Tag Archives: nelson

The Navy

The UN has just approved a motion that will require the US Navy to go to war with Khaddafy’s Libya, and I am sure the navy will do the job. But there is a larger threat on the horizon. China is building a blue water navy, and some worry that the Chinese navy will push the United States navy out of the western Pacific. This is arrant nonsense.  The Chinese are not building a blue water navy, they are building a collection of blue water targets. A navy is not a collection of ships, a navy is tradition and culture. A navy is Drake and Hawkins taking their little ships against the Armada, a navy is a squadron hull down outside Brest, beating up against a northeast blow, keeping station month after month lest the Frogs cross their yards and come out. A navy is John Paul Jones crying he has not yet begun to fight, and Stephen Decatur sailing into Tripoli harbor and burning the captured frigate Philadelphia. A navy is Nelson putting the telescope to his blind eye, and Charles Stewart taking his 44 into the English Channel and beating the two Brits rash enough to attack him. A navy is the CSS Virginia sailing into Hampton Roads and taking on the entire Federal fleet. A navy is Foote taking his gunboats upriver under fire, and Farragut running the gauntlet past New Orleans. A navy is the USS Nevada, the only BB on Battleship row with steam up that Sunday morning, standing down the channel, big battle ensign snapping, trying for the open sea in a doomed attempt to get the Jap carriers under her 16 inch guns. A navy is Spruance launching his planes knowing they did not have enough gas to get back, and the Taffies attacking Jap battleships to protect the transports loaded with troops. Where is the Chinese Nelson, where is the Chinese Preble, where is the Chinese Halsey? Not since Zheng He in the early 15th century has a Chinese fleet left home waters. No, if the Chinese navy ever leaves port with hostile intent, they will very quickly become permanent residents of the bottom of the South China Sea.



The rolling sea is restless in the dark

The silent ships glow faintly as they move

With purpose past the looming darkened shore

Where guns and lighted matches lay awake

In fog the forty-four waits for the spark

The flash, the roar, the broadside that will prove

The enemy is there and what is more

He’ll fight for honor and for glory’s sake

The years, like seas, go silent on their way

The wooden walls have given way to steel

Sharp eyes in crows nest no more climb the shrouds

And wooden decks no longer spread with sand

The ships still sail, still anchor in the bay

A rating still stands silent at the wheel

The sun still shines behind the lowering clouds

The Navy still protects this golden land


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