Steady Nerves and Stout Hearts on Veterans Day

CV-6 Veterans Richard Dunbar (L) and Bill Norberg (R) viewing the Enterprise Collection

CV-6 Veterans Richard Dunbar (L) and Bill Norberg (R) viewing the Enterprise Collection

By Cmdr Jason Grower, USN
Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014

Every now and again, we have an opportunity to reflect for a moment on the heritage of those who have gone before us.  Veterans Day is one such opportunity.  The day originally known as “Armistice Day,” was a celebration of the end of “The Great War,” and it is now celebrated as a day to honor all of America’s veterans.  But last weekend another such opportunity presented itself that you may not have heard of: on 1 November, the town of River Vale, New Jersey, honored the veterans of USS Enterprise (CV-6) by the dedication of an exhibit of artifacts from the famous World War II flat top.  Many questions enter the mind … “River Vale?  Where is River Vale?” and perhaps most importantly, “Why River Vale?” All great questions, but first, a brief digression:

The USS Enterprise is legendary.  All 8 of them — there has always been an Enterprise in the United States Navy.  For that matter, there was an Enterprise even before there was a United States of America, dating to May of 1775 when a ragtag band of Sailors captured a British 70-ton sloop of war and gave her the now-famous moniker.  Subsequent US Navy ships to bear the name Enterprise included a schooner; several sailing vessels; a motorboat; the World War II aircraft carrier (the first to bear the title of “The Big E”); the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, CVN-65; and eventually, the third Gerald Ford-class aircraft carrier, CVN-80, which will enter service in the 2020s.

A USS Enterprise (CVN-65) Chief Petty Officer greets Enterprise shipmates at the dedication

A USS Enterprise (CVN-65) Chief Petty Officer greets Enterprise shipmates at the dedication

Which brings us back to the tiny town of River Vale, NJ.

In the drawdown following World War II, the US Navy was rapidly decommissioning ships, and not even CV-6 was spared from the cutter’s torch in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York.  The man charged with recycling the Big E was River Vale resident, Henry Hoffman, a German immigrant who knew that the ship he was about to disassemble earned twenty battle stars and distinction as the most decorated ship of World War II.  He may not have known it, but it would not have surprised Hoffman that Enterprise Sailors loved their ship — she had taken them to war, and delivered them safely home.  So attached were they that Enterprise’s Sailors sometimes even got into fights with Sailors from USS Essex (CV 9) while on liberty over whose ship could claim the title “Big E.”  Enterprise won that argument.

CV-6 Stern Plate

CV-6 Stern Plate

This was the ship Henry Hoffman was charged to dispose of, but he understood her importance.

So, he dutifully disassembled Enterprise, save for one priceless artifact, her stern plate.  He brought it to his sleepy home town of River Vale, NJ, where, to this day, it is on display in Veterans Park, a constant reminder of her legacy for all to see.  This town is now forever linked with the Enterprise legacy.

Veteran Willard "Bill" Norberg admires River Vale's display honoring the USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6)
Veteran Willard “Bill” Norberg admires River Vale’s display honoring the USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6)

Working with the Enterprise (CV-6) Association, the River Vale Free Public Library raised enough money to construct the River Vale Free Public Library’s Enterprise Collection, donated by her veterans, to honor CV-6 and her Sailors.  It includes a Sailor’s uniform, ship’s bell, and a 12×18′ flag which flew over the Big E, among other treasures.  The dedication occurred on 1 November, and as an Enterprise veteran, I made the trek from Washington, DC, to River Vale for the ceremony.   The day included speeches by luminaries from far and wide: from local town councilmen, to state representatives and Congressmen, and a US Navy Admiral – all came to pay tribute to the Big E.

Perhaps the most important luminaries, however, were several generations of Sailors, old and young, who had (and still have) the honor of calling themselves an “Enterprise Sailor.”   Three veterans of CV-6 (including one who served on Enterprise from the first day of World War II until the last) attended, several retired CVAN/CVN-65 Sailors attended (including men who survived the tragic fire on her flight deck in 1969), and several current CVN-65 Sailors even attended.  In that room were Enterprise veterans from almost every decade of the 20th century, and all of the 21st – collectively they represented almost one hundred years of Enterprise history, and even though most had never met each other until that day, they shared a common bond:  The Big E.

Thanks are most certainly due to the town of River Vale, New Jersey, and in particular, the library’s director, Ms. Ann McCarthy, for keeping the legacy of Enterprise alive.  It is her personal dedication, River Vale’s support, and the patriotism of these amazing Americans that today and every day, we fulfill the mandate President Eisenhower declared in 1954 when he proclaimed the Veterans Day holiday:

“…let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

Rear Admiral Kelvin Dixon addresses those gathered to celebrate the legacy of ENTERPRISE

Rear Admiral Kelvin Dixon addresses those gathered to celebrate the legacy of ENTERPRISE

CDR Jason Grower is a Naval Historical Foundation Member who works as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at OPNAV (N00Z).

All photos © Bonnie Grower

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BOOK REVIEW – Cold War Command: The Dramatic Story of a Nuclear Submariner

cold war commandCaptain Dan Conley RN (Ret.) OBE and Captain Richard Woodman, Merchant Navy, (Ret), Seaforth Publishing, Inc., Barnsley, England (2014)

Reviewed by Rear Admiral William J. Holland, Jr. USN (Ret.)

The authors use Conley in the third person as the vehicle to critically review the actions and internal workings of the Royal Navy and its Submarine Service between the end of World War II and the end of the Cold War. Conley’s tendency to document happenings of a general nature distracts rather than informs the reader. The insight into the events and circumstances in which Conley was a participant make the narrative alive and exceedingly valuable to professional mariners, submariners and maritime military managers.

Conley served in four diesel submarines, commanding HMS Otter. He served on three nuclear submarines, commanding HMS Courageous and HMS Valiant. He was also on the staff of U.S. Submarine Development Squadron Twelve and graduated from the US Naval War College. He served twice on the Royal Navy’s Tactical Development commands and led the Royal Navy equivalent of the INSURV Board for acceptance of new ships. In the Ministry of Defense, he was responsible for nuclear weapons targeting. This broad breadth provides a wide scope to describe Royal Navy equipment, organizations and policies from the late 1960s until the end of the Cold War. Much is viewed unfavorably. The authors accuse the Royal Navy of being stuck in its past with outdated and obsolete equipment, senior officers unable to progress and civilian overseers and supporting workers ignorant and slothful. In particular, the failure to develop suitable torpedoes, Conley’s specialty, serves as an underlying theme throughout the book. References to “design defects” on weapons and submarines but not further identified may frustrate other submariners though these do not detract from the worth to the regular reader.

