Archive for the 'History' Category
Polar exploration has been a hallmark of the U.S. Navy’s many accomplishments. Tales of bravery during legendary polar exploration missions have captivated the American people for nearly two hundred years. Today we look at a monument to one of those early polar expeditions, and at the same time examine the timeline of the polar exploration mission set that the Navy has been engaged in almost continuously since 1839.
The Assets, an eight-part ABC miniseries event based on Circle of Treason will premiere on January 2, 2014 at 10|9 c. The series is based on Circle of Treason and will look inside the true, personal stories of the conclusion of the Cold War as told by the keepers of the nation’s secrets: the CIA. The series is produced for ABC by Lincoln Square Productions. Morgan Hertzan, Rudy Bednar, and Andrew Chapman are executive producers for the series.
From May through December 1985 the CIA experienced the unparalleled loss of its stable of Soviet assets. There was no indication of the impending disaster, which all but wiped out human source reporting on the Soviet Union. Whatever the nature of the problem, something was seriously wrong. Circle of Treason is the story of Sandra Grimes’ and Jeanne Vertefeuille’s personal involvement in the CIA’s effort to identify the reason for the losses and to protect future Soviet assets from a similar fate of execution or imprisonment. In 1991 the quest led to their hunt for a Soviet spy in the CIA and to their identification of the “mole” as case officer Aldrich “Rick” Ames, a long-time acquaintance and coworker in the Soviet-East European Division and Counterintelligence Center of CIA. That identification allowed the FBI to take the necessary law enforcement steps that led to Ames’ arrest in February 1994 and, two months later, a conviction and life sentence. One of the most destructive traitors in American history, Ames provided information to the Soviet Union that led to the deaths of at least eight Soviet intelligence officers who spied for the United States.
Not only is this the first book to be written by two of the CIA principals involved in identifying Ames as the mole, but it is also the first to provide details of the operational contact with the agents Ames betrayed, as well as similar cases with which the authors also had personal involvement—a total of sixteen operational histories in all. Of particular note is GRU General Dmitriy Fedorovich Polyakov, the highest-ranking spy run by the U.S. government during the Cold War. Described as the “Crown Jewel,” Polyakov provided the United States with a trove of information during his twenty-plus-year history of cooperation. The book also covers the aftermath of Ames’ arrest, including the congressional wrath for not identifying him sooner, the FBI/CIA debriefings following Ames’ plea bargain, and a retrospective of Ames the person and Ames the spy. Now retired from the CIA, Grimes and Vertefeuille are finally able to tell this inside story of the CIA’s most notorious traitor and the men he betrayed.
The Civil War ended, and when it did, the Navy returned to its roots of exploration and expansion, particularly in Asia. And, where Navy ships sailed, so did Marines. When sailors went into combat on land, Marines often led the charge. Our object today is a Medal of Honor awarded to a Marine during the little-known Corean Incident of 1871.
Today’s object helps us understand how the disciplinary and military justice system of the Navy has developed from the middle part of the 19th century until now. JAG and NCIS are not just TV shows – they are important parts of the naval justice system. The institution of formalized disciplinary codes and personnel began during this time, in addition to all of the other developments that we have already discussed in previous episodes. Although flogging is long gone in the Navy today, we go back and take a look at early navy punishments, and see how they compare with the Navy today.
The Navy evolved in all aspects from the War of 1812 to the Civil War. However, something often overlooked is how the personnel structure evolved and became standardized. The development of standard uniforms and insignia is one small way to look at this process, and today’s object, a pair of officer’s epaulettes, belonged to the Father of American Naval Gunnery, John Dahlgren.
Early submarines are often associated with Jules Verne’s famous book, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. However, in the American Navy submarines had been in development for nearly a century prior to Verne’s writing. In fact, it was early American submarine designs that served as a guide for Verne’s book. Today, we take a look at the birth of the submarine in the U.S. Navy, and we do this through the lens of the actual pay documents issued by the State of Connecticut to the designer of the first American submarine during the Revolutionary War.
The Civil War split the country, and the Navy, into two. The Union and Confederate navies adapted to the conflict differently. Today we look specifically at how the Confederate Navy turned to commerce warfare and innovation to try to survive. Many of the key technologies essential to modern navies saw their first use in the Civil War, including the iron-clad warship, the submarine, and the torpedo boat. We look at all of this using today’s object, a small wooden letter opener made from the wood of the CSS Shenandoah.
The Navy underwent significant change in the years following the War of 1812. We have already discussed some of the significant technological innovations that came about during that period, so today we look at some of the results of those changes. New technologies created some new problems, and we address one of those problems today. Additionally, we think about how the fundamentals of naval warfare were changed by the steamship.
The 4th of July is one of the most loved and inspiring days of the year in the United States. However, in the early stages of the War of 1812, patriotism proved difficult, and inspiration was in scarce supply. USS Constitution’s victory over HMS Guerriere helped coalesce and inspire the American citizens to fight against the British.
The Navy has always been a model of innovation, but this has not always been easy. Faced with a problem of a power source (wind) that was inconsistent, naval leaders and scientists set out to see if they could solve this problem. They did, and the first Naval steamship was produced. Today, the Navy is faced with another problem: how to operate independently without dependence on external sources of fuel. Today’s object helps tie these two issues together.
- DEF[x] Annapolis: Encourage the Innovators
- A History of the Navy in 100 Objects #48: Models of HMS St. George (1701) and USS Missouri (1944)
- Engineering and the Humanities: The View from Patna’s Bridge…
- A History of the Navy in 100 Objects #47: British Dockyard Models
- A History of the Navy in 100 Objects #46: WWII Japanese Radio Headset