Author Archive

Apr 5

World War II Submarine Commanders

Thursday, April 5, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Slade D. Cutter, USN (Ret.) (1911-2005)

The United States Naval Institute Oral History Archive features the reminiscences of the legendary Captain Slade D. Cutter.  Cutter turned down a music scholarship at an Illinois college to attend the Naval Academy, where he became an All-American football star and standout on the boxing team. Following graduation in 1935, Cutter embarked on a career heavily intertwined with sports. His first duty was as football coach for the team of the battleship USS Idaho (BB-42). After submarine school he coached football at the Naval Academy with collateral duty in the USS S-30 (SS-135). World War II found him in the crew of the USS Pompano (SS-181),… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 6

Meeting “Butch” O’Hare

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 12:01 AM

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Admiral John S. "Jimmy" Thach, USN (Ret.) (1905-1981)

In this excerpt from his 1970 Oral History Interview with CDR Etta-Belle Kitchen, USN (Ret.), then-Admiral Thach recounts his first first meeting with future Medal of Honor recipient and fighter ace Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare in 1940. The complete oral history is a delightfully told memoir from the man who was probably the Navy’s foremost fighter plane tactician of World War II. He is best known as the inventor of the “Thach Weave,” whereby U.S. fighters could successfully combat Japanese Zeros. Thach tells of devising the maneuver at home with kitchen matches. In a series of enjoyable tales, Thach describes his Naval Academy… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 6

Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl Maxie Brashear, the U.S. Navy’s First African American Master Diver

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 12:01 AM

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Master Chief Boatswain's Mate Carl M. Brashear, USN (Ret.) (1931-2006)

Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl Maxie Brashear (1931-2006) used a rare combination of grit, determination, and persistence to overcome formidable hurdles to become the first black master diver in the U.S. Navy. His race was an obstacle, as were his origin on a sharecropper’s farm in rural Kentucky and the modest amount of education he received there. But these were not his greatest challenges. He was held back by an even bigger factor: In 1966 his left leg was amputated just below the knee because he was badly injured on a salvage operation. After the amputation, the Navy sought to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 3

Captain Howard J. Kerr Jr., USN (Retired) on Admiral Zumwalt’s Z-grams

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Howard J. Kerr Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)

In this selection, Captain Kerr speaks about the impact Admiral Zumwalt’s Z-grams had among his crew. Kerr was an aide to Admiral Zumwalt as Commander U.S. Naval Forces Vietnam and commanding officer of the USS Hawkins (DD-873), a unit of the “Mod Squad”–a Zumwalt concept to give more junior officers greater responsibility. Kerr gave two interviews in September and November 1982. The transcript contains 164 pages. Captain Howard J. Kerr Jr.’s interview is one of five contained in the first of a series of volumes containing interviews with officers who served closely with Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. These interviews were conducted… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 29

Rear Admiral B. Robert Erly, USN (Retired) Recounts the Air Raid on Pearl Harbor

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 9:07 AM

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RADM Robert Erly, USN (Ret.)

In this selection from his second interview with Paul Stillwell at the U.S. Naval Institute on 7 September 1988, Admiral Erly recounts his arrival by car in the middle of the air raid on Pearl Harbor and his efforts to fight the fires on the drydocked destroyers USS Cassin (DD-372) and USS Downes (DD-375) and the battleship USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) on 7 December 1941. Based on six interviews, conducted by Paul Stillwell from May 1987 to April 1992. The volume contains 459 pages of interview transcript plus a comprehensive index. The transcript is copyright 2015 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee placed no restrictions on… Read the rest of this entry »