Archive for the 'Naval Academy' Category

Aug 15

Anniversary of the Establishment of the Naval Academy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8:30 AM

Fort Severn, 1845, as Naval School: (1) Officers' Quarters, (2) "The Abbey," (3) Mess hall, kitchen, and recitation hall, (4) "Apollo Row," (5) "Rowdy Row," (6) "Brandywine Cottage," (7) "Gas House," (8) Superintendent's house, (9) Gate house, (10) Row of poplar trees, (11) Superintendent's and Professors' offices, (12) Old mulberry tree, (13) Fort Severn, (14) Site of practice battery

The Naval Academy was established at Annapolis, Maryland on August 15, 1845, on the former site of Fort Severn. The following article was published in the October, 1935 issue of Proceedings, which was dedicated to celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Naval Academy. It describes the obstacles that had to be overcome to establish the first organized naval school, and the standards that the first midshipmen were held to. After 167 years, the campus has grown, but the basic values instilled in the men and women of the Naval Academy are still the same.



THERE HAD BEEN much opposition in the Navy to any attempt to educate midshipmen ashore. It was felt that only by practical experience aboard ship could the youngster, fresh from home, be properly trained for his work as an officer afloat. Though several suggestions for an organized naval school had been made since the permanent establishment of the Navy in 1794, nothing had been accomplished and the only educational facilities available for the midshipmen up to the War of 1812 had been the instruction of the chaplains who had no special qualifications for such work, except a supposedly liberal education. During the War of 1812 provision had been made for a schoolmaster on each of the 74’s, which were not completed till after the war, but the small pay, cramped quarters, sometimes shared with their pupils, and a very inferior position aboard ship did not draw men of ability. With the increase of pay to $1,200, in 1835, for duty at sea or at a navy yard, some eminent men began to be drawn into the Service as professors of mathematics. They still, up to September, 1842, had to mess with their pupils, however, and continued to suffer constant interruption of their school work aboard ship.

Beginning with the twenties three unorganized governmental schools had come into existence at the navy yards at Norfolk, New York, and Boston, for those midshipmen on waiting orders between cruises. The instruction was very irregular, the midshipmen attending or not as they pleased, and discipline, apparently, did not exist. Such lack of education and restraint helped to give rise among the young officers to both intemperance and financial irresponsibility. The early age at which some of the midshipmen entered the Navy, Farragut entering it when only nine, made them peculiarly susceptible to such adverse conditions. Some private nautical schools had come into existence at an earlier date and some of the younger officers had even attended college, one midshipman, indeed, going to West Point. A fourth school established by the government in 1839, at the Naval Asylum in Philadelphia, was really the forerunner of the Naval Academy, for it was on account of their proficiency of attainments at the Naval Asylum School that Professors Chauvenet and Lockwood, Lieutenant Ward, and Passed Midshipman Marcy were selected to be members of the faculty at the permanent naval school to be organized at Fort Severn, Annapolis, by Secretary Bancroft. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 26

The Navy Sails the Inland Seas

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 7:29 AM
Today marks the 53rd anniversary of the formal opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway to seagoing ships. The Seaway is a 2,432 mile long international waterway consisting of a system of canals, dams, and locks. It provides passage for large oceangoing vessels into central North America, and has created a fourth seacoast accessible to the industrial and agricultural heartland of North America. To celebrate the opening of the Seaway, President Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, along with twenty-eight Naval vessels, cruised from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. 1,040 midshipmen, including the entire third class of midshipmen at the Naval Academy, took part in this historic cruise. The November 1959 issue of Proceedings included an article written by Lieutenant Commander Allan P. Slaff, who participated in Operation Inland Seas, and describes the experience of traveling the Seaway.

From Lake Erie to Montreal-369 miles and 552 feet down

The Navy Sails the Inland Seas
By Lieutenant Commander Allan P. Slaff, USN
“This waterway, linking the oceans of the world with the Great Lakes of the American Continent is the culmination the dreams of thousands of individuals on both sides of our common Canadian-United States border.”
So said President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the official opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway on 26 June 1959. The President characterized the occasion as “the latest event in a long history of peaceful parallel progress between our two peoples.” Mr. Eisenhower was joined by the Queen of England, the Prime Minister of Canada, other ranking Canadian and United States dignitaries in a commemoration ceremony at the Saint Lambert Lock, first of seven in the new multi-billion dollar seaway. 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 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 »

Jan 26

The Final Resting Place of John Paul Jones

Thursday, January 26, 2012 1:00 AM

January 26th, 1913

The body of John Paul Jones is interred at the U. S. Naval Academy.


Almost a full century ago, the body of John Paul Jones, recently discovered in a Parisian cemetery, reached its final resting place in an ornate crypt on the campus of the U. S. Naval Academy. Fifty years after the discovery of his remains, the July 1955 issue of Proceedings printed a an article about the search for and identification of Jones’ body, written by a freelance writer, Dorothy Tooker. In her article, Tooker told the story of restoring the American naval hero to his rightful tomb, from the challenges of finding his body in Paris, to the task of identifying his remains after they had been discovered in an unmarked coffin. For John Paul Jones, whose mystery endured almost 113 years after his death, this story of his return to the United States makes a fitting end.

The breeze blew cold through the tunnel, and the smell of damp from its earthen walls permeated the men’s nostrils. At the bend in the passageway the grave gentlemen in derby hats halted while workmen dragged an old leaden coffin into the passageway. It was outmoded, tapered at the foot with a widened, rounded projection at the head, and encrusted with dirt and mold from long burial. Read the rest of this entry »