#MilitaryMonday: Notes From Behind the Wire

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Today in 1959, USS George Washington (SSBN 598), the first U.S. Navy nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine, is christened and launched at Groton, Conn. Her nuclear capability is removed in 1983, and she is classified as SSN 598 serving until 1985. USS George Washington is later processed in the nuclear recycling program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in 1998.

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Today in 1882, the Office of Naval Records of the War of the Rebellion (which later became part of the Naval History and Heritage Command) is established. The office is placed under the direction of James R. Soley, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the 1890s.

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Although the Americans successfully breached the beaches of Normandy, the lives of many young men were lost on D-Day.

Meet Lt. Gordon Osland (above), 397th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, who died on Omaha Beach the afternoon of June, 6, 1944 when shrapnel struck him in the chest, killing him instantly. He left behind a young wife, pregnant with their daughter.

Meanwhile, 70 years ago today, the Allies continue their advance into Northern France…

Hitting the beach’ along with Army troops, members of a U. S. Navy beach battalion dig in for their first night ashore on a beachhead on the French coast. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National WWII Museum

Hitting the beach’ along with Army troops, members of a U. S. Navy beach battalion dig in for their first night ashore on a beachhead on the French coast.
U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National WWII Museum

Flame and smoke gush from the muzzles of 14-inch guns as the U.S.S. Nevada pours an obliterating hail of death on Nazi positions blocking the forward surge of Allied troops in France. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.

Flame and smoke gush from the muzzles of 14-inch guns as the U.S.S. Nevada pours an obliterating hail of death on Nazi positions blocking the forward surge of Allied troops in France.
U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.

Smoke rises from a roadside in France as Army shore engineers explode Nazi land mines to clear the path for advancing Allied forces racing ahead to extend beachhead holdings. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.

Smoke rises from a roadside in France as Army shore engineers explode Nazi land mines to clear the path for advancing Allied forces racing ahead to extend beachhead holdings.
U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.

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Image: A monument to a nearby dead American soldier in Normandy. Courtesy of the National Archives.

At the end of the day on June 6, 1944, over 156,000 Allied troops have landed and are fighting the enemy.

It is estimated that the Allies suffer approximately 12,000 casualties within the first 24 hours of the Normandy campaign, and that between 4,000-9,000 Germans were killed.

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As last week was the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, it was also the 68th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway. One of the U.S. Navy leaders that made victory possible.  Adm. Frank Jack Fletcher, a United States Naval Academy graduate, was awarded the Medal of Honor for distinguished conduct during the Vera Cruz intervention in 1914. In May and June 1942, he was the senior officer present during the battles of Coral Sea and Midway, in which the Japanese fleet was soundly defeated.

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Today in 1898, during the Spanish-American War, USS Marblehead (C 11), along with auxiliary cruisers USS Yankee and USS Saint Louis, engage the Spanish gunboat Sandoval and the shore batteries at Guantanamo, Cuba for 2 1/2 hours.

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