On 22 October 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a televised speech, arguably “the most serious speech delivered in his lifetime” and the “most frightening presidential address” in U.S. history.’ Soviet missile-launch sites had been discovered under construction in Cuba. The response resuIted from deliberations among the President and his ad hoc Executive Committee (ExCom).
Its final draft was improved significantly by an unlikely person: the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral George W. Anderson, Jr. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the 'Navy' Category
Champion of the Navy – Remarks to the Naval Institute by author David McCullough regarding John Adams’ role in the birth of the U.S. Navy
“We live, my dear soul, in an age of trial. What will be the consequence, I know not.”-John Adams, 1774.
The hardest thing in the world, and
maybe the most important thing of all in writing and teaching history, is to convey the fundamental truth that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. The tendency when one teaches and writes history is that this followed this, and that followed that; therefore that’s the way it was preordained. But it never, ever was. The Founding Fathers did not know what was going to happen next, what the outcome of this very dangerous path they were taking-to stage a revolution against the most powerful nation in the world-was going to mean for the country and for themselves.
John Adams’s marvelous wife Abigail wrote back: “You cannot, I know, nor do I wish to see you an inactive spectator. We have too many high-sounding words and too few actions to correspond with them.”
On July 31, 1964, three nuclear-powered Navy ships left Norfolk, Virginia, to begin their journey around the globe without refueling. The following account of Operation Sea Orbit’s success was published in the March 1965 issue of Proceedings.
OPERATION SEA ORBIT
By Rear Admiral Bernard M. Strean, U.S. Navy, Commander, Task Force One
The U. S. Navy is an old hand at “showing the flag,” at conducting good will visits, and at entertaining foreign dignitaries on board ship. The Navy is also an old hand at conducting test and evaluation cruises, and at establishing records. But rarely does the Navy have the opportunity to do all of things in one operation.
Operation Sea Orbit, the unprecedented around-the-world cruise by the Navy’s three nuclear-powered surface ships, did all of these things and more. Not since President Theodore Roosevelt sent out the Great White Fleet of 16 first-line battleships in December 1907, had the Navy attempted such a cruise.
The three ships which comprised Task Force One, formed specifically to carry out Sea Orbit, were no longer news in the Navy. The attack carrier Enterprise (CVAN-65), and guided missile cruiser Long Beach (CGN-9), and the guided missile frigate Bainbridge (DLGN-25) had a total of eight years service, but the three ships had never operated together as a unit, as a self-contained task force, until Sea Orbit. Read the rest of this entry »
July 23, 1801
Commodore Richard Dale blockades Tripoli in America’s first foreign war.
In the December 1937 issue of Proceedings, Lieutenant Felix Howland wrote about the American blockade of Tripoli during 1801 to 1802, examining the popular conception that the blockade had been a success. Howland’s article highlighted the necessity of vigilantly maintaining the blockade, and emphasized the implications of failing to do so:
On May 14, 1801, Tripoli declared war against the United States. Shortly thereafter an American squadron under the command of Commodore Richard Dale appeared in the Mediterranean, and on July 23, 1801, Mr. William Eaton, the Consul at Tunis, taking advantage of the presence of the American ships, declared Tripoli under blockade and notified Commodore Dale of his action. As there has been generally current the idea that this blockade was successfully and vigorously prosecuted thereafter until the end of the war in 1805, it is the purpose of this paper to present some hitherto unpublished documents in the archives of the State Department which show how false is such an opinion and which help to explain why Commodore Richard V. Morris, who succeeded Dale, was subsequently disgraced for his part in the failure of the blockade. Read the rest of this entry »
The United State’s first well-known naval fighter died 220 years ago, on July 18, 1792. Originally published in the July 1947 issue of Proceedings to mark the bicentennial of his birth, the following article outlines the life of John Paul Jones and his contributions to the Navy.
THE BICENTENNIAL OF JOHN PAUL JONES
By DR. LINCOLN LORENZ
VIEWED from the bicentennial of his birth, John Paul Jones has even greater eminence now as a leader of the American Navy at its beginning than he won at the time of his incomparable triumph in the battle of the Bonhomme Richard with the Serapis. The climax of his intrepid career on this occasion was in keeping with his life so that he remains today, even following the panorama of heroic exploits of two world wars, an indomitable warrior of unique personality. He became the first American naval officer to set a tradition of victory, to win respect for the flag by other nations, and to have the statesmanship to foresee and urge the paramount importance of the Navy in our future history. Read the rest of this entry »
On July 13, 1939, RADM Richard Byrd was appointed as commanding officer of the 1939-1941 Antarctic exploration. This was Byrd’s third Antarctic expedition, and the first one that had the official backing of the U.S. Government. In honor of his work, and the work done by many others who braved the cold and ice, here is a brief history of American Antarctic exploration, originally published in the November 1961 issue of Proceedings.
Charting of an Unknown Land: The Antarctic Continent
By SCOT MAcDONALD
There is a suspicion among some cartographers that Christopher Columbus carried with him on his first trip to the New World a map of the Antarctic coastline.
Later, so the story goes, a Turkish naval officer and geographer, Piri Reis, waylaid a former pilot of the famous explorer and swiped from him one of Columbus’ charts-the one purported to be of the Antarctic. Piri Reis then set about compiling a map of the world, using this chart and others, many first drawn some 300 years before Christ was born.
The existing fragment of the map (now in the Library of Congress) has stumped experts since its discovery. But famed cartographer Arlington H. Mallery believes he has solved the mystery. The fragment, he claims, represents an ice-free Antarctic continent as it appeared 5,000 years ago.
Though the map, or chart, is interesting, it hardly represents the continent as it appears today. Antarctica measures some 5 1/2 million square miles in area, most of this solid ice. Mountain ranges, peaks, and nunataks (outcroppings) pierce the ice sheet, sometimes in an expected orderly fashion, but more often in places completely strange and unsuspected. Read the rest of this entry »
The Battle of Okinawa was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. On June 21, 1945, after 82 days of battle, the Japanese troops were defeated. This was not intended to be the final major battle of World War II, only the staging ground for the Allied invasion of Japan. The ferocity of the fighting on Okinawa, combined with the massive number of casualties, forced American strategists to seek alternative means for ending the war, as the destruction on Okinawa would surely have paled in comparison to any invasion of the Japanese home islands. The following article, originally published in the January 1946 issue of Proceedings, gives a personal account of the assault on Okinawa.
By Captain E. E. Paro, U.S. Navy
The High councils of war had reached a decision. They were in agreement and a directive was issued for a proposed amphibious operation in the Pacific.
There were many assumptions in the directive and the operation was to accomplish certain very desirable military objectives which later unfolded themselves but which are not discussed herein.
The target selected was Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyus. Information on this island was sketchy to say the least but its geographical location was very clear and definite. It is located 325 miles from the Japanese home island of Kyushu, 400 miles from Shanghai and about the same distance from Formosa. The directive stated that fanatical and determined air opposition by the entire Japanese air force could be expected. It was known that the Japanese had in existence certain paratroop units which would probably be employed, enemy surface naval opposition was a threat, and enemy troop reinforcements could be expected from any of the localities mentioned above. The target was heavily garrisoned and completely ringed by prepared enemy defense positions of great strength and in depth. It had a native population of 440,000 all of which must be assumed to be hostile. The terrain was exceedingly adaptable to defense, particularly in the northern and extreme southern positions of the island. The beaches were few and these were fringed by rough coral heads, and the depth of the water over them was unknown. The weather could be expected to be stormy for at least 20 per cent of the time and the island lay in the center of the path of most of the typhoons, which were frequent and severe. Read the rest of this entry »