Author Archive

Aug 7

Commencing the Attack on Guadalcanal

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 2:00 PM

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Marine forces training for an amphibious landing prior to the beginning of the Guadalcanal campaign.  (Photo: USNI Archive)

On 7 August 1942 the Allied forces began their first major counter-offensive against the Japanese at Guadalcanal. Since Pearl Harbor the U.S. had spent most their time recovering from the attack and re-building the badly damaged Pacific fleet. One high-poin, however, were the highly successful attacks known as “Doolittle’s Raids.” This “lull” in activity ended with the invasion of Guadalcanal. Code-named “Operation Watchtower,” Marines conducted a surprise raid of their primary target, the airfield, and quickly established a presence that allowed troops to arrive on the island. The initial invasion was such a surprise that the first Marines encountered little resistance…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 30

The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis

Monday, July 30, 2018 12:47 PM

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The USS Indianapolis (CA-35) before the war in September 1939. (Photo: NHHC)

At roughly 0015 on July 30, 1945 the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was struck by two torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-58 in the Philippine Sea. The ship was on a highly classified mission, to deliver various parts needed to finish the field construction of the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Tinian Island. Only a little more than two weeks from the surrender of Japan, the sinking of the Indianapolis was one of the last major naval events of World War II. Once struck, it took only 12 minutes to sink, which was not enough time for a distress signal to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 26

The National Security Act and Inter-Service Rivalry

Thursday, July 26, 2018 3:09 PM

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President Harry Truman signing the National Act into law on July 26, 1946.  The act would not go into effect until September 18 of that year. (Photo: Department of State)

On this day in 1947 President Harry Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947. The bill reorganized the military, by placing the Army and Navy into the Department of Defense, and creating the position of Secretary of Defense at its head. It also created the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council. However, it seems the most impactful act from the bill, was establishment of a new branch of the military; the United States Air Force. Upon its inception, the Air Force began a campaign designed to downplay the significance of the Navy, especially aircraft carriers,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 25

Farragut and Grant: The First “Four-stars”

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 11:13 AM

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At the time of Farragut's promotion to Admiral, the sleeve insignia for Admirals was not standardized.  They often added extra stripes in order to show their seniority and prominence before a formal insignia system was established later on. (Photo: Library of Congress)

On July 25, 1866 David Glasgow Farragut became the first four-star Admiral in this nation’s history. Concurrently, the Army promoted Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of “General of the Army,” which was also a four-star rank. Up until this point the nation had nine Rear Admirals and one Vice Admiral, as well as Brigadier, Major, and Lieutenant Generals. Upon Farragut’s promotion David Porter was promoted to Vice Admiral. Except for the various five-star officers of World War II and Korea, and Pershing’s “General of the Armies” rank, four-star officers are the most senior leadership in the armed forces since… Read the rest of this entry »