Friday, May 17, 2013


Diego Azubel/European
Pressphoto Agency



The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. 
Today, the U.S. Navy has the distinction of being the world’s premier naval power. Complete with the big ships that one would most commonly associate with it. But to really understand why there’s a need for a sea-based military organization in this day and age, just consider that:
  • 70% of the earth is covered in water
  • 80% of the planet’s population lives within close proximity to coastal areas
  • 90% of global commerce is conducted by sea
Any way you look at it, supremacy on the waterways of the world will always be critical. And whether it’s by way of oceans, canals, rivers or littoral areas, there remains a great need for the Navy to be out there:
  • Serving as a guardian for America’s freedom and defending the life we know
  • Supporting the cause of liberty abroad and promoting peace for all humanity
  • Enabling the safe travel of people and goods to meet the expanding demands of globalization
America’s Navy is a force as relevant today as it’s been historically significant for the last 237 years. The times may change. The threats may become more obscure. The complex nature of 21st century life may make the demand for such a presence less obvious. But now more than ever, the Navy is something to be aware of. Something to be thankful for. Something to be proud of.

*  Special thanks to "Google Images", "Wikipedia", "The Los Angeles Times", "The New York Times", the US Department of Defense and the US Navy for their help in the preparation of this article  We would like to also thank all of the web sites listed in the photo credits for their contributions..

by Felicity Blaze Noodleman

If you have been a reader of ours for any time now you might suspect that I have a "voyeuristic bone" by all of the vintage photos and stories we have posted in the past.  I love to search through "Google Images"  looking for pictures of yester-year.  This weeks article is another example of my fascination in this area.

Some of the most famous quotes out of American history have been uttered by naval officers.  Quotes like “I have not yet begun to fight” by Captain John Paul Jones and "I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way.”  Who can forget the famous cry of Captain James Lawrence “Don’t give up the ship” and the colorful command of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”.  History seems to come alive with the words of men who rose to meet the challenges of democracy.

Today’s United States Navy was commissioned by an act of Congress in 1794 by passing the Naval Act to protect American shipping from pirates who were plundering these unprotected vessels in the Barbary Coast region of the Mediterranean Sea.  

Six Naval frigates would grow to become the biggest naval force the world has ever seen.  An earlier Navy existed during the American Revolution and was active from 1775 until it was disbanded in 1790 consisting of seven ships commissioned by General George Washington to interdict British supply ships.  The Colony of Massachusetts already had an active Navy.

This week’s article will take a pictorial voyage through the US Navy’s 200 plus years of history and view some of the more famous ships which have helped make the United States the most powerful in the world throughout the twentieth century until today.  We will view the evolution of these frigates as they developed their distinctive silhouettes and designs up through some of today’s most modern naval ships.

I’m by no means any kind of authority on the subject and can only hope to glance the surface of the subject but we will see a distinctive pattern emerge as we “Google our way through the subject.  From the first wind driven sailing ships through the early steam engine designs up to the ships of today.


 FILE - In this July 21, 1997 file photo, the Blue Angels fly in formation over the USS Constitution as she free sails off the coast of Marblehead, Mass., in celebration of her 200th birthday. The frigate, nicknamed "Old Ironsides," had not sailed on her own for more than 116 years. On Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012, the ship is scheduled to again raise sails on a cruise to mark the day two centuries ago when the Constitution bested the British frigate HMS Guerriere in a fierce battle during War of 1812. 
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The first was named Alfred, in honor of the greatest Navy that ever existed; the second, Columbus, after the discoverer of this quarter of the globe; the third, Cortez, after the discoverer of the northern part of the continent; the fourth, Andrew Doria, in honor of the great Genoese admiral; and the fifth, Providence, the name of the town where she was purchased and the residence of Governor Hopkins and his brother Esek, whom we appointed the first captain

This quote comes from John Adams in his role as a member of the Continental Congress. In it, he delineates the first five vessels of the Continental Navy. Upon those vessels, of course, discipline was not an option but Congress was keen to ensure that the potentially out of control discipline that reigned in the Royal Navy of the day did not trickle down to the newly established fleet of the United Colonies of North America. To that end, a written set of Rules and Regulations were approved and enacted on November 28, 1775. 

