Archive for the 'Heritage' Category

May 14

Museum Report: The Tug That Fought

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 11:07 AM

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Alongside the quay at the Port of Oswego, New York, an old warrior stands guard. On her stack, she proudly displays her “kill mark”: the silhouette of a fighter plane and swastika. Her twin .50-caliber guns still point skyward. She is U.S. Army large tug LT-5, the John F. Nash, originally christened the Major Elisha K. Henson and launched on 22 November 1942. During my three-hour tour of the 115-foot tug, I saw everything from the captain’s cabin to the spike-mounted “stinger” guns on the small gun deck abaft the pilothouse. It was during Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, that… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 18

Reflections on Admiral Yamamoto

Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:01 AM

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On this date in 1943, U.S. Army Air Forces P-38 Lightning fighters, acting on U.S. Navy signals intelligence, shot down a bomber carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet and architect of the Pearl Harbor attack. Yamamoto’s death was a devastating blow to Japan’s war effort. Commander Edwin T. Layton, intelligence officer on the staff of Admiral Chester Nimitz, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander-in-Chief, played a key role in the events that led to Yamamoto’s death. Ironically, Layton had gotten to know the Japanese admiral while serving as assistant naval attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 12

A Step Forward

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:01 AM

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On 15 March 1947, one month to the day before Jackie Robinson became the first black player in baseball’s major leagues, John Wesley Lee Jr. became the first African American to be commissioned as a regular officer in the Navy, that is, no longer a reservist. Many citizens of this country made it clear that they did not welcome Robinson’s arrival in baseball. He received numerous death threats and other pieces of hate mail. John Lee achieved his milestone without encountering hostility, and that was at least in part the result of how the Navy arranged things for him. After… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 1

From Vindictive to Dainty: The Extremes of Royal Navy Ship Names

Friday, February 1, 2019 12:39 PM

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The Royal Navy is steeped in tradition and history. Its mighty fleets were the envy of the world and enabled the British to run a global empire for centuries. Their ships sailed the oceans with striking names that projected qualities to inspire crews and intimidate enemies – names such as HMS Vengeance, Fearless, Vindictive, Repulse and Spiteful. What young sailor would not be proud to serve on ships named HMS Battleaxe or Gladiator? The revolutionary HMS Dreadnought had a bold name that was so effective it was used to refer to all similar battleships that were modeled after her. Royal… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 13

Good Cheer Bag

Thursday, December 13, 2018 9:01 AM

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Lt Commander Theodorus Bailey Myers Mason, best known as the founder of the Office of Naval Intelligence, no doubt led a fascinating life. He was born to a prominent 5th Avenue family in New York City, where his childhood was spent riding a small white pony daily. He decided by the age of 16 he would join the Navy, and impressed his father by saving up the money for a commission himself. He called upon the Secretary of the Navy at 16 to ask him personally to secure a commission. The plan worked, and he entered the Naval Academy in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 31

Naval Superstitions – A Sailor’s Antiquated Guide to Avoiding Bad Luck

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 9:55 AM

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It’s that time of year once again! Where children and adults alike dress up, go to fun parties, and probably eat far too much candy. It’s also a time of spooky stories and superstitions, which is what I decided to research for my dive into naval history this month. Growing up in Wisconsin, sailors and maritime life was not something familiar to me. Most of my impressions of sailors came from movies, television, and books, and one theme always stuck out more than any other: they were just a little bit spooky! There always seemed to be an air of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 16

ACTION REPORT: HMAS Australia off Luzon

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:38 AM

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In October 1944 near the Philippine island of Leyte, Japan unleashed a powerful, unforeseen weapon against enemy warships—the kamikaze. During the next few months, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, received more than her share of attention from the deadly suicide planes. According to Australian sources, the cruiser became the first Allied ship hit by a kamikaze when on 21 October a D3A “Val” bomber struck her foremast, killing 7 officers—including her commanding officer—and 23 sailors. (Other sources deny the attack was a preplanned suicide attack.) That was just a taste of what was in store for the Australia during the January 1945 operation… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 21

Day 3- March 17/18 Honolulu to Saipan, via Guam

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 12:01 AM

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Lieutenant Leroy Fadem recently revisited sites in the Pacific where he saw action in the Navy during the tumultuous years of the War in the Pacific over 70 years ago. This is a journal of that recent trip as kept by his son, Steven Fadem, who accompanied Lt. Fadem on that journey of rediscovery. Back in 1944 when Dad traveled from Honolulu to Guam on the Stevens it took over a week at sea. Today we made the journey in a little over eight hours, with two meals, some wine, a movie and air conditioning. The juxtaposition is stunning. The world… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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