Jan 24

John Paul Jones Comes Home

Friday, January 24, 2014 1:00 PM
Annapolis, Md. (May 27, 2005) - Father of the U.S. Navy, John Paul Jones, is entombed at the U.S. Naval Academy and is guarded by Midshipman 24-hours a day, three hundred sixty five days a year. Jones is forever immortalized by uttering the words, "I have not yet begun to fight", during the battle between USS Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis, off the coast of England in 1779. Jones was buried in a pauper's grave in Paris. More than a century later, his remains were returned to the United States and placed at the academy as a national shrine. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Kevin H. Tierney (RELEASED)

Annapolis, Md. (May 27, 2005) – Father of the U.S. Navy, John Paul Jones, is entombed at the U.S. Naval Academy and is guarded by Midshipman 24-hours a day, three hundred sixty five days a year. Jones is forever immortalized by uttering the words, “I have not yet begun to fight”, during the battle between USS Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis, off the coast of England in 1779. Jones was buried in a pauper’s grave in Paris. More than a century later, his remains were returned to the United States and placed at the academy as a national shrine. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Kevin H. Tierney (RELEASED)

It is possible that the axiom “all good things come to those who wait” could not be more applicable to any historic Navy figure than John Paul Jones, a Scotland-born Sailor who rose to fame as a captain in the Continental Navy of the United States, widely considered one of the founders of the U.S. Navy.

After languishing for 113 years in a virtually unmarked grave paved over by a Paris laundry, this legendary naval leader was found, reclaimed by the U.S., and now lays in an ornate sarcophagus styled after French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

C’est la vie!

Jones’ crypt is not as large as the famed French emperor, but they share the same center-placed sarcophagus surrounded on the perimeter by marble columns.

Designed by Beaux Arts architect Whitney Warren, the French sculptor Sylvain Salieres crafted the sarcophagus and columns out of black and white Great Pyrenees marble. The top is garnished with garlands of bronze sea plants, while the sarcophagus itself is held aloft on the backs of four bronze dolphins.

Surrounding the sarcophagus, etched in the marble floor and then inset in brass, are the names of the Continental Navy ships commanded by Jones during the American Revolution: Providence, Alfred, Ranger, Bonhomme Richard, Serapis, Alliance and Ariel.

In between the eight columns that form the perimeter of the crypt are American national ensigns (flags) and Union Jacks.

In the periphery of the circular space surrounding the sarcophagus are niches displaying historic objects related to Jones’ life and naval career, which include an original marble copy of the Houdon portrait bust, a gold medal awarded to Jones by Congress in 1787, the gold-hilted presentation sword given to Jones by Louis XVI of France, and Jones’ commission as captain, Continental (U.S.) Navy, signed by John Hancock.

And also inlaid in brass is this inscription:

 

JOHN PAUL JONES, 1747-1792; U.S. NAVY, 1775-1783.

HE GAVE OUR NAVY ITS EARLIEST TRADITIONS OF HEROISM AND VICTORY.

ERECTED BY THE CONGRESS, A.D. 1912.

 John Paul Jones Tomb Courtesy United States Naval Academy flickr

Perhaps Congress giving itself credit for the sarcophagus might have been a bit overreaching. But there is a plaque that does give nod to the man who brought John Paul Jones home: Brevet Gen. Horace Porter, a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate and close friend of Ulysses Grant. When work on Grant’s Tomb stopped due to lack of money, it was Porter who kept the project rolling with his fundraising efforts. A large audience was in attendance when the monument on Riverside Drive in New York was dedicated April 27, 1897.

And so with work finished on Grant’s Tomb, Porter jumped into a similar mission when he was appointed as ambassador to France in 1897: Find and bring back the body of naval hero John Paul Jones.

Porter spent the next six years researching and funding the investigation to determine where Jones had been buried. Records revealed Jones was likely buried in the Saint Louis Cemetery for Foreign Protestants, but it had been paved over.

Congress agreed to pay $35,000 for the excavation, but rather than waiting for the funds to be released, Porter paid for the work himself. The body was found almost perfectly preserved in an alcohol-filled lead coffin within a wooden coffin. That was done because when he died in 1792 Jones’ friends believed the U.S. would eventually bring the body back to America.

By the time Porter was convinced through autopsy and other records that he had found John Paul Jones, it was 1905. Naval enthusiast President Theodore Roosevelt used repatriating Jones’ remains as an opportunity to show off his growing naval power.

On July 6, 1905, to commemorate the 158th year of Jones’ birth, his remains were led by military escort through the streets of Paris and taken by torpedo boat to USS Brooklyn which, along with a squadron of warships, brought Jones’ body back to America, 113 years after his death.

Roosevelt deemed Jones’ final resting place to be the U.S. Naval Academy’s chapel which was being built on its Annapolis, Md., campus. Jones’ body was placed in a temporary vault until his final crypt was finished.

April 24, 1906 was chosen for the formal commemorative exercises of John Paul Jones’ re-internment because it was the anniversary of Jones’ famous 1778 capture of the British warship Drake.

Held at the Naval Academy, Roosevelt presided over the ceremony, using it as an opportunity to not only recognize the “memory of the dead hero” whose “indomitable determination and dauntless scorn of death” should be emulated by future naval officers, but also to push his agenda on the need to build ships in time of peace to prepare for future need.

He evoked the image of the British burning Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812 as he thundered: “The sin of the invaders in burning the buildings is trivial compared with the sin of our own people in failing to make ready an adequate force to defeat the attempt.”

