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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of
Makers of Naval Tradition

Carroll Storrs Alden
and Ralph Earle

published by
Ginn & Company, 1942

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 1
This site is not affiliated with the US Naval Academy.

 p. vii  Preface

Notwithstanding the stress given in recent years to the necessity of organization, the personal element still counts. The greatness of the nation cannot be estimated merely in miles of railway or in production of oil and steel. Nor can the greatness of the navy be estimated merely in size of fleets or in tonnage and guns. In personnel, much more than in matériel, the present is closely linked with the past. Visitors to our national capital, gazing upon the shaft raised to our first President or standing before his home at Mount Vernon, feel an uplift from being near to the great soldier, constitutionalist, statesman. It is hoped that similarly many visiting the United States Naval Academy catch the spirit of the strong, resource­ful officers whose eager, generous devotion to their ideal has been commemorated by the halls, the basin, the walks, and the fields that bear their names.

The authors of this volume have, in various capacities, been for many years vitally interested in the education of midshipmen at the Naval Academy. It is their hope that the youths studying to become officers will by means of this book be led to realize more fully their debt to the great men who have preceded them in the Service. But it is to others as well that our naval heroes should appeal. The United States Army and Navy potentially consist of all male citizens, and in an emergency unusual numbers have been called  p. viii upon to "support and defend the Constitution." Each of the great leaders of the navy has been guided by others who went before, and each in turn has stood to show the way to those who followed. Moreover, the prompt recognition of the leader, with the giving of enthusiastic, whole-hearted support, has been equally essential to every important cause. Our country has been blessed in the fact that those who carried aloft the flaming torch and passed it on have been men of high ideals and superior manhood; also in the fact that not only the navy but the great mass of citizens have claimed these makers of tradition as their own.

C. S. A.

R. E.

Annapolis, Maryland

 p. ix  Preface to the Revised Edition

Continuing the history of our navy and the story of the leaders who have contributed to it during the period since the First World War, I am impressed with the changes that have occurred even within the present generation.

The organization of the fighting fleet has been radically altered. All the former surface and sub‑surface types of ships, with more modern equipment, continue to have their place, but aircraft-carriers and sea and land planes have become an essential part, while the anti-aircraft guns are equally necessary for the defense of surface ships and for counterattack. Further, the improved organization of our personnel, with the intensive training even in peace time of officers and men, as well as of the large Naval Reserve, ready instantly to respond in case of emergency, represents no less gain in potential strength.

With the new leaders who are constantly coming to public notice, the navy still has the leaders of old. Nelson (our English inheritance), Jones, Macdonough, Farragut, Porter, Luce, Mahan, and Dewey are just a few of those who continue to direct the Service. The older group furnished the underlying principles, and the tradition they established constitutes now a vital element in the morale. Today, as never before, our country needs leaders; and the navy, with its splendid history, has a message which may well be pondered by democratic America.

 p. x  The revision comprised in this volume begins with Chapter XIV, and, dealing with the last quarter of a century, touches, though very lightly, on events of the first months of the Second World War. In this work I have missed the able and stimulating coöperation of the late Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, U. S. Navy, an officer of outstanding character and ability, notable for his recognition of qualities of greatness in our leaders and himself a maker of tradition.

C. S. A.

Annapolis, Maryland

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Page updated: 26 Apr 13