The book is replete with remarkable descriptions in colorful British colloquialisms and typical understatement, e.g. “…an unexpected underwater collision is a very alarming experience to those involved.” The excellent descriptions of basic submarine design and operation are enlarged with characterizations of the hazards and discomforts inherent in battery driven submarines. Except for the induction through the bridge access hatch, his descriptions of the “O” and “P” boats could easily be applied to Guppys and even Barbels. The authors’ clear descriptions of problems common to submarining are informative for both neophytes and serious readers of the genre. The description of surfaced operations on the bridge cockpit in heavy weather northwest of Great Britain will bring a shiver to anyone who has had the experience – not one to be sought or savored. Descriptions of machinery malfunctions in Conley’s three commands are harrowing. Their repeated and continued existence do not reflect U.S. Navy’s practices and perhaps reflect a lack of maintenance activity below the shipyard.

Conley’s early service in a surface warship and four conventionally powered submarines serve as a memorial to another time. Hijinks and alcohol were characteristics of the crews of both navies. By 1967, the advent of nuclear power and its technical requirements brought change. “The new Submarine Service was moving away from being a peripheral, semi-piratical organization, regarded by the rest of the Fleet with a mixture of envy and affectionate scorn for its disregard for the full panoply of naval protocols.” Assignment to HMS Swiftsure, a nuclear submarine, in 1973 brought him into the new Submarine Service: “There was an end to the old buccaneering way of doing things and – symptomatic of this – the era of ‘pirate’ rig at sea had ended and the culture of heavy drinking when alongside was over.”

Conley had three commands, an old conventional submarine and two nuclear submarines. He describes these operations with enthusiasm and élan. In the early eighties, he served as the Royal Navy representative on the Staff of the Submarine Development Squadron in New London, CT. From this vantage, he observed the differences in the practices of the two submarine forces. American officers will be interested (and pleased) with his comparisons.

Because the Royal Navy’s practice was to groom one submarine for Barents Sea reconnaissance missions, Conley had no experience in performing such missions. However, the RN’s operating areas included the transit routes for Soviet submarines based in the Northern Sea Fleet en route to and from the Western Atlantic and Mediterranean. In 1984 when the Soviet Navy was at its peak of operations out of area, Conley’s ship, HMS Valiant, intercepted and trailed three different Victors and an Echo in addition to detecting a Yankee SSBN on one operation of two weeks duration. On his next underway, he detected nine different Soviet submarines, trailing seven over a three-week period. His descriptions of these operations underplay the difficulty of such encounters.

Conley’s critical observations of mismanagement in what most Western sailors consider the second best submarine force may be startling to some readers but they provide warnings about paying attention to details often ignored in the upper tiers of management, For that reason, the book is well worth reading by anyone concerned with management and procurement of technically advanced maritime equipment. The first reaction of active officers and their civilian supporters to Conley’s criticisms should be to ask themselves, “Are we guilty of this?”

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Admiral Holland’s active service was primarily in submarines. He is a Director of the Naval Historical Foundation. 

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BOOK REVIEW – Sunk in Kula Gulf: The Final Voyage of USS Helena and the Incredible Story of Her Survivors in World War II

sunk in kula gulfBy John J. Domagalski, Potomac Books, Washington, DC (2012)
Reviewed by John Grady

The greatest strength of John Domagalski’s Sunk in Kula Gulf lies in the interviews he conducted with survivors of the cruiser Helena’s sinking after it was torpedoed early 6 July 1943. While I found the first few chapters’ routine, the story picks up speed and humanity from Chapter 7 on. The remaining chapters details exactly what happened to the 1,200-man crew.

The survivors ended up in three distinct groups after the “Abandon ship” order was given. Two destroyers picked up the first and largest group of more than 700 men as the fight with the Japanese in the Solomon Islands roared on. One of the sailors, Robert Howe, remembered thinking that the treatment he received aboard Nicholas was the same as what Helena’s crew did for survivors of Wasp; dressing their wounds, setting broken bones, and salving their burns. Officers of the cramped Radford knew that they needed to move survivors to the deepest parts of the ship as the destroyer moved quickly back into the fight with its 5-inch guns firing.

The second group of 88 sailors and officers tried to stay together in three lifeboats. They made it safely to a nearby island waiting and to be picked up the next day. The third group, clinging to whatever they could to stay alive, was pushed by strong currents away from the sinking vessel. They were adrift under a tropical sun for days, covered in oil. Jim Layton’s hope for a rescue ship faded with each hour. “I don’t remember anyone else displaying a lot of fear,” he said. “Maybe we more or less accepted what was happening.” The survivors were drifting closer and closer to the Japanese-held island Vella Lavella.

The Japanese indigenous peoples were not the only people on the island when the Americans came ashore at scattered locations. There were also missionaries and Australian and New Zealand coast watchers monitoring what the Japanese were doing both ashore and afloat. Tension built as the Allies rounded up the survivors on the shore and hurried the Americans to safety into three secure hideouts. They also had to dispose of the tell-tale rafts that littered the shore.

Domagalski does a fine job detailing how these men lived for the next eight days and also how they were rescued. It is a gripping reading and the “incredible story” that the subtitle promises.

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Grady is a volunteer with the NHF’s oral history program.

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BOOK REVIEW – We’ll All Die As Marines: One Marine’s Journey from Private to Colonel

Well All Die as MarinesBy Colonel Jim Bathurst USMC (Ret), IUniverse, (2012)
Reviewed by Curt Marsh, Col USMCR (Ret)

This is a very engaging autobiography of one Marine’s career worth reading by fellow Marines as well as anyone interested in recent Marine Corps history. The book covers the period from his enlistment in 1958 after dropping out of High School through 1993 when he retired with the rank of Colonel. But this is more than a short history of the Marine Corps. Bathurst’s intended to share his experiences in learning the value of leadership and the rewards of being a leader of Marines. Although some of his methods of leadership were unique to leading Marines, the importance of quality leadership to the success of an organization applies to any group or business. He points out some of the great leaders he worked with and for while also identifying several examples of poor leadership and their adverse impact. He also suggests that the demands of providing good leadership may come with both personal and professional challenges.

