Annual Meeting Concludes With Leighton Lecture On D-Day Featuring Dr. Brooke Blades

Dr. Blades discusses photography from his recent book The Americans on D-Day and in Normandy.
Dr. Blades is joined by new NHF Executive Director Rear Adm. Edward “Sonny” Masso and Air Force Maj. Jim Leighton. Jim is the grandson of NHF benefactor David T. Leighton for whom the Leighton Lecture is named in honor of.

Admiral Fallon convened the 94th Annual meeting of the Naval Historical Foundation on Saturday June 8, 2019 at 1217 in the main space of the Navy Museum under the Fighting Top following a BBQ lunch provided at the largess of Board Member Dr. J.P. “Jack” London. Following the approval of the minutes for the 2017, Adm. Fallon noted this had been a significant year in NHF’s transition and welcomed the new executive director RADM Sonny Masso. The members of the NHF’s three thrusts: 1) Be relevant to the Navy; 2) Revitalize the membership; 3) Foster development opportunities. meeting the members in attendance voted to approve two new board members: Vice Adm. Frank Pandolfe and Rear Adm. Vincent L.Griffith.  

Vice Admiral Pandolfe graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980, and later earned a doctorate in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1987. A Surface Warfare Officer, Pandolfe supported combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan and eventually would serve as the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff. In contrast Rear Admiral Vincent L Griffith graduated from Berry College in 1981 and earned a Navy commission a year later through Officer Candidate School as a Supply Corps officer. Serving on submarines and carriers at sea, Griffith had numerous tours ashore, closing out his career as the director of Defense Logistics Agency Logistics Operations. In addition to voting to elect two new board members, the membership voted to retain the Hon. Steven Honigman, Rear Adm. Larry Marsh, and Capt. Maurice Gauthier on the board.

 Capt. Jim Noone provided the membership report, pointing to the increase in membership thanks to the new digital membership category and he discussed the Teacher of Distinction program as well as student memberships tied in the USNA Superintendents Vision of Leadership essay contest. Membership at the time of the meeting was 952. Rear Admiral Marsh gave the Finance Committee and audit reports. The Audit Findings were “Unmodified.”

 Dr. Winkler updated the membership on the list of events over the past year, deferred to Adm. Fallon on the Nuclear Energy/National Security events of October 2018 and March 2019. He discussed the two receptions for retired flag officers and the new Under Secretary held in the museum last September as well as the joint symposium on IN COUNTRY: Vietnam 1968 held at the Marine Corps Museum in November. Dr. Rosenberg announced the 2019 Knox Medal recipients as Dr. David Skaggs, Cdr. Ty Martin, and Mr. Norman Polmar.  

The Chair asked for old business and new business and with there being none, adjourned the meeting at 1255. Dr. Winkler then introduced Maj. Jim Leighton, USAF, who discussed his grandfather’s love for history and then he introduced Dr. Brooke Blades who gave a talk on photography at Normandy for the annual Leighton lecture.

With the annual meeting held two days after the 75th anniversary of the invasion into northern France, Dr. Blades, who earned his doctorate in Anthropology from New York University, has undertaken archaeological or historical research relating to World War II focused on events and sites in France, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. His interest in Normandy expanded beyond initial examinations of the landscape of Omaha Beach, culminating in The Americans on D-Day and in Normandy published by Pen and Sword Ltd in 2019. For his talk, Blades shared with the attending membership dozens of images that he had uncovered from the various services as well as news organizations that were embarked with the invading fleet. Mostly black and white, the photography illustrated the cost in human life as well as the courage and sacrifices made by the Soldiers, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen who assaulted the beaches at Normandy that day. Blades well-delivered presentation was well-received and set the bar even higher for next year’s presentation.

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