In case that message didn’t get through, he added “Let us remember our own shortcomings and see to it that the men in public life today are not permitted to bring about a state of things by which we should in effect invite a repetition of such a humiliation.”

After this ceremony, Jones was placed back into the vault to await the designing and sculpting of his final resting place. During this period of time, Roosevelt completed building his Great White Fleet, launched it on its 2-year circumnavigation of the world, and oversaw the building and completion of the Panama Canal and left office.

Finally, on Jan. 26, 1913, John Paul Jones was entombed within the 21-ton ornate marble and bronze sarcophagus. Considered a pirate by the British, a rogue by the Russians, and nearly forgotten by America, John Paul Jones had risen yet again from obscurity to lay in splendor for eternity as the Sailor who gave the modern U.S. Navy many of its traditions.

John Paul Jones Courtesy United States Naval Academy

 
Jan 11

Michael Murphy

Saturday, January 11, 2014 3:54 PM
A photographic imageby Mass Communication Specialist 2d Class Jay Chu of Lt. Murphy and Michael Murphy (DDG 112), 7 May 2008. (U.S. NavyPhotographic Illustration 080507-N-5025C-003, Navy Chief of Information)

A photographic imageby Mass Communication Specialist 2d Class Jay Chu of Lt. Murphy and Michael Murphy (DDG 112), 7 May 2008. (U.S. NavyPhotographic Illustration 080507-N-5025C-003, Navy Chief of Information)

Lt. Michael P. Murphy — born in Smithtown, N.Y., on 7 May 1976 — grew up in the New York City commuter town of Patchogue, Long Island, N.Y. Murphy participated in sports and attended Patchogue’s Saxton Middle School. In high school, Murphy took a summer lifeguard job at the Brookhaven town beach in Lake Ronkonkoma, returning to that position each summer through his college years. Murphy graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School in 1994. He attended Penn State University, where he excelled as an all-around athlete—especially in ice hockey—and student, graduating with honors. He read voraciously; his reading tastes ranged from the Greek historian Herodotus to Count Lev N. “Leo” Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Murphy’s favorite book was Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, about the Spartan stand at Thermopylae. Murphy graduated with two Bachelor of Arts degrees — in political science and psychology — in 1998.

Several law schools accepted Murphy but he set his sights on joining the Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) teams. Slightly built at 5 feet 10 inches, Murphy decided to attend SEAL mentoring sessions at the Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y. He accepted an appointment to the Navy’s Officer Candidate School, Pensacola, Fla. (September2000). Murphy was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy (13 December 2000), and began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training at Coronado, Calif. (January 2001), graduating with Class 236.

011019-N-0000X-001 CORONADO, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2001) - Navy file photo of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) graduating class 236. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, 29, from Patchogue, NY is pictured on the far left side of the back row. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wing, June 28, 2005, while leading a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan. The team came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. Murphy knowingly left his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters and was mortally wounded while exposing himself to enemy fire. While being shot and shot at, Murphy provided his units location and requested immediate support for his element. He returned to his cover position to continue the fight until finally succumbing to his wounds. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)

011019-N-0000X-001
CORONADO, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2001) – Navy file photo of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) graduating class 236. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, 29, from Patchogue, NY is pictured on the far left side of the back row. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wings, June 28, 2005, while leading a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan. The team came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. Murphy knowingly left his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters and was mortally wounded while exposing himself to enemy fire. While being shot and shot at, Murphy provided his units location and requested immediate support for his element. He returned to his cover position to continue the fight until finally succumbing to his wounds. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)

Upon graduation from BUD/S, he attended the Army Jump School, SEAL Qualification Training, and SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) school. Murphy earned his SEAL Trident and joined SDV Team (SDVT) 1 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (July 2002). In October of 2002, he deployed with Foxtrot Platoon to Jordan as the liaison officer for Exercise Early Victor.Following his tour with SDVT-1, Murphy served with Special Operations Central Command in Florida, and deployed to Qatar in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He then assisted in the operational planning of future SDV missions while deployed to Djibouti, Horn of Africa.Murphy was assigned to SDVT-1 as assistant officer in charge of Alfa Platoon (early 2005), and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Murphy served as the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Redwing (27–28 June 2005). His orders directed him to find a key Taliban commander inthe mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after the SEALs inserted into the objective area, three goat herders spotted the Americans, who detained and then released the Afghans. The herdsmen (apparently) immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to the Taliban.

050628-N-0000X-005 Navy file photo of SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y., and Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, of Cupertino, Calif., taken in Afghanistan. Both were assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Murphy and Axelson were killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wing, June 28, 2005. They were part of a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan, when they came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)

050628-N-0000X-005
Navy file photo of SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y., and Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, of Cupertino, Calif., taken in Afghanistan. Both were assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Murphy and Axelson were killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wings, June 28, 2005. They were part of a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan, when they came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)

A battle erupted on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a larger number of enemy militants, who fired AK-47 assault rifles, RPK light machine guns, RPG-7 rocket propelled grenades, and 82 millimeter mortars at the Americans. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy risked his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Intent on making contact with headquarters but realizing the difficulty of gaining contact because of the extreme terrain, Murphy unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.

Congressional Medal of Honor Awarded to Lt. Michael P. Murphy

Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While under fire, Murphy contacted and requested assistance from the Special Operations Forces Quick Reaction Force (QRF) at Bagram. He calmly provided his team’s location and estimated the number of militants while requesting immediate support. A round struck him in the back at one point, causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the approaching enemy.Severely wounded, Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.

