Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Jan 8

Telling Sea Stories

Friday, January 8, 2016 12:01 AM



I’ve learned some things about writing nonfiction since Adak, the Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot was published by the Naval Institute Press in 2003, the first of what have since become seven books from NIP about maritime history. The first thing I learned since then is that it takes me some 3,300 hours, or the better part of two years, to research and write a 300-page book. This means that the first person my budding story has to interest is me. The second is NIP’s acquisition editor, once Tom Cutler and now Gary Thompson. A second lesson learned is that I… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 7


Thursday, January 7, 2016 12:01 AM


The inside of the kit, showing its compact arrangement.

In the Pacific Campaign of World War II, Navy medicine was forced, to paraphrase author Jan K. Herman in his Battle Station Sick Bay, to practically reinvent itself. The Pacific islands were far from the paradises that many had read about in popular literature, ranging from atolls of jagged coral to perpetually wet, stinking equatorial jungles filled with deadly creatures and terrible tropical diseases — not even to mention the Japanese troops against whom the Marines, soldiers, and sailors were fighting. Navy corpsmen, accompanying the Marines, in particular faced a formidable task. Often on the front lines far from field… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 29


Tuesday, December 29, 2015 12:01 AM


Captain Winifred Quick Collins

While reading through Captain Collins Oral History, many stories stuck out to me. Her induction into the WAVES, becoming regular Navy, dealing with a Navy not prepared for women, but out of all those wonderful stories, the excerpt below is perhaps on the funniest I read. She explains to Paul Stillwell from USNI how she was introduced to Admiral Halsey while stationed in Hawaii during World War II.   A multimillionaire businessman from Denver gave the women officers a beautiful home at Kailua. It’s across the Pali from Pearl Harbor and right on the beach. It was a gorgeous place…. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 15

From Our Archives-On the Air!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 12:01 AM


RECORDING-James Bartley, UN2 9right) records a voice animation with J02 Charles Brown. Voice will be used as a “dubbed in” character portrayal in a new production.

“Aloha from the paradise of the Pacific–Hawaii–as we bring you another 15 minutes of lilting Hawaiian music and a story about the U.S. Navy.” Thus began each episode of “Across the Blue Pacific” a radio show broadcast from Pearl Harbor by the Pacific Fleet. The show consisted of a couple of songs and a 10-minute drama based on a historic Navy story. Many Hollywood stars—Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Lamour, Ralph Bellamy, Robert Cummings, and others— volunteered their voices for these stories. Below, from the USNI Archives, is a collection of photos from radio shows broadcast in 1960…. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 4

Impact of Japanese Source Materials on “No One Avoided Danger”: NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese Attacks of 7 December 1941

Friday, December 4, 2015 12:01 AM



Upon the publication of “No One Avoided Danger”: NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese Attacks of 7 December 1941, Naval Institute Press invited me to share some of the observations that my co-authors, Robert J. Cressman and John F. Di Virgilio, and I faced when we researched American and Japanese source materials for our book. This post is intended to illustrate the impact Japanese source materials had on the compilation of “No One Avoided Danger.” Nowhere are the difficulties of writing military history more apparent than in presenting the history of World War II in the Pacific using Japanese source… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 1

Old Ironsides

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 12:01 AM



In the U.S. Naval Institute’s archives I recently found a publicity brochure for Old Ironsides tucked away in a box. Premiering in 1926, the film dramatically conveys the story of the USS Constitution at the Battle of Tripoli. Filmed in magnascope, an early version of widescreen, it follows the adventures of a young man—known only as “the boy”—desperate to join the the Constitution‘s crew. Along the way he is shanghaied, finds love, and gets captured by pirates before ultimately joining the heavy frigate for the infamous battle at Tripoli. Enjoy the climatic battle scene here: Profits from the opening… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 27

Reminiscences of Captain Winifred Quick Collins

Friday, November 27, 2015 12:01 AM


Visit of Captain Winifred Quick Collins, Director of Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) (Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

Being the first in anything, especially the first woman, brings with it its own set of problems along with the prestige eventually given by history. Captain Winfred Quick Collins was not only one of the first WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II; she also was one of the first women commissioned in the regular Navy. Her primary duty during her service was finding a place for herself and the women who followed. Above all she worked to get women accepted. She retired in 1962 as Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Women after twenty years of service. Below are… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 17

From Our Archives-Tattletales

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 12:01 AM


Soviety Minsk 117 with Kiev 060 in background, from the deck of the USS South Carolina in the Mediterranean, Fall 1978

The United States Naval Institute has the largest private collection of sea service photographs in the world including some rare Cold War era images. A sizable number of photos of Soviet ships & submarines are within the collection. A sampling of images of Soviet vessels shadowing U.S. Navy ships are below. An example of a war fought without a front line.            

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