Archive for the 'News' Category

Oct 12

Ten Years Later: Remembering USS Cole

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 8:55 AM

Ten years ago, Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig reflected on the terrorist attack on the USS Cole. Today we remember and honor the crew with his words, written in his Proceedings magazine article, “America Loves Its Citizens”:

“Mr. Secretary, we will save this ship. We will repair this ship. We will take this ship home, and we will sail this ship again to sea.”

One of the reasons that I love America is because it loves its citizens. In other times, and on this very day in other places, people are regarded as means and not ends, as fodder, stepping-stones, dispensable assets. Because we are not like that, we grieve today. We see in the 17 people who died on October 12th 17 wonders, 17 sons and daughters. We mourn brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, and those who will never be mothers and fathers. Seventeen unique people. We cherish them. We grieve because we could not protect them. Instead, they died protecting us.

That we live in America is, in itself, an act of grace. We came to it naturally; we were born into it. Or we were welcomed as immigrants; we were naturalized. By either route, America has been for everyone of us a gift, and what a stupendous gift, a country that was built collectively but cherishes us individually; a country built of the effort of servicemen and statesmen, farmers and factory workers, those who toiled on the railroad and those who bankrolled it. Our philosophers, our politicians, our priests, all together, created something bigger than any of us; and then, they gave it to us.

Any true gift is infused with opportunity, and responsibility that arises from that opportunity. An inherent talent, a good education, money in the bank—they all cry to the recipient, What will you make of this? What will you do individually? What will we do collectively in light of how many have done so much for us?

These 17 answered that question. They didn’t opt just for themselves; they didn’t stay home; they didn’t turn away from their country. They put themselves out there. They joined a family, the United States Navy, and the USS Cole (DDG-67)—a ship, the very essence of a group enterprise. And think not just of these 17. Think of the 39 who were injured, and then think of the 240 beyond them; the 240 who absorbed the shock of the explosion, who saw the death of 17, the injury of two score, but who turned to and fought on; fought together for their ship and for their shipmates.

For two days and two nights, they fought under the most extreme conditions—blood, bent and broken steel, flooding, uncertainty, and danger. They saved their ship, their injured—every one of them—and each other. And then their generators failed. The waters rose, and they, had to do it all over again. Waistdeep in water, manning bucket brigades by hand, they did it again. Amidst all of that, their captain said to me,

“Mr. Secretary, we will save this ship. We will repair this ship. We will take this ship home, and we will sail this ship again to sea.”

In every gift there is a responsibility. The Cole has given us a gift. The 17 join more than 1.3 million service men and women who have given us their lives. Thirty-nine from the Cole were injured; 240 fought on. All together, they added a building block to America. Will we, as recipients of this gift, live up to them? I think we will; we’re Americans.

Thank you, Cole.

Also: USS Cole (DDG 67): A guest post from CDR Kirk S. Lippold, USN (Ret.)

 
Aug 24

Phase 1 of SCORPION Project Complete!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 8:31 AM

SCORPION Project barge transported back down the Patuxent after the completion of the field work.

 On August 12, the NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB), and its partners MD SHA and MHT, successfully completed the first phase of their three-year archaeological investigation of the Patuxent shipwreck believed to be the War of 1812 U.S. block sloop SCORPION. Firstly, a big thank you to our on-site visitors who made the trip out to Upper Marlboro, MD. It was great to see you and we really appreciate your support! We were also glad to welcome members of the press on site to inform them about the SCORPION project, our partnerships and the NHHC and were pleased to see the story covered in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and The Capital (Annapolis)

Underwater archaeologists preparing to dive on the wreck.

 During the first part of the two-week project, UAB’s team of underwater archaeologists, in cooperation with MD SHA and MHT, measured the site and extent of the wreck beneath the sediment via a process called “hydroprobing.” Based on the data from the hydroprobe, the team was then able to determine which parts of the wreck most warranted investigation. Archaeologists then removed the overburden (overlying sediment) from specific parts of the wreck using dredge systems; the sediment pulled from the wreck was suctioned up the dredge onto the barges where it was screened by capable staff. Some artifacts were also recovered and brought back to the UAB Conservation and Archaeology Lab for stabilization, treatment and documentation.

Again, the UA team is very grateful to MD SHA and MHT as well as URS and SUPSALV. With their help and cooperation, significant progress was made during Phase 1 and we look forward to working with them again on the next phase of the SCORPION project in summer 2011. We’re always glad to talk about the SCORPION project and answer any questions, so feel free to stop by our offices or send us an email (NHHCUnderwaterArchaeology@navy.mil) and stay tuned for more posts!

 
Jul 31

What’s in a Name: The Missouri Lineage

Saturday, July 31, 2010 12:01 AM

The first Missouri, a wooden-hulled sidewheel steam-frigate, was commissioned in early 1842. In the summer of 1843 she departed the United States, under the command of Captain John Taylor Newton, to convey a diplomat to Alexandria, Egypt. On the evening of 26 August, as Missouri lay in the harbor of Gibraltar, the accidental breakage of a demijohn of turpentine started a fire when the liquid fell upon a lighted lamp. Capt. Newton, paying the customary call on the governor of the crown colony, returned to Missouri when he learned of the fire. Some of Missouri’s crew had rigged the pumps and employed hoses, while others formed bucket brigades. British sailors from the 74-gun ship HMS Malabar also assisted in the vain attempt to quell the raging flames. Although a court of inquiry investigating Missouri’s loss found the captain guilty of negligence and he was temporarily suspended from duty, Newton praised the zealous efforts of his officers and men save the ship.