As a result of Murphy’s call, a Boeing MH-47 Chinook helicopter of the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), carrying eight additional SEALs of SDVT-1 and SEAL Team 10, and eight soldiers of the 160th,arrived as part of the QRF to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing it to crash and killing all 16 men on board.

121006-N-WL435-467 NEW YORK (Oct. 6, 2012) The ship's officers and crew man the ship during the commissioning ceremony of the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112). Murphy is named after Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient who posthumously received the nation's highest military honor for bravery during combat in Afghanistan in 2005. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor/Released)

121006-N-WL435-467
NEW YORK (Oct. 6, 2012) The ship’s officers and crew man the ship during the commissioning ceremony of the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112). Murphy is named after Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient who posthumously received the nation’s highest military honor for bravery during combat in Afghanistan in 2005. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor/Released)

The four SEALs on the ground continued fighting but shot the last of their ammunition.Murphy and two of the other SEALs, Gunner’s Mate 2d Class Danny P. Dietz, Jr., and Sonar Technician 2d Class Matthew G. Axelson, died during the battle. A rocket-propelled grenade blasted the fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2d Class Marcus Luttrell, over a ridge, knocking him unconscious. Though severely wounded, Luttrell evaded the enemy for nearly a day; Afghan tribesmen then carried him to a nearby village, where they hid Luttrell from the Taliban until U.S. forces rescued him (2 July). The Americans killed an estimated 35 Taliban.

Michael Murphy (DDG 112), crest

By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Murphy conveyed the position of his team, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three men who fell. Murphy received the Medal of Honor posthumously, and was buried at Calverton National Cemetery, less than 20 miles from his childhood home.

Petty Officer 2d Class Erik Swanson, USCG, captures this shot of Michael Murphy as she sailspast the Statue of Liberty,New York Harbor, 1 October 2012. (U.S. Coast Guard Photograph121001-G-TG089-038).

Petty Officer 2d Class Erik Swanson, USCG, captures this shot of Michael Murphy as she sails past the Statue of Liberty,New York Harbor, 1 October 2012. (U.S. Coast Guard Photograph121001-G-TG089-038).

 

Mark L. Evans, Naval History and Heritage Command

Related Link:

Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN, Operation Red Wings, Summary of Action, June 28, 2005

http://www.navy.mil/moh/mpmurphy/soa.html

 

 
Jan 10

NHHC Recognizing 100 Years of Navy Photographers

Friday, January 10, 2014 3:08 PM

 

Lt. Walter Richardson

Lt. Walter Richardson

By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford,
Naval History and Heritage Command Communication Outreach Division

In recognition of one man’s commitment to the Navy and photography, Naval History and Heritage Command will celebrate 100 years of naval photographers. To commemorate the centennial, NHHC is planning to share photographs to our Facebook site from each year since 1914.

One hundred years have passed since the first Sailor was designated to document important Navy events around the world. Walter Leroy Richardson, who joined the Navy in 1911 as a ship’s cook, had been taking photographs for the USS Mississippi and the crew. The ship dropped anchor at former Naval Shipyard Pensacola Jan. 20, 1914, to survey the land for a future Naval Aeronautical Station; Richardson, on his off-duty time, was there taking pictures. Because of his competency behind the lens, Richardson was soon transferred to a shore command where he was expected to use his talent full-time as the navy’s first official photographer.

This is where audience participation will make this year-long commemoration all the more memorable. If you are Sailor — or were a Sailor — acting in an official capacity as a photographer for the Navy when an image was shot, NHHC wants to see it! While every Sailor who takes a photo is technically a Navy photographer, the purpose of the commemoration is to recognize professionals specifically charged by the Navy during the past 100 years to visually document our story.

Every Tuesday and Thursday throughout 2014, NHHC’s social media team will share a photo from each year of the centennial. Act quickly – we’re kicking it off beginning Jan. 14. With your help we’ll add between one and eight images to the album.

NHHC is looking for photos that are easily relatable to today’s Navy and Sailors –it’s on you to show us why. They should be well-composed, compelling, impactful, and ultimately help tell a story about our Navy. Photos must be digital (either scanned from photograph / negative or inherently digital), be of high quality and can only be submitted by the Sailor or veteran. By submitting the image, senders permit full use of the image by NHHC should we select them for sharing.

Please email digital images to USNHistory@gmail.com with complete captions describing:

  • The scene
  • Names of individuals depicted
  • Date and location where the photo was shot
  • Full name and rank of the photographer
  • Your own contact information should there be any questions.

If certain information is not known, please note “unknown.” Though we appreciate all submissions, we are seeking to share as much contextual information as possible. Please keep that in mind as you submit imagery.

We can’t wait to see what you submit, and thanks for using the lense of history to better understand our Navy today.

 
Jan 8

Jan. 8, 1815 – Battle of New Orleans

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 2:33 PM

 

Capt. Daniel Todd Patterson by John Wesley Jarvis

Capt. Daniel Todd Patterson by John Wesley Jarvis

Today marks the final victory over the British that ended the War of 1812. The Battle of New Orleans was settled at Chalmette Plantation, where Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson’s troops scored a final victory for the United States.

Less known, however, is the naval skirmish three weeks prior that set up Jackson’s victory. During the Battle of Lake Borgne, American Sailors and Marines, with just a few gun boats, slowed the approach of 8,000 British troops advancing toward New Orleans. Armed with the knowledge the British were coming, Jackson was able to prepare and amass his troops for the greatest land battle victory during the War of 1812. All thanks to the intuition of Commodore Daniel Todd Patterson.

