Landing At Tokyo Bay

Two letters from a Navy lieutenant to his wife tell the story of the last hours of World War II

YOKOSUKA 9·4·45

My dear: Read more »

The Last Cruise Of The YP-438

His job was to destroy German submarines. To do it, they gave him twelve men, three machine guns, four depth charges, and an old wooden fishing schooner with an engine that literally drove mechanics mad.

On July 6, 1942, I was standing on the fantail of the minesweeper Fulmar off Portland, Maine, when the signal tower started blinking away. By the time I could get to the bridge, the message had already been typed up. It was for me.

ENSIGN RUSSELL E. SARD, USNR HEREBY DETACHED X PROCEED TO PORT YP-438 X MAKE REPORT IMMEDIATE SUPERIOR IN COMMAND IF PRESENT OTHERWISE BY DISPATCH X DUTY IN COMMAND YP-438 Read more »

The ‘Holland’ Surfaces

The U.S. Navy’s first submarine was scrapped half a century ago. But now we have been given a second chance to visit a boat nobody ever expected to see again.

IN 1930 THE United States Navy’s first submarine was hauled away from the Bronx park where it had long been on display and was knocked into scrap by a salvage company that had paid one hundred dollars for the privilege. This would scarcely have surprised John Philip Holland, the boat’s inventor: throughout his life he had been beset by every possible mishap and rebuff. What would have surprised him is the fact that eighty-odd years after the U.S.Read more »

The President’s Best Friend

If he’d been the closest companion of the president of IBM, you might happen across his name in a privately printed memoir. But LeMoyne Billings was John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s best friend from Choate to the White House—and that makes him part of history.

CROATE, 1935 Read more »

Masters Of The Merchant Marine

We built a merchant marine despite the opposition of the Royal Navy, went on to develop the most beautiful of all sailing ships, and held our supremacy for years. But how do we measure up today?

AMERICA is in the midst of a revival of interest in things nautical—nineteenth-century nautical. It began with the efforts of a handful of romantics to preserve the few remnants of the age of sail and was intensified by the magnificent Bicentennial Operation Sail. Now seaports across the country—in New York and San Diego, Philadelphia and Galveston, San Francisco, Boston, and Houston- are turning their waterfronts into public parks, often with a tall windship as the centerpiece.Read more »

The Great North Sea Mine Barrage

An extraordinary World War I naval operation is recounted by the commander of a decaying coastal steamer crammed with a terrifying new explosive

When my father, Rear Adm. D. Pratt Mannix 3rd, died in 1957, he had served as a midshipman on a square-rigger and lived to see the atomic bomb dropped on Japan. Born in 1878, he had fought in eight wars, been awarded six medals, and had seen action against Moro pirates and the Imperial German Navy. He had watched the United States grow to be the most powerful country in the world. As the U.S. Navy was responsible for much of this growth, he had had an opportunity to see, firsthand, history being made.Read more »

Sea Power Confronts The Twenty-first Century

An Interview With Edward L. Beach
The captain who first took a submarine around the world underwater looks at the U.S. Navy past and present and tells us what we must learn from the Falklands war

Naval power … is the natural defense of the United States,” said John Adams, who more than any other man deserves to be called the father of the American Navy. For more than two centuries, this force—from the raggle-taggle Continental Navy to the missile submarines of today—has played a vital role in the defense of the nation’s freedom and independence. Ships and weapons, tactics and strategy, have undergone quantum changes over the years, but the mission of the U.S.Read more »

The Agony Of The Indianapolis

She was the last major American warship sunk during World War II, and her sinking was the single worst open-sea disaster in our naval history. How could it have happened?

On July 16, 1945, the heavy cruiser Indianapolis departed the California coast for the Pacific island of Tinian. On board was a heavily guarded top-secret cargo destined to end the war. Only hours before the Indianapolis began her high-speed journey, the first successful atomic detonation had ushered in the nuclear age. The cruiser itself carried vital elements of the atomic bomb that would be dropped on Hiroshima. Even Captain Charles B.Read more »

The Real Meaning Of Pearl Harbor

The Japanese planes that came screaming down on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, changed the whole course of history. The United States was plunged into a long, grueling war. But more than that, the lives of most Americans were to be altered radically not just for the duration of the war, but forever. Read more »

Culpable Negligence

A SUBMARINE COMMANDER TELLS WHY WE ALMOST LOST THE PACIFIC WAR

 

LIFE ABOARD

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