Commodore John Paul Jones – Great Naval Leader of the American Revolution

During the French Revolution, Commodore John Paul Jones, the great naval leader of the American Revolution, died in Paris at the age of 45. Lacking official status and without financial security, Jones died alone in his apartment on July 18, 1792. An admiring French friend arranged for his funeral and provided for a handsome lead coffin. John Paul Jones was buried in St. Louis Cemetery, the property of the French royal family. Four years later France’s revolutionary government sold the property and the cemetery was forgotten.
John Paul JonesOver a century later, a search began to find the body of John Paul Jones for the purpose of returning his remains to the United States. The American Ambassador to France, General Horace Porter, personally led in the research to relocate the forgotten cemetery, provided the funds to excavate the casket and coordinated the efforts to repatriate the mortal remains of the great naval hero. Correspondence, antique maps and other records in the French national library and archives provided Ambassador Porter the information which helped in the discovery of the built-over cemetery. After weeks of tunneling through basement walls and streets, the casket of Jones was found and disinterred.
Remarkably, his corpse, which had been wrapped in a winding cloth and placed in straw and alcohol in a tightly sealed lead casket, was nearly perfectly preserved. He was taken to the University of Paris where a complete autopsy was performed. There the head of the corpse was compared to the sculptured portrait bust of Jones executed in 1780 by Jean Antoine Houdon, who had taken a plaster impression directly for his subject’s head. The autopsy and forensic study proved conclusively that the body was John Paul Jones. He had died of the kidney ailment nephritis, complicated by pneumonia.

The Crypt of John Paul Jones
JOHN PAUL JONES, 1747-1792
U.S. NAVY, 1775-1783

Following an impressive parade, a religious service in Paris and a special train arranged by the French government to the port of Cherbourg, the remains of John Paul Jones were transferred to the USS Brooklyn, flagship of a special naval squadron sent by President Theodore Roosevelt to bring Jones home to his “country of fond election” and to the nation for which he immeasurably helped gain independence. On July 24, 1905, the naval tug Standish carried the casket ashore at Annapolis, Md., for placement in a temporary vault across the street from the new U.S. Naval Academy Chapel, which was under construction.
On April 24, 1906, elaborate and impressive ceremonies in commemoration of John Paul Jones were held in Dahlgren Hall, the new Naval Academy armory. Incidentally, this day was the anniversary of the battle between the Jones’s Ranger and HMS Drake, fought in the Irish Sea in 1778. It had been the first major naval battle fought under the newly adopted “starred and striped” flag and had resulted in Jones’ capture of an important warship in Great Britain’s home waters. President Roosevelt, Ambassador Porter, Admiral George Dewey and many other dignitaries attended the ceremonies. France sent an entire naval fleet up the Chesapeake Bay to mark the occasion. Afterwards the casket of John Paul Jones was placed in the Academy’s Bancroft Hall to await completion of his permanent tomb, in the new Naval Academy Chapel.
John Paul JonesJones was bid to rest in the crypt of the Naval Academy Chapel on Jan. 26, 1913. The crypt was designed by Beaux Arts architect Whitney Warren, and the 21-ton sarcophagus and surrounding columns of black and white Royal Pyrenees marble were the work of sculptor Sylvain Salieres. The sarcophagus is supported by bronze dolphins and is embellished with cast garlands of bronze sea plants. Inscribed in set-in brass letters around the base of the tomb are the names of the Continental Navy ships commanded by John Paul Jones during the American Revolution: Providence, Alfred, Ranger, Bonhomme Richard, Serapis, Alliance and Ariel. American national ensigns (flags) and union jacks are placed between the marble columns. Set in brass in the marble floor at the head of the sarcophagus is the inscription:
Important historic objects related to Jones’ life and naval career are exhibited in niches around the periphery of the circular space. Visitors today the Naval Academy can see an original marble copy of the Houdon portrait bust, the gold medal awarded to Jones by the Congress in 1787, the gold-hilted presentation sword given by Louis XVI of France and Jones commission as Captain, Continental (U.S.) Navy, signed by John Hancock. Here, too, is a plaque to Ambassador Porter, who was responsible for repatriating the great naval leader.
Normal public visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Closed on Federal Holidays. For information call 410-293-1100.