Patterson was born on Long Island in 1786 and like so many Americans at the time, descended from loyal British subjects. His uncle had been a royal governor of what is now St. John’s Island in Canada. Patterson started his career in the Navy in 1799, fought the French, was taken captive during the Quasi Wars, and led raids against pirates blocking New Orleans. He was later a prisoner of the Barbary pirates in Tripoli until the American victory in 1805.

Stationed in New Orleans, by 1812 Patterson was highly experienced in combat and leadership. He was ready for the British, who had won battles in the Great Lakes, burned Washington, and were now ready to invade the South.

But where? The British had already sent ships to the Gulf of Mexico. Jackson believed it would be Mobile, Ala., and he insisted Commodore Patterson, now the Commander of New Orleans, to send whatever he had to protect Mobile from attack. Patterson repeatedly refused Jackson, convinced the British would attack New Orleans.

In the meantime, the British Commander-in-Chief of the North American Station, Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, had anchored in the Gulf of Mexico with a large armada of ships holding 8,000 soldiers and sailors ready to invade.

Patterson had little with which to respond. As the Master Commandant, he had written to the Secretary of the Navy many times asking for ships that could stand a chance in combat against the British fleet. Patterson wrote the year before in December 1813 that none of his ships could even depart from the Gulf of Mexico without “falling into enemy hands.”

The British had HMS Seahorse, which carried 22 nine-pounder guns. Cochrane also had ships like Armide and Sophie, which contained two six-pounder bow guns and 16 32-pounder carronades, which were giant short-range cast iron cannons.  

Patterson had five gunboats, a schooner and two sloops of war, USS Alligator and USS Tickler. The squadron had fewer than 250 Sailors, armed with 16 long guns, 14 carronades, two howitzers and 12 swivel guns. The gun boats were often referred to as “Jefferson-class” tug boats, because they were built during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson who believed all America needed was a coastal patrol force, not a blue-water navy. The “Jefferson-class” gun boats didn’t even have names. They had numbers — Numbers 156, 163, 5, 23, and 162.

But now the British were anchored in the Gulf of Mexico. Vice Adm. Cochrane decided the easiest way to New Orleans would be through Lake Borgne, where Patterson’s squadron was patrolling and reporting back to Jackson about the British logistics and movements.

Finally, on Dec. 12, 1814, 1,200 British sailors and marines began their approach to Lake Borgne. After 36 hours of rowing, the invaders faced a hail of grape shot. Patterson had calculated correctly that even without ships to match the Royal Navy, his gunboats could harass any landing party as they rowed ashore, blocking the entrance of Lake Borgne, the gateway to New Orleans.

 

NHHC

NHHC – Battle of Lake Borgne

 

But outmanned and outgunned, the British captured all the American gunboats on Dec. 14. The British then made a tactical error. Rather than pressing forward, they were allowed time to rest.

Jackson heard about a British encampment just seven miles from New Orleans and exclaimed: “By the Eternal they shall not sleep on our soil.”

So during the night of Dec. 23, the Americans attacked the British with troops by land and with USS Carolina and Louisiana, stationed in the Mississippi River, bombarding their encampment. Heavily outnumbered, the Americans were forced to retreat.

The British realized their advance would not be as easy as they thought, and again, hesitated, allowing even more time for Jackson to shore up his forces and prepare their defense. Under bombardment and constant attack, the British tried to advance into New Orleans for the next two weeks until the culmination of the battle on Jan. 8, 1815.

The Treaty of Ghent was signed in Belgium on Dec., 24, 1814, just one day after Jackson’s assault on the British. But neither side knew the treaty had been signed until after the battle was over two weeks later. After Jan. 8, the British, in one last effort after losing New Orleans, tried to take Mobile again, but then withdrew upon hearing of the treaty. It would formally end all hostilities between the two nations. 

Patterson himself commanded naval batteries on the Mississippi during the Battle of New Orleans. He, as well as his Sailors and Marines fought alongside Jackson’s Soldiers during the last week in December and the first week in January. Jackson would go on to give high praise to Patterson, who would be promoted to captain. Patterson would later take command of USS Constitution, and serve in the Navy for another 24 years.

And old Hickory himself, a national hero, would ride his 1815 victory to become the nation’s seventh president in 1829.

 

LINKS

Commodore Daniel Todd Patterson

http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/pers-us/uspers-p/d-patrsn.htm

The Battle of New Orleans

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-battle-of-new-orleans

The Battle of Lake Borgne

http://www.navalhistory.org/2010/12/13/the-battle-of-lake-borgne

 The penultimate battle of the War of 1812

Today in 1815 marks the final victory over the British that ended the War of 1812. It was Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson’s Army that carried that ball over the goal line for the win. But they crossed that end zone because the U.S. Navy got the ball to within the 10-yard line.

How so, you might ask? The British planned to attack New Orleans weeks prior to Jan. 8, 1815, but a small contingent of American gunboats kept the Red Coats from coming ashore from the Gulf of Mexico through Lake Borgne, allowing Jackson the time to amass more men to prepare for their attack.

A history teacher named Jimmy Driftwood back in the 1936 wrote a little ditty called the Battle of New Orleans to get his history students interested in the War of 1812, using a popular American folk tune called “The 8th of January.” Singer Johnny Horton turned into a 1959 hit.

But since that song was about the land battle that kept the British out of New Orleans, with our apologies to Driftwood, here’s the Navy version, based on the same tune, on how a handful of Navy boats held off the Royal Navy, and helped set the stage for the bigger victory three weeks later on Jan. 8, 1815.

Battle of Lake Borgne

(Music to play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54HJ6Pj9StA)

In 1814 the British took a trip,

Down south to the mouth of the mighty Mississip.

