Jul 1

#PeopleMatter Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr.: The Man Behind the Legend

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 2:40 PM


  By Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division There’s been a lot of publicity today as Adm. Michelle Howard becomes the Navy’s first female 4-star admiral, who also happens to be African-American. Her special moment in history is shared with another stellar officer, as today marks the 43rd anniversary of then-Capt. Samuel Gravely Jr. becoming the first African-American to achieve the rank of rear admiral. By the time he retired in 1980, he had earned the rank of vice admiral. His 38-year career was peppered with firsts as an African-American: first to command a combatant ship, to be promoted to… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 31

Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely, Jr., USN: Naval Officer, Trailblazer

Friday, January 31, 2014 10:38 AM


Prepared by Regina T. Akers, Ph.D., Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command    On Jan. 31, 1962, then-Lt. Cmdr. Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. took command of destroyer escort USS Falgout (DE 324) becoming the first African-American to command a U.S. Navy combatant ship. It was one of many firsts set by a man who was a trailblazer for minorities in the Navy, but was first and foremost an outstanding naval officer. Below are some quotations and factoids about this important figure in naval history.  QUOTATIONS FROM VICE ADM. GRAVELY: “Success in life is the result of several factors. My formula… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 28

USS Gravely DDG-107 Update

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 12:01 AM


According to Navy News Service, “The Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS Gravely from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding during a ceremony July 26 in Pascagoula, Miss. Designated DDG 107, Gravely is the 57th ship of the Arleigh Burke class.”  Moreover, according to Navy News Service, “The new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr., the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Course. He was the first African American to command a warship (USS Theodore E. Chandler); to command a major warship (USS Jouett); to achieve flag rank and eventually… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 22

What is History? And Why Is It Important?

Thursday, January 22, 2015 10:12 AM


History is a human endeavor. As such, it is complex, inherently limited, and evolving. What has counted as “history” and how “history” has been investigated have changed greatly since Herodotus. Historians and philosophers debate the purpose of history, how it should be conducted, and indeed what even counts as history. What history actually is has no clear answer, doubtless the debate on history’s essence will continue, but history certainly has a number of elements which must be present in order for an investigation of the past to be considered “history.” History deals with the past. History aims at truth. History… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 2

Adm. Zumwalt’s Legacy, Spirit Carries Through Today’s Navy

Friday, January 2, 2015 4:34 PM


By Capt. James “T” Kirk, Commanding Officer, Pre-Commissioning Unit ZUMWALT (DDG 1000) On January 2, 2000, Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., the 19th Chief of Naval Operations, died at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. On this date 15 years ago, we lost a great man whose legacy and spirit still serve as the backbone of today’s Navy. Adm. Zumwalt was born in San Francisco, Calif. on Nov. 29, 1920 and raised in nearby Tulare by his parents, Drs. Elmo and Frances Zumwalt. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1942 in the wartime-accelerated class of 1943, he headed to the Pacific…. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 26

#PeopleMatter: Truman Ends Segregation in Armed Forces

Saturday, July 26, 2014 8:00 AM


From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communications and Outreach Division It didn’t have the branding power of the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued 86 years prior, but President Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9981 would give the military services the guidance they needed to fully integrate their service members for years to come. At just a little more than 400 words, Executive Order 9981, when it was issued July 26, 1948, established there shall be “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” Bespectacled as a youth… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 15

Some new titles at the Navy Department Library

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 2:17 PM


Come visit us at the Washington Navy Yard to check out these and many more books! Allah’s angels : Chechen women in war / by Paul J. Murphy An Army at the crossroads / by Andrew F. Krepinevich Attitudes aren’t free : thinking deeply about diversity in the US armed forces / [edited by] James E. Parco, David A. Levy The Battle of North Cape : the death ride of the Scharnhorst, 1943 / by Angus Konstam The Brusilov offensive / by Timothy C. Dowling Central Greece and the politics of power in the fourth century BC / by John… Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 25

The Loss of USS Cochino (SS-345)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 12:00 PM


On the morning of 25 August 1949, during a training cruise north of the Arctic Circle, the submarine Cochino (SS-345), in company with Tusk (SS-426), attempted to submerge to snorkel depth in the Barents Sea, but the crashing waves played havoc with these efforts. At 1048, a muffled thud rocked Cochino and news of a fire in the after battery compartment quickly passed through the boat. A second explosion soon followed and CDR Rafael Benitez, the commanding officer, ordered all of the crew not on watch or fighting fires topside. During this orderly evacuation, however, Seaman J. E. Morgan fell… Read the rest of this entry »