Dear Naval Historical Foundation Family,

Welcome back to Thursday Tidings.

First, we want to thank Matt Eng for compiling these weekly missives for the past six months. With growing other work commitments, he has reluctantly asked to step aside his history compilation duties and we thank him profusely for taking the baton from Tyler Robinson and running at full sprint since February, providing our readers great content. Of course some of Matt’s most memorable earlier work has included postings on the relationship between Navy and Baseball and of course his study titled “Don’t Wash That Coffee Mug.”

Rising to the challenge to provide your weekly Thursday Tidings is Jessie Henderson, a recent graduate of Bradley Central High School, Cleveland, Tenn. She has participated in National History Day competitions since middle school where she found a supportive teacher, Mrs. Julie Mitchell, to assist her with her Navy history projects. During her sophomore year at Bradley Central High School, she earned the NHF Ken Coskey Prize for Naval History at the senior level for her profile on Capt. Rosemary Mariner, and last year she won the prize again with her history of the Aerographer’s Mate rating. This year she took the bronze medal for the best project overall nationally with her documentary titled “More Than Potatoes: Debate and Diplomacy in the Mission of the USS Jamestown.” To view see:

Jessie will be starting her freshman year at Lee University in her hometown and will attempt a dual major in history and in digital content development. We hope this part-time gig will help her succeed in the classroom. Welcome aboard!

Again, we draw attention to our upcoming Second Saturday webinar which due to vacation conflicts will be on the THIRD Saturday of this month. I will be talking with Craig Symonds on his recent book Nimitz at War. I am halfway through it and as someone who already knew much about Fleet Admiral Nimitz and the war in the Pacific, I am harvesting a crop of new insights about the man and the conflict.

We also draw attention to our upcoming Knox luncheon honoring historians Dr. Donald Bittner and Dr. Norman Friedman. We are pleased to announce Dr. Alan Millett will offer introductory remarks about Dr. Bittner and Vice Adm. Peter Daly will introduce Dr. Friedman.

The big news this week occurred on Monday with the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Naval History and Heritage Command’s new curator/archival facility here on the Navy Yard. For our members who come here to conduct research, be prepared for a much more receptive environment!

We offer two more book reviews for your consideration and finally we mourn the loss of another friend and advocate of naval history – and a man who made history as the captain of the Samuel B. Roberts: Paul X. Rinn.

Rear Adm. Sonny Masso, USN (Ret.)

Executive Director

As always, fair winds and following seas shipmates. This email is best viewed as a webpage for your reading convenience and best quality.

{View as Webpage}

Mourning the Loss of Captain Paul X. Rinn USN (Ret.)

Captain Rinn following his talk about Operation Ernest Will and the Samuel B. Roberts to Dr. Winkler's Middle East Operation course at the USNA in 2019. 

The Naval Historical Foundation mourns the loss of Capt. Paul X. Rinn, an individual who

embraced history as Surface Warfare Officer, a factor that likely contributed to the survival of his ship – the guided missile frigate Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) – when she hit an Iranian-laid mine on April 14, 1988 in the Persian Gulf. Captain Rinn’s embracing the heritage of the previous two ships to carry the Samuel B. Roberts name was eloquently told in Bradley Peniston’s No Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf (Naval Institute Press 2006).


NHHC Debuts New Naval History and Research Center

Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to showcase its newest conservation and preservation site August 8 at the Washington Navy Yard. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, who attended the ground-breaking ceremony two years ago, spoke at the event for the new Naval History and Research Center (NHRC).“History shows that the Navy that adapted better, learned faster and improved faster gained warfighting advantages over the long haul,” said Gilday. “Stories of the past help us heed the warnings of history while helping us to reflect on and sustain our legacy as the world’s premier maritime force.”Gilday explained, “This building and the stories and artifacts within will preserve the experiences and lessons of the past; use the Navy’s legacy of valor and sacrifice to inspire current and future generations of Sailors; and let those who serve today know that their sacrifice will always be remembered, honored, and valued.” The new site, made up of two former ordnance factories and warehouses, has now been refurbished into a single state-of-the-art, 2-floor structure that maintains the building's national historic district status.


Our Next Second Saturday 

(Taking place on the third Saturday this month)

Nimitz at War: Command Leadership From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

20 August 2022 | 11 am

Please join us for a discussion with NHF Knox Medal recipient Dr. Craig Symonds as he discusses many of the outstanding leadership qualities that made him the right man to lead the American naval effort across the Central Pacific. Registration details will be available soon.

