taking aim at the enemy’s gun crews and the officers as they knew that by taking these targets out of action the chances for victory increased with each and every well placed round.

After a short time I hear the order to cast off all lines and within moments Constitution begins to move slowly out of her berth, then the order is announced “Underway, shift colors” as a Sailor slowly lowers a perfect replica of the first Navy Jack, “Don’t Tread On Me” in brilliant and bold letters that can be easily seen.

As we pull away from the pier I found myself thinking about Constitution’s great engagements with the British warships that she fought and defeated. Ships with names like Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cayne and Levant, it was in the engagement with Guerriere that Constitution earned her nickname “Old Ironsides”.

 I watch as the crew raises a large American Flag with 15 stars and 15 bars and everyone begins to cheer, USS Constitution is underway once again.

Constitution - Shift Colors !

The crew is busily moving around deck, seemingly oblivious to the hundreds of eyes watching their every move as they stow mooring lines and equipment, their pride is obvious to all however, as this is a special day for them as well.

I check the chart as the navigation team is busy marking it with the ships position in the channel and hear them discussing their trade, “no, says one Sailor, the measurement must be taken this way”

as he attempts to teach a younger subordinate the correct method of marking the ship’s position every couple of minutes and I find myself thinking that in today’s Navy these tasks are much simpler with advanced digital charts and the benefit of a GPS enhanced moving map display.

The Constitution Sailors of old did not have these tools and would probably view them as magic if they could see them in action today.

Looking out across the channel one can see the “chase boats” of all sizes and bigger harbor cruisers alongside keeping pace with the ship as she slowly makes her way toward Castle Island.

Occasionally a helicopter will fly over or a large commercial airliner as Logan Airport is just a few miles away, I find myself imagining that the sailors of old Constitution would think this technology was magic as well.

As Constitution approaches Castle Island a reminder is announced that the Gun crews will be firing a 21 Gun salute and that hearing protection is advised. Within a few moments the guns are readied and the order to fire is passed, within seconds the ship shakes from the concussion of the guns firing from the bow in sequence, port and starboard, one can hear the order to fire from below on the gun deck and feel the force of the blasts as the ship is slowly rotating in front of the hundreds of onlookers on Castle island.

The cheers from the crowd both on board and ashore can easily be heard between each shot and the feeling of patriotic pride is heavy in the air.

Constitution is showing her stuff once again and there is no denying that she is the focus of thousands of people who have made it a special point to be there to witness this display.

While cruising back to her berth we pass the US Coast Guard Station, Boston, the site of Constitution’s construction and the cannons sound with a 17 Gun salute as we pass by and again the cheers are raised and unmistakable, the “Coasties” ashore and on their vessels waving American Flags and cheering along with Constitution’s riders.

 

Constitution's 17 Gun salute while passing USCG Station Boston.

Constitution’s 17 Gun salute while passing USCG Station Boston.

 

 At approach to the pier and Constitution is turned so that she enters her berth stern first and is slowly backed into position with the precision of a skilled surgeon who has done this operation a hundred times before. After a few moments the announcement is made “Moored, shift colors” and history is recorded once again aboard the USS Constitution, America’s Ship of State!

Rod Doty
Volunteer,
NHHC Communication & Outreach Div.
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View USS Constitution’s 4 July Underway
Photo Album on their Facebook Fan Page:
“Underway, 4 July 2013″
http://goo.gl/TMGxa

constitution-4-july-2013

 

 
Jul 17

Joint Space Operations

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1:12 PM

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On 17 July 1975, the crews of the U.S. Apollo and Soviet Soyuz docked in space initiating the first manned space flight conducted jointly by the United States and Soviet Union. The primary purpose of the mission, the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, was to test the compatibility of rendezvous and docking systems for American and Soviet spacecraft and to open the way for international space rescue as well as future joint manned flights. It also symbolized a policy of détente that the two superpowers were pursuing at the time and marked the end of the Space Race between the two nations that began in 1957.

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Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy exits the Quest airlock for a session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as work continues on the International Space Station.

Thirty eight years later, with the International Space Station (ISS), the US and other nations are still working together and conducting joint space missions. On 9 July 2013, two expedition astronauts, from NASA and the European Space Agency, wrapped up a successful 6-hour, 7-minute spacewalk, completing the first of two July excursions to prepare the ISS for a new Russian module and perform additional installations. The spacewalk was the 170th in support of station assembly and maintenance, totaling 1,073 hours, 50 minutes. To read more about the joint NASA spacewalk, click here.

Anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint, Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano participates in a spacewalk as work continues on the International Space Station

Anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint, Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano participates in a spacewalk as work continues on the International Space Station

However, despite vast improvements in technology and training, these professionals make such endeavors look routine – but they are anything but routine. This was apparent when U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy and Italy’s Luca Parmitano were less than an hour into a planned six-hour outing on 16 July 2013, when Parmitano reported what seemed to be water inside his helmet. NASA called off the spacewalk. See http://www.nasa.gov/content/tuesday-spacewalk-ended-early/ for more on this event.