They had 11 thousand men looking to conspire,

After victories in Canada and setting Washington on fire.

 

The Brits, they were anchored in the Gulf of Mexico

With 8,000 troops, New Orleans would be their Jericho.

But at Lake Borgne they faced an American esprit de corps

Of a quintet of gunboats and a pair of sloops of war.

 

Commodore Daniel Todd Patterson was his name,

Planning and commanding were his game.

It was at Lake Borgne where he would take his stand,

Against 12 hundred Red Coats with his small command.

 

Each time the British tried to row ashore,

The Americans fired back with their 4-pounder bore.

Despite the valiant fight, the British finally got ashore,

After capturing all the gunboats and a pair of sloops of war.

 

Now as the British tried to catch a little breather,

The Navy said no to rest and no to leisure.

Jackson said they shall not upon our soil sleep,

And so came the plan for the British to be beat.

 

It was in December they signed the Treaty of Ghent,

For the Brits and Yanks, of that treaty there was no hint.

There was no Twitter or Internet that year,

So the Red Coats tried to take Mobile which was near.

 

The British withdrew after hearing about the treaty.

Since the United States troops had beaten them completely.

Patterson and his sailors fought long into the action.

And for his efforts he would be awarded the rank of captain. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 24

Holiday season celebrated by service members at home and abroad

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 12:54 PM
USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) shows some holiday spirit on Christmas Eve 2005 by displaying hundreds of lights. Several other Sailors from Carrier Strike Group 5 also participated in decorating their ships from bow to stern for the holidays while in port at Yokosuka, Japan. The aircraft carrier would be decomissioned in 2009. U.S. Navy photograph by Photographer's Mate Airman Thomas J. Holt

USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) shows some holiday spirit on Christmas Eve 2005 by displaying hundreds of lights. Several other Sailors from Carrier Strike Group 5 also participated in decorating their ships from bow to stern for the holidays while in port at Yokosuka, Japan. The aircraft carrier would be decomissioned in 2009.
U.S. Navy photograph by Photographer’s Mate Airman Thomas J. Holt

 By Hill Goodspeed, historian, National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Fla. Naval History and Heritage Command

For military personnel deployed in wartime, the arrival of the holiday season brings a mixture of emotions. The sense of normalcy that comes with being home with family is absent, the void filled by brethren in uniform, bonds forged between them in combat in some ways closer than any shared with loved ones.

 They celebrate a season in which mankind strives for “peace on earth, goodwill to men” against the backdrop of human conflict that seeks those ends, but through necessarily violent means, shattered battlefield landscapes and cries of wounded in stark contrast to lighted Christmas trees and holiday cheer.

 Yet, whether in a foxhole or on board a ship thousands of miles from home, holidays provide reason to pause for those in the profession of arms, moments of reflection for men and women caught between a world of war and distant memories of peace.

 Such was the case for Lt. j.g. Malcolm H. Tinker, an A-1 Skyraider pilot on his first combat cruise with Attack Squadron (VA) 115 in the carrier Kitty Hawk (CVA 63), as he took a few moments to record his thoughts in his diary on Dec. 24, 1965, his ship spending Christmas Eve steaming towards Hong Kong from the waters off North Vietnam.

 “At last, at last; a welcome respite from the past 28 days,” he wrote. ” The day before Christmas and thoughts of so many of us are far away-esp. on the first holiday season away-far away from home. There was singing and relaxing in various rooms around the ship. It took a bit of mustering to get up the Christmas spirit, but we all did. Services were held in hangar bay one, which despite a homespun air, were a link with the meaning of it all. Still reeling from the loss of our comrades in the past 4 hellish days-each of us gave thanks that he was able to enjoy this day with the war far away now.”

 Christmas Day, the ship having traveled a hundred nautical miles closer to shore and welcome liberty for the crew, Tinker became more reflective.

 “Christmas has descended on Kitty Hawk and Asia,” he confided in his diary. “Presents were opened and compared, almost like we were all once again kids on the block. The squadron wives sent stockings full of gifts to each of us — bachelors included — all of which added to dispel the forced feelings for this day that we’ve had to generate. Home go all my greetings and reflections. Each Christmas I have spent has passed in review, it seems. This is what one draws on for stability: the pleasures and memories of joys past. Toward the future and 1966 we look with grave uncertainty, the past is a refuge in which to soothe the soul.”

 On that holy day, as it did for those who served before him and those whose time on the front lines has occurred since, Tinker captured the importance of service to the nation. Not only do life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness make possible the joyful memories that sustain Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines far from home, they are ideals worth the more than two centuries of protection afforded them by those who serve.

Service members aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), presented Christmas gifts to children at Shunko Gakuen Orphanage, Yokosuka, Japan, as part of an outreach project Dec. 23, 2009. More than 80 children received Christmas gifts from Sailors and their family members. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brian A. Stone

Service members aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), presented Christmas gifts to children at Shunko Gakuen Orphanage, Yokosuka, Japan, as part of an outreach project Dec. 23, 2009. More than 80 children received Christmas gifts from Sailors and their family members. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brian A. Stone

Season’s Greetings! We wish everyone Happy Holidays with family and friends. We invite you to click below and view both contemporary and vintage Naval Yuletide photographs.

USS Barton (DD 722), circa 1960s, joins in the festive season of the holidays by sporting a Christmas tree. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 68521.

