In the early part of 1942 – not long after the United States entered World War II on the side of the Allies -- the Kaiser Shipbuilding Company established an emergency shipyard along the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington, to construct vessels for the global fight against the Axis powers. The Vancouver Shipyard started out... Continue Reading →

April 25, 1960 A global circumnavigation milestone took place when the U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton (SSRN-586) completed the first submerged voyage around the world. The U.S. Navy’s code name for this pioneering circumnavigation was Operation Sandblast. Triton, which had been commissioned the previous November and was under the command of Captain Edward L. “Ned” Beach,... Continue Reading →

April 18, 1917 Less than two weeks after the United States entered World War I on the side of the Allied Powers, a private motorboat designated as Patrol No. 4 was commissioned for service in the U.S. Navy. This vessel was owned by a Virginia resident named Guy Norman and, three days after her commissioning,... Continue Reading →

March 7, 1889 Pioneering naval aviator Godfrey de Courcelles Chevalier was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1910 and then embarked on a comparatively short-lived but significant aviation career.  Chevalier, who would be described in one news account as “one of the navy’s most daring aviators,” took to the... Continue Reading →

February 28, 1900 The U.S. Navy vessel USS Dart (YFB-308) was launched at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard (MINSY) at the waterfront city of Vallejo, California. MINSY, which is located 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, had been built during the 1850s and was the first U.S. Navy base established on the Pacific... Continue Reading →

December 16, 1944 The transport ship USS Queens (APA-103), which had been named after one of New York City’s five boroughs, was commissioned for service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Captain John J. Mockrish of the U.S. Navy Reserve became the first commanding officer of this vessel. After a period of testing... Continue Reading →

During World War II, Thomas “Tom” Oxendine became the first Native American to be commissioned as a pilot in the U.S. Navy. Oxendine was a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Most of the members of this tribe have lived in Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke, and Scotland counties in North Carolina. Oxendine was born... Continue Reading →

Approximately 12,000 Native Americans served in the U.S. military during World War I. These servicemen, according to records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, included more than 2,000 who were in the U.S. Navy. One of those Navy sailors was Joseph Lewey (sometimes spelled as Lewy), a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Maine. He... Continue Reading →

September 7, 1918 USS Falcon (AM-28), the third U.S. Navy vessel bearing that name, was launched at the yard of the shipbuilding firm collectively known at the time as the Gas Engine & Power Company and Charles L. Seabury Company. (That shipbuilding firm had been formed by the merger of the Gas Engine & Power... Continue Reading →

August 3, 1921 The one-time German ship SS George Washington embarked on her first voyage as an American ocean liner. This reconditioned ship left Hoboken, New Jersey, just before two o’clock in the afternoon for European destinations that included Plymouth, England; Cherbourg, France; and Bremen, Germany. That transatlantic trip took place a little over two-and-a-half years after... Continue Reading →

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