Naval History And Heritage Command News

24 Oct 2019

Ship Design & The Inevitability of Change

A paintings by Maarten Platje called the Great Chase  tells this amazing story of the US Frigate Constitution being becalmed off the New Jersey coast and becoming engaged in a rowing race to keep out of range of a powerful British Squadron. The Constitution escaped and went on to have her amazing victories that year, but if she had been caught, today we would have never heard of her. Credit Maarten Platje

At one time the most powerful lighthouse in the United States was Twin Lights in Highlands New Jersey. Today it is a wonderful little museum and right now it has a very interesting show of paintings by Maarten Platje on the War of 1812. One painting is called the Great Chase and it tells this amazing story of the US Frigate Constitution being becalmed off the New Jersey coast and becoming engaged in a rowing race to keep out of range of a powerful British Squadron. The Constitution escaped and went on to have her amazing victories that year…

14 Mar 2019

Wreckage of USS Wasp CV-7 Discovered

The R/V Petrel, owned by Microsoft Cofounder and Philanthropist Paul G. Allen, at sea in search of the USS Indianapolis. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen)

The expedition crew aboard the late Paul G. Allen’s research vessel (R/V) Petrel discovered wreckage from USS Wasp (CV 7), which was sunk in 1942.Wasp, found Jan. 14, was sunk Sept. 15, 1942, by four Japanese torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-19 while escorting transports carrying the Seventh Marine Regiment to Guadalcanal as reinforcements. Of the 2,162 on board, 176 were killed as a result of the attack. The sunken aircraft carrier was found in the Coral Sea, 4,200 meters (nearly 14,000 feet) below the surface.“Paul Allen’s passion for U.S. history lives on through these missions.

15 Oct 2018

The Quest to Find and Explore USS Indianapolis

An image shot from a ROV shows a spare parts box from USS Indianapolis on the floor of the Pacific Ocean in more than 16,000 feet of water. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen)

Sunk by Japanese torpedoes near the end of World War II, heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis disappeared to the darkest depths of the Philippine Sea, where it remained undiscovered for more than 70 years. Recently a team of civilian researchers led by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen set out equipped with an arsenal of high-tech search equipment on a mission to locate the historic vessel last seen on July 30, 1945. The story of the USS Indianapolis is one of military might, heroism, tragedy, controversy and mystery.

21 Aug 2017

USS Indianapolis Wreckage Located

Photo: United States Navy

A team of civilian researchers led by entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen have found the wreck of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35), which was lost July 30, 1945. This is a significant discovery considering the depth of the water in which the ship was lost - more than 18,000 feet. Around 800 of the ship's 1,196 Sailors and Marines survived the sinking, but after four to five days in the water - suffering exposure, dehydration, drowning and shark attacks - only 316 survived.

24 Jul 2017

USS Constitution Refloated

Photo: United States Navy

After a two-year restoration at historic Dry Dock 1 at Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston National Historical Park, America's oldest commissioned warship, USS Constitution was refloated July 23. Since entering dry dock on May 18, 2015, ship restorers from the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston, and teams of Constitution Sailors have worked tirelessly side-by-side to bring Old Ironsides back to her glory. Captain Robert S. Gerosa, Jr., commanding officer of Constitution, said he was proud of the hard work and dedication of his Sailors during the restoration.

16 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 16

1814 - A squadron from the schooner USS Carolina attacks and raids the base of the pirate Jean Lafitte, at Barataria, La., capturing six schooners and other small craft while the pirates flee the attack. 1823 - Samuel Southard becomes the seventh Secretary of the Navy, serving until March 3, 1829. During his tenure, he enlarges the Navy, improves administration, purchases land for the first Naval Hospitals, begins construction of the first Navy dry docks, undertakes surveying U.S. coastal waters and promotes exploration in the Pacific Ocean. 1854 - Mare Island, Calif. becomes the first permanent U.S. naval installation on the west coast, with Cmdr. David G. Farragut as its first base commander. 1922 - Cmdr.

