Author Archive

Nov 4

Remembering the Caribsea

Friday, November 4, 2016 12:01 AM

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Just after midnight on 11 March 1942, 22-year-old Jim Gaskill, second mate of the ore freighter Caribsea, went off watch and turned in for the night. The Caribsea and her crew of 28 had departed Santiago, Cuba, on 2 March, and the ship would soon arrive in Norfolk with her valuable cargo of manganese. The freighter had slowed, waiting until daybreak and with it, air cover, to pass Diamond Shoals—which by March 1942 had seen such carnage from German U-boats it had become known as Torpedo Junction. As Gaskill left the bridge, perhaps he gazed out into the darkness toward his… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 28

Naval Aviation Oddity: The Butler-Ames Aerocycle

Friday, October 28, 2016 11:32 AM

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One afternoon in the summer of 1910, the torpedo boat USS Bagley (TB-24) made her way from the docks at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and made her way down the Severn River to the Chesapeake Bay. The Bagley‘s design harkened back to the spar torpedo boats of the Civil War, and she had spent many of her days in reserve or as a training ship for the Naval Academy. But that day her mission was different. In a world first for destroyer-type ships, the Bagley was carrying an airplane on top of a specially-constructed wooden platform. But this… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 4

Views from Somalia

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 12:37 PM

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On 3–4 October 1993, 19 U.S. servicemembers were killed and many more wounded in the Battle of Mogadishu—a raid on a Somali marketplace to capture two lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid that went horribly wrong. United Nations Operations in Somalia had been ongoing since early 1992 in an effort to stabilize the region wracked by civil war, but the fallout from the mission, chronicled in Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, ultimately led to the reevaluation of the United Nations Operation in Somalia and to the eventual discontinuation of that international intervention. The instability… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 4

The Founding of the WAVES

Thursday, August 4, 2016 12:01 AM

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On July 30th, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law legislation that authorized the U.S. Navy to accept women into the Naval Reserve as commissioned officers. These were the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service — the WAVES. The WAVES were led by Captain Mildred McAfee (1900-1994). Prior to the war she was President of Wellesley College. She commanded over 82,000 women in her role as director of the WAVES, helped found the Coast Guard’s SPAR program, and received the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for her service. She married Dr. Rev. Douglas Horton after the war. In the early… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 28

Photographer's Mate at Work

Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:01 AM

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Occasionally one will encounter a headline touting a “major archival discovery,” or something of that nature, though some may disagree with that assessment. But discoveries come from synthesizing information in a new way to reveal a certain truth, and in that vein we find today’s post. The Photography Collection of Photographer’s Mate Alfred “Alf” Joseph Sedivi (1915-1945) at the U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive, consists of approximately 1,650 prints donated by Nickie Lancaster, Sedivi’s niece. The collection includes images of the aftermath of the battles on Tinian, Saipan, Guam, Tarawa, and Iwo Jima as well as many showing shipboard life… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 21

Moon Mission: Quarantine

Thursday, July 21, 2016 9:24 AM

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This week marks the 47th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, where astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” became the first humans to step foot on the moon and astronaut Michael Collins piloted the command module to and from their destination. Launching from Cape Kennedy on July 16th, 1969, the astronauts splashed down in the North Pacific Ocean on July 24th when they were retrieved by helicopter and brought aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CVS-12) for a successful conclusion of their mission. But then began three weeks of quarantine. At the time, no one could predict with absolute certainty… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 7

Let's Talk about Goofballs and Pep Pills

Thursday, July 7, 2016 12:01 AM

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Facing a rising epidemic of drug abuse in the 1960s, the U.S. Navy responded forcefully and dramatically. In addition to opening treatment and rehabilitation centers — even one on a converted barracks ship in Vietnam — the Bureau of Naval Personnel (NavPers) produced a variety of informational pamphlets to combat the terrible toll drug use and addiction were having on service members. Some of these booklets have found their way into the Naval Institute’s archive, and a selection are shown in this post. Let’s Talk about Goofballs and Pep Pills (Including Tranquilizers and LSD) by Lindsay R. Curtis, M.D. was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 30

Ships of the U.S. Air Force

Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:01 AM

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Though the United States took a keen interest in the development of ballistic missile technology after World War II, it was not until the Soviet launch of the satellite Sputnik in October 1957 that a new urgency in the matter. Within a matter of months the Navy launched its own satellite (Vanguard 1) into orbit, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created, and spurred the U.S. Air Force to invest in a series of ships. Since 1950, the Air Force had exclusive jurisdiction over the Long Range Proving Grounds—the Atlantic and Pacific Missile Test Ranges—headquartered at Patrick and Vandenberg… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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