Jan 20

NAS Pensacola Celebrates 100 Years of Naval Training Excellence

Monday, January 20, 2014 12:59 AM

NAS_Pensacola;vt6

Today marks the kickoff of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. The “Cradle of Naval Aviation”is where most Navy and Marine Corps aviators, past and present,began their flight training. Tens of thousands of naval aviators have been trained there, including astronauts Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong. It is the home of the world renowned Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron.

In October of 1913, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels appointed a board that recommended the establishment of an aviation training station in Pensacola, making NAS Pensacola the first naval air station commissioned by the Navy.

NAS_Pensacola_1918_NAN12-2-43[1]

When America entered WWI, NAS Pensacola, still the only naval air station in the country, had 38 aviators, 163 enlisted men trained in aviation support, and approximately 50-55 fixed-wing aircraft. Two years later, NAS had grown exponentially with 438 officers and 5,538 enlisted men, and had trained 1,000 naval aviators.

At the end of the war,aviation training slowed almost to a crawl, largely as a result of the Great Depression and post WWI military cutbacks. It was so slow in fact, that only 100 pilots on average were graduating each year.

In the mid-1930s, the establishment of the aviation cadet program caused rapid growth. When Pensacola’s training facilities could no longer accommodate the ever increasing number of cadets accepted by the Navy, two more naval air stations were created—one in Jacksonville, Florida, and the other in Corpus Christi, Texas.

During WWII, training at NAS Pensacola increased dramatically, reaching its peak in 1944, with 12,000 men completing almost 2 million hours of flight school in that year alone. Those numbers dropped significantly after the war, but experienced a bump during the Korean conflict.

During the early 1950s, the Navy was in transition. The old propeller type aircraft were being replaced by the much faster and technologically advanced jets which required NAS Pensacola to revise training techniques and courses.

Training intensified during the 1960s and 1970s to meet the demands of the Vietnam War, with pilot production increasing to nearly 3,000 aviators in 1968.

One of the country’s most visited attractions is the National Museum of Naval Aviation located on board NAS. The museum opened for business in 1963 and has had millions of visitors walk through its doors.

Today, the museum houses some of the most famous aircraft in the world, including the first airplane to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, the only surviving aircraft from the Battle of Midway, and a trainer flown by President George H. W. Bush during his World War II training.

nas pcola museum

Over the years since Vietnam, the base has had some new tenant commands that have come to call NAS Pensacola home. The Naval Education and Training Command, or NETC, provides direction and control of all Navy education and training throughout the fleet. Almost all of the Navy’s aviation training schools are also located at NAS Pensacola.

However, NAS Pensacola’s most famous tenant command is the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels. The Blues fly at airshows all over the world demonstrating their aerial superiority while promoting naval aviation for millions of people with their precision maneuvers.

As NAS Pensacola celebrates its 100 year anniversary, one can only wonder what the next 100 years might bring. No matter what new aircraft or technology may appear, the essence of NAS Pensacola remains simply those who have passed through the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” and those yet to come.

 
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 [email protected] 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 »

 
Jan 3

Return of USS HOUSTON Artifacts to NHHC

Friday, January 3, 2014 11:41 AM

Last week, the Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC) Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) received a trumpet and ceramic cup and saucer from World War II cruiser USS HOUSTON. The artifacts were returned to the US Naval Attaché in Canberra, Australia after their unsanctioned removal from the wreck site and made a journey of more than 10,000 miles to reach NHHC headquarters in Washington, DC. The artifacts will undergo documentation, research and conservation treatment at the UAB Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory.

Trumpet and ceramics recovered from USS HOUSTON. (UAB Photo).

Trumpet and ceramics recovered from USS HOUSTON. (UAB Photo).

 

USS HOUSTON, nicknamed the “Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast”, was a Northampton-class heavy cruiser that played an important role in the Pacific during WWII. The ship and her crew saw significant action and served in the Battle of Makassar Strait and the Battle of the Java Sea along with allied vessels from Australia, Britain and the Netherlands. On 1 March 1942, USS HOUSTON, fighting gallantly alongside HMAS PERTH during the Battle of Sunda Strait, was sunk by enemy gunfire and torpedoes, taking the lives of nearly 700 US Navy sailors and Marines. 

 

USS Houston anchored off San Pedro, California, 18 April 1935. Photo # 80-CF-21337-1

USS Houston anchored off San Pedro, California, 18 April 1935. Photo # 80-CF-21337-1.

