Author Kevin Lilley

On this date in 1797, one of six frigates authorized by the Naval Armament Act of 1794 was launched in Boston. Safe to say, it outlasted the other five. The frigate Constitution entered service to battle pirates and protect a young country’s global maritime concerns, but its success during the War of 1812 began a legacy that’s lasted more than two centuries. It’s impossible to sum up the history of the world’s oldest active commissioned warship afloat in a few words, but this passage from the London Times, courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command’s Constitution website, comes pretty close.…

Somewhere between “American Idol” and the Navy Times Sailor of the Year award lives Mr. and Ms. JMSDF, the ongoing Japanese navy-sanctioned popularity contest that’s down to six sailors — three men, three women. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has produced a nine-minute video starring the sextet, complete with special effects, a stirring action-movie-esque soundtrack and a voice-over from an actor one can only assume is Japan’s answer to America’s gone-but-never-forgotten “In a world …” guy: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SUEVf6I-NA[/youtube] For those who can’t sit through a nine-minute foreign film, the choices are: Men: A P-3 crew member, a security forces specialist and…

Former Vice Adm. Joe Sestak has more than enough qualifications to discuss the government shutdown on a cable news network: He served two terms in the House of Representatives, representing a suburban Philadelphia district. He ran for Senate in 2010 and might run again in 2016. He spent more than three decades in the Navy, serving as the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare requirements and programs before being removed from that post by newly minted Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen in 2005. He’s got a pulse (Seriously, cable will talk to anybody). Sestak’s Wednesday appearance on…

A history lesson from the pages of Navy Times: “ABOARD THE USS ENTERPRISE IN THE ARABIAN SEA — Most Americans can only imagine striking back in anger after terrorist attacks 0n the United States on Sept. 11. But the 5,100 men and women aboard this — the Navy’s first nuclear aircraft carrier — were in position to respond when the word came to attack Oct. 7. They got the chance to exact a little vengeance.” Then-staff writer William H. McMichael (Bill, for short) began his extensive coverage of the first shots fired in Operation Enduring Freedom with those words in…

Sailors who need a full list of up-to-date Navy uniform regulations can head here. But be warned — a printout will take up about five full, single-spaced pages. And that’s just the table of contents. If you’ve ever wondered what led to all those instructions — the fleetwide message that would launch many, many fleetwide messages — you’d have to go back a few hundred years. On today’s date in 1776, the first official details for “Uniform of Navy and Marine Officers” were released out of the Marine Committee in Philadelphia. Uniforms for four officer ranks — captain, lieutenant, master…

First, take a look at the picture. Then, take a few deep breaths. After that, scroll down for details: To sum up: The man on the left is Ivan Wilzig, a financier-turned-TMZ target who goes by the name “Sir Ivan” and is famous in some circles for: Being a trailblazing “millionaire hipster,” called such by The New York Times nearly nine years ago. Remixing anthems of the pacifist movement in ’60s and ’70s into dance-club background tracks. Appearing on various reality shows, including one about wannabe superheroes. Owning a castle. The woman on the right is Dina Lohan, who is…

Naval History and Heritage Command is in the home stretch of a contest that’ll help create the centerpiece of its rebranding effort. Your mission: Create a logo for the command — one that promotes the command’s mission of preservation and historical outreach. The winner’s work will be used to inspire a new official NHHC logo, which will be rolled out as part of an overall command branding effort, likely later this year. Get the rules and details here. Your deadline: Monday. Your prize: The knowledge that your artwork helped shape the next generation of fleet history. Also, a certificate. One…

The Navy Memorial’s trio of 2013 Lone Sailor awardees have worn the uniforms of the Navy, the Marines, the Coast Guard … and even the Atlanta Braves. General Motors CEO Dan Akerson (Naval Academy Class of 1970), retired Marine Corps Gen. P.X. Kelley and Ted Turner, who served in the Coast Guard briefly before creating a media empire, will be honored by the organization at a Sept. 18 dinner in Washington, D.C. The award goes to “sea service veterans who have excelled with distinction in their respective civilian careers while exemplifying the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment,” according…

It’s not homework. It’s history. On Nov. 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln spoke 272 words to a crowd at Gettysburg, Pa., months after a defining, devastating Civil War battle. It’s a model in oratorical precision – a powerful message of strength through sacrifice, unclouded by bombast or linguistic gymnastics. Speakers and writers could do worse than to strive for such simplicity. The Navy’s top spokesman said as much last week (here via here). It took him about 1,772 words. The best four were these: “Each word must count.” Sailors aboard the carrier Abraham Lincoln should keep that advice in mind if…

The Navy’s ongoing celebration of the 200-year anniversary of the War of 1812 has included Fleet Week takeovers, one-of-a-kind ship tours, even a dedicated website with everything a history buff could possibly want. The folks behind the Perry 200 Commemoration in Erie, Pa., have their own history-filled website, too, but they took a different approach to the ceremony part of things — namely, paying tribute a young commodore who holds a lofty place in naval history by reminding people of the glory that was early 1800s facial hair. Dave Baxter, 56, of Lake City, took his own place in history…

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