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A weekly feature honoring the military and the sacrifices they make for freedom, covered in historical images.

1930, the streamlined submarine (V 5) was commissioned. In February 1931, she was named Narwhal, and received the hull number (SS 167) that July. During WWII, Narwhal received 15 battle stars for her war patrols in the Pacific.

Navy Poster, showing USS Narwhal (SS 167). Artwork by Matt Murphy, 8 January 1941. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 77240.

Navy Poster, showing USS Narwhal (SS 167). Artwork by Matt Murphy, 8 January 1941. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 77240.

USS Narwhal (SS 167), artwork by Gordon Grant, 1943. Lithograph by Northern Pump Company, 1943. Courtesy of Captain R.M. Barnes, USN, (Retired). NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 95377-KN (Color)

USS Narwhal (SS 167), artwork by Gordon Grant, 1943. Lithograph by Northern Pump Company, 1943. Courtesy of Captain R.M. Barnes, USN, (Retired). NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 95377-KN (Color)

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Above: Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. Aerial view of the Submarine Base, with part of the supply depot beyond and the fuel farm at right, looking north on 13 October 1941. Note the fuel tank across the road from the submarine base, painted to resemble a building. The building beside the submarine ascent tower (in left center, shaped like an upside down “U”) housed the U.S. Fleet Headquarters at the time of the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941.

Office of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the Fleet’s Commander in Chief, was in the upper left corner of the building’s top floor. USS Wharton (AP-7) is in right foreground. Among the submarines at the base are Tuna (SS-203), Gudgeon (SS-211), Argonaut (SS-166), Narwhal (SS-167), Triton (SS-201) and Dolphin (SS-169). USS Holland (AS-3) and USS Niagara (PG-52) are alongside the wharf on the base’s north side. In the distance (nearest group in upper left) are the battleship Nevada (BB-36), at far left, USS Castor (AKS-1) and the derelict old minelayer Baltimore. Cruisers in top center are USS Minneapolis (CA-36), closest to camera, and USS Pensacola (CA-24), wearing a Measure 5 painted “bow wave”. National Archives photograph: 80-G-451125.

USS Narwhal (SS 167) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, 3 April 1943.  Both the Narwhal and her sister Nautiliss were used heavily for the Marine Raiders. Their two 6 inch deck guns could give quite effective fire support. National Archives photograph, 190-N-42917.

USS Narwhal (SS 167) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, 3 April 1943. Both the Narwhal and her sister Nautiliss were used heavily for the Marine Raiders. Their two 6 inch deck guns could give quite effective fire support. National Archives photograph, 190-N-42917.

1900, USS Kentucky (BB 6) is commissioned. In 1907, she joined the Great White Fleet, returning in 1909.

USS Kentucky (BB 6) photographed in July 1900, a few months after she was commissioned. Courtesy of the Filson Club, Louisville, KY. Gift of Mrs. Alexander M. Watson. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

USS Kentucky (BB 6) photographed in July 1900, a few months after she was commissioned. Courtesy of the Filson Club, Louisville, KY. Gift of Mrs. Alexander M. Watson. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

USS Kentucky ship's officers, crew and Marines, circa 1914. Most of the Marines are wearing khaki field uniforms. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

USS Kentucky ship’s officers, crew and Marines, circa 1914. Most of the Marines are wearing khaki field uniforms. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

USS Kentucky (BB 6) photograph taken circa 1912-1916, after modernization with basket masts. It has been color-tinted and published on a post card. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

USS Kentucky (BB 6) photograph taken circa 1912-1916, after modernization with basket masts. It has been color-tinted and published on a post card. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

1919, the Marine detachment from USS Arizona (BB 39) guards the U.S. consulate at Constantinople, Turkey, during the Greek occupation of the city.

In June 1915, the crowd witnesses Miss Esther Ross, sponsor of the battleship Arizona, arrive. Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

In June 1915, the crowd witnesses Miss Esther Ross, sponsor of the battleship Arizona, arrive.
Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

USS Arizona's ship's complement posing on her forecastle, forward turrets and superstructure, circa 1924. The officer seated in the second row, 4th from right, is Ensign Arleigh A. Burke. USNHC # NH 86101, courtesy of Naval Historical Center, from the Collection of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke.

USS Arizona’s ship’s complement posing on her forecastle, forward turrets and superstructure, circa 1924. The officer seated in the second row, 4th from right, is Ensign Arleigh A. Burke. USNHC # NH 86101, courtesy of Naval Historical Center, from the Collection of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke.

A French built Nieuport aircraft is pictured on a wooden deck constructed atop a turret. Note the Arizona's (BB 39) bell behind the plane.  Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

A French built Nieuport aircraft is pictured on a wooden deck constructed atop a turret.
Note the Arizona’s (BB 39) bell behind the plane.
Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

Arizona (BB 39) anchored, possibly on the Hudson after returning from Europe. Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

Arizona (BB 39) anchored, possibly on the Hudson after returning from Europe.
Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

1801, Tripoli declares war on the United States for not increasing the annual tribute paid as protection money to prevent raids on its ships. Within less than a week, a squadron, under Commodore Richard Dale, sets sail to protect American interests and arrives July 1 at Gibraltar.

