The Naval Historical Foundation announced at its 12 June annual meeting that Kathleen Broome Williams, Robert M. Browning Jr., and Thomas C. Hone have been named as the 2021 Commodore Dudley W. Knox Medal recipients for lifetime achievement in the profession of naval history.
The award is named for Commodore Dudley Wright Knox (1877–1960). A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Naval War College, Knox had a distinguished career as a naval officer with service in the Spanish-American War, Boxer Rebellion, Great White Fleet, and World War I. But it was his abilities as a historian, librarian, and archivist that earned him respect and admiration among his peers and later generations.
Transferred to the Retired List of the Navy on 20 October 1921, Knox served as Officer-in-Charge, Office of Naval Records and Library, and as Curator for the Navy Department. The publication of his clarion-call article “Our Vanishing Naval History” in the January 1926 issue of the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings led to the establishment of the Naval Historical Foundation. Knox would serve as secretary of the organization for decades and was its president at the time of his passing in 1960.
Kathleen Broome Williams holds a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in history; a master’s; and a PhD from Wellesley, Columbia, and City University of New York (CUNY). Prior to settling permanently as an adjunct professor at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, she taught at Sophia University in Tokyo, the Panama Canal College, and CUNY. She reached her teaching pinnacle in 2018 as the tenth Class of 1957 Chair in Naval History at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Dr. Williams, a member of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Naval History Advisory Board, is the author of Secret Weapon: U.S. High-Frequency Direction Finding in the Battle of the Atlantic (Naval Institute Press, 1996); Improbable Warriors: Women Scientists and the U.S. Navy in World War II (Naval Institute Press, 2001); Grace Murray Hopper: Admiral of the Cyber Sea (Naval Institute Press, 2004, 2013); and The Measure of a Man: My Father, the Marine Corps, and Saipan (Naval Institute Press, 2013). In addition, she has published six chapters in other books, written 15 scholarly articles, delivered 50 scholarly papers at academic gatherings, and reviewed 24 books.
Robert M. Browning Jr. earned his PhD in history at the University of Alabama, as well as a master’s degree at East Carolina University. He began his career with the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office in 1989 and eventually became the service’s Chief Historian until his retirement in 2015.
Dr. Browning has published five monographs on American naval and maritime history, the first of which garnered the North American Society of Oceanic History’s John Lyman Award. His latest book, a Civil War history, is From Cape Charles to Cape Fear (University of Alabama Press, 2015). In addition to his books, he has published nearly 40 scholarly articles on the history of the Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, two of which appeared in Naval History in 2020.
Thomas C. Hone earned his bachelor’s from the Ohio State University (1966) and a doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (1973), and graduated from the Department of Defense’s Defense Acquisition University (1988). Between 1985 and 2018 he held at least 13 academic positions ranging from an initial one-year stint at the Naval War College (1985–86) through faculty positions at the George C. Marshall Center for European Studies (1994–97), the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (1991–2001), the Faculty of Joint Military Operations Department at the Naval War College (2006–09), to his final appointment as a contract historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command (2014–18)
He also served as Principal Deputy Director for the Office of the Secretary of Defense Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation in 2001–2, and was Special Assistant to the Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, in 1992–94. In 2003–6, he was Assistant Director for Risk Management, Office of Force Transformation, Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Dr. Hone has written at least 40 articles, book chapters, and reviews of books on naval history. He is the coauthor of the the Naval History and Heritage Command’s History of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1915–2015; American & British Aircraft Carrier Development, 1919–1941; Battle Line: The United States Navy, 1919–1939; Innovation in Carrier Aviation; and volume 1, part 2 of the Gulf War Air Power Survey; and is the author of Power and Change: The Administrative History of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1946–1986.
The Naval Historical Foundation will host a dinner in honor of the recipients following the 24 September McMullen Naval History Symposium in Annapolis, Maryland. For more information, contact [email protected].