The second Missouri (Battleship No. 11) rendered aid to the earthquake-stricken city of Kingston, Jamaica, in January 1907, voyaged around the world with the Great White Fleet, and trained midshipmen once newer dreadnoughts joined the fleet. The third Missouri (BB 63) served with distinction in World War II, hosted the signing of the Japanese surrender in September 1945 in Tokyo Bay, and showed the Stars and Stripes in the eastern Mediterranean in the spring of 1946 to show American support of Greece and Turkey. She went on to serve in the Korean War and Operation Desert Storm, and lies moored today at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a memorial.

Today’s commissioning of the fourth Missouri (SSN 780) continues the legacy of valor and heroism which have been the hallmark of the name since the mid-19th century.

 
Jul 30

After 65 years, Shipyard Worker Reunites with USS Orleck (DD-886)

Friday, July 30, 2010 12:01 AM

(DD–886: dp. 2,425; l. 390’6”; b. 41’1”; dr. 18’6”; s. 34 k.; cpl. 367; 6 5”, 16 40mm., 5 21” tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct., 1 dcp (hh); cl. Gearing)

Brandon Richards of KPLC 7 in Lake Charles, Louisiana reports:

It’s been sixty-five years since J.T. Platt last boarded the USS Orleck. “I was one of the grunts. I did what I was told,” said Platt, who worked at Consolidated Steel Corporation, the group that built the Orleck starting in 1944. Platt worked at the company in Orange, Texas from 1944 to 1945.

He left Consolidated Steel two months after the Orleck was commissioned. Platt was part of the original group from Consolidated Steel, responsible for making sure all of the equipment on board the Orleck was in working order. Platt was also in charge of making sure all of the ship’s wires were working properly…

Click here to read the rest of the story. For a brief history of the USS Orleck as well as background information on her namesake, please click here.

To plan a visit to the USS Orleck Naval Memorial in Lake Charles, Louisiana, click here.

 
Jul 28

USS Gravely DDG-107 Update

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 12:01 AM

The USS Gravely (DDG-107) undergoing sea trials on June 23, 2010.

According to Navy News Service, “The Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS Gravely from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding during a ceremony July 26 in Pascagoula, Miss. Designated DDG 107, Gravely is the 57th ship of the Arleigh Burke class.” 

Moreover, according to Navy News Service, “The new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr., the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Course. He was the first African American to command a warship (USS Theodore E. Chandler); to command a major warship (USS Jouett); to achieve flag rank and eventually vice admiral; and to command a numbered fleet (Third).”

For more about the life of VADM Samuel L. Gravely, Jr., USN, please view our on-line exhibit by clicking here.

 
Jul 27

Operation Crossroads: Able and Baker Day Tests

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 12:01 AM

Atomic bomb testing at Bikini Atoll is the subject of this 1946 Navy documentary.

 
Jul 17

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial to Become Newest National Monument Today

Saturday, July 17, 2010 12:05 AM

Sam Richards of the Contra Costa Times writes, “The National Park Service, in partnership with the U.S. Army and Friends of Port Chicago, will dedicate the newest national monument — by definition a national park “unit” — and honor all who served at Port Chicago Naval Base when two munitions ships and several boxcars exploded on July 17, 1944, north of Concord. Saturday is the 66th anniversary of the explosion that killed 320 men and injured nearly 400 others — the worst home front disaster of World War II.”

For more information and photos about the July 17, 1944 explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine explosion Base, please view our frequently asked question on the subject.

 
Jun 19

Battleship Texas in the News

Saturday, June 19, 2010 12:01 AM

USS Texas (BB-35) dressed with flags for Navy Day, 27 October 1940. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

In a 15 June 2010 Houston Chronicle article entitled “Near-Sinking Of Battleship Texas A ‘Wake-Up Call’“, Amanda Casanova writes:

Millions of dollars and major repairs have kept the iconic Battleship Texas afloat over the years, but last weekend it was a pump and a rag that stopped it from sinking into the Houston Ship Channel.

On Thursday, an employee at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, where the Texas is moored, noticed the 96-year-old ship was sitting lower in the water than usual when he left the park…

… A combination of a pump failure and leaks — at least one new one — had caused the ship to take on at least 105,000 gallons of water and sink nearly three feet into the channel. By Saturday, replacement pumps and a rag stuffed into the new leak had righted the ship, and it was stabilized on Sunday… Tours of the ship continued throughout the weekend.” 

2014 marks the Centennial of the USS Texas’ commissioning.

For a complete history of the USS Texas (BB- 35 ), click here. For additional photos of the USS Texas from our photo archives, click here.

 
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