Archive for December, 2018

Dec 13

Good Cheer Bag

Thursday, December 13, 2018 9:01 AM

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Good Cheer Bag (Smithsonian National Museum of American History)

Lt Commander Theodorus Bailey Myers Mason, best known as the founder of the Office of Naval Intelligence, no doubt led a fascinating life. He was born to a prominent 5th Avenue family in New York City, where his childhood was spent riding a small white pony daily. He decided by the age of 16 he would join the Navy, and impressed his father by saving up the money for a commission himself. He called upon the Secretary of the Navy at 16 to ask him personally to secure a commission. The plan worked, and he entered the Naval Academy in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 11

Angels of the Oriskany – August Moon Rescue

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 12:01 AM

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Helicopter approaches the August Moon (Courtesy of the Author)

“If you went to Hong Kong, you went right by the Pratas Reef, where I crashed the H-2 trying to rescue some Chinese crewmen from an ore carrier, the August Moon, that had run aground in a typhoon.” I sent my father’s cousin Dale Barck a postcard during a port call to Hong Kong in 1997, and this was the unexpected reply I received. Dale was a great correspondent, sending me letters filled with sea stories from his days in the Navy, including the fateful events of his deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) in 1966. Dale Barck… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 6

The Sinking of the USS Nevada (BB-36)

Thursday, December 6, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Charles J. Merdinger, CEC, USN (Retired)

On the morning of 7 December 1941, then-Ensign Charles Merdinger awoke to alarms and stepped through his socks in his haste to get to his battle station on board the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) when she was bombed at Pearl Harbor. In this audio clip, Captain Merdinger gives a vivid account of the near-disastrous situation he found himself in while in the sinking Nevada‘s plotting room during the attack.   To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to https://www.usni.org/heritage/oral-history-catalog.  

 
Dec 4

Innovation In Difficult Times

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 12:01 AM

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Japanese Bombard Wanping ca. 1937

In 1868, the Meiji Restoration in Japan began a fundamental shift in Japan’s conception of its place in the world.[i] This shift was catalyzed by the “gunboat diplomacy” of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, who demonstrated the power of the U.S. Navy to secure expanded trading rights between the United States and Japan.[ii] The Meiji Restoration was characterized by an effort to modernize and globalize Japan economically and militarily in order to ensure that Japan would not be subjugated by a foreign power.[iii] Shimazu Nariakira, a powerful feudal lord during the period, stated that “if we take the initiative, we can… Read the rest of this entry »