Famous Quotes

 An honorable Peace is and always was my first wish! I can take no delight in the effusion of human Blood; but, if this War should continue, I wish to have the most active part in it.”
 I have not yet begun to fight!”
 I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
 If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery.”
 It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win.”
 Whoever can surprise well must conquer.”
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Distinguished Graduate Award Nominations

The Distinguished Graduate Award is to be given to a living graduate of the United States Naval Academy whose character, distinguished military and civilian service and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities that the U.S. Naval Academy strives for in keeping with its ideals of duty, honor, loyalty and integrity and “From Knowledge Sea Power,” as well as the core values of the United States Navy and Marine Corps: honor, courage and commitment. With the purpose of identifying to the public and Brigade of Midshipmen, the broad national significance of the Naval Academy as one of the Nation’s cherished institutions, candidates for the Distinguished Graduate Award will be living graduates of the United States Naval Academy who:

  • Have demonstrated a strong interest in supporting the Navy/Marine Corps and the United States Naval Academy
  • Have provided a lifetime of service to the Nation or Armed Forces
  • Have made significant and distinguished contributions to the Nation via their public service

Nominations for this annual award will normally be provided by the presidents of Alumni Association chapters or graduated classes. However, nominees need not necessarily be a member of the Chapter or Class presenting the nomination. A narrative detailing the nominee’s contributions and distinguished service justifying selection as the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Award must accompany the nomination.  Individuals who currently occupy or are currently candidates for elective office at the state or federal level and those who currently serve in an appointed senior government position (e.g. typically requiring Senate confirmation) are not eligible to receive the award. The exemption also applies to all individuals still serving on active duty. It is preferred that those selected agree to accept the award at the Naval Academy.
Alumni nominated, but not selected in the current year, are eligible for a total of three consecutive years and then are not eligible for one year. Nominators must submit a new nomination letter each year the Alumnus is eligible in order for their package to be reviewed by the selection committee. The nomination can then be resubmitted for an additional three years; this cycle of 3 on and 1 off are indefinite. Nominations that carry over should have current year endorsements and executive summaries.
Nomination Procedure
Any Alumni Association member can nominate eligible graduates for the DGA. All nominations must have the endorsement of a Class President or Chapter President. Each nomination for DGA must be routed through the nominee’s class president for their information and review. Nominations for the Naval Academy DGA are due each year by November 1st to be considered for the following year’s award.
Submissions should be made to consistent with the DGA Nomination Guidelines promulgated each year by the Alumni Association.
Nomination packages will clearly state that the nominee agrees to be nominated for the award and will make every effort to attend the DGA ceremony. Nominees should further understand that their packages will be vetted to take into consideration all publicly available information.
A member of the DGA Selection Panel may not be nominated or receive the award during his or her time serving on the Panel and for a period of two years after terminating service on the DGA Selection Panel.
Military officers, elected officials, political appointees, and Senior Executive Service officials may not be nominated or receive the award while still serving on active duty, holding public office, or still working for the government.
DGA Timeline

  • July – October: Call for nominations via email and media
  • November 1: Nominations due
  • November:  Precept letter promulgated
  • December: Selection Panel convenes and selects Distinguished Graduates
  • Late December: BOT Chair, Alumni Association/Foundation President/CEO, Superintendent, DGA Selection Panel Chair notify/congratulate selectees
  • Late December: Director, USNA Alumni Association Director of Special Programs notifies nominators of non-selectees; DGA Program Manager notifies past DGA recipients of new selectees
  • January: Announcement of DGA selectees to all Alumni Association Foundation boards; class, chapter and Club Leadership
  • January: Selectees announced via various media
  • Late January/Early February: Selectee bios posted to Alumni Association website
  • March/April: Ceremony and related events

Nomination Packet Guidelines
For more information, contact Noreen Frenaye.