USS President, 1800-1815, artwork by Boucher done in 1819 and captioned, “United States Frigate ‘President’, flagship of the American Squadron, Captain Stephen Decatur, 1819.” NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 592.

USS President, 1800-1815, artwork by Boucher done in 1819 and captioned, “United States Frigate ‘President’, flagship of the American Squadron, Captain Stephen Decatur, 1819.” NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 592.

“The Assault on Derna, Tripoli, 27 April 1805.” Artwork by Charles Waterhouse. Courtesy of the US Marine Corps History Division. After a bombardment of Tripoli, a landing party with Lieutenant O'Bannon of the Marines in command hauled down the Tripolitan flag and hoisted Old Glory for the first time over a fort in the old world. April 27, 1805. Copy of artwork by Capolino., 1927 – 1981

“The Assault on Derna, Tripoli, 27 April 1805.” Artwork by Charles Waterhouse. Courtesy of the US Marine Corps History Division.
After a bombardment of Tripoli, a landing party with Lieutenant O’Bannon of the Marines in command hauled down the Tripolitan flag and hoisted Old Glory for the first time over a fort in the old world. April 27, 1805. Copy of artwork by Capolino., 1927 – 1981

"Decatur Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat", during the bombardment of Tripoli, 3 August 1804. Oil by Dennis Malone Carter, 43" x 59", depicting Lieutenant Stephen Decatur (lower right center) in mortal combat with the Tripolitan Captain. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, DC. NHHC Photograph Collection: NH 44647-KN (Color).

“Decatur Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat”, during the bombardment of Tripoli, 3 August 1804. Oil by Dennis Malone Carter, 43″ x 59″, depicting Lieutenant Stephen Decatur (lower right center) in mortal combat with the Tripolitan Captain. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, DC. NHHC Photograph Collection: NH 44647-KN (Color).

1964, the first all-nuclear-powered task group, USS Enterprise (CVAN 65), USS Long Beach (CGN 9) and USS Bainbridge (DLGN 25), is organized and deploys to the Sixth Fleet. The task group departs in July and circumnavigates the globe without refueling.

Task Force One (All-Nuclear Task Force) operating in the Mediterranean Sea, 18 June 1964. Enterprise crewmembers are spelling out Albert Einstein’s equation for nuclear energy on the flight deck. National Archives Photograph, KN 9027 (Color).

Task Force One (All-Nuclear Task Force) operating in the Mediterranean Sea, 18 June 1964. Enterprise crewmembers are spelling out Albert Einstein’s equation for nuclear energy on the flight deck. National Archives Photograph, KN 9027 (Color).

Task Force One: USS Bainbridge (DLGN 25); USS Long Beach (CGN 9); and USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) in Operation Sea Orbit, which was the first circumnavigation of the glob by a nuclear-powered naval power, 31 August – 3 October 1964. Artwork by Captain Gerard Richardson, USNR. National Archives photograph: KN 9983 (Color).

Task Force One: USS Bainbridge (DLGN 25); USS Long Beach (CGN 9); and USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) in Operation Sea Orbit, which was the first circumnavigation of the glob by a nuclear-powered naval power, 31 August – 3 October 1964. Artwork by Captain Gerard Richardson, USNR. National Archives photograph: KN 9983 (Color).

USS Bainbridge (DLGN 25). Underway during her sea trials, 2-3 September 1962. Photographed by Areostatico. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 98103.

USS Bainbridge (DLGN 25). Underway during her sea trials, 2-3 September 1962. Photographed by Areostatico. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 98103.

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Above: USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) underway in formation with USS Long Beach (CGN 9), center, and USS Bainbridge (DLGN 25), at top, probably in the Mediterranean Sea in June-July 1964. Members of Enterprise’s crew are in a flight deck formation spelling out Albert Einstein’s equation for nuclear energy. Planes on her flight deck include 9 A-5, 22 A-4; 10 F-4; 14 F-8 and 2 E-1 types. Those aft are parked in an arrowhead arrangement. The photograph was released for publication on 30 July 1964, upon the commencement of Operation Sea Orbit, the circumnavigation of the World by Task Force One, made up of the Navy’s first three nuclear-powered surface ships. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the Collections of the Naval Historical Center.

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#WarriorWednesday: Task Force 99 and 58, Rear Adm. Tyson and the USN’s Good Conduct Medal

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Warrior Wednesday strives to honor those who worked and continue to work to make freedom possible through their dedication, sacrifice and bravery.

In 1944, following the support of the Hollandia landings, Task Force 58 begins a two-day attack on Japanese shipping, oil and ammunition dumps, aircraft facilities, and other installations at Truk. Japanese naval aircraft counterattack on U.S. formations.

USS Tang (SS 306). The submarine's Commanding Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Richard H. O'Kane (center), poses with the twenty-two aircrewmen that Tang rescued off Truk during the carrier air raids there on 29 April-1 May 1944. The photograph was taken upon Tang's return to Pearl Harbor from her second war patrol, in May 1944.

USS Tang (SS 306). The submarine’s Commanding Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Richard H. O’Kane (center), poses with the twenty-two aircrewmen that Tang rescued off Truk during the carrier air raids there on 29 April-1 May 1944. The photograph was taken upon Tang’s return to Pearl Harbor from her second war patrol, in May 1944.

