Author Archive

May 14

The U.S. Navy–China Bicentennial

Thursday, May 14, 2020 7:13 AM

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As today’s U.S. fleet faces the challenges of a navally ascendant China, it’s interesting to look at the relationship through the lens of history and recall that the U.S. Navy and China, they go back a ways. Back before the days of the Yangtze Patrol—back, in fact, a full 200 years ago to the day, as of Saturday, 16 May 2020. For it was on this day in 1820 that the U.S. Navy had its first-ever contact with China. American merchant ships had ventured to those shores before an American warship ever came calling. The first such to do so,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 14

Remembering the Solace

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 7:19 AM

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The U.S. Navy’s hospital ships are very much in the news these days. And in a bit of coincidental timeliness, 14 April marks the anniversary of the commissioning of the Navy’s first post–Civil War hospital ship, the USS Solace (AH-2). Commissioned in 1898, she saw service in the Spanish-American War and the early 20th century. Her name and legacy lived on in World War II with the second hospital ship Solace (AH-5), which was present at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, when the Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet brought the nation into the conflict. But back to the… 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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The Ken Burns documentary series on the Vietnam War 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, Alvarez… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 4

The Great Graphic Novel of the World War II Pacific—and the Man Behind It

Friday, March 4, 2016 3:42 PM

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Writing for Naval History is always an interesting undertaking, but sometimes a genuinely unique topic comes along—in this case, it was one that represented a fusion of two lifelong interests: naval history in general (and World War II naval history in particular), and comic books. In researching and writing the Sam Glanzman story, I got to retrace the amazing, prolific, and long-running career of a legendary comics artist—and also got to immerse myself in his most celebrated work: A Sailor’s Story, his great 1980s graphic-novel memoir of his Pacific war experiences, now available for a new generation of readers in… Read the rest of this entry »