Author Archive

Nov 29

The Hudson River Chain

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:27 PM

By

Tom Martin (My Dad) 1971

  We sometimes forget our parents were not born adults. They were children and teenagers first, who did silly things. When it comes to my dad, Tom Martin, the man who must follow the arrows in a parking lot, it is hard to imagine him pulling a prank, especially during his U.S. Coast Guard Academy years. Each year at the Coast Guard Academy, the fourth-class (freshman) cadets pull pranks the night before the first home football game. So during my dad’s fourth-class year in 1971, he and some classmates set their sights high. The Coast Guard Academy is home to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 26

Model Basins

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 12:01 AM

By

Interior of the David Taylor Model Basin showing the two principal towing tanks. The electric carriage in the center is one of four tubular steel carriages used for towing models, 1943.

In an era of computers, it is hard to imagine research of any kind without them? How did the Navy develop new ships before computer simulation? The answer: the experiments done at a model basin. These facilities allow scientists to build ships and airplanes and then put them through real-life conditions to determine how well the crafts will survive. The Navy’s first model basin was the Experimental Model Basin (EMB), built on the Washington Navy Yard in 1899 under the command of David Watson Taylor. The basin was 14 feet deep, 42 feet wide, and 470 feet long, with a… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 12

Lighthouses of Maryland

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 12:01 AM

By

Concord Point

  Please enjoy a small selection of Maryland Lighthouses from the U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive. Like those from Virginia, many have guarded the coast since the beginning of our nation. President John Quincy Adams appointed Concord Point Lighthouse’s first keeper, John O’Neill, on November 3, 1827. The O’Neill family continued serving in that capacity on and off until the light was automated in 1919, eliminating the need for a keeper. The Coast Guard maintained control until 1975, when the lighthouse was decommissioned. The Friends of Concord Point Lighthouse formed in 1979 to save and restore the historic structure, which… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 28

Our Readers

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 12:01 AM

By

80-G-217817

The best compliments are often the most unexpected. When a member or reader lets us know what we do here at USNI is valued it puts a smile on everyone’s face. Below is an email Mr. Keith Quilter sent us on 1 June 2016 that we loved so much we decided to share it. I have just finished watching the video at the end of the description of “Harnessing the Sky” the biography of Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell by his son and a grand-daughter. I was so completely fascinated by the presentation given by the co-authors and the memories I have… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 15

Lighthouses of Virginia

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 12:01 AM

By

Old Point Comfort

Anyone who has grown up or vacationed on a coast has visited and climbed a lighthouse. As a child, my family toured one, where we discovered my fear of heights. The Naval Institute has a unique photo collection of lighthouses, organized by state. To share this collection with the public, we will begin with the lighthouses of Virginia. In 1792 John McCombe Jr. built the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse from stone. It is the oldest lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay, and served the area for nearly a century before it was deemed unsafe and a new lighthouse was commissioned. The structure… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 26

‘Life was very simple. Very simple’

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 12:01 AM

By

Midshipmen with sweethearts in 1903
(U.S. Naval Archive)

Mary Taylor Alger Smith was born on 1 May 1892 and grew up at the U.S. Naval Academy, where her father, Philip R. Alger, a naval officer, was assigned. Below are a few quick excerpts from her descriptions of life at the turn of the 20th century. Despite Mary Smith’s statement that “life was very simple” back then, I think these stories below demonstrate people have not changed: children getting into trouble, girls meeting boys, socializing, dating. Perhaps the things that have changed are our clothes and hairstyles.   Q: How did you arrange a date with a midshipmen if… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 4

100 Years of U.S. Coast Guard Aviation

Monday, April 4, 2016 10:22 AM

By

1926

In honor of the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Coast Guard Aviation, we present its history through photos. Lieutenant Elmer Stone arrives at the Naval Aviation School at Pensacola on 1 April, an event the service recognizes as the birth of Coast Guard aviation. Stone piloted the Navy flying boat NC-4 on the first successful airborne crossing of the Atlantic. The Coast Guard used the Chance Vought UO-4 to help catch rumrunners during Prohibition. The service also used the Loening OL-5 to enforce Prohibition along the coast. The Aviation Flying Life Boat PJ-1 specifically was designed for the Coast Guard to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 22

Life as a Dependent

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:01 AM

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“I say ‘we’ because don’t tell me wives don’t have [duty], too.”—Mary Smith, wife of Commander Roy Campbell Smith Jr., U.S. Navy

Our men and women in uniform are not the only ones who serve their country; the spouses and families of each service member do so as well. John Mason Jr., the former director of the U.S. Naval Institute’s oral history program, interviewed Frances Smalley Mitscher and Mary Taylor Alger Smith to get their side of Navy life in first half of the 20th century. Mary Smith grew up on the U.S. Naval Academy grounds, where she met her future husband, Roy Campbell Smith Jr., who was a midshipman. They married on 1 August 1912 when he was an ensign. Over… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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