TBF “Avenger” aircraft in flight formation over Norfolk, Virginia. Photograph received September 1942. National Archives photograph, 80-G-426849. TBF aircraft helped to sink Japanese sub I 174 on 29 April 1944.

TBF “Avenger” aircraft in flight formation over Norfolk, Virginia. Photograph received September 1942. National Archives photograph, 80-G-426849.
TBF aircraft helped to sink Japanese sub I 174 on 29 April 1944.

Nakajima B6N2 “Jill” Torpedo Plane begins to burn from A.A. fire hits during an attack on TG 58.2 off Truk. Seen from USS Monterey (CVL 26). Undated, probably taken 30 April 1944, during raid on Truk by TF 58. National Archives photograph: 80-G-366985.

Nakajima B6N2 “Jill” Torpedo Plane begins to burn from A.A. fire hits during an attack on TG 58.2 off Truk. Seen from USS Monterey (CVL 26). Undated, probably taken 30 April 1944, during raid on Truk by TF 58. National Archives photograph: 80-G-366985.

USS MacDonough (DD 351). At sea in December 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives: 80-G-276746. USS MacDonough helped to sink Japanese submarine I 174 on 29 April 1944.

USS MacDonough (DD 351). At sea in December 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives: 80-G-276746.
USS MacDonough helped to sink Japanese submarine I 174 on 29 April 1944.

Vought OS2U "Kingfisher" floatplane, from USS North Carolina (BB-55). Off Truk with nine aviators on board, awaiting rescue by USS Tang (SS-306), 1 May 1944. The plane had landed inside Truk lagoon to recover downed airmen. Unable to take off with such a load, it then taxiied out to Tang, which was serving as lifeguard submarine during the 29 April-1 May carrier strikes on Truk. National Archives photograph: 80-G-227991.

Vought OS2U “Kingfisher” floatplane, from USS North Carolina (BB-55). Off Truk with nine aviators on board, awaiting rescue by USS Tang (SS-306), 1 May 1944. The plane had landed inside Truk lagoon to recover downed airmen. Unable to take off with such a load, it then taxiied out to Tang, which was serving as lifeguard submarine during the 29 April-1 May carrier strikes on Truk. National Archives photograph: 80-G-227991.

In 1942, the US Navy‬’s Task Force 99, which consists of USS Wasp (CV 7), USS Tuscaloosa (CA 37) and USS Wichita (CA 45), plus four destroyers, sail from the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, as part of the mixed U.S.-British force “Distaff.”

Hvalfjord, Iceland. U.S. and British warships in the harbor May-June 1942, seen from a USS Washington plane. Washington is the ship at left, with USS Wichita (CA 45) and a British Southampton Light Cruiser astern. Heavy cruisers at right are HMS London and HMS Kent (with three stacks). Ship in foreground is probably HMS Norfolk. National Archives photograph, 80-G-24832.

Hvalfjord, Iceland. U.S. and British warships in the harbor May-June 1942, seen from a USS Washington plane. Washington is the ship at left, with USS Wichita (CA 45) and a British Southampton Light Cruiser astern. Heavy cruisers at right are HMS London and HMS Kent (with three stacks). Ship in foreground is probably HMS Norfolk. National Archives photograph, 80-G-24832.

USS Wichita (CA 45), rides out a winter storm off Iceland in 1941-42. Note the PBY patrol plane on the deck of the seaplane tender from which the photograph was taken. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 97885.

USS Wichita (CA 45), rides out a winter storm off Iceland in 1941-42. Note the PBY patrol plane on the deck of the seaplane tender from which the photograph was taken. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 97885.

Photo # NH 93309  Navy leaders onboard USS Wichita (CA 45), April 1942.

Photo # NH 93309
Navy leaders onboard USS Wichita (CA 45), April 1942.

USS Tuscaloosa (CA 37). Moored in Scapa Flow, April 1942, while she was operating with the British Home Fleet. The British heavy cruiser London is in the background. National Archives photograph: 80-G-12018.

USS Tuscaloosa (CA 37). Moored in Scapa Flow, April 1942, while she was operating with the British Home Fleet. The British heavy cruiser London is in the background. National Archives photograph: 80-G-12018.

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Nora W. Tyson was nominated to be Commander, U.S. Third Fleet, San Diego‬, California http://1.usa.gov/1HkO8QO

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The watercolor is of Rear Adm. Tyson when she was the first two star woman Commander, Strike Group Two embarked with USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in the Mediterranean with U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet. (Image courtesy of U.S. Navy Art Gallery by Monica Allen Perin, Navy Reserve Watercolor, 2011)

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The Good Conduct Badge was established by the Secretary of the Navy on April 26, 1869. The badge was a Maltese cross with a rope-ringed circular medallion at the center. Along the rim of the medallion were the words ‘Fidelity Zeal Obedience’ and at the center, ‘U.S.N.’ Made of nickel and measuring about 31mm wide, the cross hung on a half-inch wide red, white and blue ribbon. On the back, the Sailor’s name was script-engraved. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

 

Second only to the Navy Medal of Honor, the Good Conduct Medal is the oldest award the U.S. Navy has continuously presented to deserving Sailors.

