Feb 19

Days 10/11- March 26/27- Guam/Tokyo/Intrernational Dateline and Home

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 12:01 AM

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(Courtesy of the Author)

Lieutenant Leroy Fadem recently revisited sites in the Pacific where he saw action in the Navy during the tumultuous years of the War in the Pacific over 70 years ago. This is a journal of that recent trip as kept by his son, Steven Fadem, who accompanied Lt. Fadem on that journey of rediscovery. The day started with Dad and me having a very moving, emotional talk about the trip, what it meant for each of us to be together on this journey and one of the best hugs in recorded history. Dad has never sought recognition for his Naval service- although he… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 14

CAC-7: Skeet for the Fleet

Thursday, February 14, 2019 12:01 AM

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CAC-7 Skeet For the Fleet P-3 Orion by Don Feight

I am only 20 years old and the Soviets are going to shoot me down? That is NOT what I had in mind when our crew took off this morning! Like all good sea stories, this one too starts with a ‘there we were’ moment. But before the story starts, a bit of background and setup information first: Date: September 1989. Location: Sigonella (Catania Province), Sicily Purpose: VP-24 (Batmen) Deployment from home base in Jacksonville, Florida Aircraft: P-3C (Baseline models) VP-24 deployed to Sicily in July 1989 while the Cold War was raging (though waning, but nobody on our side… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 12

A Step Forward

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:01 AM

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Less than two years after becoming the first African American commissioned as a regular officer in the Navy, Ensign John W. Lee stands at his battle station on board the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge, his wish to serve in a large combatant ship granted. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

On 15 March 1947, one month to the day before Jackie Robinson became the first black player in baseball’s major leagues, John Wesley Lee Jr. became the first African American to be commissioned as a regular officer in the Navy, that is, no longer a reservist. Many citizens of this country made it clear that they did not welcome Robinson’s arrival in baseball. He received numerous death threats and other pieces of hate mail. John Lee achieved his milestone without encountering hostility, and that was at least in part the result of how the Navy arranged things for him. After… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 7

The Loss of the USS Macon, 12 February 1935

Thursday, February 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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Lieutenant Harold B. "Min" Miller at the controls of his F9C over Moffett Field. In 1934, Miller became the HTA Unit's senior aviator and was co-developer of the radio equipment which "homed" the pilots back to the airship.

  Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1924, Harold B. Miller spent two years in the crew of the battleship USS California (BB-44) before going to flight training. As an aviator, he initially was in the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48) and carrier USS Langley (CV-1). He served as a scout plane pilot from the Navy’s last two rigid airships, the USS Akron (ZRS-4) and Macon (ZRS-5). In this excerpt from his second interview at his home in Manhasset, New York, Admiral Miller recounts the dramatic loss of the USS Macon off the coast of California in 1935.     To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 5

What to do when your commander burns his own perfectly good fleet?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 12:01 AM

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Hernando Cortez scuttles his ships

If you ever find yourself in command of an invading army, and surrounded by a numerically superior enemy hell-bent on your destruction, it is probably not a good idea to intentionally eliminate your only means of retreat. Yet that is what the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés did in 1519 when he sunk his own naval fleet to keep his men from deserting during his campaign to conquer the Aztec Empire. It was one of the biggest gambles in military history. He conquered the Aztec two years later, but things could have easily gone the other way. If Cortés had been defeated,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 1

From Vindictive to Dainty: The Extremes of Royal Navy Ship Names

Friday, February 1, 2019 12:39 PM

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HMS Dainty

The Royal Navy is steeped in tradition and history. Its mighty fleets were the envy of the world and enabled the British to run a global empire for centuries. Their ships sailed the oceans with striking names that projected qualities to inspire crews and intimidate enemies – names such as HMS Vengeance, Fearless, Vindictive, Repulse and Spiteful. What young sailor would not be proud to serve on ships named HMS Battleaxe or Gladiator? The revolutionary HMS Dreadnought had a bold name that was so effective it was used to refer to all similar battleships that were modeled after her. Royal… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 29

Battle of Rennell Island

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 12:01 AM

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USS Chicago riding low in the water following torpedo attack.

For years, I thought I knew about World War II. Going to public school, almost every year from sixth grade to senior year had at least a few weeks discussing WWII. I did not realize the blank spot in my education until we came to the combat photos in our archive, and suddenly I am confronted with photo after photo of the Pacific. It suddenly struck me that in all that time learning about WWII, not one of my teachers had taken the time to discuss the Pacific Front in detail. Talking with others, I soon began to realize it… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 24

The Life and Death of the USS YMS-365

Thursday, January 24, 2019 12:01 AM

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(Credit CMoMM Ed Johnson, USNR)

On 26 June 1945, USS YMS-365 struck a mine and sank while conducting minesweeping operations off the Japanese-held oil producing city of Balikpapan, Borneo in the Dutch East Indies. Many of the officers and enlisted men on board were injured. Fortunately, no one was killed and all the officers and men and the ship’s mascot “Doc” the dog were safely transferred to another YMS and eventually to the cruiser USS Columbia (CL-56). The ship was listing badly and another YMS poured gunfire into it to sink it. This is the story of how the YMS came to life, was commissioned,… Read the rest of this entry »