Archive for the 'World War I' Category

Sep 24

David S. Ingalls becomes First Navy “Ace”

Saturday, September 24, 2011 1:00 AM

September 24th, 1918

Lieutenant David S. Ingalls becomes the first “Ace” of the U. S. Navy, and the only “Ace” of World War I.


David S. Ingalls’ accomplishment as the first Navy “Ace” gave him a unique perspective of the origins and development of Naval aviation in the United States. It was this perspective that he shared later in an article written for the October 1930 issue of Proceedings. Ingalls, then the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Aeronautics, described the evolution of Naval aviation in the years before and during the first World War and speculated on the developments that the future would bring:

Naval aviation today is the result of a post-war incorporation of aviation into our Navy. Prior thereto there was no such thing as naval aviation as now known. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 30

Carrier Aircraft Lay First Mines, 30 March 1944

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:01 AM

On 30 March 1944 a strong Fifth Fleet force, built around 11 carriers of Task Force 58, launched a series of attacks on Japanese shipping, airfields, and installations on and near Palau, Ulithi, Woleai, and Yap in the western Caroline Islands. Designed to eliminate Japanese opposition to the upcoming amphibious landing at Hollandia, New Guinea, the strikes concluded on 1 April, with the planes of Task Force 58 having destroyed 157 enemy aircraft and sunk 42 enemy ships.

During these raids TBF-1C and TBM-1C Avengers from Torpedo Squadrons 2, 8, and 16, embarked on board Bunker Hill (CV 19), Hornet (CV 12), and Lexington (CV 16), sowed extensive minefields in and around the channels and approaches to the Palaus. This was the first large-scale daylight tactical use of mines laid by carrier aircraft.

Mar 19

The Navy’s First Enlisted Women, 19 March 1917

Saturday, March 19, 2011 12:01 AM

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels authorized the enlistment of women on 19 March 1917 to help alleviate a projected shortage of clerical workers. They served under Class 4 of the 1916 United States Naval Reserve Force that provided for the first enrollment or enlistment of officer and enlisted personnel. Loretta Perfectus Walsh of Olyphant, Pennsylvania, became the first woman to enlist on 21 March 1917. By the time war with Germany was officially declared on 6 April, 200 women had joined her.

To distinguish these women from their male counterparts the Navy established the rate of Yeoman (F), though they were also known as “Yeomanettes” or “Yeowomen.” Men and women in the same rank earned equal pay, something not available in the civilian sector. Unlike their male counterparts, the highest rank a Yeoman (F) could reach was that of chief petty officer. Since they did not receive basic training, these enlisted women took classes and learned how to drill in the evenings. They worked as couriers, draftsmen, fingerprint experts, masters-at-arms, mess attendants, paymasters, recruiters, switchboard operators, and translators. A select few worked overseas at base hospitals in France and in naval intelligence in Puerto Rico. Female reservists also participated in Victory Loan Drives and parades. By the signing of the 11 November 1918 armistice between the Allies and Germany, a total of 11,275 Yeomen (F) had served in the Navy. The last Yeoman (F) was discharged from active duty in July 1919.

Feb 23

Recognizing Enlisted Personnel: USS Osmond Ingram

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:01 AM

Painting by Charles B. Falls, depicting the gallant but futile effort of Gunner's Mate First Class Osmond K. Ingram, USN, to release the ship's depth charges just before she was hit by a torpedo from the German submarine U-61 on 15 October 1917. Ingram was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism on this occasion.

February 23rd marks the anniversary of the launching of USS Osmond Ingram (DD 225). Launched in 1919, it was the first Navy ship named for an enlisted man.

Its namesake, Osmond Kelly Ingram, entered the Navy in 1903. Rising to the rank of Gunner’s Mate First Class, Ingram served on USS Cassin (DD 43) when the destroyer was attacked by a German U-boat off Ireland on 16 October 1917. While cleaning the muzzle of a gun after morning target practice, Ingram spotted a torpedo, which, in the words of Cassin’s commander, was “running on the surface, and on a direct course to strike us amidships.” Desperate evasive maneuvers seemed to have succeeded when suddenly the torpedo “porpoised,” or jumped completely out of the water, turned left, and struck Cassin near the stern above the waterline. From his vantage point, Ingram realized that the “fish” would hit close to the depth charge rack, detonating those explosives and greatly increasing damage to Cassin and the threat to its crew. With no regard for his own safety, Ingram sprinted aft to release the depth charges. Before he could jettison all the charges, however, the torpedo struck, detonating the remaining depth charges, killing Ingram, and nearly ripping the stern off Cassin.

Though heavily damaged, the American destroyer was able to fire at the U-boat once it surfaced, forcing it to abandon its attack. The crippled warship was later towed to the naval base at Queenstown, Ireland, where she was repaired and returned to service.

For his selfless action, Ingram, the first enlisted man killed in action in World War I, was awarded the Medal of Honor. The destroyer named for him continued his legacy of honored service, receiving six battle stars and a Presidential Unit citation during World War II.

With the launching of Osmond Ingram, the Navy continued and furthered a program of greater appreciation of and increased opportunities for its enlisted personnel, which continues to this day.

Feb 10

Navy TV – USS Intrepid- the legend and history

Thursday, February 10, 2011 10:19 AM

In commemoration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation kick-off event in San Diego this week, NavyTV has dug up from the archives a great video about the USS Intrepid (CV-11), the legendary aircraft carrier, which served this nation from WWII through the height of the Cold War. After being decommissioned in 1974, the Intrepid became the foundation of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City in 1982. Watch The Story of the USS Intrepid here on NavyTV.