Prior to the Civil War, when a Sailor completed his enlistment, his commanding officer would certify his time, his trustworthiness at sea, and his proficiency with gunnery. If he wanted to go to sea again, his discharge acted as his references. Back then, “good conduct” was as much about skill than just behavior. A Sailor would enter a recruiting station with his “Good Conduct” report and reenlist. Enlistments worked differently back then compared to today when recruits may have little to no experience sailing.

“[The badge] was established by the Secretary of the Navy [on April 26, 1869] for award to any man holding a Continuous Service Certificate, who had distinguished himself for obedience, sobriety, and cleanliness,” according to John Strandberg and Roger James Bender in The Call of Duty: Military Awards and Decorations of the United States of America.

Given the reputation of Sailors back then, one could be forgiven for believing the bit about sobriety made the badge difficult to obtain, but there are no statistics available today about what percentage of 19th century Sailors were actually presented the badge at discharge.

The badge, which seemed a lot like a medal, was a Maltese cross with a rope-ringed circular medallion at the center. Along the rim of the medallion were the words ‘Fidelity Zeal Obedience’ and at the center, ‘U.S.N.’ Made of nickel and measuring about 31mm wide, the cross hung on a half-inch wide red, white and blue ribbon. On the back, the Sailor’s name was script-engraved.

If and when a Sailor received three such awards after consecutive enlistments, he merited promotion to a Petty Officer.

On the back of the 1896 version of the medal was inscribed, among other things, the discharge date and continuous service number. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

On the back of the 1896 version of the medal was inscribed, among other things, the discharge date and continuous service number. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

The badge underwent some redesigns in 1880 and again in 1884. Then 27 years to the day after the certificate became a badge, the badge became the Good Conduct Medal in 1896. In addition to this, by order of General Order 327, the time criterion was set at three years for a Sailor to earn it.

A straight bar clasp was used to attach the circular medal to its maroon ribbon.

“Subsequent enlistments were recognized by the addition of a clasp attached to the suspension ribbon,” relate Strandberg and Bender. “These clasps […] were engraved on the front with the duty station or ship upon which the recipient served and the discharge date and continuous service number on the reverse.”

Over the next several decades, the Navy changed the medal’s appearance numerous times, but the criterion for receiving it seems to have remained the same.

For a brief period during World War II, the Navy stopped awarding the medal to conserve metal and free the clerks from the paperwork they mandated. Instead, notations were made in the person’s service jacket.

Not until the 1950s did the Navy settle on something permanent. The clasps were done away with in favor of 3/16 inch bronze stars denoting multiple enlistments, names on awards were dropped for all but posthumous recipients, and the ribbon was changed to a solid red color.

Nowadays, the rules for earning the medal are a little more complex, but generally if Sailors go three consecutive years with “a clear record (no convictions by court-martial, no non-judicial punishment (NJP), no lost time by reason of sickness-misconduct, no civil convictions for offenses involving moral turpitude)” they are eligible for the Good Conduct Medal.

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#WarriorWednesday: Battle of the Bulge at 70 in Photos

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A patrol, growing when Lt. Thomas of a Cavalry reconnaissance squadron started across the snow with rifle grenades, attacks German snipers discovered on the outskirts of the newly captured town of Beffe, Belgium. Lt. Thomas was followed by volunteers consisting of members of his squadron, an infantry headquarters company and an infantry company. The attack was launched with with rifle fire, fragmentation rifle grenades, hand grenades, rifles, BARs, and bazooka company armed with machine guns and light mortars. Twelve Nazis were killed in the engagement. Here, can be seen part of the patrol advancing cautiously through the snow. (A Co., 1st Bn., 290th inf., 75th Div., B troop.) 1/7/45. 7th Corps, 4th Cav. Reconn. Sq.

A patrol, growing when Lt. Thomas of a Cavalry reconnaissance squadron started across the snow with rifle grenades, attacks German snipers discovered on the outskirts of the newly captured town of Beffe, Belgium. Lt. Thomas was followed by volunteers consisting of members of his squadron, an infantry headquarters company and an infantry company. The attack was launched with with rifle fire, fragmentation rifle grenades, hand grenades, rifles, BARs, and bazooka company armed with machine guns and light mortars. Twelve Nazis were killed in the engagement. Here, can be seen part of the patrol advancing cautiously through the snow. (A Co., 1st Bn., 290th inf., 75th Div., B troop.) 1/7/45. 7th Corps, 4th Cav. Reconn. Sq.

Tanks of the 4th Armd. Div., ready for action in the front lines. 8 January 1945. Bastogne, Belgium. Just 2 weeks earlier, on December 26, 1944, elements of the 4th Armored Division had broken through German lines to relieve the 101st Airborne and 10th Armored Divisions, surrounded and under siege in Bastogne.

Tanks of the 4th Armd. Div., ready for action in the front lines. 8 January 1945. Bastogne, Belgium.
Just 2 weeks earlier, on December 26, 1944, elements of the 4th Armored Division had broken through German lines to relieve the 101st Airborne and 10th Armored Divisions, surrounded and under siege in Bastogne.

