Archive for the 'Navy' Category

Mar 4

The Great Graphic Novel of the World War II Pacific—and the Man Behind It

Friday, March 4, 2016 3:42 PM

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Writing for Naval History is always an interesting undertaking, but sometimes a genuinely unique topic comes along—in this case, it was one that represented a fusion of two lifelong interests: naval history in general (and World War II naval history in particular), and comic books. In researching and writing the Sam Glanzman story, I got to retrace the amazing, prolific, and long-running career of a legendary comics artist—and also got to immerse myself in his most celebrated work: A Sailor’s Story, his great 1980s graphic-novel memoir of his Pacific war experiences, now available for a new generation of readers in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 1

On Naval History’s Scope

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 12:01 AM

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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 »

 
Feb 22

Oil & Politics: Harding’s Watergate

Monday, February 22, 2016 12:01 AM

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Teapot Dome, Wyoming, was once the location of a naval oil field—and the name of a forgotten 1920s political scandal that took place there. The naval oil reserves were exactly that: petroleum reserved specifically for the Navy. However, when President Warren G. Harding nominated Senator Albert Fall as Secretary of the Interior, this changed. Fall convinced President Harding to transfer ownership from the Navy to his department, and then abused his position to allow two oil men, Edward Doheny and Harry Sinclair, to drill there in exchange for substantial bribes. Their illegal arrangement was eventually discovered and the property was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 15

The Flying Banana

Monday, February 15, 2016 12:01 AM

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Marines fan out after disembarking from Piasecki HRP-1s during a demonstration at Quantico, Virginia. Twelve of the fabric-covered helicopters served with the Marine Corps between 1948 and 1952. (U.S. Marine Corps)

The Piasecki HRP Rescuer—usually called the “flying banana”—was the first U.S. helicopter developed under a military contract. The nickname came from the “bent” fuselage with overlapping tandem rotors at either end, the latter a characteristic of Piasecki helicopters. The HRP-1 design was the second helicopter developed by Frank N. Piasecki’s P. V. Engineering Forum, the first being a single-seat, single-rotor craft. A privately built Piasecki demonstration helicopter with tandem rotors—designated HRP-X—flew on 7 March 1945. The Navy had ordered two XHRP-1 models on 1 February 1944, with the flight-test aircraft delivered in June 1947. The second XHRP-1 was used for… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 11

Excerpt from “The Black Midshipman at the Naval Academy”

Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:01 AM

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Dr. Alonzo C. McClennan.

For this week’s post, and in honor of Black History Month, the Naval History Blog offers a selection from a 1973 article in Proceedings by By Lieutenant Commander R. L. Field, U. S. Navy (Retired). In the following selection, Lieutenant Commander Field discusses some of the earliest black midshipmen appointed to the the Naval Academy. It is presented here without additional commentary other than to note that readers are encouraged to explore the remarkable lives of the men noted by LCDR Field after their separation from the academy.   The U. S. Naval Academy was established in 1845 by an… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 10

Extraordinary American

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 3:50 PM

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Jack Schiff selflessly dedicated himself to the Navy and related organization even after his death in 1998. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

In many ways, John J. “Jack” Schiff typified that once very large and now rapidly dwindling group of extraordinary Americans that Tom Brokaw so aptly characterized as “the greatest generation.” Like so many of those brave souls in those troubled times when Nazis and Fascists and other monsters roamed the earth, Jack left a promising business in Cincinnati to don his nation’s uniform in March 1942. Because it was not in Jack Schiff’s character to tell others of his achievements, we cannot know the full extent of his contributions to the war effort and can only piece together his service… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 21

The Apia Cyclone of 1889

Thursday, January 21, 2016 12:01 AM

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The SMS Adler beached and laying on her side. Note the huge holes in her hull from being dashed against the rocks. Naval History and Heritage Command.

As various European empires and the American government expanded their colonial interests across the Pacific in the late 19th century, it was inevitable that, sooner or later, they would come to blows over what would otherwise have been a local matter. It began as a political crisis in the island chain of Samoa. The governments of the United States and Great Britain, and the German Empire had, in a sense, picked sides in a fight for the kingship of the islands, as Robert Louis Stevenson would defty lay out in his A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 15

Defusing a Crisis

Friday, January 15, 2016 12:01 AM

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After playing a key role during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Elmo Zumwalt Jr., at age 49, became the youngest four-star admiral in U. S. naval history. He passed away in 2000. (U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE PHOTO ARCHIVE)

Probably the closest this nation has come to engaging in nuclear war was during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. After U.S. reconnaissance planes spotted Soviet nuclear missiles being set up in Cuba—not far from our shores—the stage was set for a tense international confrontation. The public face of the situation in the United States was President John F. Kennedy, who addressed the nation on television to lay out the plan for a naval quarantine—in effect, a blockade to prevent further missile shipments into Cuba. One of the actors behind the scenes during those dramatic days was Captain Elmo… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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