Bathurst entered the Marines as a troubled High School dropout who learned to thrive under the quality leadership of his NCOs. Throughout the rest of his career, he focused on developing and empowering NCO leadership as the key to organizational success. His career followed a unique path that provides insight into some specialized organizations in the Corps. His early experience as a junior Marine at Marine Barracks, Yokosuka, Japan was a turning point for him in learning discipline and the rewards of applying himself to being the best he could be. His involvement as a Drill Instructor (DI) and his experiences with recruits at Parris Island and later at Officer Candidate School in Quantico provided a unique perspective for anyone who has gone through either program.

During his service in Vietnam, he started as a Sergeant. He was quickly moved up to positions of leadership in his infantry unit, often serving as the Platoon Commander, an officer’s billet. His stories from Vietnam are alone worth reading. He was later promoted to Staff Sergeant and was nominated for promotion to both Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) and 2nd Lieutenant (2nd Lt).

His meritorious promotion to GySgt came through just as he reported to the Washington Marine Barracks at 8th & I. He soon learned that his promotion to 2ndLt was also approved, so he ended up taking over the Special Ceremonial Platoon, which included the Silent Drill Team, body bearer section and the color guard section. Seeing the “inside” of 8th & I is revealing to those who haven’t served there, and he includes some interesting stories of guarding Camp David for President Johnson. The 8th & I became his own personal Basic School in learning to be an Officer of Marines through the leadership of the other officers there.

During a joint training assignment at Fort Bragg, he was grateful for the special mentorship of an Army officer who ensured he started his college education. He served in numerous infantry officer positions, including Battalion and Regimental Command. One unique assignment was as the OIC of a Marine Barracks that was having difficulties. He was able to turn it around to be recognized as the Outstanding Marine Barracks of the Year. He also commanded the Recruit Station in Chicago, a very different type of command focused on “selling” the Marine Corps.

He dealt with a variety of leadership challenges with each of his assignments. “Sometimes you have to force a Marine to be successful,” he said. The other quote used for the title of the book actually came from his Recruiting Command Sergeant Major, “We’ll all die as Marines,” which alludes to the Marine custom of, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

He mentioned the outstanding leaders he worked with. He noted some weak leaders who mostly go unnamed. Toward the end of his career, he was in charge of Landing Force Training Command, Atlantic (LFTCLant) and led the introduction of riverine craft in the Marine Corps. His final position was as CO of the School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune. During this period, he faced both political and personal opposition from some other senior officers for often petty and unprofessional issues. He doesn’t hesitate to identify them by name, which is somewhat exceptional for a book of this nature.

This book was interesting for me. This autobiography is slightly odd in that he never mentions his family life other than his parents and brother until the end. Only then does he reveal the cost of his style of leadership that resulted in two divorces and three marriages. The book does not have footnotes or references, though it does have a nice Appendix and Glossary of Marine Corps terminology and abbreviations. Overall, a worthwhile read.

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Curt Marsh is a retired Marine Corps Colonel and Naval Aviator.

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BOOK REVIEW – Fallujah Redux: The Anbar Awakening and the Struggle with Al Qaeda

Fallujah ReduxBy Daniel R. Green and William F. Mullen III, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2014)
Reviewed by Craig Whiteside

Events this past summer in Iraq have been disappointing to those observers who felt that Iraq was on the road to a brighter future. This is particularly true after the tremendous investments made by the United States in blood and treasure over the years. There are many competing theories as to why things turned around in 2007. These include a “surge” of troops, the courting of Sunni tribes, and even a de facto segregation of religious sects that resulted from two years of ethnic cleansing. Many of these theories lack is a detailed reporting of exactly how the United States and its Iraqi allies were able to significantly reduce violence in such a short period of time. Fallujah Redux, a new book by Daniel Green and William Mullen, fills this void with a unique perspective on how their Marine unit accomplished such a feat in the crucial city of Fallujah in the troubled spring of 2007.

Green, a naval officer assigned as a tribal and leadership engagement officer attached to a nearby Special Operations Command unit, and Mullen, a Marine Corps battalion commander, take turns in an innovative and seamless back and forth that mirrors how security and governance tasks are intertwined in the counterinsurgency fight. The authors build a backstory of the recent history of Fallujah from a tribal and security perspective. This allows the reader to begin with them on their journey once they hit the ground in the greater Fallujah area. This background is thoughtful and avoids the pitfalls that often accompany “I was there” tales. We are able to follow the events of the two carefully interwoven perspectives once the authors’ firsthand experiences begin in Fallujah.

Fallujah Redux takes readers through their assessment of the area and the important events in Anbar that reverberated all the way back to the White House. The Sunni tribes that rebelled against the Al Qaeda affiliate (then known as the Islamic State of Iraq) did not do so out of any love of the United States. Both the tribes and members of the security forces had reservations about the Americans, but chose to turn on the Islamic State because of insurgent groups’ brutality and desire to dominate the social and economic ways of the tribes of Anbar. The authors describe how they invested time and patience into building relationships and trust with partners from the community in a variety of ways. In the end, they were able to show how important this was to their success.

There are some valuable lessons here for readers to learn about warfare in the contemporary setting. It is obvious that the leaders of this unit, like many others operating in the theater by 2007, have experienced leaders who “got it.” Mullen comments how other leaders don’t seem to understand the need to dominate the entire spectrum of warfare. He justifies this philosophy, observing that “we will be ordered to do whatever the nation needs done,” and therefore cannot pick and choose the type of missions military units want or like to do (p. 126). This book is in many ways a convincing extension of that argument.

One way the unit was able to scratch out progress compared to previous units was its ability to find viable partners in the form of the Mayor, Chief of Police, and local Army commanders. By late 2006, anyone who volunteered for these positions on the Iraqi side were usually dedicated patriots who were willing to do a job that could very quickly get them killed. Mullen and Green found properly vetted partners they could work with and who, once empowered, could take the reins and move toward independent operations. Developing the mindset and competencies for fighting a counterinsurgency and finding the right partners both take a great deal of time. This need for time should serve as a cautionary tale for those who seek quick solutions that capitalize on “shock and awe.” Effective solutions on the ground need time to develop.

