Archive for the 'Navy' Category

Jun 12

The Sinking of the USS President Lincoln, 31 May 1918

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 12:01 AM

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Painting by Fred Dana Marsh, 1920, depicting the ship sinking after she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-90 on 31 May 1918

May 31st marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the troop transport USS President Lincoln. Formerly a German ocean liner of the Hamburg-America Line, the Navy had commissioned her in 1917 to ferry young men and equipment over to the Western Front. In 1918, her luck ran out when she was torpedoed by the German submarine SM U-90.  In 1922, her commanding officer at the time of the sinking, Commander P. W. Foote, USN, wrote his remembrances of the fateful day for Proceedings. It is excerpted and illustrated here.

 
Jun 5

LCDR Wesley Brown, the First African American Graduate of the USNA

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 12:01 AM

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Lieutenant Commander Wesley Brown, Civil Engineer Corps, U.S. Navy (Retired)

  This oral history is particularly noteworthy, because it provides personal recollections from the first African-American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Brown entered the Academy in 1945, a century after the institution was founded, and graduated in 1949. A handful of black midshipmen had previously been appointed to the school in Annapolis, but all were either pushed out or left of their own volition prior to graduation. Brown spent his youth in Washington, D.C., where he attended segregated Dunbar High and had part-time jobs working for the Navy and Howard University. He was able to succeed at the Naval Academy through a combination… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 31

Why We Remember

Thursday, May 31, 2018 12:01 AM

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Military cemetery

On Memorial Day, it is important to reflect on the soldiers, sailors and airmen that have kept the U.S. safe. Each of us on that day should reserve simple, single moments of reverence—spots of time, as Wordsworth called them—that allow us to look back and reflect on lives lived and moments lost. For most of the 20th century, regardless of what our political stripes were, Americans stood as one when it came to the military and its role as our country’s protector. That changed during the Vietnam era, when our political and military leaders systematically deceived the American public about… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 17

The Making of a Naval Disaster

Thursday, May 17, 2018 12:01 AM

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The Peloponnesian War Battle of Syracuse, 413 B.C. (Alamy)

The Peloponnesian War of 431–404 B.C. between the Spartan-led Peloponnesian alliance and the Delian League dominated by Athens was a seminal event in naval history. The nature of the conflict itself practically guaranteed that maritime control would be a critical factor, as neither of the two major power blocs had the means to launch a decisive assault on the other’s homeland and were forced into a long series of peripheral actions in an attempt to wear the other side out. The great Athenian statesman Pericles openly and explicitly built Athenian military strategy around protecting and using the Athenian navy to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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 »

 
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