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Why the Navy Needs a New Destroyer

If it doesn’t get one, it may be forced to “go to war with the destroyers it has — not the destroyers it might want or wish to have at a later time.”

The U.S. Navy is not a very flexible force.
Out of 275 ships on the Navy’s “Battle Forces” list, fully 23% of the Navy’s ships are Arleigh Burke-class “destroyers,” and 25% are nuclear submarines. Throw in a few Ticonderoga-class cruisers (8% of the fleet) and 10 operational aircraft carriers (4%), and well over half the fleet is made up of just four types of warship.

Why doesn’t the Navy have a more flexible toolkit, with more types of vessels designed to tackle more specific sorts of missions? In part, it’s a question of cost. More ship designs mean more expense to maintain them. In addition, when the Navy has tried to introduce new ship types to the fleet, it’s sometimes been shocked to find the ships arriving over budget and behind schedule.

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Naval Academy Cyber Warfare Building – Hopper Hall

Hopper Hall will accommodate students taking the academy’s cyber operations major, first available to the Class of 2016. Construction of the five-story building is expected to begin this winter and to be finished in September 2019.

The 206,000-square-foot center, which received $120 million from Congress in 2014, is between Nimitz Library and Rickover Hall. The center will include labs, offices, classrooms, lecture halls, an observatory and a rooftop space.
The academy received $106,674,440 in gift donations.

The center will be the first building on the Yard with a Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Facility — required to allow midshipmen to handle classified information.

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Class of 2021 Induction Day – Thursday, June 29, 2017

All midshipmen begin the four-year Naval Academy program with Plebe Summer, a period designed to turn civilians into midshipmen. Plebe Summer is no gentle easing into the military routine. Soon after entering the gate on Induction Day, young men and women are put into uniform and taught how to salute by the first class midshipmen who lead the plebe indoctrination program.

Purpose of Plebe Summer:  The purpose of Plebe Summer is to lay the foundation of the Academy’s four-year professional development curriculum. At the conclusion of summer training, each Plebe class shall:

  • Be indoctrinated in the traditions of the Naval Service and the Naval Academy;
  • Understand basic military skills and the meaning behind them;
  • Appreciate the high standards and obligations inherent in service as a Midshipmen and Naval Officer;
  • Be dedicated to excellence in a competitive atmosphere that fosters leadership, teamwork, character, and a passion for “winning;”
  • Appreciate the importance of mental, moral, and physical toughness in all aspects of duty and service; and
  • Be prepared to execute the rigorous academic year routine.

Plebe Summer Officer Leadership

  • Superintendent: VADM Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., USN
  • Commandant of Midshipmen: Col Stephen Liszewski, USMC
  • Plebe Summer Officer-In-ChargeLtCol Rafford Coleman, USMC

Mission of the United States Naval Academy

The mission of the United States Naval Academy is to develop Midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically and imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor, and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of Naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government.

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June’s USNAAAA Chapter Luncheon – Friday, June 16, 2017.

2017 Atlanta Chapter’s LobsterFest was a great success, children and grandkids are on summer vacation, and once again, it is that time of the month (3rd Friday) for the Chapter’s USNAAAA Luncheonmonthly luncheon.
U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association Atlanta (USNAAAA) Chapter Monthly  luncheon is scheduled for Friday, June 16, 2017  at 11:30 a.m.

