I hope this note finds you and your families well. I don’t need to reiterate the difficulties of our current crisis across the planet as we are all getting a constant feed on traditional and social media. We have a senior living with us so we are being particularly cautious to follow the CDC guidance and I hope you are doing the same. Our nation and world will come out of this situation by each of us doing our part. I want to give a personal BRAVO ZULU to all on the front lines of this crisis in our medical community. You and your families are TRUE HEROES and we are all benefiting from your great courage in facing COVID-19.
THE NAVY’S FIRST ENLISTED WOMEN: PATRIOTIC PIONEERS Reviewed by Mary S. Bell, PhD.
Women have volunteered to serve during every war or conflict since the U.S. fought for its independence in the 18th century. However, there is little written on women’s roles in winning the nation’s wars relative to the amount written on men’s roles. The contributions of women and other minorities are less understood, but no less important. As an author, it takes a special interest and dedicated research to document the more subtle, yet critical, contributions women made to enable the rise of the U.S. as a hegemonic power in the 20th century.
PAUL NITZE, GRAND STRATEGY, AND THE UNITED STATES NAVY Paul Nitze, SECNAV
Fifteen years ago today (March 5, 2005), the USS Nitze (DDG-94) was commissioned. An Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Nitze has deployed many times in her service history, and was involved in a confrontation with Iranian vessels in August of 2016.
She was named for former Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze – Nitze served in this capacity under President Lyndon Johnson from 1963 to 1967, and for nearly forty years was one of the chief architects of the United States strategy in the Cold War, in addition to serving as Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State and Deputy Secretary of Defense.
The Monterey Chapter of the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) will be celebrating Women’s History Month in March 2020! This year marks the Centennial Celebration of Women’s Suffrage (Ratification of the 19th Amendment). There will be light refreshments served and comments from NPS President, VADM Rondeau and guest speaker Julie Packard. Ms. Packard is Executive Director and Vice Chair of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Board of Trustees. Her biography can be viewed here.
Join NNOA’s CDR Stacey O’Neal at the Battleship IOWA in celebration of Black History Month with special film screening of “Invisible Warriors” and a tour through the museum. This celebration is in partnership with the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA), National Museum of the Surface Navy, and the Port of Los Angeles.
Today’s African American Sailors stand proudly knowing the accomplishments of their predecessors, including the eight black Sailors who earned the Medal of Honor during the Civil War; Dick Henry Turpin, one of the survivors of the explosion…
Of the 3,470 Medals of Honor awarded, 90 have been bestowed to 89 different African-American recipients. Of these 89, 16 have been United States Sailors. While the award criteria for the Medal of Honor has become far more stringent since the awards listed below, nonetheless these men earned the nation’s highest and most prestigious military decoration.
For the first time, we have listed these 16 African-American, Navy Medal of Honor recipients together, each with their award citations and, for some, brief biographies. Unfortunately, little is known about some of these brave men, and for some no photographs or images are known to exist.
On board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, in an engagement with the enemy on John’s Island. Serving the rifle gun, Blake, an escaped slave, carried out his duties bravely throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy’s abandonment of positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind.
Medal of Honor Citation:
On board the U.S.S. Brooklyn during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats and the ram CSS Tennessee (1863) in Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Stationed in the immediate vicinity of the shell whips which were twice cleared of men by bursting shells, Mifflin remained steadfast at his post and performed his duties in the powder division throughout the furious action which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.
Medal of Honor Citation:
Served as seaman on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as loader on the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Pease exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended by the divisional officer for gallantry under fire.
Medal of Honor Citation:
Served on board the U.S.S. Wyandank during a boat expedition up Mattox Creek, March 17, 1885. Participating with a boat crew in the clearing of Mattox Creek, L/man Anderson carried out his duties courageously in the face of a devastating fire which cut away half the oars, pierced the launch in many places and cut the barrel off a musket being fired at the enemy.
Medal of Honor Citation:
Serving on board the U.S.S. Powhatan at Norfolk, 26 December 1872, Noil saved Boatswain J. C. Walton from drowning.
Medal of Honor Citation:
On board the U.S.S. Cushing, 11 February 1898. Showing gallant conduct, Atkins attempted to save the life of the late Ens. Joseph C. Breckenridge, U.S. Navy, who fell overboard at sea from that vessel on this date.
William H. Brown was born in 1836 in Baltimore, Maryland. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy from that state and served as a Landsman on board the screw sloop Brooklyn during the United States Civil War. On 5 August 1864, during the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama, Brown remained steadfast at his post despite enemy shellfire that killed and wounded many of those around him.
Medal of Honor Citation:
On board the U.S.S. Brooklyn during successful attacks against Fort Morgan rebel gunboats and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. Stationed in the immediate vicinity of the shell whips which were twice cleared of men by bursting shells, Brown remained steadfast at his post and performed his duties in the powder division throughout the furious action which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.
