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September 1919—The Professional Notes section abounds with ominous warnings, which, 70 years later, seem, well, quaint. “Alcohol as Motor Fuel” warns: “The supply of petroleum is limited ... the price having doubled during the past six years in this country and more than doubled abroad. On the other hand, the supply of alcohol from vegetable matter is practically inexhaustible.”
Another alarmist would make New York a free port like Hong Kong or Gibraltar in order to get around the high port charges, customs duties, fines and fiscal regulations that put America at a disadvantage against foreign competition. We must unshackle our minds and our major ports, he argues, “If we desire to forge ahead and develop foreign trade and a sound mercantile marine.”
Captain Thomas C. “Tommy” Hart warns that the presently strong international support for outlawing submarines will melt away unless this “armament limitation” also includes the other scourges of 20th century warfare: “gas, mines, and bomb-dropping.”
September 1939—As they did in 1914, the lights are going out all over Europe, but Proceedings seems not to notice. While Hitler and Stalin are taking only 28 of September’s 30 days to erase the “former state of Poland” from the world’s maps, the readership is absorbed in yet another masterful essay by Lieutenant Franklin G. Percival, the author of last month’s brilliant “Fisher and His Ships.”
“The Tirpitz Technique” could have been called “Tirpitz and His Ships,” so closely does the story of Lord High Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz parallel that of First Sea Lord Jacky Fisher. As Secretary of the German Navy from 1897 to 1915, Tirpitz elevated an insignificant fleet to second place in numbers and first place in quality of ships. Unlike battle-tested Fisher, Tirpitz never heard a shot fired in anger. Yet his were the better ships at Jutland. Tirpitz’s understanding of buoyancy and stability—“the supreme quality of a ship is that it should remain afloat and . . . continue to put up a fight”— made him the father of modern damage control.
Both Fisher and Tirpitz were removed from office only months before Jutland. But, for all their myriad accomplishments, it is upon their ships that their reputations rest. There has never been an HMS John Arbuthnot Fisher, but the most powerful, most feared, most unsinkable German battleship of World War II was the Tirpitz.
September 1959—For the first (and only) time since World War 11, an officer—Admiral Jerauld Wright—other than the Chief of Naval Operations presides over the Naval Institute, and the old ship sails on serenely. The article titled “Practical Leadership Aboard Ship” reopens the old “aboard” vs. “on board” debate but its author, Captain John Harllee, U. S. Navy, couldn’t care less. The son of Colonel William “Beau” Harllee, U. S. Marine Corps, is no stranger to either controversy or leadership. Cantankerous Beau taught 20th century Marines how to shoot and—some say—how to think. “Beau Harllee,” said former Commandant Thomas Holcomb, “could teach anybody anything.” Educator Beau, who died in 1944, might (or might not) have endorsed pupil John’s views on leadership, many of which were acquired in World War II torpedo boats.
Three foreign nationals add spice to the issue. Italian Navy Captain Filippo Ferrari-Aggradi tells us about his Naval Academy which, surprisingly, is almost 40 years younger than our own. West German Admiral Friedrich Ruge is talking about the navy of which he is CNO when he asks “Do Small Navies Still Make Sense?” And Royal Navy Captain Geoffrey Bennett chills us with the details of “The Potemkin Mutiny,” triggered when 60 Imperial Russian Navy sailors were sentenced to be shot after refusing to eat maggoty borscht.
The Nominating Committee will present its slate of nominees to the Board of Control in September. Anyone desiring to make recommendations for the slate of nominees should do so in writing to the Chairman of the Committee no later than 15 July 1989. The Constitution and ByLaws, Article VIII, Section I, also provides that “Additional nominations may be made by members so desiring provided that requests therefor shall be signed by twenty-five (25) Regular Members in good standing.” Please mail such nominations by petition to the Executive Director, U. S. Naval Institute, Annapolis, MD 21402, to arrive prior to 15 September 1989.
Arleigh Burke Essay Contest
The deadline for this year’s Arleigh Burke Essay Contest is 1 December 1989. We will award cash prizes of $2,000, $1,000, and $750 to the authors of the top three entries. For a complete list of contest rules, call—toll-free— (800) 233-USNI, or see the ad in this issue.
Other Contest Reminders
Don’t forget—the deadlines for these other contests are fast-approaching:
►Naval and Maritime Photo Contest ... 31 December
►Vincent Astor Memorial Leadership Essay Contest ... 1 February
Marine Corps Essay Contest Winners
From a total of 99 essays submitted, four were selected for awards in the Naval Institute’s 1989 Marine Corps Essay Contest.
Major Thomas C. Linn, U. S. Marine Corps, won first prize for his essay. “Strikes from the Sea: Amphibious Raids in the 1990s.” He was awarded $1,000-
First honorable mention and $750 went to Major John C. Buckingham, U. S- Marine Corps. “A U. S. Code of Mil’" tary Ethics—Has the Time Arrived?” is the title of his essay.
There were two second honorable mentions awarded. Colonel Joseph H- Alexander, U. S. Marine Corps (Retired), won $500 for “The Next Assault Amphibian: Looking Ahead, Glancing Back.” Likewise, Lieutenant Commander Terry C. Pierce, U. S. Navy, won $500 for his essay, “Maneuver Warfare and OTH Amphibious Assaults.”
Proceedings / September 1989