The best takeaway from this book is the demonstration of what is truly the genius of our Armed Forces – flexible, adaptive leaders in action. Green and Mullen use contingency funds creatively to enhance the security of their partners effectively. They experimented with techniques like prisoner release ceremonies, the use of tribal auxiliaries to the police, increased reliance on tribal sheiks in local politics, and establishing jointly manned security stations. Some of these ideas came from Ramadi, where the Awakening movement took solid root. Others came from professional reading like Galula’s Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice and his Pacification in Algeria. Neither Green nor Mullen had strict marching orders to do what they did. They had leaders who gave guidance and end states and then got out of the way. The results were much greater than could have been imagined just six months previously.

In light of the current state of events in Iraq, my only wish is that the authors gave us a better picture of what happened after they left Fallujah. Like many military professionals, there is a perception that once the surge was done and violence fell, the job was complete. Any backsliding of the security situation must be the fault of politicians, particularly local Iraqi ones. Yet it was the military situation in Iraq that fell first. After a brief pause, the Islamic State began prosecuting a horrific campaign against the local governments, police, and tribal forces in Fallujah, Mosul, Diyala, and North Babil. War is not a sporting event that ends after a finite period. Our collective lack of curiosity as to what happened in Iraq after our units retreated out of the population areas of Iraq is responsible for our feeling of surprise at the recent collapse of Iraqi security in large areas of Sunni Iraq. I thought the authors could have paid more attention to this area. One other small correction: takfiri does not literally mean apostate (p. 62), it refers to an ideology where one claims the right to conclude another Muslim is an apostate, and therefore able to be killed. Many Iraqis called Al Qaeda in Iraq/Islamic State of Iraq members “takfiris,” because they killed otherwise observant Muslims either because they were affiliated with the government or not a Sunni.

This is a great work that fills a much needed gap in explaining why the surge was successful in reducing violence in Iraq from 2006-2008. Fallujah Redux tells a story our Armed Forces should be proud of for the hard-fought accomplishments in a very difficult situation, and it should help the reader understand some of the complexities facing today’s military. One hopes that many of the lessons of this book will be incorporated by our policy makers and military leaders so that we can end this cycle of deployments to a troubled but very important country to our security.


Craig Whiteside is an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College, Monterey and teaches Theater Security Decision Making. He is an Army veteran of the Iraq war.

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BOOK REVIEW – Deadly PT Boat Patrols, A History: Task Group 50.1 New Guinea 1942-43

1512_001By Allan L. Lawrence, Self-Published with assistance from the Ellington Printery, Ellington, CT (2014)
Reviewed by Nathan D. Wells

The strategic impact that the U.S. Navy exercised during the Second World War, especially in the Pacific Theater of Operations, is well known. The combination of aircraft carrier battle groups and amphibious task forces proved a war-winning combination. The U.S. Navy was also involved in other, smaller endeavors such as Patrol-Torpedo (PT) Boat operations. PT boats were used in both the Pacific and European theaters, they fought a much more close-quarters type of war than their larger contemporaries. As they were constructed out of wood, their service was in many ways a return to the days of “wooden ships and iron men.” Usually associated with the service of future President John F. Kennedy, or the TV series McHale’s Navy, they provided yeoman service in often brutal fighting at point blank range. Allan Lawrence Jr.’s father and namesake served on one such PT Boat, and this volume serves as a chronicle of both the unit as a whole and the senior Lawrence. The project began by tracking his father’s personal sidearm; which gives insight into the close proximity of the fighting, as well as a personal relationship to the narrative.

Allan Lawrence, Sr. had an adventurous career at sea well before he set foot on a PT Boat. Like many during the Great Depression, he sought work where he could. In 1934, he signed on with the Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Company. For the remainder of that decade, he crisscrossed the globe on multiple ships. One of these ships ironically took part in the rescue operation for a sinking Japanese fishing vessel. In 1940, he joined the Naval Reserve militia and saw service on patrol craft and a destroyer in waters that would soon be favorite hunting grounds for German U-Boats. With the opening of hostilities, Lawrence transferred to the Motor Torpedo Squadron Base and Training Center (MTSBTC) at Melville, RI. Around the same time, the Pacific Theater was being divided into two operational theaters: the Central Pacific Area under Admiral Chester Nimitz and the Southwest Pacific Area under General Douglas MacArthur.

While the SWPA contained hundreds of miles of coastline and many islands, there were no major naval units initially assigned to it. The first naval force stationed in the area was Naval Division Seventeen, and in particular Task Force 50.1, a PT Boat force. As the author’s father would soon find out, operating as a semi-autonomous naval force under army jurisdiction made an already complicated zone of operation that much more difficult. The issue of maintenance facilities and spare parts for the hard-riding PT Boats was a constant source of tension. While nominally assigned at least eight boats, the squadron was often down to two or three crafts. They once had no boats serviceable for action!

While the SWPA was under Army command, it was also an international affair. General MacArthur’s headquarters were in Australia. That nation contributed mightily to the effort in the theater. One of the criticisms that MacArthur has come under fire for is how he often downplayed the vital role that Australian forces had in securing victory. Much the same could be said of those Marines and sailors in the SWPA. The main role for Task Force 50.1 was to interdict Japanese reinforcements arriving in the battle area via barge. The boats quickly replaced half of their torpedoes with additional heavy machine guns and set to work.

Along with destroying the landing craft, Task Force 50.1 crews were tasked with the unsettling job of liquidating any Japanese in the water within a mile from shore. Most Japanese at this stage in the war were unwilling to surrender, so all PT Boat crewmen were issued a sidearm. The US Navy had actually contracted Colt to produce 1,591 M1911 automatic pistols for PT Boat crews. The author’s father brought his issued sidearm back to the United States. The boats usually operated at night because the Japanese often had air superiority initially. The dark would help mask the direction that they were approaching from. They were mostly used for lightening hit-and-run attacks. They also helped serve a “mopping-up” function in one well-known battle. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea (March 2-4, 1943) is best known as a sort of payback for Pearl Harbor. Aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) attacked a large Japanese convoy carrying troops to Lae, New Guinea; causing heavy damage. This was the case during daylight hours; but once the sunset, the area became a PT Boat hunting ground. The crews referred to the battle simply as “That Lae Convoy Job.”[i]

Allan Lawrence Sr. was eventually medically evacuated from the area as a result of the effects of malaria. He was later assigned to the MTSBTC Melville fire department, quickly appointed as chief. He later became Chief Fire Inspector and Captain of the Newport Naval Base Fire Department, eventually serving as a police officer in Tiverton, RI. His son followed a similar path, serving in both the Hartford and Ellington, CT fire departments.

