Apr 19

Side Glances at Operation Crossroads

Thursday, April 19, 2018 5:21 PM

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USS New York (BB-34) being hosed down by USS ATR-40 after the Baker test.

One of the benefits of digitized archives are the ability to call up pieces of the past that are physically apart from each other and see them all together in context. This ability to make connections can often lead to interesting glances not shown in context together before. Scattered throughout the Naval Institute’s roughly half-million photographic subject files are many that deal with Operation Crossroads in 1946. These famous nuclear tests, whose iconic images of mushroom clouds exploding out of an over the Pacific Ocean would cement the awesome destructive power of nuclear weapons in the minds of the world… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 13

Cats in the Sea Services

Friday, April 13, 2018 9:18 AM

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9 USS New Mexico cat

Sailors and cats have a special relationship that dates back thousands of years. It is likely that the ancient Egyptians were the first seafarers to realize the true value of having cats as shipmates. In addition to offering sailors much needed companionship on long voyages, cats provided protection by ridding ships of vermin. Without the presence of cats, a crew might find their ship overrun with rats and mice that would eat into the provisions, chew through ropes and spread disease. The more superstitious sailors believed that cats protected them by bringing good luck. Others sailors thought that the keen… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 10

Seaplanes: The End (of the beginning)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 12:01 AM

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P6M Seamaster takeoff

By the end of the war, the Navy had a number of advanced seaplane designs in the works – the JRM Mars and H-4 Hercules, the Spruce Goose, in particular. These were developed as large (or, in the Hercules case, extremely large) transport seaplanes. The H-4 had a similar mission to some of the earliest Navy seaplanes: crossing the Atlantic, although it would do it with a 150,000 pound payload. With the end of the war, however, development largely stopped to make way for new operational challenges and design paradigms. Captured German hydrodynamics and aerodynamics research complemented contemporary American knowledge… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 5

World War II Submarine Commanders

Thursday, April 5, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Slade D. Cutter, USN (Ret.) (1911-2005)

The United States Naval Institute Oral History Archive features the reminiscences of the legendary Captain Slade D. Cutter.  Cutter turned down a music scholarship at an Illinois college to attend the Naval Academy, where he became an All-American football star and standout on the boxing team. Following graduation in 1935, Cutter embarked on a career heavily intertwined with sports. His first duty was as football coach for the team of the battleship USS Idaho (BB-42). After submarine school he coached football at the Naval Academy with collateral duty in the USS S-30 (SS-135). World War II found him in the crew of the USS Pompano (SS-181),… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 2

No Forgotten Fronts: From Classrooms to Combat

Monday, April 2, 2018 11:13 AM

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9781682472729_high res cover_Shapiro

My college classrooms are always full of veterans. That’s because San Diego is home to half a dozen military installations, including Naval Base San Diego, NAS North Island, the Naval Amphibious Base, and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Prior to World War II, the Naval Training Center on San Diego’s waterfront prepared tens of thousands of recruits for service, while less than ten miles away, San Diego State College was busy educating young men and women in the arts and sciences, and readying them for war. As the students began leaving for military service, one geography professor, Dr. Lauren Post,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 29

Flying the Rubber Cows

Thursday, March 29, 2018 10:54 AM

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A kite balloon, viewed from the deck of a battleship ca. World War I. Naval Institute Photo Archive

This article by Alan L. Morse originally appeared in the February 1984 issue of Proceedings. What’s in a nickname? Today’s Goodyear Blimp was named after the fat, fictitious British Army Colonel Blimp. But one of its ancestors – the World War I kite balloon – was whimsically christened the “rubber cow,” and went to sea tethered to a “tin can.” They were the least glamorous of World War I pilots. Their aircraft were unlovely, unromantic, uncomfortable, and unpowered. They fought no aerial duels with the Red Baron or skimmed the trees on reconnaissance missions. These pilots never fired a shot… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 27

The Naval Act of 1794: Piracy and the U.S. Navy’s Re-Birth

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 3:00 PM

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Painting of the USS Constitution, the first ship completed after the re-establishment of the Navy.

I learned something today, dear reader. For nine long years, the United States didn’t have a Navy. Nine years! Between August 1785 and 27 March 1794, there were no Naval officers, nor sailors, not even a single ship to the Navy’s name. Yes, today is the anniversary of the rebirth of the United States Navy, and it is all thanks to pirates. At the end of the Revolutionary War in August 1785, Congress sold the last Continental Navy ship, the Alliance. There just simply wasn’t enough money available to maintain a ship or support a naval force. Moreover, the United… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 26

Key Dates in U. S. Military LGBT Policy

Monday, March 26, 2018 9:26 PM

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President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, at the Interior Department in Washington. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

March 11, 1778 – Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin becomes the first documented service member to be dismissed from the U.S. military for homosexuality. Under an order from General George Washington which states “abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes,” Lt. Enslin is drummed out of the Continental Army after being found guilty of sodomy. March 1, 1917 – The Articles of War of 1916 are implemented. A revision of the Articles of War of 1806, the new regulations detail statutes governing U.S. military discipline and justice. Under the category Miscellaneous Crimes and Offences, Article 93 states that any person subject to military law… Read the rest of this entry »