USS Barton (DD 722), circa 1960s, joins in the festive season of the holidays by sporting a Christmas tree. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 68521.

https://www.facebook.com/navalhistory#!/media/set/?set=a.10151787392783344.1073742668.76845133343&type=3 

 

 For a peek into holiday menus from long ago, visit: http://www.history.navy.mil/Special%20Highlights/Menus/Menu-index.htm

 
Dec 20

First female Navy captain oversaw greatest growth of Nurse Corps

Friday, December 20, 2013 1:22 PM
On Dec. 14, 1945, Capt. Sue Dauser (left) was presented the Distinguished Service Medal by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, who later served as the first Secretary of Defense. She retired from active duty on Jan. 1, 1946.

On Dec. 14, 1945, Capt. Sue Dauser (left) was presented the
Distinguished Service Medal by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, who later served as the first Secretary of Defense. She retired from active duty on Jan. 1, 1946.

 

 

By André Sobocinski, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery historian

This Day in History, Dec. 22, 1942: The First Female Captain in the U.S. Navy

Nurse Corps Superintendent Sue Dauser (1888-1972) was promoted to the “relative rank” of captain, becoming the first woman in United States Navy history to achieve this status, Dec. 22, 1942.[1]

Just two years later, when Public Law No. 238 granted full military “wartime” rank to Navy nurses, Dauser became the first woman commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Navy.

Sue S. Dauser, the fifth Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps, which position she held from 1939 until her retirement Jan. 1, 1946. Dauser was the first superintendent to hold the rank of captain.

Sue S. Dauser, the fifth Superintendent of the Navy Nurse
Corps, which position she held from 1939 until her retirement Jan. 1, 1946. Dauser was the first superintendent to hold the rank of captain.

 Throughout her long and accomplished career (1917-1946), Dauser served across the globe, both aboard ship and ashore. In World War I, she acted as chief nurse at the Naval Base Hospital 3, Leith, Scotland, where she oversaw care of both British and American service personnel evacuated from the trenches of the Western Front. Following the war, Dauser earned distinction as one of the first women to serve at sea, serving aboard USS Argonne (1922) as well as the hospital ship USS Relief (1924-1926).

In 1923, Dauser was one of two nurses assigned to duty aboard the transport USS Henderson to care for President Warren G. Harding on his goodwill tour to Alaska. Dauser would later be one of Harding’s attending nurses during his final illness and ultimate death Aug. 2, 1923, in San Francisco, Calif.

Dauser was appointed superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps, Jan. 30, 1939, following tours of duty at Naval Hospitals Canacao, Philippines; Puget Sound, Wash.; Mare Island, San Diego; and at the Naval Dispensary Long Beach, Calif.

During her tenure as the Navy’s chief nurse, Dauser lead the Nurse Corps through its largest growth — from 439 nurses in 1939 to 10,968 nurses at the close of World War II. By the end of the war, Navy Nurses were serving at 364 stations at home and overseas[2] including fleet hospitals in the Pacific, medical units in North Africa and aboard 12 hospital ships.

 For her administrative achievements and steadfast leadership, Dauser was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal in December 1945. Her citation read in part: “Captain Dauser maintained a high morale and splendid efficiency in the Navy Nurse Corps, and her constant devotion to duty throughout reflects the highest credit upon herself, her command and the United States Naval Service.”

Dauser retired from service on April 1, 1946. Just a year after her retirement, the Army-Navy Nurses Act (Public Law 36) of April 16, 1947 made the Navy Nurse Corps an official staff corps of the U.S. Navy and gave its members permanent officer status with commensurate pay and allowances. Under this law, Dauser’s former position of “Superintendent” was changed to “Director of the Nurse Corps.”

 


[1]Public Law 654 of July 3, 1942 granted Navy nurses “relative rank” of commissioned officers. Dauser was given the “relative rank” of Lieutenant Commander. For the first 34 years of the Navy Nurse Corps, nurses considered part of the Navy but neither officers or enlisted.

 [2] Dauser, Sue. Memorandum (undated). Sue Dauser Biographical File, BUMED Archives.

 

 

 
Dec 3

Lt. John Paul Jones raised 1st American flag over U.S. vessel

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 8:00 AM

 

Continental Navy Lt. John Paul Jones was the first to raise the first flag representing America. Naval History and Heritage Command photo

Continental Navy Lt. John Paul Jones was the first to raise the first flag representing America. Naval History and Heritage Command photo

 

By Naval History and Heritage Command

Today marks the 238th anniversary when on Dec. 3, 1775, Lt. John Paul Jones, having just received his first commission from the Continental Congress, hoisted the Grand Union Flag in Philadelphia Harbor aboard Alfred. It was the first time the American flag was raised over an American naval vessel and marked the beginning of a number of traditions related to the raising of the flag the Navy observes to this day.

No ship of the Navy shall dip the national ensign unless in return for such compliment. (US NavyRegulations, Chapter 12, section 1263)
The Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions states that historically, lowering any flag meant submission. This is why no U.S. Navy warship dips its colors first, because warships from any nation commonly do not dip their colors but maintain an “alert” status, unless the traditional salute is rendered first commonly from a small craft, yacht or merchant vessel.

U.S. Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Chosin (CG-65) render passing honors to the Canadian navy destroyer HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Whitehorse during the 2010 International Fleet Week at Victoria, British Columbia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class James Mitchell)

U.S. Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Chosin (CG-65) render passing honors to the Canadian navy destroyer HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Whitehorse during the 2010 International Fleet Week at Victoria, British Columbia.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class James Mitchell)

Instead, honor is accorded to passing ships with passing honors. Passing honors are ordered by ships and boats when vessels pass or are passed close aboard (600 yards). Such honors are exchanged between ships of the U.S. Navy, between ships of the Navy and the Coast Guard, and between U.S. and most foreign navy ships passing close aboard. “Attention” is sounded, and the hand salute is rendered by all persons in view on deck.

