Archive for the 'Diversity' Category

Sep 23

“The Fastest Ship in the Navy”: The Strange Saga of the USS Reina Mercedes

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 6:00 AM


Reina Spanish

On April 29, 1898, Almirante (Admiral) Pascual Cervera y Topete of the Spanish Navy steamed out of Cape Verde islands with a fleet of four armored cruisers and three destroyers. His destination: the West Indies, to defend Spain’s empire against the American fleet. Hampered by a number of deficiencies, the fleet struggled into the harbor at Santiago de Cuba. Meeting and later joining the squadron there was the Reina Mercedes, an unarmored cruiser capabale of propulsion under both sail and steam. Built in Cartagena, Spain, in 1887, she had become the station ship at Santiago in 1892. By 1898, she… Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 20

The Posterity of the Ganges

Thursday, August 20, 2015 6:00 AM


Portrait of Thomas Macdonough, who served aboard the Ganges. Courtesy Library of Congress.

It is frequently the case that a ship is given the name of an individual as a honorarium. Names such as Campbell, Fletcher, Porter, and many, many others are accepted in kind. So when individuals are given the name of a ship, suddenly we take notice that something very remarkable is afoot. Such is the case of the surname Ganges. The story of how a family came to be named after a 26-gun sloop-of-war is one that upholds the finest traditions of the U.S. Navy.

Aug 26

The Year of the Military Woman: Women’s Equality Day, 26 August

Monday, August 26, 2013 12:21 PM



This year is the Year of the Military Woman, and the Naval History and Heritage Command would like to honor all the women who serve and have served this great nation. This Joint Resolution of Congress (1971) designated Women’s Equality Day. The date of August 26th was selected to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.  Please help us highlight those who have gone before in this important matter. See for options to highlight Women’s Equality Day.

Jul 30


Tuesday, July 30, 2013 10:11 AM


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. The WAVES performed jobs in fields such as aviation, clerical, medical, communication, legal, intelligence, and science and technology. The wartime… Read the rest of this entry »

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… Read the rest of this entry »

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… Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 7

First Women Assigned to a Combat Ship

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 1:00 AM


March 7th, 1994 The U. S. Navy issues first orders for women aboard a combat ship: the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) The U. S. Navy issued the first set of orders to women for duty aboard a combat ship, the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) on March 7, 1994.  By June 25th, when this photo of a watertight door proudly labeled “FEMALE OFFICERS COUNTRY” was snapped as ‘A Sign of the Times’ eighty-seven women were aboard the ship as crew members, and approximately 500 women were expected aboard (as ship’s crew or members of an embarked air wing) by the following October for the next… Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 19

The Navy’s First Enlisted Women, 19 March 1917

Saturday, March 19, 2011 12:01 AM


Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels authorized the enlistment of women on 19 March 1917 to help alleviate a projected shortage of clerical workers. They served under Class 4 of the 1916 United States Naval Reserve Force that provided for the first enrollment or enlistment of officer and enlisted personnel. Loretta Perfectus Walsh of Olyphant, Pennsylvania, became the first woman to enlist on 21 March 1917. By the time war with Germany was officially declared on 6 April, 200 women had joined her. To distinguish these women from their male counterparts the Navy established the rate of Yeoman (F), though… Read the rest of this entry »

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