15 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 15

USNS Choctaw County (Photo: U.S. Navy)

1942 - USS Wasp (CV 7) is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine while operating in the Southwestern Pacific in support of forces on Guadalcanal. USS O'Brien (DD 415) and USS North Carolina (BB 55) are also struck by torpedoes from the same submarine. 1943 - USS Saufley (DD 465) and a Catalina Patrol Bomber piloted by Lt. W. J. Geritz from Patrol Squadron Twenty Three (VP 23) sinks the Japanese submarine RO-101 100 miles southeast of San Cristobal, Solomons. 1944 - USS Pampanito (SS 383) and USS Sealion (SS 315) rescue 73 British and 54 Australian POWs who survive the loss of Japanese freighter…

14 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 14

1814 - During the War of 1812, the sloop-of-war, Wasp captures and burns the British merchant brig, HMS Bacchus, in the Atlantic. A week later, she captures the brig, Atlanta. 1899 - During the Philippine Insurrection Campaign, the gunboat, USS Concord, and the monitor, USS Monterey, capture two insurgent schooners at Aparri, Philippine Islands. 1944 - USS Ludlow (DD 438) fires at an enemy shore battery and also fires direct hits on enemy vessels off Imperia. 1952 - USS Lewis (DE 535) and USS Evansville (PF 70) are fired on by enemy shore batteries off Wonsan, Korea. Their counter-batteries silence the enemy guns. 1971 - USS Wiltsie (DD 716) spots a crippled A-7 Corsair plunging into the Gulf of Tonkin and rescues the pilot from the water.

13 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 13

Christening Ceremony of the Cheyenne (SSN-773) (Photo by Jim Hemeon, courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat)

1803 - Commodore John Barry dies at Philadelphia, Pa., having served in numerous commands and over vessels in the Continental Navy during the American Revolution and in the newly formed U.S. Navy. 1814 - During the War of 1812, the British bomb Fort McHenry at Baltimore Harbor for 25 hours. The sight of Fort McHenrys flag and the British withdrawing from Baltimore the next morning inspires Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. 1847 - During the Mexican-American War, Chapultepec - the gateway to Mexico City - is successfully stormed by Marines.

12 Sep 2016

Navy Surveys North Sea for Links to the Toughness of its Past

Underwater archaeologists from the Naval History and Heritage Command are aboard Grasp conducting a remote sensing survey of a shipwreck that may be that of Revolutionary War ship Bonhomme Richard. Commanded by John Paul Jones, Bonhomme Richard was lost Sept. 23, 1779 following her victory over the much more heavily armed HMS Serapis. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric LockwoodReleased)

A multinational group of Sailors and scientists from a variety commands, organizations and militaries searched for the wreckage of Revolutionary War ship Bonhomme Richard, Sept. 2-9. Underwater archaeologists from the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit(MDSU) 2, Sailors from Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center (NOMWC), Sailors from the French Mine Clearance Dive Unit (MCDU) and members from Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration…

08 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 8

1858 - The sloop-of-war USS Marion captures the American slave ship Brothers off the southeast coast of Africa. 1923 - At Honda Point, Calif., seven destroyers are run aground due to bad weather, strong currents, and faulty navigation. Twenty-three lives are lost during the disaster. 1933 - Six consolidated P2Y 1 flying boats of Patrol Squadron 5, under the command of Lt. Cmdr. Herman Halland, make a record formation distance flight of 2.059 miles from Norfolk, Va. to Coco Solo, Canal Zone in 25 hours and 19 minutes. 1939 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaims limited national emergency and increases enlisted strength in the Navy and Marine Corps; also authorizes the recall to active duty of officer, men and nurses on the retired lists of the Navy and Marine Corps.