This is a fine book overall. The major criticism that I have is that additional detailed maps would have been helpful. My grandfather served in PT Boat squadrons during the war, which strengthened my interest in naval history. It is understandable why the younger Lawrence sought to research his father’s service. I recommend the volume to anyone interested in PT Boats, or the U.S. Navy’s “smaller” role in the Second World War.

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Nathan D. Wells is an adjunct instructor of History at Quincy College in Quincy, MA.

[i] Allan L. Lawrence, Deadly PT Boat Patrols, A History: Task Group 50.1 New Guinea 1942-43. (Self-Published with assistance from the Ellington Printery, Ellington, CT, 2014.) p. 192.

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BOOK REVIEW – Silent Strength: Remembering the Men of Genius and Adventure Lost in the World’s Worst Submarine Disaster

Silent StrengthBy D. Allen Kerr, Jetty House, Portsmouth, NH (2014)
Reviewed by Greg Stitz

Silent Strength: Remembering the Men of Genius and Adventure Lost in the World’s Worst Submarine Disaster can best be summed up using the title of one of its own chapters – “One Disaster, 129 Stories.” Silent Strength is the story of USS Thresher (SSN 593) and her loss on 10 April 1963. It also is the story of some of the 129 men lost aboard Thresher that day, as well as the story of their parents, siblings, wives and children, and the impact of their sudden passing on their families and the wider community. As the book noted, “almost everyone knew someone touched by the tragedy.”

The book is a compilation of articles published in 2013 during the 50th anniversary of Thresher‘s loss. The articles were published by the Seacoast Online and the Portsmouth (NH) Herald. The book represents a great opportunity to present these stories again, hopefully to a wider audience.

Silent Strength does a great job of interspersing the stories of Thresher‘s officers and crew with other aspects of the disaster, including Thresher‘s World War II namesake, the attempts to locate Thresher‘s wreckage, and even the impact Thresher‘s loss had on submarine design and maintenance.

Although short (124 pages), Silent Strength is notable as a companion to the other works about the disaster which are generally more focused on the technological side of the accident. Silent Strength especially complements the Navy’s official memorial book published in 1964. As the author notes, “Unfortunately, it would take an entire series of volumes to appropriately recognize each Thresher hero.”

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Greg Stitz works at the Maritime Administration in Washington, DC.

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BOOK REVIEW – Fire On The Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific

Fire on the WaterBy Robert Haddick, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2014)
Reviewed by Nathan Albright

This book is one of several (including the essay collection Rebalancing U.S. Forces) books published this year by the Naval Institute Press that encourages a greater awareness, interest, and focus on the serious strategic problems China presents to the security and well being of the United States and its treaty and informal partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Fire on the Water provides the extended argument for a coherent strategy in dealing with the rise of China. The author seeks to deter Chinese aggression against the United States or its allies through strength while providing incentives for China to cooperate in peaceful global trade. This in turn provides heavy potential costs if they choose to behave aggressively in pursuing territorial claims against Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, and other neighbors through its “sliced salami” policy.

Fire On the Water is systematically organized and thorough. The author shows the hallmarks of a strategic thinker aware of the gravity of the task at hand. He is concerned to make the strongest possible case for a solution to a serious problem requiring massive effort and considerable change. Readers will see how strategic reasoning is used a full rhetorical appeal to commit a realistic view of a serious threat, as well as the plan of combat it.

Despite the effort, Fire On The Water has some major difficulties. Specifically, problems arise in regard to the change in thought and behavior on the part of the American populace and political/military leadership and their behavior towards China and our allies in the Asia-Pacific region. Haddick argues that China will be a military threat in the moderate term by the end of the decade, in some respects to scare people into taking action. These are actions that he wishes others to take. They also include inspiring Americans to maintain the political will to stay involved with the Asia-Pacific region, encouraging the military to increase the development of cheap and autonomous long-range missiles, long-range bombers and reconnaissance craft, and sharing military capabilities to help increase the strength of our allies in the area to resist China’s threat. These are extremely challenging tasks, even with the best rhetoric.

Another hurdle Haddick faces is his own advice. Even if it represents a plausible case for preserving peace and security for the United States, he cuts against a lot of tendencies in both the United States and beyond. For example, his strategy would require the United States to change its focus on expensive, multi-purposed ships and planes with short-range tactical strength to long-range capabilities. Additionally, it would require the abrogation or renegotiation of a treaty with Russia nearly twenty years ago. It would also require the American people to be willing to spend “blood and treasure” on defending small reefs and islands in the South China Sea. It would also take the people from nations like the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea to actually believe that the United States will support them in defending their legitimate claims without giving them a blank check to start a war with China or another nation.

Readers with an interest in military or business strategy and are open to blunt and provocative rhetoric will appreciate this book. The author is deeply knowledgeable about American and Chinese military strategy and capabilities, domestic and foreign politics, trade and business concerns. He has a definite agenda that he advocates with considerable skill and passion. Fire On The Water should provoke thought and discussion about China and its strategy, with reflections on the similarity between 1914 Europe and East and Southeast Asia today. These sobering thoughts should at least awaken people to the potential dangers. They also warrant the need to think and act effectively in order to preserve peace and well being through involvement and wise diplomatic and military strategies.

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Nathan Albright lives in Portland, Oregon, and has also lived in Thailand.

