Thomas J. Cutler is a retired lieutenant commander and former gunner's mate second class who served in patrol craft, cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers. His varied assignments included an in-country Vietnam tour, small craft command, and nine years at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he served as Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Seamanship & Navigation Department and Associate Chairman of the History Department. While at the Academy, he was awarded the William P. Clements Award for Excellence in Education (military teacher of the year).

He is the founder and former Director of the Walbrook Maritime Academy in Baltimore. Currently he is Fleet Professor of Strategy and Policy with the Naval War College and is the Director of Professional Publishing at the U.S. Naval Institute.

Winner of the Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Naval Literature, the U.S. Naval Institute Press Author of the Year, and the U.S. Maritime Literature Award, his published works include NavCivGuide: A Handbook for Civilians in the U.S. Navy; A Sailor's History of the U.S. Navy [one of the books in the Chief of Naval Operations Reading Program]; The Battle of Leyte Gulf; Brown Water, Black Berets: Coastal & Riverine Warfare in Vietnam; and the 22nd, 23rd (Centennial), and 24th editions of The Bluejacket's Manual. His other works include revisions of Jack Sweetman's The Illustrated History of the U.S. Naval Academy and Dutton's Nautical Navigation. He and his wife, Deborah W. Cutler, are the co-editors of the Dictionary of Naval Terms and the Dictionary of Naval Abbreviations.

His books have been published in various forms, including paperback and audio, and have appeared as main and alternate selections of the History Book Club, Military Book Club, and Book of the Month Club. He has served as a panelist, commentator, and keynote speaker on military and writing topics at many events and for various organizations, including the Naval History and Heritage Command, Smithsonian Institution, the Navy Memorial, U.S. Naval Academy, MacArthur Memorial Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, U.S. Naval Institute, Armed Forces Electronics Communications and Electronics Association, Naval War College, Civitan, and many veterans' organizations. His television appearances include the History Channel's Biography series, A&E's Our Century, Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, and CBS's 48 Hours.

Articles by Thomas Cutler

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Collisions at Sea

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
December 2021
Despite the unique challenges that mariners face, there are practices that can significantly mitigate the risk of collision.
 A destroyer leads transports through heavy seas in Lieutenant Commander Griffith Baily Coale’s Convoy off Iceland—Increasing Gale. Coale’s first assignment as a U.S. Navy combat artist was in the North Atlantic.

The Key Role of the Convoys

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
August 2020
Well before the United States formally entered World War II, U.S. Navy destroyers were in the thick of it in the U-boat–infested North Atlantic.
A crewman on board the USS Fletcher (DD-992) performs maintenance on one of the ship’s gas-turbine engines. Gas turbines—the most prevalent form of propulsion on board Navy ships today—combine the functions of the boiler and the turbine into one element and do not need feedwater.

Moving Ships through the Water

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
August 2020
After manpower and wind were replaced by thermodynamic systems for marine propulsion, ships used paddle wheels, then propellers, and today water-jets to harness fossil fuels and nuclear power.
There are multiple paths to joining the U.S. Navy, including enlisting, like these young men in 1948, who were sent to San Diego Naval Training Center after taking their oaths.

Becoming a Sailor

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
June 2020
An individual can take several paths to become a sailor—enlisted or commissioned—in the U.S. Navy.
Sonar operators recieve bearings

Sonar in the Sea Services

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
April 2020
Dolphins have been using sound for object detection for millions of years, but the earliest recorded instance of man’s venturing into the realm of hydroacoustics occurred in 1490, when Leonardo ...

Books by Thomas Cutler