Wilson Brown was born in 1841 on Botany Bay Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was a slave at Carthage Plantation. Brown enlisted with the Union Navy along the banks of the Mississippi River in March of 1863 as contraband. His first shipboard station was as a 3rd Class Boy aboard USS Hartford. During the Hartford’s engagement at the Battle of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864, Brown and another landsman, John Lawson, were serving on a shell whip crew. The shell whip is a device that transports ammunition powder from the magazine to the firing deck via man power. A Confederate shell exploded near Brown’s crew during the battle killing four of the six men. Both Brown and another man were knocked below deck. Brown was knocked unconscious and broke several ribs along his left side while the man that fell on him died. Lawson was hit with shrapnel in his leg, but was the first to return to the shell whip. After regaining consciousness, Brown returned to his station and resumed his duties with Lawson. For their actions they were awarded the Medal of Honor. Wilson Brown and John Lawson are two of eight known African-American Navy Medal of Honor recipients during the Civil War [see Lawson’s entry below]. Following his service on the USS Hartford, Wilson Brown would go on to serve aboard USS North Carolina, with the Potomac Flotilla, and was stationed at the Washington Navy Yard before being discharged on 19 May 1865.
Medal of Honor Citation for Wilson Brown, 1864:
On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats and the ram CSS Tennessee (1863) in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. Knocked unconscious into the hold of the ship when an enemy shellburst fatally wounded a man on the ladder above him, Brown, upon regaining consciousness, promptly returned to the shell whip on the berth deck and zealously continued to perform his duties although 4 of the 6 men at this station had been either killed or wounded by the enemy’s terrific fire.
John Lawson was born June 16, 1837. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He enlisted the Navy from New York in December 1863. On August 5, 1864 during the Battle of Mobile Bay, while serving in a member of USS Hartford’s berth deck ammunition party, he was seriously wounded after a shell had wounded him in the leg and killed or wounded the rest of his crew. Despite his wounds, he remained at his post and continued to supply the Hartford ‘s guns. John Lawson was one of twelve men who received the Medal of Honor for heroism that day.
Medal of Honor Citation for John Lawson, 1864:
On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. Wounded in the leg and thrown violently against the side of the ship when an enemy shell killed or wounded the 6-man crew as the shell whipped on the berth deck, Lawson, upon regaining his composure, promptly returned to his station and, although urged to go below for treatment, steadfastly continued his duties throughout the remainder of the action.
Medal of Honor Citation for John Johnson, 1872:
Serving on board the U.S.S. Adams at the Navy Yard, Mare Island, Calif., 14 November 1879, Johnson rescued Daniel W. Kloppen, a workman, from drowning.
Medal of Honor Citation for William Johnson, 1884:
Johnson displayed great coolness and self-possession at the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned and, by extraordinary heroism and personal exertion, prevented greater loss of life.
Medal of Honor Citation for John Smith, 1884:
For jumping overboard from the U.S.S. Shenandoah, at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 September 1880, and rescuing from drowning James Grady, first class fireman.
Above/Left: This reproduction shows John Davis preventing a powder explosion aboard USS Valley City by covering an open powder cask with his body to protect it from nearby flames, during the attack on Confederates at Elizabeth City, North Carolina on 10 February 1862. Davis received the Medal of Honor for this courageous act. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.
Medal of Honor Citation John Davis, 1884:
Served on board the U.S.S. Valley City during action against rebel fort batteries and ships off Elizabeth City, N.C., on 10 February 1862. When a shell from the shore penetrated the side and passed through the magazine, exploding outside the screen on the birth deck, several powder division protection bulkheads were torn to pieces and the forward part of the berth deck set on fire. Showing great presence of mind, Davis courageously covered a barrel of powder with his own body and prevented an explosion, while at the same time passing powder to provide the division on the upper deck while under fierce enemy fire.
Robert Augustus Sweeny was the only African-American sailor to receive two separate Medal of Honor citations.
1st Medal of Honor Citation for Robert Augustus Sweeney, 1881:
Serving on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge, at Hampton Roads, Va., 26 October 1881, Sweeney jumped overboard and assisted in saving from drowning a shipmate who had fallen overboard into a strongly running tide.
2nd Medal of Honor Citation for Robert Augustus Sweeney, 1883:
Serving on board the U.S.S. Jamestown, at the Navy Yard New York, 20 December 1883, Sweeney rescued from drowning A. A. George, who had fallen overboard from that vessel
Above/Right: Robert Penn’s heroism in a fireroom accident on board USS Iowa (Battleship # 4) on 20 July 1898, during the Spanish-American War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions in that incident. Copied from Deeds of Valor, Volume II, page 405, published in 1907 by the Perrien-Keydel Co., Detroit, Michigan.
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph
Medal of honor Citation for Robert Penn, 1898:
On board the U.S.S. Iowa off Santiago de Cuba, 20 July 1898. Performing his duty at the risk of serious scalding at the time of the blowing out of the manhole gasket on board the vessel, Penn hauled the fire while standing on a board thrown across a coal bucket 1 foot above the boiling water which was still blowing from the boiler.
On March 31, 1901, Seaman Alphonse Girandy was serving on board the USS Petrel in Manila Bay when a fire ignited, eventually taking the life of the ship’s captain. As the fire burned, Girandy fearlessly entered the lower deck of the ship and managed to pull four shipmates to safety. For his actions, Girandy, a Philadelphia citizen, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
This video provides interesting discussion from our Acting Secretary of the Navy, Chief Information Officer and Chief Learning Officer. It provides insightful career initiatives and discussion topics, such as Education for Seapower, Information Management, Naval Integration, and current reform efforts.