Jun 19

Today in Naval History

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 8:25 AM

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U.S. Kearsarge faces off against the Confederate raider Alabama in Cherbourg Harbor
(By Jean-Baptiste Durand-Brager)

On this day in 1864 – During the Civil War, USS Kearsarge, commanded by Capt. J.A. Winslow, sinks CSS Alabama, commanded by Capt. R. Semmes, off Cherbourg, France, ending the career of the Souths most famous commerce raider, which included burning 55 vessels valued at $4.5 million. Read an excerpt from the USS Kearsarger‘s No. 1 gun’s sponger James Lee’s journal below.   Sunday, 19 June: This is a fine morning, cool and pleasant, holystoned decks, and put everything in apple pie order. At 8 am the word was passed to shift in clean blue mustering clothes. At 10 am… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 14

USS Cyclops – The Deadliest Unsolved Mystery in the Navy

Thursday, June 14, 2018 12:01 AM

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USS Cyclops circa 1913. Copied from the album of Francis Sargent, courtesy of Commander John Condon, 1986. (Photo: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command taken by Sargent.)

One hundred years later, the mystery of the USS Cyclops, the greatest non-combat loss of life the Navy ever experienced, remains unsolved. What happened to it? Where did it go? The USS Cyclops was built in Philadelphia; it was 54o feet long and 65 feet wide. The ship was a Proteus class collier and could carry 12,500 tons of coal while making 15 knots with its twin screws. When the United States declared war on Germany and its allies in April 1917, support ships like the USS Cyclops fell under the command of the Navy. The administrative change greatly affected… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 12

The Sinking of the USS President Lincoln, 31 May 1918

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 12:01 AM

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Painting by Fred Dana Marsh, 1920, depicting the ship sinking after she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-90 on 31 May 1918

May 31st marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the troop transport USS President Lincoln. Formerly a German ocean liner of the Hamburg-America Line, the Navy had commissioned her in 1917 to ferry young men and equipment over to the Western Front. In 1918, her luck ran out when she was torpedoed by the German submarine SM U-90.  In 1922, her commanding officer at the time of the sinking, Commander P. W. Foote, USN, wrote his remembrances of the fateful day for Proceedings. It is excerpted and illustrated here.

 
Jun 11

Nursing to Combat: The Ever Expanding Role of Women

Monday, June 11, 2018 12:01 AM

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WAVES practice marksmanship At an indoor range at Treasure Island Naval Base, California, 11 February 1943. (Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command)

Throughout their history, women have impacted the Navy and Marine Corps. At the outset, women served as dedicated wives managing the household and raising children while their husbands served. As time went on, the role of women grew. Here’s a look at the progression of official responsibilities women undertake in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. 1908- Congress passed the Naval Appropriations Bill which established the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. The first women to become official members of the U.S. Navy were known as the “Sacred Twenty.” These women payed their own travel expense to Washington D.C. to pass the oral… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 8

Frankenships: HMS Zubian and USS Wisconsin

Friday, June 8, 2018 9:14 AM

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HMS Zulu + HMS Nubian = HMS Zubian

When the Royal Navy commissioned the thirteenth Tribal-class destroyer in on 7 June 1917, it unleashed a floating Frankenstein’s monster. HMS Zubian was actually stitched together from the best parts of the class’s tenth and twelfth destroyers after both had suffered heavy damage while serving as part of the Dover Patrol to prevent German vessels from entering the English Channel. HMS Nubian was torpedoed during the Battle of Dover Straight in October 1916 but had remained mostly intact and suffered no casualties. As she was being towed back to port, heavy winds caused her to breakaway and run aground on… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 6

The Battle of Belleau Wood: a Devilish Overview

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 2:00 PM

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(Photo: Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

June 6th, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Belleau Wood. This three week long engagement between German infantry forces and the 4th Marine Brigade helped forge the culture of the Corps over the past century. Perhaps most significantly, the Germans gifted the Marines with one of their favorite nicknames: the Devil Dogs, but that is not even close to the most interesting part of the battle. Let’s take a closer look at what Belleau Wood was when it was fought and what it left in its wake.   If the Marines did not win the Battle, the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 5

LCDR Wesley Brown, the First African American Graduate of the USNA

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 12:01 AM

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Lieutenant Commander Wesley Brown, Civil Engineer Corps, U.S. Navy (Retired)

  This oral history is particularly noteworthy, because it provides personal recollections from the first African-American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Brown entered the Academy in 1945, a century after the institution was founded, and graduated in 1949. A handful of black midshipmen had previously been appointed to the school in Annapolis, but all were either pushed out or left of their own volition prior to graduation. Brown spent his youth in Washington, D.C., where he attended segregated Dunbar High and had part-time jobs working for the Navy and Howard University. He was able to succeed at the Naval Academy through a combination… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 31

Why We Remember

Thursday, May 31, 2018 12:01 AM

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Military cemetery

On Memorial Day, it is important to reflect on the soldiers, sailors and airmen that have kept the U.S. safe. Each of us on that day should reserve simple, single moments of reverence—spots of time, as Wordsworth called them—that allow us to look back and reflect on lives lived and moments lost. For most of the 20th century, regardless of what our political stripes were, Americans stood as one when it came to the military and its role as our country’s protector. That changed during the Vietnam era, when our political and military leaders systematically deceived the American public about… Read the rest of this entry »