Oct 26

On the Edge

Monday, October 26, 2015 4:17 PM

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Pictured in 1940, the tender Holland and submarine Sargo (far right) were among the U.S. Navy vessels to reach Fremantle in March 1942.

  An adapted excerpt from the new Naval Institute Press book Fremantle’s Submarines: How Allied Submarines and Western Australians Helped to Win the War in the Pacific.   It was against this backdrop of fear and anticipation that the first American submarines arrived at Fremantle. By 10 March 1942, ten U.S. submarines had reached the port, each carrying crews with their own stories of near-disaster. Among the most demoralized was Lieutenant Commander Tyrell Dwight Jacobs, commander of the USS Sargo (SS-188). Shortly after he arrived at Fremantle on 5 March, Jacobs told a senior officer, “I’ve had it. I want… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 13

An Admiral’s Letters to His Son

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 2:15 PM

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Emery-F2-SO15

  By Vice Admiral George W. Emery, U.S. Navy (Retired) Admiral Hyman George Rickover, “the father of the nuclear Navy,” demanded stringent safety requirements and a powerful focus on quality standards. When once asked why, he responded: “I have a son. I love my son. I want everything that I do to be so safe that I would be happy to have my son operating it. That’s my fundamental rule.”1 Rickover lived up to those words, making a point to be personally on board during each nuclear-powered ship’s initial sea trials, and by his presence set his demanding stamp of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 7

The Attack on the USNS Card

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 4:00 AM

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USNS Card 1968

In the early morning hours of May 2nd, 1964, Captain Borge Langeland of the USNS Card (T-AKV-40) was supervising the loading of old helicopters aboard the converted auxiliary aircraft carrier for their return to the United States from the Port of Saigon. The Card had just unloaded her cargo of helicopters and fighter-bombers from Manila in the Philippines, and was now getting ready to sail again for the United States. It was all routine work. Capt. Langeland, a Norwegian by birth, was undoubtedly happy with routine. He had seen more than his share action as 2nd mate aboard the Norwegian… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 2

Graham E. Martin-In His Own Words

Friday, October 2, 2015 8:17 AM

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The Golden Thirteen

I often comment to friends and coworkers that the hardest part of writing for me is deciding what to write. Unlike most college students, I preferred it when professors chose the topic. After all, if a semester of research and writing will make a student hate a topic, why pick something you enjoy? After explaining the difficulty I was having in finding something different for my next blog post, a coworker suggested looking through the voluminous USNI collection of oral histories. Not wanting to choose the famous sailors that are often highlighted, I decided to see if there were any… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 1

The Destruction of the S.M.S. Cormoran and the First U.S. Shot Fired in the First World War

Thursday, October 1, 2015 4:00 AM

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Cormoran

As strange as it may seem, the very first shot fired by the United States in the First World War did not occur anywhere near the battlefields of Europe. Instead, as Commander Owen Bartlett, USN related in the following excerpts from his August, 1931 Proceedings article, the shot was made nearly half a world away in the harbor of Guam.   “The first violent hostile act of the war between the United States and Germany probably was the destruction of the S.M.S. Cormoran by her own commander in Apra Harbor, Guam. To those actively participating, the episode loomed large in interest,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 18

Monument of the Month: Granite, Old and New

Friday, September 18, 2015 6:00 AM

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Seal-Greenbuy.

The old NSS Annapolis, otherwise known as the Naval Communications Station Washington, D.C. Transmitter, at Greenbury Point on the Severn River to the West of Annapolis, is not a place where one might expect to begin a discussion on monuments. But sometimes the most curious and intriguing of things are found in overlooked and unexpected places. The three red-and-white radio towers on the wooded peninsula, once used to communicate with submerged submarines are the most prominent reminders of what was once a bustling and active radio transmitting facility. Though it is still a gunnery range and part of the NSA… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 16

Cruisers: Interwar Roles and Limitations

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 11:52 AM

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Friedman-F4-SO-15

An excerpt from “The Fleet’s Ambiguous, Versatile Warships,” by Norman Friedman, in the October issue of Naval History magazine With the end of World War I, U.S. naval policy turned from concentration on Europe to concentration on the Far East and Japan. Even so, supporters of continued U.S. naval construction exploited widespread anti-British feeling in the United States by suggesting there was a U.S.-British naval rivalry. This was despite the fact that the United States and Great Britain were given naval parity in the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty while the far more likely enemy, Japan, was given the short end… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 11

The VT Fuze: The Other Secret Weapon of World War II

Friday, September 11, 2015 9:16 AM

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USNI VT fuze.

As a young officer, then-Lieutenant Commander (later Admiral) W.H. P. Blandy, USN, had a keen interest in gunnery. Writing for Proceedings in 1920 (“Director Fire a Century Ago”) and 1925 (“Possible Improvements in our Gunnery Training”), LCDR Blandy understood well the history of fire control and what could be done to improve its effectiveness. Ever forward-thinking, Blandy noted elsewhere in 1925 of what a remarkable device a fuze that would detonate based on its proximity to the target would be. The key would be to find a way to trigger the shell to that its fragmentation pattern would be effective,… Read the rest of this entry »