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BOOK REVIEW – MacArthur and Halsey’s “Pacific Island Hoppers”: The Forgotten Fleet of World War II

MacArthur and HalseyBy David D. Bruhn, Heritage Books, Inc., Berwyn Heights, MD (2014)
Reviewed By Christopher B. Havern

Through well-executed strikes by its land and naval forces, the Japanese Empire conquered vast stretches of Southeast Asia, the Southwest Pacific, and the Central Pacific in the six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the process they built an extensive defensive perimeter. If Japan were to be defeated, that perimeter would have to be reduced through an arduous amphibious campaign. While the exploits of the marines and soldiers who landed on the hostile shores are generally well-known, the amphibious vessels and craft which put them ashore are less so. Even more unknown is the story of those unheralded vessels that transported the vital supplies that logistically sustained these landings that defeated Japan. David D. Bruhn’s book MacArthur and Halsey’s “Pacific Island Hoppers”: The Forgotten Fleet of World War II fills that gap in our understanding of the Pacific War.

A U.S. Navy veteran of twenty-four years, Bruhn seemingly specializes in writing histories of lesser known and certainly under-appreciated classes of ships. In this particular volume he recounts the service of those supply vessels that plied the waters of the Southwest Pacific. It began with the “Catboat Flotilla” which MacArthur gathered upon his arrival in Australia from the Philippines. This ad hoc force of US-flagged, but Australian-manned emergency acquisitions, was eventually replaced by the Small Coastal Transports (APc), Freight Supply Ships (FS), Large Tugs (LT), Small Tugs (ST), Harbor Tugs (TP), and Coastal Tankers (Y) built once the fully mobilized US could construct them. It was these vessels which helped feed the effort that resulted in the US and its allies driving the Japanese back from the apogee of their success. Whereas in the summer of 1942 the Japanese threatened the supply-lines to Australia, three years later the Japanese were desperately fighting on Okinawa at the very doorstep of the Japanese Home Islands. It was these “Island Hoppers” that supported the multiple landings of the largely unknown campaign which liberated New Guinea and helped break the Bismarcks Barrier. Their support enabled MacArthur to return to the Philippines and the Allies to retake oil-rich Borneo. Along the way, many of the vessels earned battle stars in conventional engagements with Japanese aircraft, ships, and troops. As the war dragged on they were even subject to suicide attacks from the Japanese special air and naval squadrons.

The strength of the book is Bruhn’s recounting of the island hopping campaign and these logistics ships support of it. In order to tell their story he clearly conducted a good amount of primary research, citing war diaries, ship’s logbooks, etc. In doing so he helps to fill a gap in our knowledge regarding the conduct of the war in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Another strength of the book is the appendices which not only provide statistical data for each of the vessels in the different classes that saw service in World War II, but also acknowledgment of personal awards and those won by these vessels in subsequent conflicts. That having been said, Bruhn’s book is not without its issues. Foremost among these is the maps. While it is appreciated that the author attempted to include maps of the islands around which these operations were conducted, many of these are illegible. As such, they are of limited utility and detract from the book’s quality. Another problem is the editing. In multiple locations there are errors of grammar, agreement, or awkward sentence structure that might have been corrected with better editing. Also, there was a number of instances where there were jarring factual errors. The foremost of these is Bruhn’s mention of the Japanese having lost three, not four, aircraft carriers at the Battle of Midway (page 19). Lastly, in a volume in which the author clearly conducted primary research, it is a little disheartening that he also cites Wikipedia articles in his notes.

While Bruhn’s intent to educate the reader on these less well-known, but vital vessels and their service in World War II should be lauded as the contribution to the narrative of the Pacific War that it is, the book would have benefitted from better maps and a bit more editing. These, however, are not fatal flaws. In the event of a second printing, these shortcomings, it is hoped, would be corrected.

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Christopher B. Havern is with the USCG Historian’s Office in Washington, DC.

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BOOK REVIEW – Axis Midget Submarines: 1939 – 1945

Axis Midget SubmarinesBy Mark Stille and Jamie Prenatt, Osprey Press, Great Britain (2014)
Reviewed by James H. McClelland Sr.         

Senior Defense Department analyst Jamie E. Prenatt collaborated with retired Navy Commander and frequent Osprey author Mark E. Stille to research and write Axis Midget Submarines. Prenatt, who has taught military history, war gaming, and historical miniature painting at the Smithsonian Institution, provided his expertise on German and Italian submarines. Stille, an Imperial Japanese Navy expert, covered the Japanese midget boats.

Although small in size, this book provides a great deal of information concerning the development design and use of these small but effective weapons of war and the brave men who sailed in them. The well-researched information, photographs and drawings, and beautiful full-color artwork by Illustrator Paul Wright, a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists, helps bring the book alive.

The authors provide an overview of midget submarines, the mysterious, little known, and often tragically effective naval weapon. Axis Midget Submarines is broken down into three chapters: Italy, Germany and Japan with each chapter packed full of information concerning the development, wartime service, and the men who fought in these machines. Each chapter begins with the history and doctrine of the nation’s midget submarine programs. Chapters then progress effortlessly into development and designs. The final half of each section covers each nation’s midget submarines wartime service spanning the Japanese in the Pacific, the German war effort in the North Atlantic, and the Italian efforts centered in the Mediterranean.

There are differences in the design, use, and environments in which they were deployed. When it comes to the men who fought, however, they were the same. Each man who entered their boat did so knowing it might be the last time. They were strong and brave, true to the spirit of their country. This book brings out this spirit of adventure. By the end of the book, you will understand each boat and the kind of men who operated them. This is an exceptional book that makes one hunger for more information.

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World War I Centennial Symposium: The Thirst is Real

Visible evidence of "the thirst" in Dr. Dickinson's presentation (NHF Photo/Released)

Visible evidence of “the thirst” in Dr. Dickinson’s presentation (NHF Photo/Released)

By Matthew Eng

“History never repeats itself. Sometimes, it rhymes”
– Dr. Sean McMeekin

A packed crowd huddled into the MacArthur Memorial Theater in Norfolk, VA yesterday to listen to several well-known authors and historians speak on various topics surrounding the First World War. The Memorial graciously hosted the World War I Centennial Symposium (2014-2018) in partnership with Old Dominion University, the MacArthur Memorial Foundation, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, and Southern Bank. The Naval Historical Foundation also partnered in the event at a private function held for the Conference speakers on the 13th of November. As an official conference partner, I was delighted to go back to my old stomping grounds in downtown Norfolk to see old friends and colleagues and learn more about the Great War. Adding to the event’s own celebrity status, C-Span was on hand to televise each of the speakers throughout the two-day event.

