Archive for the 'People' Category

Feb 4

Navy TV – Back to Boot Camp!

Friday, February 4, 2011 9:35 AM

If you want to remember what you went through; if you want to show your family what you went through or what you as a recruit will be going through, NAVY TV is here to help! In the February edition of All Hands Television, we take an in depth look at Recruit Training Command all the way from recruits’ arrival at the airport to P-days to the intense physical training. We also get a preview of what we can expect next month, as the “Return to Boot Camp” segment continues. All this and more on the February edition of All Hands Television!

Jan 23

George Dewey: Virtues of an “Ordinary” Naval Officer

Sunday, January 23, 2011 10:49 AM

Commodore George Dewey won an overwhelming victory at the Battle of Manila Bay against the Spanish squadron of Rear Admiral Patrico Montojo y Pasaron on 1 May 1898 at the onset of the Spanish-American War and went from obscurity to become the most widely recognized name in America. Although it is popular to view naval history in terms of extraordinary figures, heroic actions, and revolutionary change, Dewey won the battle because of the planning and administrative decisions he initiated during the months prior to engaging the enemy. These actions demonstrated his foresightedness, a characteristic that all naval officers are taught to develop throughout their careers.

In the fall of 1897, Dewey approached what he thought was the end of his naval career. With the assistance of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, he obtained his last command at sea, the Asiatic Squadron in the Western Pacific. Dewey prepared for his new command by studying all the charts and descriptions of the Philippine Islands that he could lay his hands on and by reading selected books during his journey across the continent and the Pacific.

At the time, war with Spain seemed remote to most Americans, but Dewey took seriously his duty to prepare his squadron for any crises. While examining records in Washington, he found that his ships were far below their allowance of ammunition. The commodore cut through the red tape holding up new shipments and ordered USS Concord, then fitting out at San Francisco, to transport as much ammunition as she could carry. He arranged for the old sloop USS Mohican to carry more to Honolulu where it would be transferred to the cruiser USS Baltimore, sent to reinforce Dewey the following March.

The commodore knew that the latest Navy Department war plan called for the U.S. Asiatic Squadron to tie down or divert Spanish ships in the Philippines and give the United States a stronger bargaining position at the peace settlement. As tensions heated up between Spain and the United States, Dewey decided to concentrate his squadron only six hundred miles from Manila at British-controlled Hong Kong, which was still seven thousand miles from the nearest American port. This allowed him to keep his ships’ bunkers full of coal prior to the start of the war. Dewey also purchased the British steamer Nanshan to act as a collier to provide his squadron with enough coal after hostilities began. But his efforts did not end there. Taking advantage of China’s weak national government at the time, Dewey arranged through his paymaster to get coal and provisions from a Chinese source at an isolated locality. Thinking ahead, Dewey cabled the Navy Department on 11 March 1898 to make certain that preparations to transport additional coal and ammunition from the United States were moving forward.

During the weeks at Hong Kong prior to the outbreak of war, Dewey had his vessels overhauled, ensured that his ships’ machinery was in prime condition, and that his crews were thoroughly drilled. He also oversaw plans to remove woodwork and other material that could easily catch fire in battle. Dewey kept in contact with the American consul at Manila, Oscar Williams, by telegraph, asking him for information on Spanish ordnance and preparations. When forced to leave Hong Kong on 23 April by the outbreak of the war, the commodore moved his ships thirty miles up the coast, partly to wait for Williams to provide him with the latest intelligence before Dewey set a course for the Philippines.

Dewey’s historic victory came through foresightedness; gathering all available information and analyzing it in consultation with others. In short, he practiced the skills taught to every naval officer and exercised them well. Dewey understood these virtues when he summarized the reason for his victory: “It was the ceaseless routine of hard work and preparation in time of peace that won Manila….Valor there must be, but it is a secondary factor in comparison with strength of material and efficiency of administration.”

Jan 18

Admirals in the U.S. Navy 1862-1900

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 12:01 AM


Alden, James (1810 –1877).

Almy, John Jay (1815 – 1895).

Ammen, Daniel (1820 – 1898).


Bailey, Theodorus (1805 – 1877).

Balch, George Beale (1821 – 1908).

Baldwin, Charles Henry (1822 – 1888).

Barker, Albert Smith (1843 – 1916).

Beaman, George William (1837 – 1917).

Beardslee, Grove Spooner (1838 – 1906).

Beardslee, Lester Anthony (1836 – 1903).

Beaumont, John Colt. (1821 – 1882).

Belknap, George Eugene (1832 – 1903).

Bell, Charles Heyer (1798 – 1875).

Bell, Henry Haywood (1808 – 1868).

Benham, Andrew Ellicott Kennedy (1832 – 1905).

Boggs, Charles Stuart (1811 – 1877).