  • Location:
  • American Legion Post 160,
  • 160 Legion Drive, Smyrna, GA 30080.
  • Phone:  770-436-2501

The luncheon speaker will be Kevin Mueller, General Manager, Allied Universal Security Services, one of the leading security services companies in North America.
Visit USNAAAA chapter’s website for more information: Cost is $15 for chapter members / $20 for non-members.
Please mark your calendars and join fellow alumni, family members and friends at the June 2017 Chapter luncheon.   The monthly luncheons are always an invaluable opportunity for camaraderie, reconnecting and fellowship.
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Sea Trials – Class of 2020

The United States Naval Academy’s obstacle endurance course known as  “Sea Trials” took place on Tuesday, 16 May 2017.
The Naval Academy freshman class endures 14 hours of rigorous physical and mental challenges during the Academy’s annual Sea Trials training exercise as part of the culmination of their plebe (freshman) year.
Sea Trials is modeled after the Marine Corps’ Crucible and the Navy’s Battle Stations recruit programs. It is a “capstone” event for the fourth class midshipmen (freshmen or “plebes”) and serves as a leadership challenge for the upper class. Sea Trials is led by Academy upper class and provides a final physical and mental challenge to the plebes, designed to test their teamwork and to reinforce their bonds as a company and class.
At the end of Sea Trials, the company of plebes who demonstrated the top unit performance through endurance and spirit during the entire course will be recognized with the “Iron Company” award during a brief presentation.
Sea Trials events take place at various locations throughout the Yard and Naval Support Activity Annapolis and include emergency re-supply, shore defense, Spartan relay, combat fitness test, military operations on urban terrain, damage control (pipe patching and fire hose handling), underwater events, aquatics challenges and endurance, water tactics, hill assault, two-mile regimental run, ground fight, stretcher relay, land navigation, survival skills, simulated bridge defense and demolition, paintball, endurance course, obstacle course, pugil stick jousting, riverine operations, rucksack run and casualty evacuation.

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All Academy Challenge is Back!

Example content imageThe fourth time’s a charm! Private gifts from alumni, parents and friends play an essential role in the Naval Academy’s ability to achieve its vision. The Naval Academy has consistently outpaced our rivals in dollars raised each year during the All Academy Challenge. This year, we want the top spot in participation, too. It’s time to show our rivals what it means to bleed blue and gold by supporting Navy in the All Academy Challenge from 31 May to 6 June. This year, victory WILL be ours! Go Navy! Stay tuned for further announcements by email, website and social media.
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Things You Might Not Have Heard About Pearl Harbor

Below was shared by Thomas K. Kimmel, Jr., regarding THE DIRECTOR ON NAVAL HISTORY’S PEARL HARBOR DAY MESSAGE, 12-7-16
Dear USNI,
I recently learned that the Director of Naval History Admiral Samuel Cox sent the attached (see below)  Pearl Harbor attack message to every admiral in the United States Navy last Pearl Harbor Day, 7 December 2016. As soon as I learned of this important matter, I searched passed issues of PROCEEDINGS and NAVAL HISTORY for a report on this fact without success. If I missed it please advise me where I can find it in the pages of PROCEEDINGS, or NAVAL HISTORY.  If you have not published Director Cox’s message, I request that you do so as soon as possible.
Although I have not heard back from you concerning my 4/8/17 request that you publish my 4/7/17 application to the Bureau for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) in the Admiral Kimmel case, I again ask that you do so. It seems particularly appropriate in view of the Director of Naval History’s Pearl Harbor Day message.
Thank you for your kind attention to this matter of national honor.
Thomas K. Kimmel, Jr.
H-001-1 17 Nov 16  S.J. Cox
Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941
The following is not intended to be a comprehensive account of Pearl Harbor, nor to whitewash the numerous errors of judgment and failures of process that occurred across all levels of the U.S. chain-of-command from the President to the tactical level.  Over time, the lessons of history tend to get distilled to a “bumper sticker” level, when the reality is far more complex and nuanced…and many times the conventional wisdom bumper sticker is just plain wrong.  There is no question that the United States and the Navy were not prepared for war, despite the fact that Navy leaders well-understood that U.S. diplomacy and economic embargos were pushing the Japanese toward initiating hostilities.  Navy leaders kept arguing for our diplomats to back off in order to buy more time. The commanders at Pearl Harbor were anticipating war far more than they were ever given credit for.  Hopefully this will stimulate you and your Sailors to want to know more.
Things You Might Not Have Heard About Pearl Harbor:
Vice Admiral Nagumo’s post-attack report stated that after the first five minutes U.S. AAA fire became so intense that it effectively negated the effect of surprise.  The fact that more Japanese planes weren’t shot down (9 on the first wave, 20 on the second wave) had more to do with the ineffectiveness of the weapons being used (.50 cal with too-short range, insufficient numbers of jam-prone 1.1” quad AAA guns, 5” guns that couldn’t elevate enough to counter dive bombers, large numbers of dud rounds) than due to surprise.  Japanese sources reported astonishment at the volume of fire put up by U.S. ships at Pearl Harbor, and the increasing intensity and accuracy was a major factor in Nagumo’s decision not to send a “third wave.”  The U.S. shipboard 5” guns, which became active mostly on the second wave, fired over 3,100 rounds, which actually accounted for the majority of U.S. civilian deaths (all the damage in Honolulu was from U.S. AAA returning to earth.)  The deficiencies in AAA were well known to Navy leaders in Washington, demonstrated in exercises at sea, but uncorrected until late 1942 with the introduction of Bofors 40mm, Oerlikon 20mm, and 5” with proximity fuses.  Due to the pre-war budget-driven paucity of “live-fire” training, the large number of defective rounds too came as an unpleasant surprise to the defenders at Pearl Harbor.  The Japanese torpedo planes that attacked Battleship Row (all in the first wave) also rolled in five minutes before planned, and even so, seven of the last nine were shot down; had they been on schedule, their losses to U.S. AAA would have been even greater.
The known AAA deficiency of the U.S. ships (based on exercise experience) was a principle factor in why the battleships were in port rather than at sea (“Sunday” had little to do with it.)  The two U.S. carriers (USS Lexington (CV-2) and Enterprise (CV-6)) in the mid-Pacific were away on higher-priority national tasking to deliver U.S. Marine aircraft (stripped from Pearl Harbor defenses) to Midway and Wake Island to support the transit of B-17 bombers to the Philippines in a hastily conceived change of national strategy to use bombers to deter Japanese attack against the Philippines.  The original orders called for the carriers to carry and launch U.S. Army Air Force fighters (also stripped from Pearl Harbor) but Admiral Kimmel succeeded in convincing Washington that was a dumb idea.  Without carrier air cover, the battleships at sea were considered to be highly vulnerable to both air and submarine attack, and the lack of carrier air cover was the principle reason Kimmel brought the fleet in, and in the event the ships were sunk, they wouldn’t be lost in deep water with most of their crews.  In Pearl Harbor, the responsibility of air defense was with the Army (Navy was responsible for long range reconnaissance.)  The Army’s capability to defend Pearl Harbor against air attack was a known serious deficiency, one that the Army commander in Hawaii, General Short, had lobbied hard to correct but had been overridden by Washington due to higher priority elsewhere.  Despite knowing this, Kimmel reasoned that having the ships in port with some air cover was better than being at sea with no air cover (which disabuses the notion that “battleship admirals” just didn’t get it.)
Because of the known deficiency in Army air defense (minimal AAA and many obsolete aircraft) Kimmel directed the ships in port maintain a higher status in AAA readiness then they would normally have been at.  Although the stories of ammunition being “locked up” (which was true for ships in repair status) have become common lore, a quarter of the fleet’s .50 cal AA were manned and ready, and reacted almost immediately.   The 5” guns came on line quickly, but too late to counter the torpedo bombers which led the first wave (which were most vulnerable to fire from the 5” guns) and largely ineffective against the dive and high-level bombers.  For every story of naval personnel being dumfounded that they were are under attack, there are more where naval personnel instantly grasped what was happening; the signal for air attack was being hoisted as the first bomb was falling on Ford Island, and most ships began responding with the capability they had almost immediately (although the gun crews were actually well-trained and drilled, the .50 cal were just not particularly effective).  The ships were more fully manned than they normally would have been; 70% of the officers and almost all enlisted were aboard ships in operational status.  (Thanksgiving leave and liberty had been cancelled; Kimmel’s staff had been at work late Saturday – the fleet was not in “holiday routine.”  Of note, after Admiral Nimitz assumed command, he carefully reviewed Admiral Kimmel’s inport air defense plan and chose not to change any of it, reasoning that it was as well-thought out as could be given the system limitations.
Admiral Kimmel, and his predecessor, Admiral Richardson, were well aware that Pearl Harbor was potentially vulnerable to air attack (contrary to popular lore).  In at least four major fleet battle problems in the 1920’s and 1930’s (and numerous smaller exercises,) U.S. carriers had “attacked” Pearl Harbor and achieved surprise every time.   Admiral Richardson was fired by President Roosevelt for vociferously arguing that putting the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor was a provocation and a vulnerability rather than a deterrent to the Japanese, and also lacked the support/supply infrastructure of the Pacific Fleet’s then home ports of San Pedro and Long Beach.  The Pacific Fleet had deployed to Hawaii as part of an exercise in 1940 and had been ordered by President Roosevelt to stay (Imagine three carriers going out on RIMPAC and being directed to stay in Hawaii indefinitely, with no families or preparation and insufficient support infrastructure.)   When Kimmel assumed command, he lobbied continuously and vigorously for more long-range reconnaissance, more air defense capability, and even barrage balloons and torpedo nets.  Almost none of what Kimmel requested was forthcoming, due to the higher priority of the Atlantic, or because the U.S. Navy didn’t have the capability yet.
The critical thing that Admiral Kimmel did not know (and no American knew) was that only at the 11th hour in late October had the Japanese figured out, through extensive trial and error, a torpedo fin configuration that would enable torpedoes to be launched from aircraft in water as shallow as Pearl Harbor.  Kimmel anticipated a bomb threat, that barring a lucky hit like the one on the Arizona, could damage a battleship, but wasn’t considered near as lethal as a torpedo.  Kimmel also was not anticipating an attack of the scale of Pearl Harbor; the first time the Japanese ever launched a six-carrier strike was 7 Dec 1941, even they hadn’t practiced it.  Kimmel, along with everyone else in the U.S. Navy at the time, “mirror imaged” Japanese capability in believing their carriers would operate as ours, in single carrier task groups.  Many others woefully under-estimated Japanese capability, e.g. since our torpedoes couldn’t be dropped in such shallow water, how could the Japanese with their “inferior” technology possibly do it?
Also contrary to lore, Kimmel and most other senior Navy leaders were very cognizant of the threat posed by carrier aviation.  As early as 1916, the Navy General Board (the group of senior Navy Admirals that advised the Secretary of the Navy – eventually supplanted by the OPNAV staff) stated that whoever controlled the air at sea had a decisive advantage.  During exercises in the 1930’s however, the carriers were always “sunk,” because they were highly vulnerable to the opposing carrier.  The carriers were essentially viewed as a prizefighter with a knockout punch and a glass jaw, hence the continued focus on what the Navy viewed as a “balanced” fleet.  Even the Japanese still viewed their battleships as the decisive force, even after the attack.  Admiral Nagumo had a long list of reasons for not launching a third wave, but the primary one was that he did not know where the American carriers were and he assumed (erroneously) that we knew where he was, which made him acutely vulnerable to surprise attack by the American carriers.
The location of the Japanese carriers, particularly the big fleet carriers, was the highest priority for U.S. Naval Intelligence in the Pacific in the year leading up to Pearl Harbor, and the intelligence organization had gone to 24/7/365 manning (normal now, but unheard of then) months before the attack in response to rising tensions.  In the weeks before the attack, U.S. naval intelligence knew that we had lost track of the carriers, a fact of great concern, but something that had happened several times before for up to three weeks in the preceding year.  Although Japanese OPSEC was not perfect, they did not make themselves an easy target to track, ever.  Kimmel was so concerned about that lack of locating data on the carriers, that he personally visited the basement location of Station HYPO (under the command of Commander Joe Rochefort, who worked for OP-20G (in Naval Communications) in Washington, not for Kimmel) which was also unheard of, to understand exactly which codes were being read, and how the traffic analysis process worked.  At the morning staff meeting on 2 Dec 41, Kimmel said to his Fleet Intelligence Officer, LCDR Eddie Layton words to the effect, “do you mean to tell me the Japanese carriers could be rounding Diamond Head now and we wouldn’t know it?”  Layton responded with, “Yes, but I would have hoped they would have been spotted by now.”
Two weeks prior the attack on Pearl Harbor, in response to rising tensions and even before the 27 November “War Warning” message, Admiral Kimmel directed the Pacific Fleet in Exercise 191.  The exercise plan called for the USS Lexington (acting as “Black” Force) to proceed two hundred miles north of Oahu and launch a strike against “White Base” (Pearl  Harbor) to test air defense reaction, and also to be on the lookout in case the Japanese might be in the area.  The exercise was cut short by directive from Washington to avoid any actions that might be interpreted by the Japanese as provocative, as Washington belatedly came to the conclusion that “buying time” was necessary.  Sources are in dispute as to whether Kimmel considered the north to be the primary threat sector, but this exercise (and the fact that previous exercise “surprise strikes” originated from the north, due to the far less dense shipping traffic) suggests that he did. As it turned out, the Japanese carrier force launched their strike from the same position as the Lexington did.
The U.S. had broken the primary Japanese diplomatic code (“Purple”) and some lesser diplomatic codes.  The U.S. was in the process of breaking the Japanese General Naval Operating Code (then referred to as the “5 Num” code, and later retroactively as the JN-25 series.)  Sources conflict as to how much of the naval code the U.S. was reading before Pearl Harbor, but at best it wasn’t much.  The real point is that neither Kimmel nor Layton had access to Purple (also known as “Magic”) intelligence, other diplomatic intercepts, or any JN-25 intelligence that might have existed.  Some of the “conspiracy” books about Pearl Harbor postulate some sort of sinister intent on the part of Roosevelt, but the reality appears to be pure bureaucratic buffoonery.  Kimmel and Layton sensed that there was intelligence they were not getting (and Gen MacArthur and ADM Hart in the Philippines were,) especially after they got a couple Purple-derived messages by accident in July, and kept requesting to receive such intelligence.  The CNO, Admiral Stark (and others of the very few who were cleared) assumed that Kimmel was getting Purple traffic, or was told erroneously that he was, and no one followed up to be sure.  The Purple traffic was so tightly compartmented that no one actually had the big picture; the few senior leaders with access each sifted through hundreds of raw decoded intercepts, with no overall assessment.
Within the Purple traffic, and the lesser diplomatic codes which were being decrypted very-time late, were plenty of indications that would have alerted Kimmel and Layton that Pearl Harbor was a target.  They did not receive any of it.  Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, there was a mountain of intelligence indicating that hostilities were imminent in the Far East between Japan and Britain and probably the United States.  In no message from Washington that Kimmel received, including the 27 November “War Warning,” was Pearl Harbor ever explicitly mentioned as a possible target.  The fact that Washington was also directing that fighters be stripped from Hawaii, over Kimmel’s and Short’s protests, strongly suggested to Kimmel that Washington was not concerned about an attack on Pearl Harbor.
After the attack, the traditional American search for someone to blame (besides the Japanese) commenced in earnest.  Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox arrived soon after the attack to investigate.  The Army relieved General Short first, and in the spirit of “jointness” the Navy followed suit with Kimmel on 17 Dec 1941.  Kimmel expected to be relieved and revert to his “permanent rank” of two-star RADM. (It was fairly common for 3 and 4 stars to accept follow on positions at 2 star rank.  (RADM Claude Bloch, the Commander of the 14th Naval District (Hawaii) at the time of the attack, and who worked for both Kimmel and CNO Stark, had previously been the four-star Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet in 1938-40.))  Kimmel expected to be offered a follow-on job where he could contribute to the war, but that never happened and he eventually reluctantly resigned.  The Roberts Commission in 1942, which was the first of numerous investigations, was conducted with none of the rules of evidence or rights of the accused (e.g., right to review evidence against them, etc.) of a court martial, yet concluded that Kimmel and Short were guilty of “dereliction of duty,” resulting in a feeding frenzy by the press, public, and politicians.  With no opportunity to appeal, Kimmel was accused of failure to conduct adequate long-range reconnaissance, despite the fact that because of acute shortages of aircraft, trained crews and especially spare parts, Kimmel could only sustain a fraction of the coverage required – and the weather would have almost certainly prevented discovery of the Japanese anyway, even if Kimmel had been prescient enough to launch his few aircraft to the north on that particular morning.  Kimmel repeatedly requested a court-martial in order to defend himself, but was denied.  The primary reason was that a trial would have risked exposing the code-breaking effort that was considered (and really was) of paramount importance in winning the war.  Another unstated reason is that a trial would have risked the reputations of many senior military and government officials in Washington, who were far more culpable of the failures that led to surprise at Pearl Harbor than Kimmel was.
If by this point you think that Admiral Kimmel was treated unfairly, you are in the company of Admirals Zumwalt, Stockdale, Crowe, Hayward, Turner, Holloway, McKee, Lawrence, and 28 other 3-4 stars who signed a petition in 1991 to posthumously promote Rear Admiral Kimmel to Admiral.  So far it hasn’t happened.
I am not going to attempt to address the numerous conspiracy theories about Pearl Harbor (it is very much a cottage industry) other than to say that the vast majority are based on little-to-no actual evidence, usually taken out of context, and much speculation.  What can be said is that U.S. political and military leaders knew full well that the economic sanctions were backing the Japanese into a corner that would almost certainly result in an outbreak of war, and that the outbreak was imminent.  No one expected an attack on as devastating scale as that at Pearl Harbor.  Everyone grossly under-estimated Japanese capability and resolve, assuming that when the expected war came, we would easily clean their clock.
It should also be noted that the Japanese made numerous errors of judgment as well, and but for some lucky breaks for the Japanese, the battle could have gone very differently.   The many Japanese mistakes included the Air Strike Commander, Fuchida, botching the signal to the strike force as to whether surprise had been achieved or not, and which plan (surprise or no surprise) to execute, which significantly effected timing and targets.  Most importantly, the Japanese apparently had no plan to take out the repair facilities, submarine base, and fuel storage facilities (all of which would play a critical role in their defeat) because most Japanese leaders believed the war would be too short for those to have an impact, and smoke from burning oil storage would just foul the range anyway.  The Japanese, too, grossly underestimated their enemy.
Very respectfully,

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2017 LobsterFest – Saturday, June 3, 2017

43rd LobsterFest – Saturday, June 3, 2017
Please plan to join fellow Naval Academy alumni, family members and friends at Red Top Mountain State Park, (Shelter #2, near the Lodge), in Cartersville, GA, on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017.
The sea-loving entrée — lobsters — will be served starting at 16:00 (4 p.m.).  Non-lobster dinners will beSlide1 also available.
Registration details and forms are available on the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association Atlanta (USNAAAA) Chapter’s website at –
To register, click here.
To download .pdf form, click 2017-USNAAAA-LobsterFest-app.
For more information, please visit 2017 LobsterFest.
Please ensure that you (attendees) bring your lobster utensils (crackers, hammers & tiny forks) for breaking into these tasty critters.

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