The following 4 photos of an anti-aircraft emplacement outside Bastogne, Belgium are part of a collection compiled by staff at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Radiation Laboratory, known familiarly as the MIT Rad Lab. The word “radiation” was used in the Rad Lab’s name rather than “radar” to disguise the type of research being done.

Looking through quick sight before viewing through scope to determine marks on questionable aircraft flying near AA battery at Bastogne. The scope was captured from the Germans. National Archives Identifier: 6116625

Looking through quick sight before viewing through scope to determine marks on questionable aircraft flying near AA battery at Bastogne. The scope was captured from the Germans. National Archives Identifier: 6116625

Straw prevents remote control cables from freezing to ground on site of AA installation near Bastogne. National Archives Identifier: 6116627

Straw prevents remote control cables from freezing to ground on site of AA installation near Bastogne. National Archives Identifier: 6116627

Anti aircraft locator device, the M-7, is shown in operation outside Bastogne. Crew checks the readings. Device is safely emplaced behind sandbags. National Archives Identifier: 6116621

Anti aircraft locator device, the M-7, is shown in operation outside Bastogne. Crew checks the readings. Device is safely emplaced behind sandbags. National Archives Identifier: 6116621

Gun crew of the ‘Black Widow’, 90 mm anti aircraft gun dug in outside Bastogne, Belgium, about to fire at enemy plane sighted in area. Battery B 217th Bn (Radar) Bastogne. 1/11/1945.  National Archives Identifier: 6116622

Gun crew of the ‘Black Widow’, 90 mm anti aircraft gun dug in outside Bastogne, Belgium, about to fire at enemy plane sighted in area. Battery B 217th Bn (Radar) Bastogne. 1/11/1945. National Archives Identifier: 6116622

Chow is served to American Infantrymen on their way to La Roche, Belgium. 347th Infantry Regiment, 01/13/1945

Chow is served to American Infantrymen on their way to La Roche, Belgium. 347th Infantry Regiment, 01/13/1945

After holding a woodland position all night near Wiltz, Luxembourg, against German counter attack, three men of B Company, 101st Engineers, emerge for a rest., 01/14/1945

After holding a woodland position all night near Wiltz, Luxembourg, against German counter attack, three men of B Company, 101st Engineers, emerge for a rest., 01/14/1945

A German prisoner captured by the 16th Infantry Regiment, near Weywertz. Belgium., 1/15/1945

A German prisoner captured by the 16th Infantry Regiment, near Weywertz. Belgium., 1/15/1945

This burning home near Lmore, Belgium, drew a heavy barrage of enemy shellfire which wounded a Signal Corps photographer. 1/16/45.

This burning home near Lmore, Belgium, drew a heavy barrage of enemy shellfire which wounded a Signal Corps photographer. 1/16/45.

Tanks of the 42nd Armd. Bn., move into attack. 16 January 1945. Mabompre, Belgium.

Tanks of the 42nd Armd. Bn., move into attack. 16 January 1945. Mabompre, Belgium.

Members of the 30th Infantry Division crawl prone while crossing open terrain near Pont, Belgium. (Co. E, 2nd Bn.) 1/17/45

Members of the 30th Infantry Division crawl prone while crossing open terrain near Pont, Belgium. (Co. E, 2nd Bn.) 1/17/45

A view of the damage done in Houffalize, Belgium, by shelling. The town was retaken from the Germans by the 2nd Armored Division. FUSA, 1/18/45. National Archives Identifier: 12010159

A view of the damage done in Houffalize, Belgium, by shelling. The town was retaken from the Germans by the 2nd Armored Division. FUSA, 1/18/45. National Archives Identifier: 12010159

An American jeep enters the shell-torn town of Houffalize, Belgium, by the main road. The town was retaken from the Germans by the 2nd Armored Division. 1/18/45. National Archives Identifier: 12010160

An American jeep enters the shell-torn town of Houffalize, Belgium, by the main road. The town was retaken from the Germans by the 2nd Armored Division. 1/18/45. National Archives Identifier: 12010160

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American soldiers of the 289th Infantry Regiment march along the snow-covered road on their way to cut off the Saint Vith-Houffalize road in Belgium., 1/24/1945

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American infantrymen of an armored division march up a road southeast of Born, Belgium. Note the height of the snow bank on either side of the road. 1/22/45. Co. C, 23rd Armd. Inf, bn., 7th Armd.

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American Infantrymen trudge through the snow as they march along the edge of a woods near Iveldingen, Belgium, in the drive to recapture St. Vith. (Hq. Co., 2nd Bn., FUSA) 1/20/45. 517th A/B Reg’t., 7th Arm’d. Div.

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American soldiers of the 289th Infantry Regiment march along the snow-covered road on their way to cut off the Saint Vith-Houffalize road in Belgium., 1/24/1945

On the Web:

#MilitaryMonday: Battle of the Bulge at 70 – Newly Digitized Color Photos 

 

The Bloodiest Battle: The Battle of the Bulge Loomed Large 70 Winters Ago (PDF)

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#MilitaryMonday: June 1944 – Invasion of Saipan

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. LCVPs approach the landing beaches on “D-Day,” 15 June 1944, National Archives photograph, 80-G-231821.