Each person in the naval service, upon coming on board a ship of the Navy, shall salute the national ensign.” (US Navy Regulations, Chapter 12, section 1207)
The flag is displayed on every ship at the place of honor, close to the stern, which is the most visible place of honor on a ship. Every Sailor salutes the flag first before coming aboard then salutes the officer. When going ashore, Sailors salute the flag last after saluting the officer. Once the flag is within six paces of a Sailor, the salute is held until six paces after. According to the book Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions, the salute dates back to the days when it was customary for knights to lift their visors as a gesture of respect to one who held higher rank.

The book says, “Today, the personal salute is a significant military gesture. It is the act of military and naval men looking into the eyes of another companion in arms, and by a proper gesture of the hand, paying due respect to the uniform of another defender of the Republic,”

In keeping with Navy regs, a Sailor salutes the flag prior to going aboard USS Stetham (DDG 63) stationed in Japan in 2010. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovo

In keeping with Navy regs, a Sailor salutes the flag prior to going aboard USS Stetham (DDG 63) stationed in Japan in 2010.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovo

The ceremonial hoisting and lowering of the national ensign at 0800 and sunset at a naval command ashore or aboard a ship of the Navy not underway shall be known as morning and evening colors, respectively.(US Navy Regulations, Chapter 12, section 1206)

 At 8 a.m. every morning, ships and Navy installations play the national anthem and raise the colors. Cars stop at the gates as they are entering, departing or parking. People stop walking and stand at attention. Everyone stops talking. Calls are ended. Cell phones are silenced. At dusk the same respect is repeated. It is a tradition taken from America’s British ancestry to show allegiance to the flag.

Sailors raise an American flag during Veterans Day morning colors aboard the amphibious dock landing ship Harpers Ferry (LSD-49). U.S. Navy file photo

Sailors raise an American flag during Veterans Day morning colors aboard the amphibious dock landing ship Harpers Ferry (LSD-49).
U.S. Navy file photo

As the Naval Telecommunications Procedure states, the flag “represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing” and is “universally representative of the principles of justice, liberty, and democracy enjoyed by the people of the United States.”

So the next time you stop for morning or evening colors, cross a ship’s quarterdeck or render passing honors, remember the father of our Navy and this moment in history that is acted on daily by globally deployed naval forces.

 

 

 Factoids: Did you know?

1. John Paul Jones left a very successful and lucrative career on slave ships because he found the cruelty of slavery disturbing and wanted no part of it. He left Scotland and came to the colonies writing that he came to, “…hoist the flag of Freedom.” The Continental Congress approved of his actions and quickly granted him a commission. 

John Paul Jones later wrote in 1779, “It is this day four years since I had the honor to receive my first Commission as the Senior of the first Lieutenants in the Navy. . . I hoisted with my own hands the Flag of Freedom the first time that it was displayed on bard the Alfred on the Delaware.

2. Our stripes were there, but not yet our stars. At just 13 colonies, the novice nation had one idea in mind: Independence. Yet in designing that first flag, it harkened back to the colonists’ British roots. The Continental Congress put white stripes over the giant red square and still kept the British Union Jack. The stripes were the first insignia to tell the world the United States was now an independent authority.

3. George Washington was thought to have raised the Grand Union Flag a year later on New Year’s Day in 1776 on Prospect Hill, near Cambridge, Mass. In the letters to the Continental Congress, the Continental Navy Committee noted “the largest Ship will carry at her Mizen Peak a Jack with the Union flag, and striped red and white in the field.”

4. The Grand Union Flag was called other names: Continental Colors, the Congress Flag, the Cambridge Flag, and the First Navy Ensign

5. As the nation grew, so did the flag to 15 stars and a cumbersome 15 stripes. Congress then granted the Navy an additional honor in 1818: Design a flag that would grow in proportion but not be unwieldy. It is still the standard: 13 stripes that never change in number with a constellation of stars representing each state.

Naval Customs, Traditions, & Etiquette

http://www.public.navy.mil/usff/Pages/customs.aspx

Star-Spangled Manners

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/nav_legacy.asp?id=190

Naval Telecommunications Procedure

http://navybmr.com/study%20material/NTP_3.pdf

 
Nov 27

1942 Thanksgiving menu honors those who fought in Operation Torch

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:22 PM
Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr., eats Thanksgiving dinner with the crew of USS New Jersey (BB 62), Nov. 30. 1944. Photo courtesy Naval History and Heritage Command

Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr., eats Thanksgiving dinner with the crew of USS New Jersey (BB 62), Nov. 30. 1944.
Photo courtesy Naval History and Heritage Command

By Naval History and Heritage Command staff

When it comes to the three “Cs” on Thanksgiving menus over the years, one might think corn, cranberries and collard greens. But in 1907, it was cigarettes, cigars and cider (no mention as to whether that was hard or regular) for the crew of USS Kentucky.

Navy commanding officers knew then what they know today, NOTHING sinks morale faster than bad food or raises it like good food. So during the holidays, when most Americans enjoy spending time with their families and when many Sailors of America’s globally deployed Navy are often serving on the opposite side of the planet from their loved ones, it’s especially important to serve great chow and to make meal time as enjoyable as possible.

The actual food items have remained fairly constant throughout the years, no matter whether on ship or shore. While the menus still featured turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and a smattering a vegetables, mess officers took creative liberty in how they fancied up the names.

