Archive for the 'Hispanics' Category

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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Mar 18

NavyTV – Women’s History Month Tribute

Friday, March 18, 2011 5:52 AM

March is Women’s History Month and NavyTV thought it would be appropriate to reintroduce the Navy’s top four Sailors in 2010 — the first time all four awardees were women! Meet HMC Ingrid J. Cortez, OSC Samira McBride, HMC Shalanda L. Brewer, and CTC Cassandra L. Foote, as they talk about their pride in their work and their responsibility to their Sailors here on NavyTV. In July, 2010, the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead presided over the pinning ceremony for the four Sailors of the Year, the first year all four awardees were women.

 
Nov 11

LCDR Eugene Valencia

Thursday, November 11, 2010 6:01 AM

United States Navy fighter squadron VF-9 served on board the carrier Essex (CV 9) during that ship’s first cruise in the South Pacific in 1943-1944. LCDR Eugene Valencia got his baptism of fire in October 1943 during strikes against Japanese forces on Wake Island and at Tarawa.

On 11 November, Essex launched an attack on Japanese shipping in Rabaul Harbor. Assigned to escort the strike group that morning, Valencia made three strafing runs on a heavy cruiser despite heavy antiaircraft fire, assisted in covering torpedo planes returning from the attack, and shot down his first enemy plane. That afternoon, while providing fighter cover for his ship, he downed two more enemy aircraft and assisted in the destruction of a third. Flamboyant, outgoing, mercurial, and intense, Commander Valencia, a Latino from Los Angeles, went on to become the Navy’s third highest scoring ace of all time.

Valencia’s combat experience illustrates the necessity of diversity. Fortunately, during World War II, the Navy had no prohibitions against Hispanics serving in combat as it did against African Americans, enabling Latinos like Valencia to excel. During that War the Navy revolutionized its written racial policy, opening every billet to African Americans by 1945. Today, as then, during war the country cannot deprive itself of the talent of all of its people if it expects to win.