07 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 7

Sailors assigned to attack submarine Minnesota (SSN-783) man the rails after the order to "bring the ship to life" is given during the commissioning ceremony for Minnesota.  (U.S. Navy photos by Andrew Schneide)

1775 - During the American Revolution, the British supply ship Unity is taken by the Continental schooner, Hannah, paid for by Army Gen. George Washington. It is the first prize taken by a Continental vessel. 1776 - David Bushnells submarine Turtle is used by Sgt. Erza Lee to attack HMS Eagle in New York Harbor. Lees efforts to attach a "torpedo" to the ship's hull are frustrated by copper-sheathing, marine growth, perhaps merely a hard spot in the hull, which prevents the drill from boring into the ship bottom and it drifts away.

06 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 6

Poster courtesy of Lockheed Martin

1861 - USS Tyler and USS Lexington, support Gen. Ulysses S. Grants Army operations against strategic Paducah and Smithland, Ky. The ships mobile firepower assists in the capture of the cities, helping to preserve Kentucky in the Union. 1918 - In the first use of major-caliber naval guns in a land offensive, a U.S. naval railway battery of five, 14-inch guns begin long-range bombardment of German forces near Soissons, France. 1930 - USS Grebe (AM 43) arrives at Santo Domingo with supplies and medicines for victims of a hurricane three days prior.

02 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 2

USS Sentry (MCM 3) (U.S. Navy photo by Johnny Bivera)

1777 - The frigate, USS Raleigh, commanded by Thomas Thompson, captures the British brig, HMS Nancy, while en route to France to purchase military stores. 1864 - During the Civil War, the 8-gun paddle-wheeler, USS Naiad, engages a Confederate battery at Rowes Landing, La., and silences it. 1940 - As the Battle of Britain intensifies, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull agrees to the transfer 50 warships to the Royal Navy. In exchange, the U.S. is granted land in various British possessions for the establishment of naval or air bases, on ninety-nine-year rent-free leases.

01 Sep 2016

This Day In Naval History: September 1

1800 - During the Quasi-War with France, the schooner, USS Experiment, commanded by Lt. Charles Stewart, captures the French privateer Deux Amix off Barbuda, West Indies. 1814 - The sloop-of-war, USS Wasp, commanded by Johnston Blakely, sinks the British brig sloop, HMS Avon, south of Ireland. 1925 - Cmdr. John Rodgers and a crew of four in a PN-9 aircraft run out of fuel on the first San Francisco to Hawaii flight. Landing at sea, they rig a sail and set sail for Hawaii. On Sept. 10, they are rescued by the submarine USS R-4, 10 miles from Kaui, then Territory of Hawaii. 1941 - The United States assumed responsibility for trans-Atlantic convoys from Argentia, Newfoundland, to the meridian of Iceland. 1942 - The United States Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet is established. Vice Adm.

31 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 31

Utah (BB-31) at Brooklyn Navy Yard. (Photo: Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection)

1842 - Congress replaces the Board of Navy Commissioners, a group of senior officers who oversee naval technical affairs, with the five technical Bureaus, ancestors of the Systems Commands. One of the 1842 Bureaus, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, continues to serve under its original name. 1862 - The daily rum issued to US Navy sailors on board vessels is abolished. On July 14, by an Act of Congress, the spirit ration ceases Sept. 1. Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles issues…

30 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 30

USS Colorado (BB 45) (Photo: USNHC, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center)

1923 - USS Colorado (BB 45) is commissioned. Notable during her pre-World War II service, she helps in the search for missing aviator, Amelia Earhart, in 1937. During WWII, USS Colorado serves in the Pacific during World War II and is hit by kamikazes at Leyte in November 1944. 1929 - At New London, Conn., 26 officers and men test the Momsen lung to exit an intentionally-bottomed submarine. The device was created by Lt. C.B. Momsen following the failure to save surviving crew members trapped in USS S-4 (SS 109) that sank after a collision with Coast Guard cutter USS Paulding in 1927.