For example, USS Augusta, which was the flagship of the Commander Amphibious Force on Nov. 26, 1942, appeared to have special names for almost every food item. They had just come through the Naval Battle of Casablanca during Operation Torch, and it was also the opening night of a little Humphrey Bogart movie called Casablanca.

The Casablanca (battle, not the movie) engagement pitted American allies against the French Vichy government, which had surrendered almost immediately to the Germans. The Vichy regime controlled Morocco (just as the movie depicts….like Austria in Sound of Music without the nuns and music). The three-day naval battle saw 174 Americans casualties, while the Vichy French lost 462 and a Nazi submarine.

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure the relief and blessings felt by the survivors of the battle when Thanksgiving rolled around a couple weeks later.

So let’s round up the usual suspects on the naming of this Thanksgiving menu: There’s little to wonder about Cream of Tomato Soup a la Casablanca. But what better way to honor Rear Adm. Henry Hewitt, Commander Amphibious Force onboard his flagship than to name the main dish after him: Chicken and Turkey en Casserole a la Hewitt.

It was probably with a tweak at the Vichy French they named that mystery meat entrée the delightful Baked Spiced Spam a la Capitaine de Vaisseau, gussied-up with the rank of a French navy ship captain. The buttered Asparagus Tips a la Fedala makes reference to a city on the west coast of Morocco, home to a large oil refinery and the buttered June Peas de Safi was another city in French Morocco that was part of Operation Torch.

Chantilly Potatoes a la Patton gives a tip of the cover to the Army commander Gen. George Patton, while hot Parkerhouse Rolls du Lyautey is likely a reference to the Marechal Layautey, the resident-general of Morocco.

The Vichy French Navy commander also got a piece of the menu pie – literally. Apple pie a la Michelier was named for Vice Adm. Francois-Felix dit Frix Michelier.

With yet another tongue-in-cheek poke at the French, the menu offered Mixed Nuts du Jean Bart, a reference to the unfinished French battleship that was harbored in Morocco during Operation Torch but still used her five operational guns. Although she fired off one shot that nearly hit Augusta, USS Ranger bombers sank her right after.

One wonders if they played “As Time Goes By” as they sipped their Café (coffee) Noir and smoked their cigars and cigarettes.

Of course USS Augusta’s menu isn’t the only one with interesting tidbits. To view a variety of Navy menus from throughout the years, visit the Naval History and Heritage Command’s web site a real holiday treat: http://www.history.navy.mil/library/special/menus/menus.htm.

Menu: Cream of Tomato Soup a la Casablanca, Fruit Cocktail, Saltines, Chicken and Turkey en Casserole a la Hewitt, Baked Spiced Spam a la Capitaine de Vaisseau, Giblet Gravy, Cherry Dressing, Buttered Asparagus Tips a la Fedala, Chantilly Potatoes a la Patton, Buttered June Peas de Safi, Scalloped Tomatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Hot Parkerhouse Rolls du Lyautey, Butter, Jam, Apple Pie a la Michelier, Strawberry Ice Cream, Mixed Nuts du Jean Bart, Sweet Pickles, Ripe Olives, Cigars, Cigarettes, Cafe Noir. Menu Message (not shown): It is fitting that this Thanksgiving Day should come at the conclusion of a series of hard fought naval engagements and a victorious return to port. To every officer and man on the Augusta this holiday means more than "good chow" and a day off. In its five engagements, one against a shore battery and four against enemy naval forces, the ship rendered a good account of itself and contributed in a large degree to the final defeat of the opposing forces and the establishing of a second front in North Africa. In the course of each engagement the ship was subjected to accurate and heavy fire by the opposing forces. And yet, although bracketed many times by the projectiles of the enemy, the ship miraculously ascaped without damage in herself or injury to the crew. It should be apparent to all that consistent escape from harm was due not alone to skill, or to good luck, but unquestionably to the intervention of divine providence. Therefore it is with especial gratitude this Thanksgiving Day that the officers and crew of the Augusta join in this traditional celebration.

Menu: Cream of Tomato Soup a la Casablanca, Fruit Cocktail, Saltines, Chicken and Turkey en Casserole a la Hewitt, Baked Spiced Spam a la Capitaine de Vaisseau, Giblet Gravy, Cherry Dressing, Buttered Asparagus Tips a la Fedala, Chantilly Potatoes a la Patton, Buttered June Peas de Safi, Scalloped Tomatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Hot Parkerhouse Rolls du Lyautey, Butter, Jam, Apple Pie a la Michelier, Strawberry Ice Cream, Mixed Nuts du Jean Bart, Sweet Pickles, Ripe Olives, Cigars, Cigarettes, Cafe Noir.
Menu Message (not shown): It is fitting that this Thanksgiving Day should come at the conclusion of a series of hard fought naval engagements and a victorious return to port. To every officer and man on the Augusta this holiday means more than “good chow” and a day off.
In its five engagements, one against a shore battery and four against enemy naval forces, the ship rendered a good account of itself and contributed in a large degree to the final defeat of the opposing forces and the establishing of a second front in North Africa.
In the course of each engagement the ship was subjected to accurate and heavy fire by the opposing forces. And yet, although bracketed many times by the projectiles of the enemy, the ship miraculously ascaped without damage in herself or injury to the crew. It should be apparent to all that consistent escape from harm was due not alone to skill, or to good luck, but unquestionably to the intervention of divine providence.
Therefore it is with especial gratitude this Thanksgiving Day that the officers and crew of the Augusta join in this traditional celebration.