Author Archive

Jan 27

Salty Talk

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 8:17 AM

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  Someone speaking of “beating a dead horse” may have in mind an image of a jockey trying to get his deceased mount to move, but the phrase also has a nautical origin. While the history cannot be traced with certainty, it appears that the futility implicit in beating a dead horse was appropriate to the frustration felt by sailors during the early stages of a voyage, when all their earning were being kept by the master to compensate for the advance monies they had received upon signing aboard-monies usually spent in satisfying shorebound creditors. When, at long last, the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 22

So You Want to Interview a Kamikaze

Friday, January 22, 2016 12:01 AM

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The call came to our headquarters at the Naval Academy’s Preble Hall in mid-1995. It was retired Navy Captain Bill Horn, asking whether I’d be interested in an interview with a Japanese kamikaze from World War II. Without logically pondering the idea, I blurted out “Of course!” Then it slowly began to sink in. Bill Horn is an intelligent and knowledgeable guy, but I wondered whether somehow he simply had been tricked by a crank caller. If this person were indeed a kamikaze, I wondered, how could he be alive to tell the tale? Captain Horn had the answer. At… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 13

Salty Talk

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 12:01 AM

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As a child, I can remember being told to “mind my Ps and Qs” at times when I was not being on my best manners or when I attempted to intruded on others’ conversation. I had not the foggiest idea of what my Ps and Qs were, but I had come to understand what was wanted. “Mind your Ps and Qs” comes from the days when sailors, newly arrived in port after a long voyage, gathered their wages and headed for their favorite waterfront tavern. Tavern keepers, rather than require payment each time a tar ordered another tankard of ale,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 6

Salty Talk

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 12:01 AM

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Some who read this will be old enough to remember at least a little about the days of Prohibition and the audacious activities of rum runners. Did you ever wonder why the men who distributed and sold illegal spirits were called “bootleggers?” Well, me hearties, we must hark back to the days of pirates bold for the answer to this intoxicating question. In the 16th and early 17th centuries, men’s and women’s fashions went to ridiculous extremes: wigs were enormously tall, skirts voluminous, cuffs on coat sleeves gigantic, all in colors that would put a peacock to shame. Among the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 16

Salty Talk

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 12:01 AM

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A ship is built much like a human being, only in the horizontal plane. Her keel fulfills exactly the same purpose as a backbone, being the basic piece to which all others ultimately are connected. The ship’s frames are her ribs, paced out along the length of the keel to give the final structure her form. In human beings, the ribs join in front; in ships, they do not, but have their upper ends held in position by having transverse pieces running between them. These pieces are called “beams,” from the Saxon word for “tree,” and they also serve to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 11

'Football over Baseball Was a No-Brainer'

Friday, December 11, 2015 12:01 AM

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An Interview with Joe Bellino Joe Bellino won the 1960 Heisman Trophy, becoming the first of only two U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen (Roger Staubach being the second, in 1963) to win the award. As the 2015 Army-Navy game approaches, many thought Navy’s record-breaking quarterback Keenan Reynolds should have at least been invited to the Heisman award ceremony. But, as Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo said early this week, “I’m really disappointed for Keenan, but life goes on.” Joe Bellino talked with Naval History in 2004 about his extraordinary career, including the real reason he chose pro football over baseball. Naval History:… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 9

‘It Still Takes My Breath Away’

Monday, November 9, 2015 12:01 AM

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An Interview with Tom Brokaw     Scheduled to deliver the Third Annual Haydn Williams World War II Memorial Legacy Lecture on 10 November at the National Defense University in Washington is Tom Brokaw—certainly no stranger to the U.S. Naval Institute and Naval History magazine. Since joining NBC News in 1966, he has won every major award in broadcast journalism. The former anchor and managing editor of The NBC Nightly News met in Washington with then-Naval History Editor Fred Schultz about how and why he came to write his well-known book The Greatest Generation. Naval History: Since you’ve had no… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 21

Knox Lifetime Achievement Awards Honor Naval Institute Authors

Monday, September 21, 2015 1:55 PM

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Naval historians from around the world mustered last week in Annapolis for the U.S. Naval Academy’s biennial two-day, deep-immersion McMullen Naval History Symposium. During a banquet at the DoubleTree Annapolis Hotel on Friday night, 18 September, attendees heralded the latest authors to receive the Commodore Dudley W. Knox Naval History Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the U.S. Naval Historical Foundation. As in years past, the names of all three honorees in 2015, along with the namesake of the award himself, are familiar to readers of U.S. Naval Institute publications.

 
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