Author Archive

Oct 6

USS BAINBRIDGE Commissioned, 6 October 1962

Thursday, October 6, 2011 12:01 AM


The nuclear-powered guided missile frigate USS BAINBRIDGE (DLGN 25) commissioned on 6 October 1962. Her first Mediterranean deployment began in February 1963, and included demonstrations of her long-range high speed dash capabilities and operations with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65). BAINBRIDGE returned to the Mediterranean in May 1964, this time joining ENTERPRISE and the guided missile cruiser LONG BEACH (CGN 9) to form the first all-nuclear-powered task group. At the end of July the three ships began Operation Sea Orbit, a two-month unrefueled cruise around the world. In October 1965 BAINBRIDGE again rounded the Cape of Good Hope,… Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 16

First Submarine Launch of Regulus II, 16 September 1958

Friday, September 16, 2011 12:01 AM


Commissioned on 7 March 1958, GRAYBACK (SSG 574) was the Navy’s first submarine to carry the Regulus II sea-to-surface missile. While operating out of Port Hueneme, Calif., on 16 September 1958 she carried out the first successful launch of a Regulus II from a submarine, which pointed the way to a revolutionary advance in the power of navies to attack land bases. GRAYBACK conducted her first deterrent missile strike mission from 21 September to 12 November 1959, patrolling secretly through Pacific waters with a full load of missiles ready for retaliation 1,000 miles inland in event of war. Following modifications… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 14

USS Forrestal (CV-59) Keel Laying 14 July 1952

Thursday, July 14, 2011 12:01 AM


The keel laying of the first “supercarrier” Forrestal (CV-59) on 14 July 1952 represented a significant step forward in the evolution of naval aviation. In the post-war period, the Navy wrestled with the role naval aviation would play in the atomic age and James Vincent Forrestal, the man for whom the aircraft carrier was named, stood at the center of many of the controversies of this period. After serving as Secretary of the Navy from May 1944 to September 1947, he became the nation’s first Secretary of Defense. The intense strain that stemmed, in part, from inter-service strife over issues… Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 20

Navy’s First Carrier Commissioned, 20 March 1922

Sunday, March 20, 2011 12:01 AM


USS Langley (CV 1) was commissioned on 20 March 1922 as the first U.S. aircraft carrier, under the command of Cdr. Kenneth Whiting. The Norfolk Navy Yard had converted Langley from the collier Jupiter (AC 3), replacing her coal-handling derricks with a wooden flight deck, and converting holds to hangars and fuel tanks. While the ship was officially named in honor of aviation pioneer Samuel P. Langley, pilots also endearingly nicknamed her the “Covered Wagon.” The Navy’s first carrier takeoff took place on board Langley on 17 October 1922, followed nine days later by the first carrier landing. Transferred to… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 8

Storeship Culgoa Provides Earthquake Relief, 1909

Saturday, January 8, 2011 12:01 AM


At 5:20 a.m. on 28 December 1908, a powerful earthquake struck southern Italy. The city of Messina was devastated, with at least 95% of its buildings reduced to rubble and almost 100,000 of its 150,000 residents killed. RAdm. Charles S. Sperry, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, dispatched the storeship Culgoa from the homeward-bound Great White Fleet to the disaster area, and ordered “all medical stores from every ship that could be spared” transferred to the storeship, which also embarked four hospital apprentices and two medical officers. The ship’s bakers and cooks prepared almost 3,000 loaves of bread and 2,200… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 2

Kamikaze Strike on Battleship USS Tennessee (1945)

Sunday, January 2, 2011 12:01 AM


During the furious kamikaze attacks off Okinawa in 1945, the battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43) was struck by a Japanese suicide plane. 22 Americans died in the attack, and another 107 were wounded. This combat footage, filmed during the attack on 12 April 1945, shows the moment of impact. The film opens with a quick shot of another American battleship, possibly USS Idaho (BB-42). At 0:26 seconds of the film, one of the five suicide aircraft that attacked Tennessee (but missed) can be seen exploding in the water, off the port side of the battleship. At 0:37, another Japanese kamikaze begins… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 12

MAtt1c Leonard R. Harmon and Comdr. Mark H. Crouter, Gallantry off Guadalcanal, 12-13 November 1942

Friday, November 12, 2010 12:00 PM


There was no shortage of heroism on land, sea, under the sea, or in the air over Guadalcanal. Two decades separated their births; half a continent separated their birthplaces. One man graduated from the Naval Academy with the Class of 1919, the other enlisted in 1939. One man was white, the other black. The former had no limitations in his service, the latter, because of his race, could only serve in the messman branch. Yet circumstances drew them together in one ship, in one battle, and saw each give up his “life in the defense of his country.” Mark Hanna… Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 27

Lt.(j.g.) Kenneth M. Willett, D-V(G), USNR: Extraordinary Heroism and Conspicuous Courage

Monday, September 27, 2010 12:01 AM


Lieutenant (j.g.) Kenneth Martin Willett, D-V(G), had been born in Overland, Missouri, on 9 April 1919. He had attended Sacramento Junior College, majoring in Business and Geology, and had enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 9 July 1940. Accepting an appointment as Midshipman, USNR, on 10 August, and Ensign, D-V(G), on 14 November, he received instruction on board the miscellaneous auxiliary (ex-battleship) Illinois, being detached on the same day to report his first ship, the battleship California (BB-44), reporting on board on 1 December 1940. Detached on 24 November 1941, Willett left Honolulu on board the liner Lurline on… Read the rest of this entry »

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