Archive for the 'People' Category

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 »

 
Nov 22

Old but Still Going Strong: The Oldest Navy Assets Still in Use

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 4:53 PM

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USS Constitution underway in 2012

The U.S. Navy has always been an innovator. It pioneered the Global Positioning System, developed nuclear propulsion, and deployed the first operational laser weapon. The recently commissioned USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is brimming with bleeding-edge technology. Its stealth design, Integrated Power System, and long-range gun firing capabilities make it the most sophisticated ship in the world. Likewise, the lead ship in the new carrier class USS Gerald R Ford (CVN-78) features many technological advances including an electromagnetic aircraft launch system. However, the Department of the Navy is not always in a rush to phase out and replace assets that continue to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 19

Admiral Kimmel and the Attack

Friday, May 19, 2017 2:59 PM

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Pacific Fleet Commander-in-Chief Admiral Husband Kimmel (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

  Beginning in December 2016, I began writing a series of monthly (approximately) “H-Grams” that go to all active-duty and retired Navy flag officers, and the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, with the expectation that they would be disseminated further to fleet Sailors, and with the acceptance that they would make their way “into the wild.” I did this with the approval of the Chief of Naval Operations and Director, Navy Staff to support the Navy’s “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority” which includes a sub-task to “Know Our History.” My intent is to write them in a way… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 11

Out of the Jaws of Victory

Monday, April 11, 2016 12:01 AM

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Highly decorated for his role in gaining victory over the Japanese at Midway, Captain Miles Browning was defeated by his most implacable enemy--himself. (National Archives)

Like a character in classical tragedy, blessed by the gods with nearly every advantage, Miles Browning also possessed fatal flaws that ultimately brought him down. Endowed with striking looks, high intelligence, slide-rule brain, useful marital connections, exceptional flying ability and the patronage of America’s favorite admiral, Browning seemed perfectly poised to achieve high command as aviation emerged at the cutting edge of naval warfare. And yet, not until his retirement was it deemed safe to raise Browning to flag rank. Historian Samuel E. Morison, who knew him, called Browning “one of the most irascible officers ever to earn a fourth… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 22

Life as a Dependent

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:01 AM

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“I say ‘we’ because don’t tell me wives don’t have [duty], too.”—Mary Smith, wife of Commander Roy Campbell Smith Jr., U.S. Navy

Our men and women in uniform are not the only ones who serve their country; the spouses and families of each service member do so as well. John Mason Jr., the former director of the U.S. Naval Institute’s oral history program, interviewed Frances Smalley Mitscher and Mary Taylor Alger Smith to get their side of Navy life in first half of the 20th century. Mary Smith grew up on the U.S. Naval Academy grounds, where she met her future husband, Roy Campbell Smith Jr., who was a midshipman. They married on 1 August 1912 when he was an ensign. Over… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 1

On Naval History’s Scope

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 12:01 AM

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Cover-March-16

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 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 »

 
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