Nov 22

Old but Still Going Strong: The Oldest Navy Assets Still in Use

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 4:53 PM

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USS Constitution underway in 2012

The U.S. Navy has always been an innovator. It pioneered the Global Positioning System, developed nuclear propulsion, and deployed the first operational laser weapon. The recently commissioned USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is brimming with bleeding-edge technology. Its stealth design, Integrated Power System, and long-range gun firing capabilities make it the most sophisticated ship in the world. Likewise, the lead ship in the new carrier class USS Gerald R Ford (CVN-78) features many technological advances including an electromagnetic aircraft launch system. However, the Department of the Navy is not always in a rush to phase out and replace assets that continue to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 15

The “Wide Wide World” of War

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:47 AM

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USS Mississippi (EAG-128)  Fires a Terrier surface-to-air missile during at-sea tests.

Viewers tuning in to NBC’s acclaimed 90-minute documentary series “Wide Wide World” on their luxurious 21-inch television screens on Sunday, 13 May 1956, were bound to be fascinated by that week’s program. The synopsis in the TV Guide promised audiences a first in the history of television — a live demonstrations of American firepower: The story of America’s “Power for Peace” will be told explosively by “Wide Wide World” with such items as the detonation of two simulated atomic bombs, the shooting down of a B-17 bomber and the firing of guided missiles. The atomic bomb simulations will be stage by the Army at Fort… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 8

Japan’s Victory in World War I

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 12:01 AM

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Japanese delegates to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

In marking the 100th anniversary of World War I, a review of Japan’s role as a principal victor of the war highlights critical lessons from naval history. Although Japan suffered about 2,000 casualties in the war, fighting took place outside of the country, which remained largely unscathed. The war resulted in Japan’s acquisition of territory, economic boom, and emergence as a great power with a primary seat at the table during the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919.[1] Western views critiqued Japan’s participation in the Great War as opportunism. However, Japan deployed its navy to its limit,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 25

Remembering the First U.S. Pilot Shot Down in the Vietnam War

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 12:01 AM

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Commander Everett Alvarez Jr.

The new Ken Burns documentary series on the Vietnam War has generated a variety of responses, both positive and negative. Above all, it has rekindled the public’s interest in and awareness of a conflict that defined a generation. The U.S. Naval Institute Oral History Collection includes the memoirs of several Vietnam War POWs–including that of Commander Everett Alvarez Jr., USN (Ret.), the first U.S. pilot shot down in the Vietnam War. Based on two interviews conducted by Etta-Belle Kitchen in March 1976, Alvarez’s oral history contains 134 pages of interview transcript plus an index and appendix. On 5 August 1964,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 2

Frogmen

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 12:20 PM

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Frogmen

My dad wanted to be a Frogman when he grew up. Seeing how I thought his ambition growing up was to be Superman, I was puzzled. Then my dad explained. During the late 1950s and early ’60s, when I was 5 to 9 years old, there was a TV show called Sea Hunt, starring Lloyd Bridges. The main character was a scuba diver (and I think a former Navy frogman/member of an underwater demolition team (UDT)). Most of the action took place underwater.  It was one of my favorite shows. I liked it so much, I “played” Sea Hunt in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 23

The Original Arnold Horshack

Friday, June 23, 2017 10:20 AM

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Swift boats head up the Giant Thanh River along the South Vietnam–Cambodia border toward night ambush spots.

The following is adapted from Swift Boats at War in Vietnam (Stackpole, 2017), edited by Guy Gugliotta, John Yeoman, and Neva Sullaway. Swift Boats (patrol boat fast, or PCFs) at the beginning of 1970 appeared to be in reasonable control of their war. Operation SEALORDS had cleared large swatches of the Lower Mekong Delta, forcing the enemy to withdraw to strongholds deep in the forest. Firefights and ambushes had declined, and civilians could move about the region with relative ease. SeaFloat, the Navy’s floating base in the Cua Lon Estuary, was a resounding success, fostering the growth of a substantial… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 30

The Story He Never Told

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 12:01 AM

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9781612518480

The year following my grandfather’s death in 1975, I found myself in a mystifying place: the NAS Patuxent River airfield dedication in his honor. The ceremony touched on highlights from Vice Admiral Frederick “Trap” Trapnell’s long career in naval aviation, which, even to my untrained ear, sounded consequential: getting the Hellcat into WWII, salvaging the development of the Corsair, first Navy pilot to fly a jet, guiding the Navy through the complex transition to jets, establishing the Test Pilot School at PAX River. Why else would they name the airfield after him? Yet, standing there on the rain-soaked tarmac of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 19

Admiral Kimmel and the Attack

Friday, May 19, 2017 2:59 PM

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Pacific Fleet Commander-in-Chief Admiral Husband Kimmel (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

  Beginning in December 2016, I began writing a series of monthly (approximately) “H-Grams” that go to all active-duty and retired Navy flag officers, and the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, with the expectation that they would be disseminated further to fleet Sailors, and with the acceptance that they would make their way “into the wild.” I did this with the approval of the Chief of Naval Operations and Director, Navy Staff to support the Navy’s “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority” which includes a sub-task to “Know Our History.” My intent is to write them in a way… Read the rest of this entry »