Apr 11

Out of the Jaws of Victory

Monday, April 11, 2016 12:01 AM

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Highly decorated for his role in gaining victory over the Japanese at Midway, Captain Miles Browning was defeated by his most implacable enemy--himself. (National Archives)

Like a character in classical tragedy, blessed by the gods with nearly every advantage, Miles Browning also possessed fatal flaws that ultimately brought him down. Endowed with striking looks, high intelligence, slide-rule brain, useful marital connections, exceptional flying ability and the patronage of America’s favorite admiral, Browning seemed perfectly poised to achieve high command as aviation emerged at the cutting edge of naval warfare. And yet, not until his retirement was it deemed safe to raise Browning to flag rank. Historian Samuel E. Morison, who knew him, called Browning “one of the most irascible officers ever to earn a fourth… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 8

Survey Results: What is The Greatest Warship of All Time?

Friday, April 8, 2016 12:01 AM

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USS Constitution is shown in a 1931 photograph shortly after her recommissioning in July of that year after an extensive restoration. Naval Institute Photo Archive.

This is cross-posted from USNI News. USNI News asked its readers, “What is the greatest warship of all time and why?” Though what makes a warship great is highly subjective, our readers offered their education and expertise to put forth their ideas as to what the answer to that question should be. And with nearly 900 reader-generated answers and more than 26,000 votes, the results are in.

 
Apr 7

Mine Over Matter

Thursday, April 7, 2016 12:01 AM

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On the evening of 14 April 1988, Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) was steaming though the Persian Gulf when her forward lookout spotted several ominous spherical canisters with floating on the surface: sea mines! Though the crew managed to stop the ship in time to avoid the ones they saw — it was one that was not spotted lurking just below the surface with which guided-missile frigate collided. 253 pounds of TNT detonated, blowing a huge hole in Roberts’ hull, flooding several compartments, and sending several sailors to the hospital. The mines were identified as being put down by the previous… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 4

100 Years of U.S. Coast Guard Aviation

Monday, April 4, 2016 10:22 AM

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In honor of the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Coast Guard Aviation, we present its history through photos. Lieutenant Elmer Stone arrives at the Naval Aviation School at Pensacola on 1 April, an event the service recognizes as the birth of Coast Guard aviation. Stone piloted the Navy flying boat NC-4 on the first successful airborne crossing of the Atlantic. The Coast Guard used the Chance Vought UO-4 to help catch rumrunners during Prohibition. The service also used the Loening OL-5 to enforce Prohibition along the coast. The Aviation Flying Life Boat PJ-1 specifically was designed for the Coast Guard to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 25

Salty Talk: “Turning a Blind Eye”

Friday, March 25, 2016 12:01 AM

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"Turning a blind eye." Naval Institute Archives.

It is a rare occasion when the appearance of a word or phrase in a language can be dated with precision, but such is the case with one, which originated nearly 200 years ago. By the end of the 18th Century, one of England’s main sources of naval stores – mast timbers, pitch, hemp – were the Baltic states. With the resumption of war between Napoleonic France and England following the Peace of Amiens, the French dictator gained control of Denmark and, thereby, one side of the narrow Danish Straits, gateway to the Baltic. Endangering the future of her first line… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 24

The Russian Intervention of 1918-1919

Thursday, March 24, 2016 12:01 AM

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Marines from the USS Brooklyn (ACR-3) are put ashore as part of the Intervention, ca. 1918. Naval Institute Photo Archive.

Though the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps have had a long history of interventions in other countries, none perhaps has made such a long-lasting impact on world history as that which followed the Russian Revolution in 1917. In the following excerpts from his 1969 Proceedings article “Our Russian War of 1918-1919,” Rear Admiral Kemp Tolley (1908-2000) discusses the causes and events of the war that “soured U. S.-Soviet relations for almost a generation” and beyond. Fighting and dying in the swamps and forests were Russian patriots, both Red and White, Americans, French, British, Serbians, Italians and Finns. There were many threads… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 22

Life as a Dependent

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:01 AM

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“I say ‘we’ because don’t tell me wives don’t have [duty], too.”—Mary Smith, wife of Commander Roy Campbell Smith Jr., U.S. Navy

Our men and women in uniform are not the only ones who serve their country; the spouses and families of each service member do so as well. John Mason Jr., the former director of the U.S. Naval Institute’s oral history program, interviewed Frances Smalley Mitscher and Mary Taylor Alger Smith to get their side of Navy life in first half of the 20th century. Mary Smith grew up on the U.S. Naval Academy grounds, where she met her future husband, Roy Campbell Smith Jr., who was a midshipman. They married on 1 August 1912 when he was an ensign. Over… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 17

Remember the MAINE

Thursday, March 17, 2016 3:38 PM

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LWF Feb 08

Apprentice First Class Ambrose Ham was signal boy of the watch when the USS MAINE arrived at the Spanish-owned island of Cuba on 25 January 1898. Tensions were high in the battleship as she slowly steamed into Havana Harbor, and though Ham remembered that “every-thing looked peaceful,” he heard another sailor tell two friends, “We’ll never get out of here alive.” Cuban revolutionaries had long been trying to overthrow their Spanish masters, and the MAINE had been sent to protect American citizens then in Havana. Because of the high state of tension, the crew was not allowed to go ashore,… Read the rest of this entry »