After nearly 72 years under water off the coast of Indonesia, the wreck of USS HOUSTON remains the property of the US Government and serves as a military gravesite. Underwater sites often allow for excellent preservation of archaeological material, however without conservation treatment after recovery artifacts can suffer permanent damage and sometimes complete destruction from unmitigated physical and chemical stresses. The HOUSTON artifacts are poignant reminders of an incredible chapter in US Navy history and the importance of scientific recovery and preservation for future generations to experience, study and appreciate.

A detail of the trumpet's mother of pearl buttons. (UAB Photo).

A detail of the trumpet’s mother of pearl buttons. (UAB Photo).

 

The safe return of these artifacts to the US Navy is the culmination of collaborative efforts by NHHC, Department of Navy and Department of State colleagues at the US Embassy in Canberra, Australia. NHHC is particularly grateful to CAPT Stewart Holbrook and ETC Jason Vaught for their assistance with the recovery, safe storage and packaging of the artifacts. NHHC also extends its thanks to the Naval Historical Foundation for assistance with the expedited transportation of the artifacts to NHHC for conservation treatment.

 Please stay tuned for further updates on the USS HOUSTON artifacts!

 
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 9

Honoring Shipmates Past and Present: Laying a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Pearl Harbor Day

Monday, December 9, 2013 2:21 PM

By Seaman Victoria Ruiz and Seaman Yesenia Munoz, Naval History and Heritage Command (with assistance from MC1 Tim Comerford)

31207-N-CS953-002 ARLINGTON, Va. (Dec.7, 2013) A member of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Honor Guard hands Information Systems Technician Seaman Yesenia Munoz, 19, a Sailor from Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) and a native of Houston, Texas, and Naval Sea Cadet Saddique Stevens the wreath they are to lay at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns, as Yeoman Seaman Victoria Ruiz, from NHHC a Hacienda Hieghts, Calif. Resident, and Naval Sea Cadet Nicklaus Tollmeo prepare for the start of the wreath laying ceremony . The wreath, honoring veterans of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, was sponsored by the Naval Order of the United States and is part of a world-wide observance honoring the service and sacrifice of those who were there on that day of infamy. (U.S. Navy Photo by MC1 Tim Comerford)

31207-N-CS953-002 ARLINGTON, Va. (Dec.7, 2013) A member of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Honor Guard hands Information Systems Technician Seaman Yesenia Munoz, 19, a Sailor from Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) and a native of Houston, Texas, and Naval Sea Cadet Saddique Stevens the wreath they are to lay at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns, as Yeoman Seaman Victoria Ruiz, from NHHC a Hacienda Hieghts, Calif. Resident, and Naval Sea Cadet Nicklaus Tollmeo prepare for the start of the wreath laying ceremony. The wreath, honoring veterans of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, was sponsored by the Naval Order of the United States and is part of a world-wide observance honoring the service and sacrifice of those who were there on that day of infamy. (U.S. Navy Photo by MC1 Tim Comerford)

Dec. 7, 2013 was a bitingly cold day in Northern Virginia, made all the more so by having unseasonable warm days the few days before it. But as two Seaman made their way along the pathways of Arlington National Cemetery to the Tomb of the Unknowns, their attention was less on their cold hands and feet and more on the ceremony less than an hour away.

Yeoman Seaman Victoria Ruiz and Information Systems Technician Seaman Yesenia Munoz were hand-selected by Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Normally performed by senior military and political leaders, they were surprised and honored to be selected by NHHC to represent the command and the Navy at such an auspicious occasion.

Ruiz was both intimidated and excited.

“Initially after being informed that I was going to represent Naval History and Heritage Command at the wreath laying ceremony, I was filled with emotions of honor, joy, excitement, and intimidation.” Along with many others, they trekked their way past the thousands of tombstones of service members, a solemn reminder of the sacrifice that may be asked of all military service members. They approached the memorial amphitheater adjacent to the tomb with hushed voices.

The two Seamen found John Rodgaard, a U.S. Navy retired Captain, representing the wreath’s sponsor the Naval Order of the United States, who introduced them to the two U.S. Naval Sea Cadets who would assist them in presenting and laying the wreath.

The ceremony, marking Pearl Harbor Day, was set to begin at 12:15 p.m. and that meant they had the chance to observe one of the tomb’s most acclaimed events – the changing of the Guard. The perfectly-choreographed military ceremony is performed hourly by “The Old Guard” the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment. Immediately afterward, their part was to begin, so they all took their places at the head of the white marble stairway leading to the tomb, flanked by photographers and onlookers.

Seaman Munoz relates that at first she was confused by the change of events.

“There were two sea cadets doing the wreath ceremony with me and Seaman Ruiz. The Soldier told us to get in a height line which meant I was one of the two shortest and had to place the wreath on the ‘Tomb of the Unknowns.’ At first I thought it was going to be me and Ruiz, but it wasn’t. It was me and a young Sea Cadet. So now I was responsible for laying the wreath and trying to set a positive example for Cadet [Saddique] Stevens.”