29 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 29

USS Decatur (DDG 73) (U.S. Navy photo)

1861 - During the Civil War, Seaman Benjamin Swearer lands with troops from the steam sloop of war, Pawnee, and takes part in the capture of Fort Clark, at Hatteras Inlet, N.C. He serves throughout the action and has the honor of being the first man to raise the flag on the captured fort. For his gallant service throughout the action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. 1862 - The gunboat, USS Pittsburgh, supports Army troops landing at Eunice, Ark., during the Civil War. 1915 - After pontoons are brought to Hawaii from the west coast…

25 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 25

1864 - CSS Tallahassee, commanded by Cmdr. John Taylor Wood, returns to Wilmington, N.C. to refuel on coal. During her more than two week raid, CSS Tallahassee destroys 26 vessels and captures seven others. 1927 - USS Los Angeles (ZR 3) rises to a near-vertical position due to the sudden arrival of a cold air front that lifts the airships tail, causing it to rise before she can swing around the mast parallel to the new wind direction. Los Angeles only suffers minor damage but the affair demonstrates the risks involved with high mooring masts. 1943 - Depth charges from USS Patterson (DD 392) sink the Japanese submarine RO-35, 170 miles southeast of San Cristobal Island, Solomon Islands.

24 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 24

USS Essex (LHD 2) (U.S. Navy photo)

1814 - During the War of 1812, the British invade Md. and burn Washington, D.C. Commodore Thomas Tingey, superintendent of the Washington Navy Yard, burns the Navy Yard to prevent British access during the invasion. 1862 - During the Civil War, Capt. Raphael Semmes takes command of CSS Alabama at sea off the island of Terceira, Azores, beginning his career of raiding American commerce. 1912 - The collier, USS Jupiter, is launched. The vessel is the first electrically-propelled Navy ship.

23 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 23

1819 - Commodore Oliver H. Perry, the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie, dies on board the schooner, USS Nonsuch, in Trinidad of a fever contracted during his successful efforts to suppress piracy while maintaining the friendship of Latin American governments. It was his 34th birthday. 1862 - A boat crew from USS Essex, commanded by Capt. William D. Porter, is fired on by Confederate guerillas at Bayou Sara, La. In return, USS Essex shells the town. 1864 - During the Civil War, Rear Adm. David G. Farraguts squadron capture Fort Morgan at Mobile Bay, Ala., winning control of Mobile Bay. The fort withstands naval bombardment for more than two weeks. 1890 - USS Baltimore (Cruiser #3) departs New York Harbor to return the remains of inventor John Ericsson to his native Sweden.

19 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 19

Commissioning Program for USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79) held at Bath Iron Works, Bath ME on August 19, 2000.

1812 - The frigate USS Constitution captures the frigate HMS Guerriere, off Halifax, Nova Scotia after an intense battle. 1818 - Capt. James Biddle, as commanding officer of USS Ontario, takes possession of Oregon Territory for United States. 1936 - Lt. B. L. Braun, pilot, completes test bombing against the submarine USS R -8 (SS 85) off the Virginia capes, sinking the old submarine and proving the value of properly armed aircraft in antisubmarine warfare. 1943 - USS Finback (SS 230) sinks the Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser (No.109) off the eastern Celebes.

18 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 18

USS Annapolis (AGMR-1) (U.S. Navy photo)

1838 - The Exploring Expedition led by Lt. Charles Wilkes embarks on a world cruise. 1908 - The first Navy Nurse Corps superintendent, Esther Voorhees Hasson, is appointed. Under her leadership, 19 additional nurses are recruited and trained for naval service during 1908. 1943 - USS Philadelphia (CL 41) and USS Boise (CL 47) and four destroyers shell Gioia, Taura, and Palmi on the Italian mainland. 1966 - The first ship-to-shore satellite radio message is sent from USS Annapolis (AGMR 1) in the South China Sea to Pacific Fleet Headquarters at Pearl Harbor.

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