Book, George Milton (1845 – 1921).

Braine, Daniel Lawrence (1829 – 1898).

Breese, Samuel Livingston (1794 – 1870).

Bright, George Adams (1837 – 1905).

Brown, George (1835 – 1913).

Bryson, Andrew (1822 – 1892).

Buehler, William George (1837 – 1919).


Carpenter, Charles Carroll (1834 – 1899).

Carter, Samuel Powhatan (1819 – 1891).

Case, Augustus Ludlow (1813 – 1893).

Casey, Silas (1841 – 1913).

Caswell, Thomas Thompson (1840 – 1913).

Chandler, Ralph (1829 – 1889).

Clark, John Howe (1837 – 1913).

Cleborne, Christopher James (1838 – 1909) [Scottish/British].

Clitz, John Mellon Brandy (1821 – 1897).

Colhoun, Edmund Ross (1821 – 1897).

Collins, Napoleon (1814 – 1875).

Cooper, George Henry (1822 – 1891).

Cotton, Charles Stanhope (1843 – 1909).

Crabbe, Thomas (1788 – 1845).

Craven, Thoms Tingey (1808 – 1887).

Creighton, Johnston Blakeley (1822 – 1883).

Cromwell, Bartlett Jefferson (1840 – 1917).

Crosby, Peirce (1824 – 1899).


Dahlgren, John Adolphus Bernard (1809 – 1870).

Davis, Charles Henry (1807 – 1877).

Davis, John Lee (1825 – 1889).

Day, Benjamin Franklin (1841 – 1933).

DeCamp, John (1812 – 1875).

De Krafft, John Charles Philip (1826 – 1885).

Dewey, George (1837 – 1917).

Donaldson, Edward (1816 – 1889).

Drennan, Michael Coyle (1838 – 1915).

Du Pont Samuel Francis (1803 – 1865).

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Dec 23

First Navy Officer sent to Flight Training

Thursday, December 23, 2010 1:00 AM

16 December, 1910 – LT Theodore G. Ellyson of the submarine service asked to “be assigned to duty in connection with aeroplanes as soon as such duty may become available.” On December 23rd,1910 Ellyson was reassigned becoming the first naval officer sent to flight training.




Early flight training in New York

Dec 18

Ens. Donald W. Lynch: The Scars of War

Saturday, December 18, 2010 12:02 AM

“War should not be glamorized,” wrote Donald W. Lynch long after his service as Chief Engineer in destroyer Mugford (DD-389) during World War Two. He had purposefully put much of his wartime experiences out of his mind but later, in an undated letter to a Mugford reunion group, he described why that was so.

Lynch joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor and, after four months of intense steam and electrical engineering training at the Naval Academy, received his commission in May 1942. Three months later he was serving in Mugford during the invasion of Guadalcanal in August 1942. As he put it, this was “quite a shock for a Montana farm boy with a Master’s degree in Forestry.” This is a feeling not unknown to Navy Reserve Sailors today, who suddenly find themselves mobilized to Iraq or Afghanistan.

The war arrived quickly for Mugford and Ens. Lynch, when four Japanese carrier bombers (2d Kokutai) attacked the destroyer on 7 August, scoring three near misses and one hit just forward of the No. 3 gun mount. Four Sailors died, three suffered mortal wounds and another ten were blown overboard. Lynch tried to help “in the midst of complete confusion…”, the deck “covered in debris, lots of black soot, men lying amidst the clutter, blood, and torn clothing.” He came across a wounded Chief Boatswain’s Mate, who ordered an officer to stop cleaning the blood off his face, “Forget my face,” he said, “Check my leg!” Lynch later wrote he looked at the Chief’s leg, “My God, there were only some stringy pieces of skin below the knee, blood-soaked, very dirty, and no sign of ankle or foot.”

Like so many times before and since, confusion and chaos is the stuff of war, particularly but not just for those manning battle stations outside of the CIC. People only make sense of it afterwards, as time molds and shapes the interpretation of events. Two days after the air attack, Mugford steamed in the warm waters in the Solomon Islands as the Battle of Savo Island took place off in the distance. Lynch wrote, “It was a very dark night, with low clouds, rain, no moon or stars – pitch black! We heard heavy gun firing and saw flashes of explosions on the horizon. There was utter confusion as to where we were, where are allies, if any, were, or where the enemy ships were.”

The following morning Mugford proceeded to Savo Island to rescue survivors from the cruiser Vincennes (CA-44). “We began pulling bodies and living men aboard the ship. The mid-section of the deck was soon covered in men – mostly half-naked, some with torn clothing, and all in critical condition. Our doctor, Lt. Bruce McCambell, was very busy administering first aid. Blankets were placed on the shivering, suffering men; on others, blankets or sheets simply covered their dead bodies… We then proceeded to the tender and discharged our pitiful load of dead and wounded men. What more is there to say?”

