Archive for the 'People' Category

Nov 13

USS Lakatoi – A Short, but Heroic Life

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 12:01 AM

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USS Lakatoi (Australian War Museum)

If there were a contest to find the U.S. Navy ship with the shortest career from commissioning to sinking, USS Lakatoi, with just six days, would certainly be a serious competitor. Its career was so short the ship never received a hull number. I would never have heard about the ship if not asked to find out the truth behind a “sea story.” The sea story began with an improbable premise – a U.S. Navy midshipman assigned to duty at Guadalcanal during the desperate days of 1942. After extensive research, I found two of the four officers of USS Lakatoi,… 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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An eerie glow winks out from diving helmets aboard the USS Escape (ARS-6), serving as Jack-O'-Lanterns for the ship.

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 »

 
Sep 27

The Programming Pirate: The Inspiring Life of “Amazing” Grace Hopper

Thursday, September 27, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Grace M. Hopper, USNR
Description: Head of the Navy Programming Language Section of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Working in her office, 1 August 1976. Photographed by PH2 David C. MacLean. (NHHC)

  On 7 December 1941, Grace and her husband Vincent listened to the radio at their home as news of a surprise aerial attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was reported. The next day, the United States joined Britain and declared war on the Japanese Empire. The Pearl Harbor attack “would also be the chronological fulcrum from which Grace Hopper’s own life would pivot. In the months that followed that fateful day, Grace Murray Hopper would leave her position as a tenured professor at Vassar College, divorce her husband, and join the U.S. Navy at the age of 36… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 16

U.S. Marines in Nicaragua, 1927-1932

Thursday, August 16, 2018 12:01 AM

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Marines on Patrol (USMC History Division)

The Second Nicaragua intervention of 1927-1932 marks a unique and very interesting chapter in Marine Corps history. Marines were dispatched to the Central American republic to support democracy by supervising a contentious presidential election and building an apolitical internal security force, the Guardia Nacional, that could take over from the Marines and police their own country. However, U.S. Marines soon found themselves deep in the jungles, manning lonely posts and on the trail chasing elusive rebels that refused to honor a political process they saw as being tampered with by meddlesome foreigners. Many innovations were developed and countless lessons were… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 7

Ticonderoga: The Almost-First Steam-Powered Warship

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 12:01 AM

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Commodore Thomas Macdonough (Gilbert Stuart-National Gallery of Art)

Demologos, later renamed Fulton after its creator Robert Fulton, was the first steam-powered vessel in the U.S. Navy in 1815. The unique floating battery almost did not receive that distinction. Only a matter of months earlier, Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough almost brought a steam-powered warship to the most decisive battle of the War of 1812. The United States and Great Britain had been at war since June 1812, and Napoleon’s defeat in April 1814 brought thousands of experienced soldiers to Canada. The war of 1812 began as a sideshow to the British government, but now had their military’s undivided attention…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 3

This Day in History – August 3rd, 2018

Friday, August 3, 2018 12:01 AM

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General Patton slaps soldier. Credit: Argunners

On this day in 1943, Lt. Gen. George S. Patton slapped a soldier hospitalized for psychoneurosis, accusing him of cowardice. The event almost ended Patton’s career.   General Patton, at the time was commander of the Seventh U.S. Army. He visited a military hospital in Sicily where he visited with wounded soldiers, asking them about their injuries. Patton then encountered a soldier who lacked visible signs of injury, he then inquired about the soldier’s health. The soldier was Private Charles Kuhl and only 18 years old. Patton questioned Kuhl why he was in the hospital and Kuhl replied, “Its my… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 4

Citizen Soldiers

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 12:01 AM

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Uncle Sam

It’s time to celebrate civilians and the contributions they made to the American war effort! 1. Clarissa “Clara” Harlowe Barton (Civil War) “I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” Clara Barton risked her life during the Civil War to bring aid and supplies to wounded soldiers. Initially, she collected and distributed supplies for the Union Army, but then decided to take a more active role. She began in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1862 serving as an independent nurse. She earned the name:… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 29

Pieces of the Past-Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 12:01 AM

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Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in uniform

Naval History magazine recently showcased a fascinating relic of the U.S. Navy in World War II—a relic with a celebrity vibe: the custom-made oaken case housing an array of medals from ten nations, all awarded to the classic Hollywood legend Douglas Fairbanks Jr. for his wartime service. He was one of those rare few stars who was more of a hero in real life than on the silver screen. The case and medals, now in the collection of the U.S. Naval Institute, served as an interesting photographic subject—interesting in its many angles and in its diverse content. Alas, due to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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