 

 
Jul 5

John Paul Jones’s 266th Birthday

Friday, July 5, 2013 3:27 PM
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John Paul Jones, Father of the U.S. Navy
Born 6 July 1747

As an officer of the Continental Navy of the American Revolution, John Paul Jones, born July 6, 1747, helped establish the traditions of courage and professionalism that today’s Sailors of the United States Navy proudly maintain. John Paul was born in a humble gardener’s cottage in Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, went to sea as a youth, and was a merchant shipmaster by the age of 21. Having taken up residence in Virginia, he volunteered early in the War of Independence to serve in his adopted country’s young navy and raised with his own hands the Continental ensign on board the flagship of the Navy’s first fleet. He took the war to the enemy’s homeland with daring raids along the British coast and the famous victory of the Bonhomme Richard over HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard began taking on water and fires broke out on board, the British commander asked Jones if he had struck his flag. Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight!” In the end, it was the British commander who surrendered.

Jones is remembered for his indomitable will and his unwillingness to consider surrender when the slightest hope of victory still burned. Throughout his naval career, Jones promoted professional standards and training. Sailors of the United States Navy can do no better than to emulate the spirit behind John Paul Jones’s stirring declaration: “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

Although John Paul Jones is often credited with being the “father” of the U.S. Navy, there are many men who are responsible for the Navy’s establishment. Naval records show that the Continental Congress created the Navy in the resolution in Philadelphia on Oct. 13, 1775, a date now recognized as the Navy’s birthday, so members of Congress must collectively receive credit for the creation of the Continental Navy, the forerunner of the modern U.S. Navy.

The importance of the sea as a highway, a source of food, or a battlefield, if necessary, was well understood by the American colonists. When the American Revolution came, there were many who played prominent roles in the founding of the U.S. Navy, including George Washington, John Barry, John Paul Jones, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and many others.

Should John Paul Jones be considered the “Father” of the U.S. Navy? If not, who do you believe earns this title?

CAPTION: Battle between Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis. Painting by Thomas Mitchell

CAPTION: Battle between Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis. Painting by Thomas Mitchell

The next time you are in Annapolis, MD, stop by the US Naval Academy to view the corporal remains of John Paul Jones which were interred into the crypt beneath the Naval Academy Chapel in 1906 in a ceremony presided over by President Theodore Roosevelt. From the point of his death in 1792 until then, John Paul Jones’ remains had been in a grave in France, where he died.

 

 
Jul 3

July 3rd, 1898: Remembering the Battle of Santiago

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:51 AM

On this date in 1898, Rear Admiral William T. Sampson’s squadron destroyed the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Santiago, Cuba. The article Sampson and Shafter at Santiago, by Commander Louis J. Gulliver, U.S. Navy, which detailed the battle and aftermath, was originally published in The Proceedings in June, 1939.

SAMPSON AND SHAFTER AT SANTIAGO

The inherent and ancient difficulties involved in joint operations of army and naval forces in war have never been more unhappily illustrated than in the war with Spain when army troops under General William R. Shafter, U. S. Army, encircled Santiago, and the Fleet commanded by Admiral William T. Samp­son blockaded the port during the months of June and July, 1898. Here where success of joint action depended vitally on the sine qua non of swift and sure communications and the maximum in co-op­eration, one observes evidence of lamen­tably poor communications from shore to ship and vice versa, a condition that can be understood and partially excused. Not so easy to account for, however, are the relations-not making for co-operation ­that existed between General Shafter and Admiral Sampson. It is with these relations, as they are revealed in the communications between the two officers, that this article is concerned.

USS Oregon bombarding Cuban fortifications

USS Oregon bombarding Cuban fortifications

The question most likely to puzzle the reader as he examines the Sampson­-Shafter communications, as each strove, for the most part at cross purposes with the other, to capture or destroy the enemy, is why the two commanders in chief neg­lected to employ the conference method for composing their radically differing opinions instead of standing apart and firing letters, telegrams, telephone mes­sages, and bridge signals at each other. They conferred only once during the pe­riod of hostilities and then only for a short time on the day that Shafter arrived in Cuba, before co-operative joint action could be effectively got under way.

The reasons why the two commanders never conferred thereafter are not easy to understand. Only a few miles of relatively smooth water on which no enemy could threaten separated the General’s headquarters tent at Siboney on the coast and the Admiral’s blockading station outside Santiago. Conceivably, General Shafter could have come out to the flagship, though the boat trip for one of his reported excessive weight might be considered hazardous. Absences from the fleet to engage in conferences on shore were forbidden to Admiral Sampson at the outset by the exigencies of the situation; he never left the blockading line but once and that, the fates alone can explain, was on the morning of July 3, when he set out in the ‘ flagship New York for Siboney to confer with General Shafter. At that precise moment, the Spanish Admiral Cervera de­cided to lead his fleet out of Santiago Harbor.

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