In November 1944, Mugford, which had spent the long intervening years in combat operations off New Guinea and the central Pacific, ran partially out of luck during operations in the Philippines. While patrolling in Surigao Strait, a Japanese kamikaze dove through intense anti-aircraft fire and crashed Mugford in her port uptakes, wiping out a gun crew and gutting No. 1 fire room. Seven Sailors died instantly and another fourteen were wounded. Later, with the fires out and the clean up begun, the question arose, “Where is Tony?” A Firemen 3d class, Tony was stationed in the fire room and had never come out. Lynch, by then Chief Engineer, volunteered and searched the pitch-black still smoldering smoke filled room. “With a flashlight I began the search. Finally, way at the back of the compartment, crouched in a sitting position, with his skin very dark and swollen, was poor dead little Tony.” They later discovered Tony had lied about his age and was only fifteen years old.

Lynch survived the war but never forgot it, carrying the invisible wounds with him always. The scars fade only with difficulty, as is known by anyone who comes home with the stress of war about them. For Lynch they never faded, who ended his letter by writing “This is about all I’m able to write. Thank God WWII was finally over – and I hope to forget as much of it as possible.”

Dec 16

USS Charles R. Ware – On Navy TV

Thursday, December 16, 2010 8:38 AM

Now on NAVY TV – The story of the USS Charles R. Ware (DD-865).

USS Charles R. Ware (DD-865) was named for Lieutenant Charles Rollins Ware, a hero of the Battle of Midway. She sailed the seas for 36 years until the Navy scuttled her on November 15, 1981. This is her story as told by the men that sailed her and remember her as they gather annually at the ship’s reunions. Produced by John Bailey

Take a tour of the ship, and listen to the sea stories of her days at sea.

Dec 16

RIP Chief Bob Feller

Thursday, December 16, 2010 8:22 AM

The Naval History & Heritage Command joins a greatful nation in mourning the passing of our shipmate Chief Bob Feller, the Ace of the Greatest Generation. When asked once what was his most important victory, he replied, “World War II.”

Dr. Ed Furgol of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy has prepared a short vignette about Chief Feller’s naval service which originally appeared on Naval History Blog on 9 December 2010 – the 69th anniversary of his enlistment in the U.S. Navy. It is reprinted below:

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941, Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt, asking him, “What do you want [baseball] to do? . . .We await your order.” The President replied, “I honestly feel it would be best for the country to keep baseball going.” With this recommendation, the league began a massive effort to support the war. However, some players chose a more patriotic path. Waiving his draft deferment as the sole provider for his family, pitcher Robert Feller enlisted in the Navy on 9 December 1941, becoming the first Major League player to join the service.

Already a national star, Feller was first assigned as a physical training instructor. However, his desire to go into combat led him to volunteer for gunners’ school in 1942. Chief Petty Officer Feller was placed in command of a 40mm antiaircraft mount aboard USS Alabama (BB 60), and served through the campaigns in the North Atlantic and throughout the Pacific theater. In March 1945 he reported to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Illinois, where he managed the baseball team. In August he returned to the Cleveland Indians and resumed his Major League career.

Feller got his nickname, “The Heater from Van Meter,” due to his lightning fastball and his hometown, Van Meter, Iowa. Some baseball experts have credited him as being the hardest throwing pitcher in history. An 8-time All-Star and a World Series champion, Feller’s number 19 was retired by the Cleveland Indians, for whom he played his entire 18-year career. He retired from baseball in 1956, and in 1962 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Bob Feller also holds two other great distinctions: he never played a game in the minors after being signed by the Cleveland Indians, and he is the only pitcher in Major League history to throw a no-hitter on opening day.

Chief, you stand relieved. We have the watch.

Dec 10

NHHC Wishes Photo Curator Ed Finney Fair Winds and Following Seas

Friday, December 10, 2010 11:19 AM
NHHC Photo Curator Ed Finney and CINCHOUSE, Daisy at Ed’s farewell in the Museum Education center on 7 December 2010.

The Naval History & Heritage Command won’t be the same anymore after today’s retirement of photo curator extraordinaire, Ed Finney. Ed started out at the-then Naval Historical Center as a GS-4 clerk typist over 20 years ago. RUMINT has it the number of words per minute he could type is still classified.

Ed is a third generation U.S. Naval Academy graduate (Class of 1967). His grandfather was Class of 1902 and his father was class of 1937 .

He has helped countless of researchers over the years with their inquiries. When asked by Naval History Blog about some of the more bizarre requests he had received over the years, he said requests for satellite imagery of the August 1942 invasion of Guadalcanal and a bizarre phone call in which the caller asked, “What time is it where you are?”

Ed will be missed at the NHHC but hopefully he will be back to visit us.

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