The first military submarine was the Turtle (1775), a hand-powered acorn-shaped device designed by the American David Bushnell to accommodate a single person. It was the first verified submarine capable of independent underwater operation and movement, and the first to use screws for propulsion. During the American Revolutionary War, Turtle (operated by Sgt. Ezra Lee, Continental Army) tried and failed to sink the British warship HMS Eagle, flagship of the blockaders in New York harbor on September 7, 1776.  (Wikipedia)

Nautilus - A cross-section of Fulton's 1806 submarine design.  The Nautilus was designed between 1793 and 1797 by the American inventor Robert Fulton, then living in the French First Republic. He proposed to the Directory that they subsidize its construction as a means to balance British seapower, but he was turned down. His second proposal to them was that he be paid nothing until the Nautilus had sunk British shipping, and then only a small percentage of the prize money. Again, the design was rejected. Fulton directed his next proposal to the Minister of Marine, who finally granted him permission to build.  (Wikipedia)

Demologos - was the first warship to be propelled by a steam engine. She was a wooden floating battery built to defend New York Harbor from the Royal Navy during the War of 1812. The vessel was designed to a unique pattern by Robert Fulton, and was renamed Fulton after his death. Because of the prompt end of the war, Demologos never saw action, and no other ship like her was built.  (Wikipedia)

USS Monitor, designed by the Swedish-born engineer and inventor John Ericsson, was the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She is most famous for her participation in the Battle of Hampton Roads on 9 March 1862, where the Monitor fought with the Confederate casemate ironclad CSS Virginia (the former steam frigate USS Merrimack). This was the first-ever battle fought between two ironclads.


USS Carondelet, a 512-ton Cairo class ironclad river gunboat, was built at Saint Louis, Missouri, for the U.S. Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla. Commissioned in January 1862 with Commander Henry A. Walke , USN, as her captain, Carondelet quickly entered combat, taking part in the captures of Forts Henry and Donelson, Tennessee, in February 1862. In March and April, she played an important role in the campaign to capture the Confederate fortress at Island Number Ten, on the Mississippi River. This was followed by operations against Fort Pillow and Memphis, Tennessee, during April-June 1862.

The USS Red Rover, the first hospital ship of the U. S. Navy, was commissioned on December 26th, 1862, after a year of service in the Army during the Civil War.  An article in the November 1968 issue of Proceedings, written by W. T. Adams, commemorates the Red Rover’s brief but successful career, which ended in 1865.  Not only was the Red Rover the first ship of her kind, but she also served a variety of capacities for the Union forces during the War, far beyond the demands of an ordinary hospital ship.


In March 1862, the U.S. Army authorized the noted civil engineer Charles Ellet, Jr., to establish a flotilla of steam rams for employment on the Western Rivers. Ellet converted several powerful river towboats, heavily reinforcing their hulls for ramming. These ships had light protection for their boilers and upperworks, but were originally given no artillery. With the rank of Colonel, Ellet led his force in action during the Battle of Memphis on 6 June 1862, where rams played an important role in the Union victory against the Confederate River Defense Fleet. However, Colonel Ellet died several days later of a wound received at that action.

From 1877 through the beginning of WWII, the U.S. Navy was run from offices in the State, War & Navy Building in Washington. Designed by Treasury Supervising Architect Alfred B. Mullett, it was erected between 1871 and 1888. With its exuberant façade of granite, slate and cast iron, it is considered one of the finest examples of French Second Empire architecture in the United States, and was one of the largest office buildings in the country when built. Sited next to the White House, and still in use, it is now known as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.   (Wikipedia)


The First U.S. Armored Cruisers.

The USS Brooklyn and New York (more distant) on maneuvers, seen in a dramatic period "chromo." These two were the original armored cruisers in the U.S. Navy, ships that were similar, yet had striking stylistic and technological differences. Both vessels were imortant players in the Spanish-American War of 1898, particularly the Brooklyn.



USS George Washington (ID # 3018)

Sep. 16, 1917 - The first American killed in action during World War I was Gunner's Mate First Class Osmond K. Ingram. He was serving aboard the destroyer USS Cassin (DD 43) when he was blown overboard by a German torpedo. For his heroic deeds, Ingram was later awarded the Medal of Honor and became the first enlisted man to have a ship named after him.

   USS Leviathan - 1918  Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I and to a lesser extent in World War II. Credited to artist Norman Wilkinson, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other.  Unlike some other forms of camouflage, dazzle works not by offering concealment but by making it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that dazzle was intended more to mislead the enemy as to the correct position to take up than actually to miss his shot when firing. 

World War I-vintage O Class Submarines, eight of which had been reactivated from the Reserve Fleet for training duties prior to WWII.


