Dec 1

Old Ironsides

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 12:01 AM

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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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90TeKcgBuHk Profits from the opening… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 26

The First Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 26, 2015 12:01 AM

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SMN Richard H. Hershberger (left) of Conton, Ohio, eats Thanksgiving dinner with Boatswain's Mate First Class Joseph E. Keating (rightt) of Quincy, Massachusetts, aboard the USS Boston on November 24, 1955. USNI Archives.

By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 19

The Measure of the Sierra Madre

Thursday, November 19, 2015 12:01 AM

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An undated photo of the amphibious BRP Sierra Madre the Philippines have used as an outpost in the South China Sea.

On the 9th of May, 1997, the Philippine Navy’s dilapidated tank landing ship BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) ran aground on a reef near the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. She was stranded — but good — and it was certain the ship could not be removed under her own power. Six days later, two Chinese frigates are said to have steamed into the area, and to have trained their guns on the stranded hulk. It was alleged that no assistance was offered by the Chinese ships. But supposing they had, their assistance would neither have been desired nor… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 17

From Our Archives-Tattletales

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 12:01 AM

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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.            

 
Nov 16

The Ubiquitous 5-inch/38

Monday, November 16, 2015 12:01 AM

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A 5-inch/38-caliber gun in a twin mount on board the USS New Jersey (BB-62) fires on a North Korean target in 1951. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

Designed to fulfill the needs of battleships as well as destroyers, the 5-inch/38-caliber dual-purpose gun became one of World War II’s best regarded and most versatile naval weapons. It was the conflict’s iconic U.S. destroyer gun as well as the Navy’s workhorse on board capital ships, cruisers, and auxiliaries. Many more 5-inch/38s were made than any other World War II medium-caliber naval gun. In the 1920s, the Navy used different guns to deal with aircraft and with surface targets. U.S. battleships and some destroyers were armed with high-velocity 5-inch/51s (the second number refers the length of the barrel in multiples… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 12

Monument of the Month: The Phantom (II) of the Naval Academy

Thursday, November 12, 2015 12:01 AM

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On 28 June 1967 Commander (later Vice Admiral) William P. “Bill” Lawrence was the flying the lead plane of the flight of 36 aircraft from VF-143 of the USS Constellation. Theirs was an attack mission on transshipment points in the city of Nam Dinh in North Vietnam. His F-4B Phantom II was part of group of 8 F-4s flying as flak suppressors for the other aircraft. As he he streaked in at over 500 knots, Lawrence remembered thinking “Boy, I won’t have to sweat the missiles today, because we’ll be outside the missile zone.” As he was rolling on target,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 9

‘It Still Takes My Breath Away’

Monday, November 9, 2015 12:01 AM

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"During the war, my dad was working in southwestern South Dakota at an ordnance depot on an Army base that held a garrison of Italian prisoners of war. The Army was testing ammunition out on the prairie and storing it there. Those are my earliest memories of the military," recalled Tom Brokaw, pictured in 1944. (Courtesy of Tom Brokaw)

An Interview with Tom Brokaw     Scheduled to deliver the Third Annual Haydn Williams World War II Memorial Legacy Lecture on 10 November at the National Defense University in Washington is Tom Brokaw—certainly no stranger to the U.S. Naval Institute and Naval History magazine. Since joining NBC News in 1966, he has won every major award in broadcast journalism. The former anchor and managing editor of The NBC Nightly News met in Washington with then-Naval History Editor Fred Schultz about how and why he came to write his well-known book The Greatest Generation. Naval History: Since you’ve had no… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 3

President Roosevelt’s Gone Fishin’

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 12:01 AM

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Map charting the course from San Diego, California, to Pensacola, Florida

In the summer of 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt came aboard the USS Houston (CA-30) for a fishing trip. He and his party, which included scientists from the Smithsonian Institute, boarded the cruiser on 17 July in San Diego. The scientists were invited to collect specimens from Central and South America while the President fished. The ship sailed south for the Galapagos Islands, and stopped along the way in Mexico and several islands. Before arriving at the final destination on 24 July, the Houston crossed the equator, which involved the traditional line-crossing celebration. After leaving the Galapagos, the ship turned… Read the rest of this entry »