Coming into the day, I had two simple questions that I hoped would be answered. For any student of history and memory, they are generally the ONLY questions you want to hear:

1. What do we remember about the war?
2. What do we WANT to remember?

My own knowledge of World War I is rather limited. As an American navalist, there are a select few instances where the United States Navy clearly shines within the grand war historiography. For others like myself, the United States Navy wins a grand victory against Spain in 1898 and skips directly to the Washington Conference in 1921-1922. There simply isn’t much to talk about in between. With that in mind, I kept an open attitude to the presentations and dove in headfirst.

DSC_5980After a few presentations, I realized that I could answer my own questions. What do we remember about the war? We remember only those simple facts that help us frame a timeline of events. For me, that was easiest. Although this can go for any war or series of events, it seems more likely with World War I. We know there was an assassination, then alliances and conflict. This ultimately leads to a stalemate that lasts until 1918. In between, there is death. Unless you are a specialist on the subject, such grand synthesis of those facts seems impossible. It is simpler to use that “skeletal” model of the war to get to the Paris Peace Accords. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200 dollars. Thankfully, each of the four speakers today took those simple concepts and gave it a body to work with.

I wanted to remember more about the war itself. Any aspect. Every aspect. It was not about the navies alone anymore. As the day progressed, my own thoughts about the war grew both conflicted and complicated. The simple war that began with tangled alliances slowly became a complicated web of political misgivings and shortcomings, military strategy, and bitter, unprovoked rivalries.

Serious and thoughtful conversation occurred. The audience was as good at asking questions as the presenters were answering them. It was wonderful and refreshing for a long-time historical conference attendee. If anything, I silently wished this type of discourse would “break the Internet” with its might of wisdom. But alas, the Internet stayed intact, celebrity debutantes still have the spotlight, and World War I remains on the chopping block. History is indeed the well we come to draw from in our time of need. We were all thirsty today. Thankfully, the four presenters offered plenty of historical knowledge and insight to quench each attendee’s thirst.

Catrine Clay, A Royal Countdown to War

Catrine Clay, A Royal Countdown to War

Noted author and BBC producer Catrine Clay gave a wonderful talk about the complicated relationship between the three royal cousins (Russia, Germany, England), arguing how that peculiar dynamic “led to the labyrinth of the First World War.” Ms. Clay admitted that her subject was but “a small strand in an incredibly large story.” That being said, her presentation gave rich detail into the lives of the three rulers, particularly Czar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.

Dr. Holger Herwig, The Battle of the Marne 1914: One Hundred Years Later

Dr. Holger Herwig, The Battle of the Marne 1914: One Hundred Years Later

It was almost as if she knew each of them personally. Ms. Clay went in depth into their personal lives and their reasons behind WHY they did what they did once war seemed imminent in 1914. If anything, her subject matter would make for a compelling Hollywood drama. Given her background, there is a strong possibility!

Dr. Holger Herwig’s presentation on the Battle of the Marne was deeply compelling and fact-filled. Dr. Herwig argued that the Marne was the “most decisive battle of the war.” His discussion centered around the horrific beginnings to the war and the realizations and pitfalls of Germany’s Schlieffen Plan. For Herwig, the Marne set about the military and political precedent for the middle of the twentieth century. “Without the Marne,” he said, “there would be no Hitler.” Perhaps he is right.

Dr. Sean McMeekin treated us with a well-rounded and compelling discussion on the origins of the war itself. Lecturing attendees with full attention, McMeekin argued that the war itself was an “avoidable catastrophe.” Using the simple recall of facts and incidences (again going back to the skeleton argument), he builds his body around the inevitability of war between countries like Greece and the Ottoman Empire, not England and Germany. He thankfully mentioned the tripartite naval race in the Mediterranean between Greece, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire, and how that itself helped shape the gravity of conflict in Sarajevo on a warm summer morning in 1914. Unfortunately, through a laundry list of circumstances, the “political striptease” between the great nations ultimately ended in total mobilization.

Dr. Sean McMeekin, The War of 1914: An Avoidable Catastrophe

Dr. Sean McMeekin, The War of 1914: An Avoidable Catastrophe

The last speaker, Dr. Frederick Dickinson, discussed the role of Japan in the First World War and the early twentieth century world stage. His goal was to answer the question: “Why should we be worried about Asia at this conference?” Thankfully, he answered in kind. Likening the conflict in the Balkans with the Ottoman Empire to China in Asia, Dickinson masterfully followed the story behind the meteoric rise of Imperial Japan from nineteenth century agrarian hamlet to twentieth century industrial powerhouse and global threat. His talk was a careful reminder that the First World War was a WORLD WAR, not just a European conflict.

Dr. Frederick Dickinson, The Great War as World War: Japanese Belligerence and the Dawn of an Asia/Pacific World

Dr. Frederick Dickinson, The Great War as World War: Japanese Belligerence and the Dawn of an Asia/Pacific World

My brain swam with new facts and information when I left the building. How to process it all?

Had my opinions on the war changed or stayed the same? This was, after all, a highly publicized conference with some of the world’s foremost authorities on the war. With so much information projected to attendees (and so little involving the United States Navy), I struggled to find a happy medium for a conclusive answer. For inspiration, I put on Beethoven’s String Quarter No. 14 (C Sharp Minor), by far the saddest and most heartbreaking of all classical compositions, and began to think. If anything, the sad and eerie strum of violins would put me in a mood to contemplate the war itself.

Trench warfare. Sweeping land offensives with mass casualties. Political rivalries. The U.S. Navy? How does it all fit? Could it fit?

Then it came to me. Henry Reuterdahl.

In 1917, American import artist Henry Reuterdahl began painting a series of propaganda posters to support the U.S. war effort. One of his more famous pieces was 1917’s “All Together – Enlist in the Navy.” In the painting, sailors are happily standing in line as allies. Representatives from Japan, France, United States, Britain, Russia, and Italy are sharing a camaraderie and esprit de corps only long-held friends would share. Politically, it is a rousing call for Allied intervention against the Central Powers. Of course, Henry Reuterdahl would have no recollection of the political chess match that occurred in the early part of the century which ultimately led those countries to bond together as allies. Thankfully for us, hindsight has a going rate of 20/20.

