Congratulations to the U.S. Naval Institute on reaching its 137th year!
Read what Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske had to say about the Naval Institute in Proceedings, Vol. 45 No. 192, February 1919:
Without some such stimulus as the Institute, the navy would be less like a profession and more like a trade; we would be less like artists, and more like artisans; we would become too practical and narrow; we would have no broad vision of the navy as a whole.
Each one of us would regard his own special task as the only thing that concerned him, and would lose that sympathetic touch with his brother officers which all of us now enjoy.
The Naval Institute is a club at once social and professional, which is not restricted to any club-house on any avenue in any city, but which spreads over all the oceans to all of our ships and stations, down even into the depths of the sea where our submarines lie, and ten thousand feet into the air where our aeroplanes fly. It is the embodiment of the thought of the navy. It is the unofficial custodian of the navy’s professional hopes and fears. It looks ahead into the future, and back into the past, and keeps track of the happenings of the present.
During the forty-five years that have elapsed since Admiral Luce wrote the first article in the first number of the Naval Institute, the Naval Institute has been the most stimulating single agency that has existed for the development of an American navy; for, while the official publications of governments, and the official reports concerning their activities, are our surest sources of information as to what other navies are doing, yet their only usefulness to us, is in showing us what foreign ideas we should adopt; whereas the Naval Institute enables officers to look into the great beyond, and discuss and perhaps develop ideas of their own on original American lines. Officers are officially responsible for the discharge of their official tasks, and are of necessity compelled to strict reticence concerning them; but the Naval Institute, by reason of its unofficial character, enables them to get out of the rut of the actual sometimes, and soar among the glories of the possible.
In the early days of the Naval Institute, it was ridiculed by a large class of naval officers, who called themselves “practical.” They were practical, but that was all. To them, the whole of the naval profession was comprehended in the practice of the various drills and exercises in gunnery, seamanship, navigation, etc., which they saw in any ship. Their highest ideal of an officer was a man who performed those duties well. Read the rest of this entry »