Jan 17

Navy-Themed Sheet Music of the WWI Era (1914-1919)

Monday, January 17, 2011 12:01 AM

Navy-Themed Sheet Music of the WWI Era (1914-1919) as drawn from Bernard S. Parker’s World War I Sheet Music. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2007. 2 vols.

The purpose of this list is to provide basic information on Navy-themed sheet music of the WWI period (1914-1919) as drawn from Parker’s work. The term “Navy-themed” refers to the cover illustration of the sheet music. In order to be considered “Navy-themed”, the cover illustration must be totally or mostly related to a Navy theme–sailors, warships, etc. While the Navy appears on a great many of the 9,670 items listed in Parker, it is usually in a minor role—a sailor standing next to a soldier, a warship in the background, etc. These have not been included in this list, nor have sheet music with words only on the cover.

1. Admiral Dewey. (1917) Lyricist: M.W. Murray

2. All For The Red, White, and Blue. (1919) Lyricist: Samuel E. Carter

3. All Hail To America. (1917) Lyricist: Peter Philip Bilhorn

4. America Awakes. (1918) Lyricist: Allen W. Woodruff

5. America Home Sweet Home. (1917) Lyricist: Carrie M. Brooks

6. America Is Ready. (1917) Lyricist: Josephine B. Cassidy

7. America Leads The Way. (1917) Lyricist: Addison A. Dart

8. American War March. (1917) Lyricist: S.J. Trietel

9. America’s Call. (1918) Lyricist: Edward F. Larkins

10. (Army) Yankees On The Rhine, (Navy) Yankees On The Brine. (1918) Lyricist: F.N. Graves

11. Battle Ship Rag. (1915) Lyricist: Thos S. Allen

12. Battleship Connecticut. (1919) Lyricist: James M. Fulton

13. Beacon Lights. (1918) Lyricist: M.T. Donovan

14. Boys In Navy Blue. (1918) Lyricist: Tom W. Sageman

15. Boys Of The USA. (1918) Lyricist: Elizabeth Kelly

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 24

The Navy’s First Ace: Lieutenant Junior Grade David S. Ingalls

Friday, September 24, 2010 12:01 AM

While on a test flight in a British Sopwith Camel on 24 September 1918, Lieutenant Junior Grade David S. Ingalls sighted a German two-seat Rumpler over Nieuport, Belgium. In company with another Camel he aggressively dove in and scored his fifth aerial victory in six weeks to become the Navy’s first ace.

Born to a life of privilege in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1899, Ingalls had matriculated at Yale University when WWI erupted. As a young man he enjoyed tinkering with aircraft, and enlisted as a machinist mate second class as a member of the First Yale Unit, a group of aviation pioneers, just before the United States entered the war.

Ingalls qualified as a Naval Aviator, commissioned, and exchanged with the Marines and the British to fight the Germans along the Western Front, where he shot down four German planes and at least one balloon to become the Navy’s first ace. Ingalls received the Distinguished Service Medal, the British Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Legion of Honor.

“He is one of the finest men” the British subsequently evaluated his service, “[No. 213] Squadron ever had.” They further noted that he was an “Excellent officer…exceptionally good pilot…bold and aggressive…made enviable record…” After WWI Ingalls completed his education at Yale and Harvard and practiced law. He served during WWII, returned to law and became involved in politics following that conflict. The intrepid pilot retired to Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with his wife Louise, where he died in 1985.

Sep 19

Founding the Naval Research Laboratory

Sunday, September 19, 2010 12:01 AM

Thomas Edison did more than invent the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera. He and Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels were “fathers” of the Naval Research Laboratory and helped forge a fruitful collaboration between the Navy and academia.

In an interview published in the New York Times in May, 1915, Edison argued that to prepare for World War I the United States should enlist the help of “industry and science.” In particular, he advocated the creation of a government research laboratory, in which might be created “great guns, the minutiae of new explosives, all the technique of military and naval progression, without any vast expense.”

Daniels read the interview and acted immediately to enlist America’s greatest inventor to help form within the Navy a “department of invention and development,” to tap “the natural inventive genius of Americans.” Edison agreed and on 19 September the Naval Consulting Board, as the new organization was called, was born. Edison, his assistant, and 22 representatives of major national engineering societies comprised the board which was charged to advise the Navy on scientific matters and harness the powers of civilian scientists to solve the Navy’s technical problems.

Although the board remained active throughout the war, it never lived up to its promise of becoming an effective liaison between the Navy and civilian scientists and engineers with one exception: a plan to build a research laboratory and thus transform the way in which the Navy conducted its scientific research. With Edison’s backing, Daniels in 1916 was able to convince Congress to appropriate $1.5 million for the laboratory.

Delayed by disagreements about where it should be located and whether its director should be a naval officer or a civilian, it was not until 1923 that the Naval Research Laboratory complex was completed at the southernmost tip of the District of Columbia and the staff of 24 men began work under the direction of Rear Adm. William Strother Smith. Initially focusing on “sound” research, primarily the detection of submarines and improvement of radios, it slowly expanded its areas of activity so that by World War II the NRL began to assume the broad ranging capabilities that characterize it today.

Ironically, neither Daniels, whose tenure as Secretary ended in 1921, nor Edison, who resigned from the Board in a huff that same year, were involved in the opening of the NRL. Nonetheless, it was truly their creation and would not have existed without them.