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. LCVPs approach the landing beaches on “D-Day,” 15 June 1944, National Archives photograph, 80-G-231821.

On June 15, 1944, following intensive naval gunfire and carrier-based aircraft bombing, the Fifth Fleet’s Task Force 52 lands the Marines on Saipan, which is the first relatively large and heavily defended land mass in the Central Pacific to be assaulted by US amphibious forces. Among the ships firing gun support were battleships USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS California (BB-44). 

The island is secured on July 9.

Inching In (The Beach at Saipan, June 1944) Robert Benney #13 Oil on canvas Gift of Abbott Laboratories 88-159-AR Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection.

Inching In (The Beach at Saipan, June 1944)
Robert Benney #13
Oil on canvas
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-AR
Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection.

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. Marines take cover on the beach while awaiting the arrival of following waves, during the initial assault, 15 June 1944. Note LVT at left. This view is also available from the U.S. Marine Corps as USMC 81716. National Archives photograph, 80-G-234712.

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. Marines take cover on the beach while awaiting the arrival of following waves, during the initial assault, 15 June 1944. Note LVT at left. This view is also available from the U.S. Marine Corps as USMC 81716. National Archives photograph, 80-G-234712.

USS Tennessee (BB-43). Underway in Puget Sound, Washington, on 12 May 1943, after modernization. Note the greatly increased beam that was one element of this work. Tennessee provided gunfire support for the Saipan invasion. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives, 19-N-45071.

USS Tennessee (BB-43). Underway in Puget Sound, Washington, on 12 May 1943, after modernization. Note the greatly increased beam that was one element of this work. Tennessee provided gunfire support for the Saipan invasion. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives, 19-N-45071.

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. 5”/38 guns of a covering Naval ship point toward Mount Tapotchau during landing operations on “D-Day, National Archives photograph, 80-G-231837.

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. 5”/38 guns of a covering Naval ship point toward Mount Tapotchau during landing operations on “D-Day, National Archives photograph, 80-G-231837.

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. USS Lexington (CV-16) SBD Dive Bombers fly over the invasion of fleet off Saipan, on “D-Day.” National Archives Photograph, 80-G-236958.

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. USS Lexington (CV-16) SBD Dive Bombers fly over the invasion of fleet off Saipan, on “D-Day.” National Archives Photograph, 80-G-236958.

USS California (BB-44). Underway at eight knots in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Washington, on 25 January 1944. The ship is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 16-D. USS California provided gunfire support for the Saipan invasion. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-211831.

USS California (BB-44). Underway at eight knots in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Washington, on 25 January 1944. The ship is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 16-D. USS California provided gunfire support for the Saipan invasion. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-211831.

USS Lexington (CV-16). Photographed from USS Cowpens (CVL-25) during raids in the Marshalls and Gilberts Islands, November-December 1943. She is painted in camouflage Measure 21. In June 1944, she participated in the Saipan Invasion. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-102 (Color).

USS Lexington (CV-16). Photographed from USS Cowpens (CVL-25) during raids in the Marshalls and Gilberts Islands, November-December 1943. She is painted in camouflage Measure 21. In June 1944, she participated in the Saipan Invasion. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-102 (Color).

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. USS Lexington (CV-16) SBD Dive Bomber flies over Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, during the “D-Day” landings. Maniagassa Islet is in lower right, National Archives Photograph, 80-G-236951.

Saipan Invasion, 15 June 1944. USS Lexington (CV-16) SBD Dive Bomber flies over Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, during the “D-Day” landings. Maniagassa Islet is in lower right, National Archives Photograph, 80-G-236951.

Crash

Stealing Lincoln’s Body: Two Photos of Lincoln’s Funeral Procession Found

NEW YORK, NY - This quad photograph  is believed to show President Abraham Lincoln's catafalque, as a blur moving down  moving past Grace Episcopal Church on Broadway in New York, N.Y., April 24 or 25, 1865.  There were funeral ceremonies around the country for the slain president.   (Mathew Brady, The National Archives)

NEW YORK, NY – This quad photograph is believed to show President Abraham Lincoln’s catafalque, as a blur moving down moving past Grace Episcopal Church on Broadway in New York, N.Y., April 24 or 25, 1865. There were funeral ceremonies around the country for the slain president.
(Mathew Brady, The National Archives)

In the first photograph,the crowd outside the church seems to be waiting for something to come down the street. Children stand up front so they can see. Women, in the garb of the mid-1800s, shield themselves from the sun with umbrellas. White-gloved soldiers mill around. And a few people have climbed a tree for a better view.

In the second shot, some heads are bowed. Men have taken off their hats. And the blur of a large black object is disappearing along the street to the left of the frame. What the scene depicts, why it was photographed, or where, has been a mystery for decades, experts at theNational Archives say. But a Maryland man has now offered the theory that the two photos are rare, long-forgotten images of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in New York City.