As the ceremony began Munoz’s tensions mounted:

“I was nervous, not because it was our first time to lay a wreath, but because there were so many people. I took a deep breath and told myself “this is such a great honor!” Then I became extremely anxious.”

Ruiz wanted nothing more than perfection from herself.

“I wanted my part to be as flawless as that of the Old Guard and to not make a single mistake in the delivery and laying of the wreath. The gift of flowers at a memorial or a burial site is a ritual that occurs in nearly every corner of the world. The difference with those at Arlington, like the Dec. 7 wreath laying ceremony, is that the price paid by those we honor.”

Munoz kept her military bearing as she started down to the tomb.

“The moment came where we had to start walking down the stairs. It was hard to maintain step with the Guard, but we managed. Then another Guard told me and the young Sea Cadet to grab the wreath and place it on the stand.”

As she placed the wreath on the stand in front of the tomb, the Seamen, the Cadets and the Guards all snapped to attention and saluted. Silence prevailed as they saluted and a member of the 3rd Infantry regiment played the lonely serenade of taps on the bugle.

131207-N-CS953-001 ARLINGTON, Va. (Dec.7, 2013) Assisted by a member of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Honor Guard, Information Systems Technician Seaman Yesenia Munoz, 19, A sailor from Naval History and Heritage Command and a native of Houston, Texas, and Naval Sea Cadet Saddique Stevens lay the wreath honoring veterans of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns. The wreath, sponsored by the Naval Order of the United States, is part of a world-wide observance honoring the service and sacrifice of those who were there on that day of infamy. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Tim Comerford)

131207-N-CS953-001 ARLINGTON, Va. (Dec.7, 2013) Assisted by a member of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Honor Guard, Information Systems Technician Seaman Yesenia Munoz, 19, A sailor from Naval History and Heritage Command and a native of Houston, Texas, and Naval Sea Cadet Saddique Stevens lay the wreath honoring veterans of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns. The wreath, sponsored by the Naval Order of the United States, is part of a world-wide observance honoring the service and sacrifice of those who were there on that day of infamy. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Tim Comerford)

There was only a small part left said Munoz.

“Then I had to call about face. I was a little tense because I feared the Sea Cadet couldn’t hear me. I was happy that the cadet nor I messed up.”

As they marched up the steps, Munoz was glad. Though it took less than five minutes to complete, it was a good day for the Navy and herself.

“I was pleased and honored to have been a part of it. That we did a good job was satisfying, but not as much as honoring the sacrifice of those who lost their lives on Dec. 7, 1941.”

To Ruiz, her excellence during the ceremony was all in keeping with the Navy’s core values — Honor, Courage and Commitment.

“I was proud to uphold our Navy core values by committing to a ritual of remembrance to those who fought and lost their lives at Pearl Harbor., I felt an overwhelming sense of honor to carry out one of the most respectful ceremonies known to military members.”

131207-N-CS953-004 ARLINGTON, Va. (Dec.7, 2013) Yeoman Seaman Victoria Ruiz, from Naval History and Heritage Command, Naval Sea Cadet Nicklaus Tollmeo, Information Systems Technician Seaman Yesenia Munoz, from NHHC, Naval Sea Cadet Saddique Stevens, U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Honor Guard members and the audience at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns and honor the wreath laid for veterans of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The wreath, sponsored by the Naval Order of the United States, is part of a world-wide observance honoring the service and sacrifice of those who were there on that day of infamy. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Tim Comerford/Released)

131207-N-CS953-004 ARLINGTON, Va. (Dec.7, 2013) Yeoman Seaman Victoria Ruiz, from Naval History and Heritage Command, Naval Sea Cadet Nicklaus Tollmeo, Information Systems Technician Seaman Yesenia Munoz, from NHHC, Naval Sea Cadet Saddique Stevens, U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Honor Guard members and the audience at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns and honor the wreath laid for veterans of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The wreath, sponsored by the Naval Order of the United States, is part of a world-wide observance honoring the service and sacrifice of those who were there on that day of infamy. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Tim Comerford/Released)

As Ruiz caught sight of the words on part of the tomb, they became a potent reminder to her.

“Peace, victory, valor. These three powerful words are represented by Greek figures on the eastern panel of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. They are also three compelling words that, thanks to this experience, I have come to have a better understanding.”

As they left the historic cemetery, both seamen smiled, glad to be warm, and proud of their service in the United States Navy.

 

Two Sailsors from Naval History and Heritage Command Honor Sacrifice at Pearl Harbor

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=78111