Jun 15

Lighthouses of Virginia

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 12:01 AM

By

Old Point Comfort

Anyone who has grown up or vacationed on a coast has visited and climbed a lighthouse. As a child, my family toured one, where we discovered my fear of heights. The Naval Institute has a unique photo collection of lighthouses, organized by state. To share this collection with the public, we will begin with the lighthouses of Virginia. In 1792 John McCombe Jr. built the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse from stone. It is the oldest lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay, and served the area for nearly a century before it was deemed unsafe and a new lighthouse was commissioned. The structure… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 14

Salty Talk: The Blazer

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 9:57 PM

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HMS Blazer by Eric Smith

Uniforms for naval officers-their cut, color, and adornments specified by regulation-began appearing in the 18th century. Ordinary crew members had to wait about another century before they were similarly provided for, although navies were making available clothing of a simple, common pattern well before that. In every ship, one boat provided a captain’s personal means of transport. It was called a gig. Over time, captains-especially successful or rich ones-took to decorating their gigs to suit their personal tastes and to make them unique (rather like people today customizing their cars). They also took to outfitting their gigs’ crews with special… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 10

Contrasting Battlecruisers

Friday, June 10, 2016 11:42 AM

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Joining the German High Seas Fleet in 1911, the battlecruiser MOLTKE featured a longitudinal bulkhead, 15 watertight compartments, and a double bottom. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

On 10 August 1904, at the Battle of the Yellow Sea during the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese discovered that the armaments of their armored cruisers were outranged by those of the Russian battleships. The Japanese response was swift. While the war still raged they laid down new armored cruisers armed with 12-inch guns. The first, the Tsukuba, carried the same armament as contemporary battleships, was two knots faster than them, but had belt armor two inches thinner than most battleships’. The Tsukuba could be regarded as the first battlecruiser. In March 1905 the U.S. Congress authorized the new “all-big-gun” Michigan-class… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 30

In Respect to Their Memory and Admiration of Their Valor

Monday, May 30, 2016 12:01 AM

By

Commdore David Porter

The ornate, allegorical Tripoli Monument is a memorial to six U.S. naval officers’ ultimate sacrifice during the Barbary War. On the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, sandwiched between Leahy Hall and Preble Hall, lies an unlikely looking military memorial. Its elaborate, asymmetrical appearance, however, belies its rich martial past. In fact, the white marble statuary is the United States’ oldest military monument, built to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of U.S. naval officers during the Barbary War against Tripoli and originally funded by their fellow officers. The monument was the idea of David Porter, who would rise to become a… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 27

A Letter From a Captain to His Son

Friday, May 27, 2016 12:01 AM

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Naval Institute photo archive

Today, 27 May 2016, the Class of 2016 will be graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. The Naval Institute shares the words of a commanding officer to his son on the occasion of his son’s graduation from the Naval Academy in June, 1955. As today’s graduates enter commissioned service, these words of sixty years ago ring true. To the Class of 2016, the Naval Institute extends heartfelt congratulations.

 
May 19

“Herman the German”

Thursday, May 19, 2016 1:32 PM

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USS YD-171 lifts another crane. . Naval Institute Photo Archive.

Engineers at the Terminal Island Naval Shipyard in Long Beach, California, had a problem on their hands: how does one reassemble one of the tallest and largest crane in the world? That was the situation in January, 1948 as the U.S. Navy worked to erect the gigantic, floating Schwimmkran Nr. 1, taken from Germany as war reparations at the end of World War II. The gigantic crane, “naturalized” after the war as USS YD-171, was one of four built by Demag A. G. in 1941 in Bremerhaven, Germany to lift U-Boats out of the water for repair and for other heavy-lifting tasks…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 12

On the Digital Frontier in Bosnia

Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:58 PM

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Airman First Class Michelle Leonard, 1st Combat Camera Squadron, Charleston, South Carolina, deployed to Sarajevo,  photographs the war-torn city with an early digital camera.

Working in an archive, one can sometimes make unexpected discoveries in the materials that have accumulated over the course of years. Hidden by the sheer volume of materials, or locked away in a forgotten drawer, we have heard over the years of spectacular discoveries like original compositions by Mozart, or important letters about Abraham Lincoln. And oftentimes these “discoveries” are hidden in plain sight, much like Edgar Allen Poe’s Purloined Letter. Sitting on a shelf in the Naval Institute’s Library is a remarkable set of digital images on CDs from the Bosnian War, produced by the Department of Defense’s Joint… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 9

Boo to the U.S. Navy for getting rid of USS Barry (DD-933) at the Washington Navy Yard

Monday, May 9, 2016 11:32 AM

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Barry as a display ship at the Washington Navy Yard in the 1980s.Naval Institute Photo Archive.

Chris Cavas, Naval Warfare Correspondent at Defense News, was right on target when he used the word “boo” in a tweet about the display ship Barry’s departure from the Washington Navy Yard on Saturday, 7 May 2016, with no plans for a replacement. Mr. Cavas is being polite, in my humble opinion. “Disgraceful” comes to my mind. A U.S. Navy Museum in the nation’s capital without a Navy ship is ridiculous and borders in the criminal. Can you imagine an Air Force Museum without airplanes or a U.S. Army museum without guns and tanks? Me neither. If anyone ever needed… Read the rest of this entry »