Author Archive

Jun 13

The Ladies of Newport

Thursday, June 13, 2019 12:01 AM

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In February 1919, Chief Machinist’s Mate Ervin Arnold found himself stationed at the Newport Naval Training Station in Newport, Rhode Island. Then a 14-year veteran with the U.S. Navy, and around 40, Arnold previously had worked as a detective in his home state of Connecticut for nearly nine years. On his arrival to Newport, Arnold was sent almost directly to the hospital, as he was struggling with a rather severe bout of rheumatism that required frequent medical attention. Not long after arriving, the machinist’s mate became somewhat friendly with his significantly younger fellow sailors, and their conversations eventually turned toward… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 3

Death of a Destroyer

Monday, June 3, 2019 12:01 AM

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To mark the 50th anniversary, below is a reprint of Captain Paul Sherbo’s article from the December 2003 issue of Naval History. Many a ship driver reading of the 1969 collision between the USS Frank E. Evans and HMAS Melbourne can see familiar errors that again could end in catastrophe. But tracking down the cause of the disaster has been no easy task. At quarter past three in the morning on 3 June 1969, 74 crewmen of a U.S. destroyer in the South China Sea began to die.1 It was not enemy fire that took them. The tragedy occurred when… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 28

The Lost Men of the Monitor

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 12:01 AM

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Each year on Memorial Day, we stop to remember the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for this nation. This year we share a story over 150 years in the making from the May 2013 issue of Naval History. After years of forensic and genealogical research, the remains of two Monitor sailors who went down with their ship more than a century and a half ago were laid to rest. Early on 31 December 1862, the pride of the U.S. Navy, the Monitor, was about to die. For several hours, her crew fought to keep the ship afloat… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 16

When Dissent was a Common Virtue

Thursday, May 16, 2019 12:01 AM

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Admiral Chester Nimitz summed up the Battle of Iwo Jima: “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Nimitz’s words are inscribed on the Marine Memorial in Arlington, VA. The photo of six Marines raising the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi was the defining image of the Allied victory in World War II, the most often viewed photograph of its time. The photographer was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The heroism and sacrifice of those Marines were never in doubt. “When dissent was a common virtue” describes the actions of three Marine Generals during the Vietnam War. There was no iconic photo, no… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 8

The Eagles Return

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 12:01 AM

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On 8 May 1919, the waterfront of Halifax harbor was lined with spectators awaiting the arrival of three U.S. Navy seaplanes from Long Island on the first leg of their much-heralded attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Reports of their progress were received during the afternoon as they moved along the south shore of Nova Scotia and finally, at 7:40 pm, two of the aircraft, NC-3 and NC-1, landed safely in the harbor. These were Navy Curtiss or NC (Nancy) flying boats, designed as self-deploying anti-submarine aircraft and intended for combat duties. But when NC Seaplane Division One was commissioned… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 30

The Brotherhood of the F.B.I.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 12:01 AM

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For the men, Iceland was a bleak and often inhospitable place to be. Navy air crews of Patrol Squadron 84 (VP-84) endured seemingly endless flights over thousands of square miles of ocean often under appalling weather conditions. Life for pilots of the 342d Composite Group stationed at Keflavik Air Base patrols were occasionally enlivened by encounters with Luftwaffe Condors or Ju 88 bombers flying from bases in Norway. As hard as it was for the troops and flight crews, the escort ship sailors had it worse. The anchorage in Hvalfjödur (a.k.a. Valley Forge) proved as dangerous as the open ocean…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 16

Swimming Goes to War

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 12:01 AM

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World War II saw a great leap forward in military technology from things like sonar to jet aircraft. However, one basic human activity became “weaponized” and a very valuable addition to the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. Swimming grew from simple physical training and life saving into a war-fighting skill designed to overcome German and Japanese beach defenses and insure success in numerous amphibious invasions around the world. A major center for preparing such combat swimmers for action was the Amphibious Training Base in sunny Fort Pierce, Florida.[i] Here the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs), later organized into larger Underwater Demolition Teams,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 7

Forty-Two

Sunday, April 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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April 7th, 2009 was the 20th anniversary of the sinking of K-278 Komsomolets, a Project 685 or in NATO-speak “Mike” class submarine. Forty-two souls were lost on that date in 1989. On the 20th anniversary, I travelled up from Moscow by train to St. Petersburg to represent the U.S. Navy at the ceremonies to honor those who died as well as those who survived. A service was first held at Nikolsky Cathedral, better known as the Sailor’s Cathedral, where the echoes of the singing and chants swung back and forth from the Orthodox priests to the choir and back again…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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