A scan of the first photo above, which appears to show the crowd on Broadway in New York waiting for Lincoln’s hearse to pass. (National Archives/Scanned by Bob Zeller)

A scan of the first photo above, which appears to show the crowd on Broadway in New York waiting for Lincoln’s hearse to pass. (National Archives/Scanned by Bob Zeller)

Paul Taylor, 60, of Columbia, a retired federal government accountant, believes the scene is on Broadway, outside New York’s historic Grace Church.

The day is Tuesday, April 25, 1865, 11 days after Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington.

And the crowd is waiting for, and then seems to be paying homage before, a horse-drawn hearse, whose motion makes it appear as a black blur as it passes by in the second picture.

If Taylor is right, scholars say he has identified rare photos of Lincoln’s marathon funeral rites, as well as images that show mourners honoring the slain chief executive.

Plus, it appears that the photographs were taken from an upper window of the studio of famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, which was across the street from the church.

“It’s a big deal,” said Richard Sloan, an expert on the Lincoln funeral ceremonies in New York. “What makes it even a bigger deal is to be able to study the people. Even though you can’t see faces that well, just studying the people tells a story.”

Sloan added, “It’s as if you’re there, and you can see the mood.”

Many people, including children, are in their Sunday best. A few look up at the camera. Flowers are in bloom. But there is no levity.

Sloan said he is convinced that the pictures show the funeral scenes: “There’s no doubt about it.”

But experts at the Archives caution that although the theory sounds good, there could be other explanations, and no way to prove it conclusively.

The digital photographs were made from some of the thousands of Brady images acquired by the federal government in the 1870s and handed down to the National Archives in the 1940s, according to Nick Natanson, an archivist in the Archives’ still-picture unit.

Next year is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination.

This image provided by Chicago's Abraham Lincoln Book Shop Inc. shows an image made from an August 1863 glass plate negative of President Abraham Lincoln at a portrait studio in Washington. (Associated Press)

This image provided by Chicago’s Abraham Lincoln Book Shop Inc. shows an image made from an August 1863 glass plate negative of President Abraham Lincoln at a portrait studio in Washington. (Associated Press)

The two photos in question, both captioned “scene in front of church,” apparently had gone unnoticed for decades.

“We’ve had many inquiries about many images in the Brady file,” he said. “I can’t remember . . . any inquiries about these two particular images. I don’t think I ever noticed them before.”

But something about them intrigued Taylor when he saw them among the hundreds of Brady photographs posted on an Archives Flickr photo-sharing site in January.

Both were unusual four-image pictures — four shots of the same scene grouped together.

“I was just struck by the scene,” Taylor said. “That is not your normal scene in front of church. There’s just people everywhere: the streets, the sidewalks, the roof. They’re in the trees. This is not your normal Sunday.”

In the second picture, “I saw this black streak,” he said. “When I looked at it closer, I saw what it was. It was a funeral vehicle. . . . I knew it was Lincoln. It had to be. It couldn’t be anybody else.”

Natanson, of the Archives, was skeptical. “It still strikes me as odd that . . . there wouldn’t have been some mention or some hint [in the caption] of the monumental nature of the event,” he said.

There could have been other events, “maybe even other processions, maybe even other funerals” during that time period, he said. “I don’t think its possible to establish this without any doubt.”

But if Taylor is right, it could be an important discovery, Natanson said: “It isn’t as if there are dozens of images of the funeral procession anywhere.”

The funeral observances for Lincoln, who was assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, went on for more than two weeks. During that time, the president’s body was moved by train on a 13-day, 1,600-mile journey from Washington to Springfield, Ill., where he was buried May 4.

Along the way, the train stopped in over a dozen major cities, and his coffin was removed for numerous processions and elaborate tributes.

Washington historian James L. Swanson has called the funeral journey a “death pageant” that was viewed by millions of people and that helped create the image of Lincoln the martyred president.

New York was the fourth major stop on the journey, after Baltimore, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia.

The president’s coffin, with the lid unfortunately open, was placed on view in New York’s City Hall on April 24, according to Swanson’s account. Lincoln had been dead for 10 days, and his face was “not a pleasant sight,” the New York Times reported.

The next day, with the lid closed, the coffin was borne through jammed streets aboard a black hearse decorated with flags and black plumes and drawn by a team of 16 horses shrouded in black. A half-million people lined the route, much of which was along Broadway.

“Thousands and thousands of these lookers on were too young . . . and were doubtless brought in order that in old age they might say they saw the funeral procession of Abraham Lincoln,” the Times wrote the next day.

Taylor said his investigation of the photos began Jan. 4, when he first noticed them. The captions didn’t give him much to go on. The problem was that the original glass negatives probably didn’t have captions on them, said Brady biographer Robert Wilson. And by the time the government acquired the negatives, any caption information that went with them was probably lost.

Taylor turned to the Internet for images of historic churches, to see whether he could find the one in the Brady images. He looked up historic churches in Baltimore. No luck. Then he tried historic churches in New York.

That search brought up Grace Episcopal church, the 168-year gothic edifice on Broadway at Tenth Street.

“I’m looking at it, and that was it,” he said. “I had it.”

He e-mailed his findings to the Archives on March 3.

Taylor, who said he has long been fascinated by historic photographs, said he does not think the images have ever been published before. Bob Zeller, president of the Center for Civil War photography, agreed, but he wrote in an e-mail: “There is always a slim chance that somebody somewhere has recognized and printed [them] in some obscure . . . publication.”