The event will occur LIVE on our YouTube page on the morning of 20 August 2022. 




Commodore Dudley W. Knox Honors --- Donald Bittner and Norman Friedman! 

Thursday, August 25 2022 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM [EDT]

1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA, 22202, United States



Watch the Recap

The Balisle Report

Surface Ship Readiness--Why It Was Chartered, What It Said, What Was Done, Is It Still Relevant?

Did you miss our latest Second Saturday on the Balisle Report and Surface Ship Readiness? You can watch the full program on our YouTube page by following the link HERE. This event featured VADM Peter Daly, VADM Phil Balisle, and RADM Brad Hicks.

United States Invasion on Guadalcanal

Above: A U.S. Marine Corps M2A4 Stuart light tank is hoisted from USS Alchiba (AK-23) into a LCM(2) landing craft, off the Guadalcanal invasion beaches on the first day of landings there, 7 August 1942. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

August 7 marked 80 years since the United States 1st Marine Division invaded Guadalcanal Island, marking the first U.S. offensive in the second World War. Operation Watchtower, as the invasion was codenamed, was the U.S. attack on five of the Solomon Islands in the Pacific, including Guadalcanal where the Japanese were constructing an airfield. Taking the Japanese by surprise, the U.S. troops quickly took the airfield, but the Japanese pushed back, bringing in reinforcements. 

The U. S. Navy was able to provide much needed support to the invading forces, as the Japanese were fighting back with both sea and air defenses. The fighting continued until February 1943, when a secret order was given by the Japanese emperor for a full retreat. 

Total, the United States lost almost 1,600 ground forces and another 4,700 were wounded. The Japanese lost around 14,800 in action with another 9,000 dying of wounds. 

The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

By Curtis Utz, Nicholas Roland and Guy Nasuti, Historians, Naval History and Heritage Command

The naval battles off Guadalcanal in 1942 were part of the first major U.S. amphibious offensive in the Pacific. Although the U.S. Navy’s performance in the campaign was mixed, the fighting at Guadalcanal resulted in the seizure of the strategic initiative from Japan. The Navy’s ability to rapidly adapt to unanticipated tactical and technological problems was crucial to the ultimate success of the campaign and set the stage for the ultimate defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).

Following the victory at Midway in early June 1942, Admiral Ernest J. King, CNO and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet, ordered the seizure of the Solomon Islands, which led to numerous naval actions off Guadalcanal. The operation was intended to protect the United States’ lines of communication with Australia and New Zealand and to set the conditions for the seizure or destruction of the major Japanese base at Rabaul, New Britain. On August 7th, the U.S. First Marine Division landed and quickly captured the airfield at Guadalcanal and several nearby islands. The Japanese quickly counterattacked, and fighting for control of the island and its vital airfield raged for several months.


The Battle of Savo Island

Above: "Night Battle of Savo Island" by unknown Japanese artist. Note that the target of the Japanese torpedoes appears to be aircraft carrier USS Lexington or USS Saratoga, neither of which were present at the Battle of Savo Island. Original returned to the Japanese Government circa 1968. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

In addition, August 8-9 marked the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Savo Island. Since being termed the worst battle in the history of the United States Navy, it was the first major naval engagement during Operation Watchtower. A Japanese Imperial Naval task force engaged the Allied navies near Guadalcanal to impede the landings there. Taking the Allied forces by surprise, the battle resulted in the loss of three U.S. heavy cruisers and one Australian cruiser. However, the Japanese navy suffered only light damages. 

Battle of Savo Island Allied and Japanese Orders of Battle

By the Naval History and Heritage Command

The Battle of Savo Island, also known as the First Battle of Savo Island, took place on 8–9 August 1942 and was the first major naval engagement of the Guadalcanal campaign—the first of several naval battles in the straits later nicknamed “Ironbottom Sound” near the island of Guadalcanal. On 7 August, the Imperial Japanese Navy, in response to Operation Watchtower, the Allied amphibious landings in the eastern Solomon Islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Florida, Gavutu, and Tanambogo, quickly mobilized a task force of seven cruisers and one destroyer under the command of Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi. The task force sailed from Japanese bases in New Britain and New Ireland southward, down the New Georgia Sound (also known as "the Slot"), with the intention of interrupting the Allied landings by attacking the screening force of the Allied amphibious fleet.


U.S. Navy Patrol Vessels: A History and Directory from World War I to Today

By Ken W. Sayers, McFarland Publishing (2021).

