I appreciate the opportunity in my new role as President to update you on some of the events and activities that the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF) participated in during this past year. I look forward to serving our members and working with you to promote our mission to preserve, commemorate and provide education about U.S. Naval history. We greatly appreciate the support we receive from you and other members of our diverse community, which is crucial to our continuing to provide needed recognition of the importance of the Navy’s history and heritage.
To great excitement, the NHF has continued the establishment of the Cold War Gallery of the National Museum of the United States Navy as a preferred venue for major Navy history events. At our Annual Meeting in June, the NHF opened a new exhibit in the Cold War Gallery covering a naval engagement during the Vietnam War. The exhibit “Into the Lion’s Den,” recreates a riveting real-life account of a successful raid into Haiphong Harbor in 1972, led by former NHF Chairman, Admiral James L. Holloway III (then Commander Seventh Fleet), aboard cruiser USS Newport News. The Gallery officially opened to the public on October 9th as part of this year’s Navy birthday celebration. We are working actively with the leadership of the Naval History and Heritage Command to assure that the NHF’s Cold War Gallery efforts are consistent with their plans for the current National Museum of the U.S. Navy and possible new museum facilities.
The Foundation’s STEM-H education program continues to flourish under the leadership of staff Education Coordinator, Capt. John Paulson, USN (Ret.), who conducted two teacher Fellowship programs at the Navy Museum during July and August. Ten teachers from across the U.S. were provided onsite training in submarine systems, surface ship weapons and naval aviation. The teachers produced dozens of new lesson plans and thirty activities related to the Cold War Gallery exhibits for middle and high school students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and History. These lesson plans add relevance to the students’ curriculum and help them to prepare for college and careers in these critical areas. Our plans for 2013 are to work with the Navy to expand the successful prototype STEM-H program and offer it to other naval museums across the U.S.
The Naval Historical Foundation is actively engaged in celebrating key events in naval history. In March, the Foundation co-sponsored Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’s kick-off reception for Navy’s three-year commemoration of the Bicentennial of The War of 1812. NHF leaders Adm. Bruce DeMars, Vice Adm. Robert F. Dunn, and Board member Dr. Jack London presented the Secretary with a specially struck NHF silver medal modeled on the Navy’s official War of 1812 bicentennial logo. In October, the Foundation co-sponsored the Navy Birthday Celebration, highlighting the U.S. Navy’s 237th anniversary. This successful event was attended by 750 guests and featured Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and former Secretary of the Navy Paul Ignatius as speakers.
These activities are only a few of our efforts to expand the utilization of the Cold War Gallery as we continue to develop the Gallery itself in accordance with the long-term plan. We are increasing our attention to support other naval-inspired museums outside of our primary location in Washington, DC by coordinating these efforts with the Naval History and Heritage Command. Our longstanding activities to facilitate the acquisition and display of important artifacts, documents and materials continue to be nationally recognized and bring us closer to our members and the families of all those with lives are forever linked with the Navy’s. The many past, present and upcoming commemoration and recognition events are a major focus and our actions have been recognized by senior Navy leadership and the naval historical community.
Again, I want to thank you for continuing to support our proud tradition of honoring our Navy’s history of service to our great nation. We couldn’t do it without you.
John T. Mitchell,
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.)