Archive for the 'Heritage' Category

Jul 15

‘Missing and Presumed Lost’

Friday, July 15, 2016 12:54 PM


The fate of the USS CONESTOGA had been unknown for nearly a century until the recent discovery of her wreck off the U.S. Pacific coast.

  On a quiet scientific survey in the fall of 2014, one of the mysteries of the U.S. Navy was solved. The discovery of a deteriorating hulk of a ship in just 189 feet of water, 27 miles outside of San Francisco’s Golden Gate, resolved the question of what had happened and where lay the wreck of the USS Conestoga (AT-54), one of only 18 U.S. Navy ships that disappeared, never to be seen again in the years before World War II.

Jul 6

A ‘Rough-House’

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 4:27 PM



In the 1908 Lucky Bag, the college yearbook of U.S. Naval Academy graduates, one of the midshipmen was described by his classmates as “a black-eyed, rosy-cheeked, noisy Irishman who loves a rough-house.” This “noisy Irishman” was Thomas Cassin Kinkaid, who in coming to Annapolis was following in his father’s footsteps. His seagoing career began with Theodore Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet” as it made the historic voyage around the world, showing the American flag and proclaiming U.S. naval power in the new century. As befitting a genuine “rough-houser,” Kinkaid spent most of his subsequent career in naval gunnery, with sea tours… Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 15

Lighthouses of Virginia

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 12:01 AM


Old Point Comfort

Anyone who has grown up or vacationed on a coast has visited and climbed a lighthouse. As a child, my family toured one, where we discovered my fear of heights. The Naval Institute has a unique photo collection of lighthouses, organized by state. To share this collection with the public, we will begin with the lighthouses of Virginia. In 1792 John McCombe Jr. built the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse from stone. It is the oldest lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay, and served the area for nearly a century before it was deemed unsafe and a new lighthouse was commissioned. The structure… Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 21

‘Subdue, Seize, and Take . . .’

Thursday, April 21, 2016 2:59 PM


Captain Thomas Truxtun set the precedent for a young U.S. Navy by capturing the French frigate L’INSURGENTE during the Quasi-War with France.

On 9 February 1799, the U.S. frigate CONSTELLATION was cruising in Caribbean waters when a lookout reported an unidentified ship just over the horizon. Captain Thomas Truxtun ordered his ship to come about, then went below to record in his log: “At noon saw a sail standing to westward, gave chase. I take her for a ship of war.” The pursuit continued for about an hour with the CONSTELLATION gradually gaining. Drawing closer, it became apparent that the other ship was a heavily armed frigate. A lesser captain with a lesser crew might have decided to look for an easier… Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 17

Remember the MAINE

Thursday, March 17, 2016 3:38 PM


LWF Feb 08

Apprentice First Class Ambrose Ham was signal boy of the watch when the USS MAINE arrived at the Spanish-owned island of Cuba on 25 January 1898. Tensions were high in the battleship as she slowly steamed into Havana Harbor, and though Ham remembered that “every-thing looked peaceful,” he heard another sailor tell two friends, “We’ll never get out of here alive.” Cuban revolutionaries had long been trying to overthrow their Spanish masters, and the MAINE had been sent to protect American citizens then in Havana. Because of the high state of tension, the crew was not allowed to go ashore,… Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 14

The Navy’s ‘Smashers’

Monday, March 14, 2016 10:57 AM


One of the 1826-pattern replica carronades on board the USS CONSTITUTION. When fired, the gun and its slide recoiled back along the stationary skid and against the breeching, the heavy rope through the carronade's loop. Side tackles were used to traverse or run out the gun. (USS CONSTITUION, Naval History and Heritage Command)

Introduced in the U.S. Navy at the beginning of the 19th century, the carronade saw extensive service in American warships during the War of 1812. The Carron Company in Scotland had produced a prototype of the weapon, designed for the protection of merchantmen, in 1776. The success of early carronades resulted in the Royal Navy placing large orders for the guns, and other naval powers soon copied the basic design. Henry Foxall, superintendent of the Eagle Foundry on the Schuylkill River at Philadelphia, cast the first American versions, but probably not until 1799. Certainly he cast the majority of the… Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 1

On Naval History’s Scope

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 12:01 AM



On 20 September 1945, two-and-a-half weeks after he’d hosted the formal Japanese surrender on board his flagship, Admiral William F. Halsey Jr. headed for home. Among the many respects paid to the celebrated commander was one he especially treasured. “Your departure leaves all your old comrades of the Pacific war lonesome indeed,” messaged General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. “You carry with you the admiration and affection of every officer and man. May your shadow never decrease.” That was a tall order because “Bull” Halsey had cast an enormous shadow during the conflict. His battle accomplishments were many, but in… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 5

‘Marquee Title’

Saturday, December 5, 2015 12:01 AM


Marine Corps Visionary: Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak, in sunglasses,
and Brigadier General Frederick J. Karch (center) study the terrain atop Hill 327, near
Danang, Vietnam in March 1965.

I require all Marines to read and discuss . . . — LTGEN Brute Krulak’s FIRST TO FIGHT: AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS These words appeared some years back in an “ALMAR” message sent to the entire U.S. Marine Corps by its then-Commandant, General James Conway, in which he described the importance of a Marine Corps reading program and designated FIRST TO FIGHT as the “Marquee Title” of that program. Because the Marine Corps values its heritage so highly, it is likely that many Marines readily knew why he chose this book from the thousands that have… Read the rest of this entry »

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