Archive for the 'Ships' Category

Dec 11

Angels of the Oriskany – August Moon Rescue

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 12:01 AM

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Helicopter approaches the August Moon (Courtesy of the Author)

“If you went to Hong Kong, you went right by the Pratas Reef, where I crashed the H-2 trying to rescue some Chinese crewmen from an ore carrier, the August Moon, that had run aground in a typhoon.” I sent my father’s cousin Dale Barck a postcard during a port call to Hong Kong in 1997, and this was the unexpected reply I received. Dale was a great correspondent, sending me letters filled with sea stories from his days in the Navy, including the fateful events of his deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) in 1966. Dale Barck… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 4

Innovation In Difficult Times

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 12:01 AM

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Japanese Bombard Wanping ca. 1937

In 1868, the Meiji Restoration in Japan began a fundamental shift in Japan’s conception of its place in the world.[i] This shift was catalyzed by the “gunboat diplomacy” of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, who demonstrated the power of the U.S. Navy to secure expanded trading rights between the United States and Japan.[ii] The Meiji Restoration was characterized by an effort to modernize and globalize Japan economically and militarily in order to ensure that Japan would not be subjugated by a foreign power.[iii] Shimazu Nariakira, a powerful feudal lord during the period, stated that “if we take the initiative, we can… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 16

Scuttlebutt: Thanksgiving 1943

Friday, November 16, 2018 12:09 PM

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USS Hermitage: Scuttlebutt's Thanksgiving edition - 1943

The Naval Institute Archive was recently the recipient of a lucky find by Bill Foley of Boston who came upon some USS Hermitage (AP-54) papers left behind in an attic of a house that a friend of his purchased. Among those papers was a stack of “Scuttlebutt” newspapers, which kept the crew up to date on news around the world and included lighter pieces that were presented in an entertaining way. “Scutttlebutt” was published daily, and I’m sure it was appreciated much as our modern day sailors enjoy digital content to connect them to the world beyond their ship at sea.

 
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 23

The WEST-PAC Cruise From Hell

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 12:01 AM

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Fire on the USS Ranger on 2 November 1983 (Courtesy of Carlos C. Castellanos via NavSource)

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy on my 17th birthday. Within four months I finished basic training, graduated from data processing school and reported aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61), an aircraft carrier home ported out of San Diego, California. The ship was scheduled to deploy on a Western Pacific cruise (WEST-PAC). The “itinerary” included 12 fantastic port calls. It was so impressive that one would have thought that I was stationed aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, instead of an aircraft carrier. On the fateful day of 15 July 1983, it was time for the ship to depart. The ship… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 16

ACTION REPORT: HMAS Australia off Luzon

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:38 AM

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The heavy cruiser HMAS Australia in late August 1942. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

In October 1944 near the Philippine island of Leyte, Japan unleashed a powerful, unforeseen weapon against enemy warships—the kamikaze. During the next few months, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, received more than her share of attention from the deadly suicide planes. According to Australian sources, the cruiser became the first Allied ship hit by a kamikaze when on 21 October a D3A “Val” bomber struck her foremast, killing 7 officers—including her commanding officer—and 23 sailors. (Other sources deny the attack was a preplanned suicide attack.) That was just a taste of what was in store for the Australia during the January 1945 operation… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 25

There are Bears in the Archive!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 8:03 AM

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Machinist Mate turned bear keeper feeds his new charge.

During the course of a day working in the USNI Photo Archive, a digital archivist can make their way through a lot of photographs. And I mean a lot of photographs. After a while, they can all just seem to blend together, becoming some strange amalgamation of a battle scene, an aircraft, and a naval vessel in the mind’s eye. That’s why it’s always a treat when a photograph comes along that breaks through the cycle, and brings you something new, or fun, or exciting. Takes this photograph here: Cool, right? Who wouldn’t be drawn in by this photo? Renewed… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 28

A Sailor’s Best Friend: Dogs in the Military

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 11:17 AM

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Mascot Card for U.S. Navy Mascot Apache

While working on the U.S. Naval Institute’s photo digitization project, I happened upon a folder of photographs filled with something that always brings joy to my heart: Dogs! It may be a few days after the official National Dog Day, but for dog lover’s, every day is for the dogs, and I thought I’d use today to share some history on dogs in the military. We know that dogs have been keeping us company since before 10,000 BCE. By becoming our companions, dogs also became our allies against our enemies, whether they be the animals early man hunted, or men… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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