Archive for the 'Oral History' Category

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 »

 
Apr 2

Covert Rescues at the Bay of Pigs

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 12:01 AM

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William T. Smoot

  William T. Smoot, an officer on board the escort destroyer USS Eaton (DDE-510), watched firsthand the covert support provided to the Cuban rebels during the abortive attempt to invade Fidel Castro’s Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. He saw the landing craft and the invasion site, and listened to voice radio transmissions. On one occasion, Smoot’s destroyer came under fire while in the Bay of Pigs. In this excerpt, Smoot describes being sent ashore to in a motor whaleboat to rescue rebels in the middle of the night.     To read more about the Naval Institute Oral… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 7

Korean War Era Night Fighter Training

Thursday, March 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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Vice Admiral Gerald E. Miller, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

  Gerald E. Miller enlisted in the Navy in 1936 and served in the fleet for two years before getting an appointment to the Naval Academy, from which he was graduated in late 1941. He then spent two years of wartime duty in the light cruiser USS Richmond (CL-9) before he could go to flight training. Throughout his aviation experiences, Admiral Miller placed particular emphasis on nighttime flight operations. During the Korean War, he served on the staff of Rear Admiral E. C. Ewen, Commander Task Force 77, and then commanded a fighter squadron. During a mid-1950s tour in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Admiral Miller… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 7

The Loss of the USS Macon, 12 February 1935

Thursday, February 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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Lieutenant Harold B. "Min" Miller at the controls of his F9C over Moffett Field. In 1934, Miller became the HTA Unit's senior aviator and was co-developer of the radio equipment which "homed" the pilots back to the airship.

  Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1924, Harold B. Miller spent two years in the crew of the battleship USS California (BB-44) before going to flight training. As an aviator, he initially was in the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48) and carrier USS Langley (CV-1). He served as a scout plane pilot from the Navy’s last two rigid airships, the USS Akron (ZRS-4) and Macon (ZRS-5). In this excerpt from his second interview at his home in Manhasset, New York, Admiral Miller recounts the dramatic loss of the USS Macon off the coast of California in 1935.     To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 3

U.S. Navy’s All-Time Top Fighter Ace

Thursday, January 3, 2019 12:01 AM

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Future Captain David McCampbell, USN (Ret.) (1910-1996)

This oral history contains the candid recollections of the U.S. Navy’s all-time top fighter ace, Captain David McCampbell. He earned the Medal of Honor for his exploits during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. Following initial service as an officer in the heavy cruiser USS Portland (CA-33), McCampbell underwent flight training and received his wings in 1938. From 1938 to 1940, McCampbell served with Fighting Squadron Four (VF-4), based on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4). From 1940 to 1942, McCampbell was landing signal officer of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) and survived her sinking in 1942, during the Guadalcanal campaign. After serving… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 6

The Sinking of the USS Nevada (BB-36)

Thursday, December 6, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Charles J. Merdinger, CEC, USN (Retired)

On the morning of 7 December 1941, then-Ensign Charles Merdinger awoke to alarms and stepped through his socks in his haste to get to his battle station on board the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) when she was bombed at Pearl Harbor. In this audio clip, Captain Merdinger gives a vivid account of the near-disastrous situation he found himself in while in the sinking Nevada‘s plotting room during the attack.   To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to https://www.usni.org/heritage/oral-history-catalog.  

 
Nov 6

Damage Control on the USS Houston (CL-81)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 8:24 AM

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RADM George H. Miller

In this selection, future RADM George H. Miller recounts the torpedoing of the USS Houston (CL-81) in October of 1944, off the coast of Formosa, Japan. Miller, then a damage control officer, describes a harrowing attack, leaving the ship severely damaged and flooding rapidly. While assessing the damage, Miller determined the ship had “more water on board in comparison with our displacement than any other ship that survived in World War II.” Miller’s early years in the Navy included service in the USS California (BB-44), Tuscaloosa (CA-37), Zane (DD-337), Goff (DD-247), Gilmer (DD-233), St. Louis (DD-233), and Houston (CL-81). Miller was XO of the Houston the latter period of the war. Later tours were:… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 4

House Armed Service Committee 1949 B-36 Investigation

Thursday, October 4, 2018 12:01 AM

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Vice Admiral William I. Martin, U. S. Navy (Retired)

In this selection, Vice Admiral William I. Martin recounts his involvement in the the House Armed Services Committee’s B-36 investigation. The investigation went beyond the issue of B-36 procurement to include the issue of national defense strategy and unification of American air defense. Commander Martin was sent to Washington, D.C., by Admiral Arthur W. Radford to assist in picking the technical panel and testify against the B-36 becoming the primary offensive aircraft for the United States. Two of the main contributions of this oral history are in describing Admiral Martin’s work as a naval aviation pioneer, particularly in the area… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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