Author Archive

Mar 24

The History of Hospital Ships

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 11:05 AM

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Did you know that the USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) arrived in Los Angeles, California earlier today? The Mercy and her sister ship, the USNS Comfort, are both hospital ships operated by the United States’ Military Sealift Command, and both have a long history of aiding combatant forces as well as civilians in need of disaster and humanitarian relief. Seeing the Mercy on the news, however, lit a question in my archival brain: just what is the history of hospital ships? While we do not have concrete evidence, there is a possibility that hospital ships have existed since ancient times. The Athenian… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 28

The Incredulous Adventure of Ensign George William Denby, USNR

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 10:07 AM

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Every once and a blue moon, a piece of history crosses my desk that immediately drives me to tell its story to everyone and anyone who will listen. Which is what I did this Fall, when I told my fellow archivists, the photo historian upstairs, and my friends about this story from World War II. This story has still stuck in my brain, however, which is why I’m going to share it with you all right now. Here is the strange but true story of Ensign George William Denby, USNR:   Ensign George William Denby, USNR (of Van Nuys, California)… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 27

The Foundation of the WAVES

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 9:47 AM

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I’d like to think I’m like most people when I say that when I imagine an organization, I see it in its fully formed stage, with little thought of all the work it took to get there. But being a student of history, I know that examining the foundations can provide a greater depth of knowledge and appreciation for the subject studied. Which is why I wanted to take a moment to talk about the founding of the WAVES, and what it took to get an organization so integral to our success in World War II up and off the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 25

We All Scream For Ice Cream: World War II and America’s Sweet Tooth

Thursday, July 25, 2019 12:01 AM

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It’s late July, and in Maryland and most of the United States, this month provides one certainty: it is hot. There are plenty of ways to combat the heat, from taking a swim to just staying indoors in the relative protection of air conditioning, but there’s one form of cooling off that never gets old for me, and that’s having an ice cream. Something about that first taste always transports me – if I don’t get a brain freeze – to other sunny afternoons and happy days, and I can never eat an ice cream on a hot day without… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 18

Aviator and Antarctic Adventurer: Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 12:01 AM

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While doing research for my last blog topic, the Trans-Atlantic Flight of the NC-4, I stumbled across a name that I’ve seen many times during the Naval Institute’s photo digitization project: Richard E. Byrd. Byrd was one of the men who was consulted for the flight plan of the NC-4, and his name titles a series of Antarctic expeditions I personally scanned and researched for our new digital photo archive. It wasn’t until seeing his name appear connected to the NC-4, however, that the realization I knew so little about this renowned adventurer himself hit me. Just who was Richard… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 21

The Transatlantic Flight of the NC-4

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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While outside we enter the second-half of May and quickly descend into June, as I work away inside the archive, my mind inevitably wanders to the subject that seems to be on everyone’s mind this time of year: Summer travel plans. Even for those no longer bound to the timetable of the educational system, Summer is still synonymous with vacation and travel, myself included. But with my occupation, even my thoughts on travel end up turning in a historical direction. One hundred years ago, in 1919, our main mode of long-distance transportation today was still a scary, new technology that… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 23

SEALAB II: Porpoise Post and Life Beneath the Waves

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 12:01 AM

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It may come as no surprise to you all (seeing as I am a digital archivist who spends all day with technology) but I am a self-admitted nerd, complete with a love of video games. One of my favorite games – and one I suggest to anyone new to solo-gaming – is Bioshock, which takes place in a man-made underwater utopia turned dystopian nightmare. While the technologies featured in this game are worlds away, humanity’s exploration of underwater living was a bit more developed than I expected, as I learned during yet another sojourn into USNI’s Photo Archive. Today we… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 26

Sinking and Submerged: Emergency Escape Equipment for Submarines

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 7:49 AM

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When I picture a naval rescue operation, my mind turns to men in life preservers, huddled together in a lifeboat as they watch their vessel sink beneath the waves. At least, that’s what I thought of until last week, when a stack of World War II naval rescue images crossed my desk, ready for research and processing. There was a good number of the images I was expecting: men in lifeboats; men soaked to the skin wearing life preservers; and men bobbing on the surface of the water, ship sinking in the background. Then, at the bottom of the stack,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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