Reviewed by Jeff Schultz

Ken Sayers’s U.S. Navy Patrol Vessels: A History and Directory from World War I to Today should find a wide audience, not only among veterans, their families, and researchers alike but also naval enthusiasts. Detailed access to over 3,000 US Navy vessels spanning such a

wide range of American history makes this a prized encyclopedic gem that demonstrates the importance of these overlooked “bantam warriors” [246] in an accessible and coherent manner.


Blue Angels: Decades, 1946-1955. 1. Vol. 1. 8 vols.

By Matthew J Garretson, Friends of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, FL (2021).

Reviewed by Ens. Sydney M. Willis, USN

Garretson did a great job compiling so many different sources about the Blue Angels from the Naval Aviation Museum’s Blue Angels archives, his own collection, and from former Blue Angels and their families, but it is a lot. This is not a book one could sit down and read cover to cover, because to get the full effect of the documents included you might spend hours on a few pages reading the newspaper clippings and the stories and captions provided. However, the book is great for two things, casually flipping through and learning about the Blue Angels and as a resource for researching them. Blue Angels Decades brings the archives to you and would be perfect for the amateur historian or a student or

academic beginning their research.


Review Request

If you are interested in World War II history, please consider reviewing Armageddon in the Arctic Ocean: Up the Hawse Pipe from Galley Boy to Third Mate on a Legendary Liberty Ship in the Biggest Convoy Battle of World War II, by Paul Gill Sr.

Guidelines for getting involved in the NHF Book Review program can be found here,

and a list of titles available for review can be found here.

Deadeye from USS HARTFORD* (1858)

By John L. Morris

19th C. sailing vessels and steamers with sails typically had both running and standing rigging, and here we’ll discuss an element of the latter known as a “deadeye.” The deadeye shown is a contoured piece of dense lignum vitae wood held in a “U”-shaped bracket of plated wrought iron. The wood is contoured to gently couple the soft fiber line to the hard metal bracket, protecting the line from chafing damage. Lignum vitae likes water and holds up well over long periods exposed to seawater aboard ship. In HARTFORD, multiple deadeyes connected the many parallel parts of standing rigging to iron eyes hard-mounted to the hull near the gunwhale. The many parts of standing rigging were tensioned to support the masts.

For the uninitiated, the twisted, tan fiber stuff is “line,” always sized by circumference, for example: “An eight-inch mooring line.” The term “rope” is reserved for wire rope of similar form but made of steel and sized by diameter. 

In a previous article I mentioned how the late Virginia Beach, VA salvage operator Charles “Captain Jack” Spencer bought HARTFORD, removed remaining collectibles, and towed her down the Elizabeth River, disgracefully under the Confederate flag, to the ship breaker. He sold off or gave away the collectibles. He gave me his last HARTFORD deadeye, which I still have, but I found photos of one in better condition, which sold at auction in 2014. HARTFORD was a steam sloop-of-war commissioned in 1858, which was Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s flagship during the Battle of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. ADM. Farragut may have stepped on this very deadeye as he climbed into the rigging for a better view, and shouted his famous line “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

* The ”USS” prefix meaning “United States Ship” wasn’t officially adopted in the US Navy until 1911, but I use it for clarity to indicate a ship’s name, a common practice today.

More Photos:

In this photo taken aboard HARTFORD, from left, are CAPT Percival Drayton of HARTFORD and ADM David Glasgow Farragut. Five deadeyes appear in the background over the helm, although those may not be identical to those Capt. Jack salvaged. I’m guessing either more than one type of deadeye was in use in HARTFORD, or more likely those shown behind Farragut were replaced with a different style during an overhaul.

While not directly related to deadeyes, here’s an interesting midwatch deck log describing HARTFORD’s engagement with Forts Jackson and St. Philip in Louisiana on 24 April 1862. I found the longhand almost as interesting as the fighting described. I doubt that was penned in real-time, more likely the log as-written by watchstanders was redrafted later by a quartermaster or yeoman selected for his exceptional penmanship.

Enjoying Thursday Tidings? Click here and donate to the Naval Historical Foundation today!
If you would like to recommend online content to be passed on to our Naval Historical Foundation Members in an upcoming edition of Thursday Tidings, please email Matt Eng, at:
Did you know that the Naval Historical Foundation participates in the Combined Federal Campaign? Our CFC number is: 11010

Naval Historical Foundation |
Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin