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.

Author Events

Close-up of an open book from the view of a spine.

Thomas J. Cutler | The Battle of Leyte Gulf 75th Anniversary Symposium

Washington, DC
Friday, 25 October 2019

The Battle of Leyte Gulf 75th Anniversary.

Articles by Thomas Cutler

The History of Navigation book cover

Book Reviews

Thomas Cutler
October 2019
Professionals review "The History of Navigation," "Small Boats and Daring Men," and "22 Minutes."
Seven different editions of the Bluejacket's Manual on a table
Sailors directing an F-35C Lightning II multirole fighter aircraft assigned to the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in December 2018.

Naval Aviation 101

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
April 2019
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps perform a wide variety of missions from the decks of ships and from Navy and Marine Corps air stations all over the world.
Ship level diagram
F-14 “Fast Eagle 102” from Fighter Squadron 41 on board the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
U.S. Navy

Securing a Ship to a Pier

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
June 2018
If you have ever watched a movie in which the captain of a Navy ship yells down from the bridge wing, telling his deck crew to “Cast off all lines,” ...

Leopard Attacks the Chesapeake

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
March 2018
On the morning of 22 June 1807, the U.S. frigate Chesapeake slipped past Cape Henry at the mouth of the bay for which she was named and headed for the ...

Talking Between Ships

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
August 2017
The U.S. Navy’s use of shipboard radiotelephone (RT)—also known as “voice radio”—for tactical communications began in 1916, when the first RT message was sent from ship to ship. During World ...

Wouk's Gift to the Navy

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
July 2017
Leadership is a difficult subject to teach. Textbooks can go only so far, often merely providing laundry lists of admirable attributes that are worthy of emulation but quickly lose their ...

Books by Thomas Cutler