All Together! Enlist in the Navy, By Henry Reuterdahl

All Together! Enlist in the Navy, By Henry Reuterdahl

Looking at the painting, I am struck by its diversity and message. Each of the authors would have something different to say about the image.

After listening to Dr. McMeekin, I began to ponder if it all could have been avoided? That answer becomes even harder to answer when placed in context to Catrine Clay’s presentation on the tenuous and ultimately tragic relationship between the three royal cousins. Would that wonderful work of art above even be necessary in a world where Dr. McMeekin is right? Dr. Dickinson’s lecture gives the inclusion of Japan in the image a very new and interesting meaning. Why is their position small and in the background? What about the love affair between Russia and England? Should they be the ones clasping arms in the middle of the painting? Are they smiling because they are sailors, far removed from the hell witnessed at battles like the Marne? I began to thirst for more answers again, even if it could be found in a nearly century old painting.

Tomorrow is the second day of the conference. I plan to bring a glass of water.

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Stakeholders of Naval History: Veterans Day 2014

navyneedsWhat forces a man or woman to enlist in the Navy? What compels them to accept a commission as a naval officer? Where does that kind of dedication come from? When the sounds of gunfire can be heard on the horizon, why do they selflessly march towards it and meet it head on?

Many of us will ponder each of those questions today. Veterans Day is a time when Americans can reflect on the service and sacrifice of our nation’s military men and women.

For historians, it is vital for these questions to remain open-ended. If we had all of the answers now, what need would there be for studying history?

  • When defeat seemed inevitable, what compelled John Paul Jones to stick it out against HMS Serapis?
  • What forced John Lawson to continue the fight against Tennessee at Mobile Bay, even though he was badly wounded?
  • What forced CDR Evans to take on a Japanese battleship of David and Goliath proportion during World War II?
  • When all seemed hopeless, how did our prisoners of war keep the faith while waiting in camps in Vietnam?

I don’t want to talk about how great and wonderful the Navy is or was. From my experience talking to veterans, the experience continues to stay at an even keel. What matters to me is that you veterans did it.

It’s all about stakes. At the time of the American Revolution, independence was at stake. During the American Civil War, slavery was at stake. For World War II, the preservation of democracy hung in the balance. Today, the Navy endeavors to remain a global force for good, while at the same time remaining the pointed tip of the spear in the name of what is right and just.

U.S. Navy USS Arizona survivor, retired Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Langdell pauses to collect his thoughts during an interview by a FOX News correspondent as he visits the USS ARIZONA Memorial Visitors Center. One hundred Sailors and Marines assigned to the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG 60) and USS RUSSELL (DDG 59) and part of Combat Service Support Group 3, made up the honor cordon, which rendered honors to the survivors as they entered the USS ARIZONA Memorial Visitors Center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

U.S. Navy USS Arizona survivor, retired Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Langdell pauses to collect his thoughts during an interview by a FOX News correspondent as he visits the USS ARIZONA Memorial Visitors Center. One hundred Sailors and Marines assigned to the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG 60) and USS RUSSELL (DDG 59) and part of Combat Service Support Group 3, made up the honor cordon, which rendered honors to the survivors as they entered the USS ARIZONA Memorial Visitors Center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Thankfully, our stakeholders are our veterans – Those who looked danger head on and answered the call. Today is for those who consistently choose service and sacrifice over themselves.

There are many things you can do today if you are a veteran. There are countless deals on meals around the country. Maybe somebody will buy you a free drink. For vets, coffee at Starbucks is free tomorrow, as is the film Fury. That is only a small portion of thanks we can give to you. We owe you our lives.

Congress originally wanted to raise an Army in an emergency. There was always a need for a Navy to be present. As an island nation, we rely on the Navy to protect us at home and abroad. This cannot be done without the hard work and dedication of our sailors. The United States Navy will continue to be there so long as our veterans remain as the core and elite set of truly American men and women.

In the most humble way (and with most humility), I want to personally thank every man and woman who has served in our armed forces. For going above and beyond the call of duty. To do what I cannot. I salute you. We salute you. Thank you for your contributions to naval history.

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By the Gouge: Publication Archive


Volume 1, Issue 2

Volume 2, Issue 1

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Please click on the images below to read the blog stories:


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Inaugural Dunn Prize Winners Announced

This year, the Naval Historical Foundation launched the Vice Admiral Robert F. Dunn NROTC History Essay Competition to select the best essays written for the “Introduction to Sea Power” course at units around the nation.  The Naval Historical Foundation has a long record of recognizing naval history excellence from middle school students at National History Day through lifetime achievement awards for the leaders in the field. Vice Admiral Dunn, who had a distinguished 38-year career in naval aviation, served as President of the Foundation for 14 years and remains active on the Foundation’s Board.

With the support of the Naval Service Training Command, the NHF initiated yet another recognition program in late 2013 – the Vice Admiral Robert F. Dunn Awards in support of NROTC units across the country.

MIDN Jasper Burns Receives his Dunn Award Certificate.

MIDN Jasper Burns Receives his Dunn Award Certificate.

The $2,500 grand prizewinner of the Vice Admiral Dunn NROTC Essay Competition for 2014 is present this evening with the NROTC delegation from Boston University. The title of his essay was “The Merits of Corbettian Doctrine Pre-WWI.”

Three regional prizes of $500 were presented to Midshipman Diana Vought of the University of Idaho, Brad Bosserman of Texas A&M University, and Midshipman Grant Knox of the University of Minnesota.

University of Idaho Dean of Students, Dr. Bruce Pittman, present MIDN Diana Vaught her award with Seapower & Maritime Affairs course instructor LT Nathan Greenwood.

University of Idaho Dean of Students, Dr. Bruce Pittman, present MIDN Diana Vaught her award with Seapower & Maritime Affairs course instructor LT Nathan Greenwood.

Regional winner Midshipman Knott receiving the award from Devin Bastemeyer.

Regional winner Midshipman Knott receiving the award from LT Devin Bastemeyer.

For the 2014-2015 the monetary prize levels will be adjusted to a $1,000 Grand Prize and first and second place regional prizes of $500 and $250 to enable more midshipmen to receive awards.

For more information on the Vice Admiral Robert F. Dunn NROTC History, please go HERE.

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