Pearl Harbor Attack.  Above photo - wreckage of USS West Virginia; sailors in a motor launch rescue a survivor from the water alongside the sunken USS West Virginia (BB-48) during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor.  USS Tennessee (BB-43) is inboard of the sunken battleship.
Note extensive distortion of West Virginia's lower midships superstructure, caused by torpedoes that exploded below that location.  Also note 5"/25 gun, still partially covered with canvas, boat crane swung outboard and empty boat cradles near the smokestacks, and base of radar antenna atop West Virginia's foremast.  

A surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). From the standpoint of the defenders, the attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. Two of these were later raised, and with the remaining four repaired, six battleships returned to service later in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building.

The attack on Pearl harbor is probably one of the worst defeats in Naval history.  It ranks with the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 by the English.  Story's and speculation point toward US Military Intelligence having sound foreknowledge of the coming attack.  It has been rumored that President Roosevelt wanted a sound reason for entering the US into WWII and would use Pearl Harbor to do so.  Other evidence would seem to substantiate this point of view.


Photographs of battleship USS Pennsylvania.

USS Massachusetts, a 45000 ton battleship of WWII. She was armed with the largest guns ever used by the US Navy, 16 inch naval rifles, which fired a 2000 pound warhead over 25 miles. Here she is depicted shelling a military target at Kamaishi, Japan, on 9 Aug 1945. This was the last bombardment of a US Navy battleship in WWII, so I have named this piece "Final Bombardment." The work is 36 x 24 inches, acrylic on canvas.

Launched in 1942, the Iowa was a favorite of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It carried him across the Atlantic en route to the 1943 Tehran conference with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin. Its bathtub — a rare amenity in a U.S. warship — was installed, along with an elevator, specifically for FDR.

In its heyday, the Iowa’s huge guns could hurl 2,700-pound shells, reaching enemy ships and troops more than 24 miles away. In World War II it fought in the Marshall Islands and off the Philippines. It battered the Japanese island of Hokkaido and was among the Allied ships in Tokyo Bay for Japan’s surrender. Placed into reserve after the war, it was called back into service for the Korean War and became known as “the gray ghost of the Korean coast.” In eight months, its 16-inch guns lobbed 4,000 shells
twice as many as in World War II.

USS Essex - USS Essex (CV/CVA/CVS-9) was an aircraft carrier, the lead ship of the 24-ship Essex class built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in December 1942, Essex participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning the Presidential Unit Citation and 13 battle stars. Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an antisubmarine aircraft carrier (CVS). In her second career she served mainly in the Atlantic, playing a role in the Cuban missile crisis. She also participated in the Korean War, earning four battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation. She was the primary recovery carrier for the Apollo 7 space mission.  (Wikipedia)

USS Grayback (SS-208), a Tambor-class submarine; she was launched on 31 January 1941.  

Vintage WWII Submarines


  DDG 60 into Pearl.  The USA’s DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are the core of the modern US Navy, with 51 ships of class afloat and serving, and 63 ships total contemplated. They are built by General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works, and Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Ingalls shipyard.

Atlantic Ocean, 10 March 2006 -- U.S. Navy F-14D Super Tomcat fighter jets staged for launch aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (Photographed by U.S. Navy Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Chris Thamann)

Aircraft Carriers are also known as “Amphibious Assault Ships” and here we see six of the biggest and baldest boys on the oceans of our planet!  (Wikipedia Photo)

New Mexico takes pride in the newest addition to the Navy's submarine fleet, SSN 779! a Virginia-class submarine, is the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 47th state. The contract to build her was awarded to Northrop Grumman Newport News in Newport News, Virginia on 14 August 2003. She is the Navy's sixth Virginia-class submarine, has one million parts and 140 shipboard systems.


 The Navy’s first littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam March 11. The ship was specially created to be able to maneuver in areas of water difficult for many larger Navy ships. The littoral zone refers to the part of a sea, lake or river that is close to the shore.



The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the U.S. Department of Defense rather than the building itself.  It is the headquarters for all branches of the US Military. 

This Blog article only begins to give us a glimpse some of the more notable ships in Naval annals.  The expense involved with updating the Naval forces is costly and must be attempted because the United States is in competition with every other country in the world.  This is also true for the other four US forces; Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.  This was a hard learned lesson from WWII when Germany and Japan became in control of superior military forces to the United States.

There are many web sites devoted to military history and information by all sorts of interested parties.  Some are official and some are simply military enthusiasts and X service veterans.  They all have one thing in common - to tell the story of the US Military Services in a free Democracy.  The Noodleman Group thanks them all for their efforts.  This has been Felicity Blaze Noodleman for the Noodleman Group.

