Archive for the 'Cold War' Category

Apr 7

Forty-Two

Sunday, April 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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April 7th, 2009 was the 20th anniversary of the sinking of K-278 Komsomolets, a Project 685 or in NATO-speak “Mike” class submarine. Forty-two souls were lost on that date in 1989. On the 20th anniversary, I travelled up from Moscow by train to St. Petersburg to represent the U.S. Navy at the ceremonies to honor those who died as well as those who survived. A service was first held at Nikolsky Cathedral, better known as the Sailor’s Cathedral, where the echoes of the singing and chants swung back and forth from the Orthodox priests to the choir and back again…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 2

Covert Rescues at the Bay of Pigs

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 12:01 AM

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William T. Smoot

  William T. Smoot, an officer on board the escort destroyer USS Eaton (DDE-510), watched firsthand the covert support provided to the Cuban rebels during the abortive attempt to invade Fidel Castro’s Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. He saw the landing craft and the invasion site, and listened to voice radio transmissions. On one occasion, Smoot’s destroyer came under fire while in the Bay of Pigs. In this excerpt, Smoot describes being sent ashore to in a motor whaleboat to rescue rebels in the middle of the night.     To read more about the Naval Institute Oral… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 14

ASW Rise and Fall

Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:01 AM

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The submarine is an elusive creature. Designed to operate mostly alone, and stealthily, it has become a factor far out of proportion to its size in the battle at sea. Fighting the submarine requires a well thought out strategy, supported by carefully coordinated tactics, carried out sequentially, to implement such strategy. The slightest tactical omission can result in lost ships. The Submarine Threat in World War I During WWI, U-Boats severely threatened the Allied War effort. Waiting, submerged and silent, at choke points along Allied logistics routes, submarines quickly became a severe danger. To combat submarines, ad hoc measures: nets,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 14

CAC-7: Skeet for the Fleet

Thursday, February 14, 2019 12:01 AM

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I am only 20 years old and the Soviets are going to shoot me down? That is NOT what I had in mind when our crew took off this morning! Like all good sea stories, this one too starts with a ‘there we were’ moment. But before the story starts, a bit of background and setup information first: Date: September 1989. Location: Sigonella (Catania Province), Sicily Purpose: VP-24 (Batmen) Deployment from home base in Jacksonville, Florida Aircraft: P-3C (Baseline models) VP-24 deployed to Sicily in July 1989 while the Cold War was raging (though waning, but nobody on our side… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 26

Alfa Foxtrot 586: Reunion with the Russian Fishing Trawler Captain Who Saved Them

Friday, October 26, 2018 12:01 AM

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Forty years ago, at 14:30 on 26 October 1978, a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion aircraft was forced to ditch at sea west of the Aleutian Islands in the north Pacific. The mission—Alfa Foxtrot 586—was a Cold War antisubmarine warfare patrol off the Kamchatka Peninsula. A propeller overspeed problem cascaded into a series of emergencies that forced the pilots to ditch the aircraft in heavy seas. Of the 15-man crew, 13 survived the ditching, but only 10 endured the frigid ordeal of nearly 20 hours in life rafts in the frigid open ocean. They were rescued by a Soviet fishing trawler,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 5

9 Fascinating Navy Aircraft You Didn’t Know Existed

Thursday, July 5, 2018 12:01 AM

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In 2018, over a century after the United States utilized military aircraft in combat for the first time, Naval Aviation constitutes an invaluable instrument of expeditious fire and fury during times of war. Advanced fighter and reconnaissance aircraft allow the U.S. Navy to see farther, shoot faster, and fight fiercer than its adversaries over both sea and land. However, the U.S. Navy did not arrive at its current state of aeronautical eminence without a great deal of trial and error. Along the way, the United States developed a number of aircraft that appear bizarre, improbable, or downright impractical. The most fascinating of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 19

Side Glances at Operation Crossroads

Thursday, April 19, 2018 5:21 PM

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One of the benefits of digitized archives are the ability to call up pieces of the past that are physically apart from each other and see them all together in context. This ability to make connections can often lead to interesting glances not shown in context together before. Scattered throughout the Naval Institute’s roughly half-million photographic subject files are many that deal with Operation Crossroads in 1946. These famous nuclear tests, whose iconic images of mushroom clouds exploding out of an over the Pacific Ocean would cement the awesome destructive power of nuclear weapons in the minds of the world… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 28

The Marine Corps Goes Geodesic

Thursday, January 28, 2016 12:01 AM

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By the time R. Buckminster Fuller received his patent in June 1954 for a “geodesic, hemispherical structure for enclosing space,” he had already formed a mutually beneficial relationship with a very important client for his new designs: the U.S. Marine Corps. His patent [.pdf]—the geodesic dome—was an ingenious use of engineering to produce a complex yet strong structure out of easy-to-assemble parts. The dome, with a framework of simple materials such as aluminum alloy or paperboard, could be easily erected with little advance training. And most important, it could be done quickly. The Korean War and the importance of mobility… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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