Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Aug 2

Frogmen

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 12:20 PM

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Frogmen

My dad wanted to be a Frogman when he grew up. Seeing how I thought his ambition growing up was to be Superman, I was puzzled. Then my dad explained. During the late 1950s and early ’60s, when I was 5 to 9 years old, there was a TV show called Sea Hunt, starring Lloyd Bridges. The main character was a scuba diver (and I think a former Navy frogman/member of an underwater demolition team (UDT)). Most of the action took place underwater.  It was one of my favorite shows. I liked it so much, I “played” Sea Hunt in… 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 »

 
Nov 29

The Hudson River Chain

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:27 PM

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Tom Martin (My Dad) 1971

  We sometimes forget our parents were not born adults. They were children and teenagers first, who did silly things. When it comes to my dad, Tom Martin, the man who must follow the arrows in a parking lot, it is hard to imagine him pulling a prank, especially during his U.S. Coast Guard Academy years. Each year at the Coast Guard Academy, the fourth-class (freshman) cadets pull pranks the night before the first home football game. So during my dad’s fourth-class year in 1971, he and some classmates set their sights high. The Coast Guard Academy is home to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 20

A Gun to Counter the Dive Bomber

Monday, June 20, 2016 12:01 AM

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A gun crew practices on a quadruple 1.1-inch mount at Dam Neck Training Center Virginia. Note the large, cumbersome magazines. (National Archives)

The quadruple 1.1-inch machine cannon, affectionately known as the “Chicago Piano,” was the first medium-range antiaircraft gun adopted by the U.S. Navy.1 Engineered and built by the Naval Gun Factory during the Great Depression, it was designed specifically to combat dive bombers. The four-barreled weapon fired a one-pound explosive shell that was fused to explode on contact with the thin doped fabric that covered the wings of the era’s biplanes. The resulting shrapnel would tear through the wing, causing loss of control. The need to provide the Fleet with a new antiaircraft gun became evident in the late 1920s in… 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 8

H.H. Jalbert

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 12:01 AM

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Donations by David M. Jalbert

One of the perks of being a photo researcher is getting to interact with professionals at museums and news agencies around the world. To find inspiration for my blog posts, I scour the USNI Archives for forgotten photo albums or unusual images. In January I discovered an album belonging to H. H. Jalbert of the Naval Air Station in Queenstown, Ireland, during World War I. It appeared to be missing three photos, which had been kept by the donor D. M. Jalbert—a family member, perhaps? Later that month, I found a collection of photos of the Naval Oil Reserve in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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 »

 
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 »

 
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