“Either way, it’s incredibly historic, (a) totally fresh piece of our American photo history,” he wrote. “Even if someone materializes, that still means 99.9 percent of us, enthusiasts and historians, have never seen it.”

Crash

Nov 6, 1942: WAVES Report for Shore Duty in the US

WAVE At War, Ships At Night John Falter, Oil on canvas 45-127-N Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection

WAVE At War, Ships At Night
John Falter, Oil on canvas
45-127-N
Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection

On 6 November 1942, during World War II, the first U.S. Navy officer and enlisted WAVES from training schools reported for shore duty at installations around the United States.

Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington. WAVES color guard on parade outside the Station's Administration Building, circa 1944-45. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-14239 (Color).

Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington. WAVES color guard on parade outside the Station’s Administration Building, circa 1944-45. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-14239 (Color).

After a twenty-three-year absence, women returned to general Navy service in early August 1942, when Mildred McAfee was sworn in as a Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander, the first female commissioned officer in U.S. Navy history, and the first Director of the WAVES, or “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service”.

WAVE Bernice Garrott. Marks an aircraft check-off list, while working on the flight line at Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington, 7 July 1943. The plane behind her is a Beech SNB-1 training aircraft. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-207678

WAVE Bernice Garrott. Marks an aircraft check-off list, while working on the flight line at Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington, 7 July 1943. The plane behind her is a Beech SNB-1 training aircraft.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-207678

In the decades since the last of the Yeomen (F) left active duty, only a relatively small corps of Navy Nurses represented their gender in the Naval service, and they had never had formal officer status. Now, the Navy was preparing to accept not just a large number of enlisted women, as it had done during World War I, but female Commissioned Officers to supervise them. It was a development of lasting significance, notwithstanding the WAVES’ name, which indicated that they would only be around during the wartime “Emergency”.

WAVES officer on Duty, WAVE Ensign at lookout station. National Archives photograph, 80-G-40495.

WAVES officer on Duty, WAVE Ensign at lookout station. National Archives photograph, 80-G-40495.

Establishing the WAVES was a lengthy effort. Inter-war changes in the Naval Reserve legislation specifically limited service to men, so new legislation was essential. Though far-sighted individuals in the Navy Department, and especially in the Bureau of Aeronautics, had long known that uniformed women would be a wartime necessity, general service opinion was decidedly negative until the crisis at hand.

WAVES Walking In Front Of the NYC Skyline John Falter Oil on canvas 45-127-M Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection

WAVES Walking In Front Of the NYC Skyline
John Falter
Oil on canvas
45-127-M
Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection

Even then, creative intrigue had to be used to get an authorization through The Congress. President Roosevelt signed it into law on 30 July 1942. The next few months saw the commissioning of Mildred McAfee, and several other prominent female educators and professionals, to guide the new organization.

Yeoman Third Class Marjorie Nicholson of Quincy, Massachusetts on duty at Navy Headquarters, 90 Church St, New York City, 1 January 1943. National Archives photograph, 80-G-27795.

Yeoman Third Class Marjorie Nicholson of Quincy, Massachusetts on duty at Navy Headquarters, 90 Church St, New York City, 1 January 1943. National Archives photograph, 80-G-27795.

Recruiting had to be undertaken (or at least managed, as the number of interested women was vast), training establishments set up, an administrative structure put in place and uniforms designed. The latter effort produced a classic design that still has many elements in use nearly six decades later. Difficulties were overcome with energy and indispensable good humor, and within a year 27,000 women wore the WAVES uniform.

First Post office of its size in the US history entirely staffed by Women, at WAVES Quarters, Washington, D.C., three mail specialists on duty are, left to right, SPN3 Ruth Carter, SPM3 Patricia A. Campbell, and SPM3 Marion C. Eastman, June 1944. National Archives photograph, 80-G-457222.

First Post office of its size in the US history entirely staffed by Women, at WAVES Quarters, Washington, D.C., three mail specialists on duty are, left to right, SPN3 Ruth Carter, SPM3 Patricia A. Campbell, and SPM3 Marion C. Eastman, June 1944. National Archives photograph, 80-G-457222.

These women served in a far wider range of occupations than had the Yeomen (F). While traditionally female secretarial and clerical jobs took an expected large portion, thousands of WAVES performed previously atypical duties in the aviation community, Judge Advocate General Corps, medical professions, communications, intelligence, science and technology. The wartime Navy’s demand for them was intense as it struggled to defeat Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and the Japanese in the Pacific.

“WAVES” Cartographic Specialist, poses with a “T-Square” and Blueprint Chart during World War II. National Archives photograph, 80-G-K-13810 (Color).

“WAVES” Cartographic Specialist, poses with a “T-Square” and Blueprint Chart during World War II. National Archives photograph, 80-G-K-13810 (Color).

At the end of the conflict, there were well over 8,000 female officers and some ten times that many enlisted WAVES, about 2 ½ percent of the Navy’s total strength. In some places WAVES constituted a majority of the uniformed Naval personnel. And many remained in uniform to help get the Navy into, and through, the post-war era.

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