China Suggests That U.S., Projecting
Power, Is Stirring Asia-Pacific Tensions

Published: April 16, 2013

"The New York Times"

China Us Naval Drills Rimpac
 In this photo taken Nov. 16, 2012 and released by the US Navy, twenty six ships from the Navy and the 
Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, including the USS George Washington, bottom right, steam
together in the East China Sea after the conclusion of "Keen Sword", a biennial naval exercise by the two 
countries to respond to a crises in the Asia-Pacific region.  (AP Photo - Huffington Post / US Navy credit, Chief Mass Specialist - Jennifer A. Villalovos)

HAIKOU, China — China published a national defense paper on Tuesday suggesting that the United States was creating tensions in the Asia-Pacific region by strengthening its military presence and reinforcing its alliances there. The paper, released by the Ministry of Defense, did not declare that the United States was responsible, but the message was clear. 

A paper released by China also discussed the size and makeup of the country’s armed forces.
Strongly alluding to the Obama administration’s policy to “pivot” toward a greater focus on the Asia-Pacific region, the paper said, “Some country has strengthened its Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanded its military presence in the region, and frequently makes the situation tenser.” Thus, China has an “arduous task to safeguard its national unification, territorial integrity and development interests.”

Presented at a news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, the paper has mostly a symbolic significance, defense analysts say. It is useful as a way of understanding the way the Communist Party thinks defense issues should be presented to the public, they say. But it is scarcely looked at by China’s military officers.

Over all, the paper suggested that China should be satisfied with its strategic position and offered a congratulatory note, saying that China “has seized and made the most of this important period of strategic opportunities for its development, and its modernization achievements have captured world attention.” In particular, it singled out a better situation with Taiwan, saying, “Cross-straits relations are sustaining a momentum of peaceful development.”

In an indication that the defense paper reflects a softer tone than the more dominant and nationalistic strand in the Chinese military, the official People’s Liberation Army Daily said in a commentary on Tuesday that the West was trying to contain China, and that this must be resisted.

“Currently, the world situation is undergoing its most profound and complex changes since the end of the cold war,” said the commentary, one in a series that seized on a speech on military matters last month by President Xi Jinping. “Hostile Western forces have stepped up their strategy of imposing Westernization on our country and splitting it up, and they are doing their utmost to fence in and contain our country’s development.”

This year’s paper was released after Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Beijing last weekend, his first to China in his new job as America’s top diplomat. That visit was generally friendly but did not result in any changes in China’s policies, most notably its support for North Korea.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, arrives in Beijing early next week on a four-day visit that the Obama administration hopes will yield progress on its goal of better understanding, or at least more communication, between the American and Chinese militaries.

The 40-page document, the first of its kind since 2011, gave some details of the size and makeup of China’s armed forces, in what state media called a demonstration of greater transparency.

The People’s Liberation Army ground force, always known to be by far the biggest service, has 850,000 troops in its mobile operational units, the navy numbers 235,000 service members, and the air force 398,000, the paper said. But the paper appeared to omit some forces from its count, including other ground force units, and the Second Artillery Corps, which controls China’s ballistic missiles.

The Chinese defense white paper for 2006 said that at the end of 2005, the Chinese military had a total of 2.3 million members. It was not explained in the new white paper if the new count of 1.48 million reflected a real reduction in total members.

Dennis J. Blasko, a former United States defense attaché at the American Embassy in Beijing, said the number of navy service members listed in the paper was lower than he and others had estimated. It was generally thought that the navy had 255,000 to 290,000 members, depending on the source, he said. And the number for the air force was higher than previous estimates of 300,000 to 330,000, he said. He also pointed out that the People’s Armed Police was not included in the tallies; those officers belong to a different chain of command.

The paper contained little information of importance to knowledgeable readers, said Mr. Blasko, the author of “The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century.”

In outlining the number of members in each of the military services, the military hierarchy may be seeking to present the People’s Liberation Army as a more open organization, said Scott W. Harold, an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation who specializes in China’s military affairs.

“Alternatively, it is possible that the decision to put out these figures is a part of a move by President Xi Jinping, who is chairman of the Central Military Commission, and his allies to stimulate pressures to restructure the P.L.A.’s asset allocation,” Mr. Harold said. The release of the figures may be connected with Mr. Xi’s call for the military to improve its capacity to fight and win wars, he said.

Jane Perlez reported from Haikou, and Chris Buckley from Hong Kong. 

"The New York Times"

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