Preservation, Education, and Commemoration of Naval History
On 8 May 1911, the Birthday of Naval Aviation, the U.S. Navy ordered its first airplane, a Curtiss Triad (A-1). In this image taken at Hammondsport, New York, June 1911, individuals pose with the A-1, (left to right): Curtiss Mechanic; Dr. A.F. Zahm; Lieutenant J.W. McClaskey, USMC, (Retired); Mr. Jim Lamont; Mr. Glenn Curtiss; Captain Washington I Chambers, USN, Lieutenant John H. Towers, USN; Lieutenant Theodore G. Ellyson, USN; and Mr. Bill Pickens. NHHC image NH 44381.
On 8 May 1942, at the culmination of the Battle of the Coral Sea, the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV 2) was lost. Heavily damaged and ablaze after attacks by Japanese carrier planes, the carrier was abandoned and scuttled, becoming the first U.S. aircraft carrier lost in the war. NHHC image NH 51382.
Norman Polmar’s Corner: The Envelope Aircraft Carrier
By Norman Polmar
A telephone call in early March 1974 from one of my consulting customers in the Navy Department alerted me to a problem: The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, was upset with me. I had written a brief article in the March issue of the Naval Institute Proceedings—“Sea Control Ship and Navy Missions”—raising questions about the proposed sea control ship, one of several Zumwalt ship initiatives.
BOOK REVIEW – Raising Missouri
By Chuck Veit, Lulu.com, Raleigh, NC. (2012)
Reviewed by David Kronenfeld
Chuck Veit in Raising Missouri has put together a tidy little volume detailing a little known footnote of American naval history – the sinking and salvage of USS Missouri. This is Veit’s third book and continues in the vein of his focus on 19th century American naval history. Veit utilized the self-publication platform Lulu.com to bring this work to fruition. Without self-publication venues such as Lulu.com such a book might not have been brought into print and Veit should be commended for using Lulu to bring an obscure, but notable event to the reading public.
On 6 May 1916 the first ship-to-shore radio telephone voice conversation was completed, from the battleship USS New Hampshire (BB 25) off the Virginia Capes to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels in Washington, DC. This photo of New Hampshire was taken in the Hudson River, New York, 27 December 1918. NHHC image NH 2891.
BOOK REVIEW – On the Account: Piracy and the Americas, 1766 – 1835
By Joseph Gibbs, Sussex Academic Press Portland, OR (2012).
Reviewed by J.J. Ahern
As Joseph Gibbs notes in his introduction to On the Account: Piracy and the Americas, 1766 – 1835, “Piracy in the Age of Sail continues to fascinate modern audiences (ix).” The image of swashbuckling buccaneers readily captivates the imagination of all ages; whether that be in the form of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, or one of Walt Disney’s many current franchises that flies the black flag (from Jake and the Never Land Pirates to Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean). Though in all of these forms piracy invokes the image of the Golden Age during the early eighteenth century when names like Blackbeard, “Black Sam” Bellamy, and Bartholomew Roberts instilled fear in the maritime community. In On the Account, Gibbs seeks to recount the age of piracy of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when the young United States was forced to deal with consequences of crime on the high seas from the late Colonial era through to the Early Republic.
BOOK REVIEW – Aboard The Pirate: Roving The West Indies (novel)
By Veronica Cherry, Gallant Books, (2012)
Reviewed by Nathan Albright
In reading this dramatic and action-packed novel about piracy and children in extreme peril, it is difficult not to suspect that the author has a variety of personal and professional motives in framing the story as she does. The novel begins and ends with a slight time shift, in that two Coast Guardsmen fighting on the front lines of the drug war interact with a couple of characters of the previous period of widespread piracy at the beginning of the 19th century in the Gulf Coast, which gave us antiheroes like the Lafitte brothers and Jose Gaspar. Included among these possible lessons includes the relationship between piracy as well as the illicit trafficking of souls and drugs and the moral corruption of those who conduct and turn a blind eye to the trade.
BOOK REVIEW – Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron: The War of 1812 and the Forging of the American Navy
By Ronald D. Utt, Regnery Publishing, Washington, DC, (2012).
Reviewed by David Curtis Skaggs, Ph.D.
Entering the lists of War of 1812 naval history contenders is Ronald Utt’s Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron that seeks to demonstrate that this conflict forged the respected United States Navy that emerged in the nineteenth century. Or at least that is what his subtitle suggests is the objective of this popularized account of naval portion of what the British term “the second American war.” Utt enters in the long line of jousters that includes James Fenimore Cooper, Theodore Roosevelt, and C. S. Forester. His most recent competitor is George Daughan’s 1812: The Navy’s War (2011).