Archive for April, 2019

Apr 30

The Brotherhood of the F.B.I.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 12:01 AM

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For the men, Iceland was a bleak and often inhospitable place to be. Navy air crews of Patrol Squadron 84 (VP-84) endured seemingly endless flights over thousands of square miles of ocean often under appalling weather conditions. Life for pilots of the 342d Composite Group stationed at Keflavik Air Base patrols were occasionally enlivened by encounters with Luftwaffe Condors or Ju 88 bombers flying from bases in Norway. As hard as it was for the troops and flight crews, the escort ship sailors had it worse. The anchorage in Hvalfjödur (a.k.a. Valley Forge) proved as dangerous as the open ocean…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 25

The Strange Navy That Shipped Millions of Japanese Home

Thursday, April 25, 2019 9:50 PM

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When Japan formally surrendered on board the USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, there still were seven million Japanese soldiers and civilians scattered throughout the Pacific and Asia with no way of returning home. The Allies had so devastated Japanese shipping during the war that few transports remained. There were some grumblings among U.S. officials who thought that it was Japan’s problem to rectify, but it was quickly recognized that after suffering under Japanese occupation for years, countries such as China and the Philippines should be relieved of the burden of stranded Japanese troops. There was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 23

SEALAB II: Porpoise Post and Life Beneath the Waves

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 12:01 AM

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It may come as no surprise to you all (seeing as I am a digital archivist who spends all day with technology) but I am a self-admitted nerd, complete with a love of video games. One of my favorite games – and one I suggest to anyone new to solo-gaming – is Bioshock, which takes place in a man-made underwater utopia turned dystopian nightmare. While the technologies featured in this game are worlds away, humanity’s exploration of underwater living was a bit more developed than I expected, as I learned during yet another sojourn into USNI’s Photo Archive. Today we… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 19

USS Yellowstone (AD-27) Reunion Announcement

Friday, April 19, 2019 3:03 PM

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  The USS Yellowstone (AD-27) Association will hold the ship’s reunion from September 22nd – 26th, 2019 at the Holiday Inn in Virginia Beach. To request a reunion packet, contact: Paul W. Bowen, Secretary/Treasurer 30 Briar Drive Rochester, NH 03867 Phone: 603-948-2821 Email: [email protected]  

 
Apr 18

Reflections on Admiral Yamamoto

Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:01 AM

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On this date in 1943, U.S. Army Air Forces P-38 Lightning fighters, acting on U.S. Navy signals intelligence, shot down a bomber carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet and architect of the Pearl Harbor attack. Yamamoto’s death was a devastating blow to Japan’s war effort. Commander Edwin T. Layton, intelligence officer on the staff of Admiral Chester Nimitz, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander-in-Chief, played a key role in the events that led to Yamamoto’s death. Ironically, Layton had gotten to know the Japanese admiral while serving as assistant naval attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 16

Swimming Goes to War

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 12:01 AM

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World War II saw a great leap forward in military technology from things like sonar to jet aircraft. However, one basic human activity became “weaponized” and a very valuable addition to the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. Swimming grew from simple physical training and life saving into a war-fighting skill designed to overcome German and Japanese beach defenses and insure success in numerous amphibious invasions around the world. A major center for preparing such combat swimmers for action was the Amphibious Training Base in sunny Fort Pierce, Florida.[i] Here the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs), later organized into larger Underwater Demolition Teams,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 11

Diplomatic Exchange with Japan — 1942

Thursday, April 11, 2019 1:50 AM

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MS Gripsholm carrying prisoners of war, loads Red Cross supplies in New York Harbor.

While cataloguing photos for the Naval Institute’s digital image collection, one of our archivists brought this photo to my attention. I was intrigued, and started to search our content for the story behind the picture. It didn’t take me long to find the fascinating story related in a first person account by Captain Henri Harold Smith-Hutton, U.S. Navy (Retired) in his oral history transcript from interviews conducted by Captain Paul Ryan at Smith-Hutton’s home in Palo Alto, California in 1973. Captain Smith-Hutton was serving as Naval Attaché in Japan at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In Captain… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 7

Forty-Two

Sunday, April 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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April 7th, 2009 was the 20th anniversary of the sinking of K-278 Komsomolets, a Project 685 or in NATO-speak “Mike” class submarine. Forty-two souls were lost on that date in 1989. On the 20th anniversary, I travelled up from Moscow by train to St. Petersburg to represent the U.S. Navy at the ceremonies to honor those who died as well as those who survived. A service was first held at Nikolsky Cathedral, better known as the Sailor’s Cathedral, where the echoes of the singing and chants swung back and forth from the Orthodox priests to the choir and back again…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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