Wednesday, May 29, 2013

This Week in Naval History

30 May 1904: “Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead”

On 30 May 1904, the Marine Detachment from USS Brooklyn (ACR-3) landed at Tangiers, Morocco to protect the American Consulate during the dispute between Raisuli and the Sultan Abdelaziz of Morocco. Ion Perdicaris, a Greek-American, and his son were kidnapped by Raisuli, and he asked for a ransom. President Theodore Roosevelt eventually forced Abdelaziz to pay the ransom with his statement, “Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead!”

31 May 1919: Completion of the Transatlantic Flight NC-4 

File:Curtiss NC-4 four engine configuration-detail.jpg

On 31 May 1919, NC-4 landed at Plymouth, England, concluding the first Trans-Atlantic flight. The NC-4 crew were greeted by the Lord Mayor and citizens upon their arrival.

1 June 1944: Blimp Squadron Fourteen crossed the Atlantic 

On May 31, 1944, blimp K-123 with the first transatlantic mail on board, was the first blimp to take-off from Lagens Field in the Azores on the final leg of the first transatlantic flight by non-rigid airships. Ens. William K. Kaiser, co-pilot, is in the forward lookout position and Ens. Warren H. Ireland, co-pilot, is looking out the starboard window manning the rudder. Behind Ens. Kaiser is Lt.(jg) Homer B. Bly, pilot, on the elevator. Naval Airship Association.

On 1 June 1944, Blimp Squadron Fourteen (ZP-14) Airships, K-123 and K-130, completed the first crossing of the Atlantic by non-rigid-lighter-than-air aircraft. The blimps left Naval Air Station, South Weymouth, MA and arrived at Gibraltar. The journey took 50 hours.

2 Jun 1941: USS Long Island (ACG-1) was commissioned

On 2 June 1941, the first aircraft escort vessel, USS Long Island (ACG-1), was commissioned. In August 1942, she was reclassified as an auxiliary aircraft carrier (AVC 1) and was reclassified as an escort carrier (CVE 1) in July 1943. Following WWII, she participated in Operation "Magic Carpet". Decommissioned in March 1946, she was sold for scrapping in April 1947. However, Long Island was subsequently resurrected to become the civilian passenger ship Nelly. In 1953, she was renamed Seven Seas and later served as a student’s hostel at Rotterdam University until scrapped in 1977 at Belgium.

3 Jun 1949: 1st African-American graduate of the US Naval Academy 

On 3 June 1949, Midshipman Wesley A. Brown became the first African-American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. He became a Civil Engineering Officer, serving in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. After twenty years of service, Brown retired as a Lieutenant Commander. In honor of Wesley A. Brown, the Field House at the US Naval Academy was named in honor in 2006.

4 Jun 1942: Battle of Midway – Part I

On 4 June 1942, the Battle of Midway began. During that morning, after sending planes to attack the U.S. base at Midway, the Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga and Soryu were fatally damaged by dive bombers from USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Yorktown (CV-5). Later in the day, Yorktown was abandoned after bomb and torpedo hits by planes from Hiryu. The latter was, in turn, knocked out by U.S. carrier planes. Compelled by their losses to abandon their plans to capture Midway, the Japanese retired westward. The battle was a decisive win for the U.S, bringing an end to Japanese naval superiority in the Pacific.

4 Jun 1942: Battle of Midway - Part 2

Battle of Midway. After searching in vain for the Japanese fleet and on the point of returning to their carriers, the United States dive-bomber pilots saw the whole Japanese carrier strike force below. The combat air patrol which should have been above the carriers to protect them were at sea level destroying the American torpedo-bombers. The SBD Dauntless dive bombers attacked from 15,000 feet just at the moment when the carriers Akagi, Kaga, and Soryu were enveloped in flames and destroyed.

5 Jun 1794 - 1st U.S. Navy officers appointed under Constitution 

On 5 June 1794, the first officers of the U.S. Navy under the Constitution were appointed. The first six captains appointed to superintend the construction of new ships were: John Barry, Samuel Nicholson, Silas Talbot, Joshua Barney, Richard Dale, and Thomas Truxtun.

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