Posts Tagged ‘United States Navy Memorial’

Chief Petty Officers’ Centennial Time Capsule

On a recent lunchtime bike ride I found myself at the United States Navy Memorial, located on Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, between 7th and 9th Streets in Downtown D.C. I have been to this memorial a number of times, but this was the first time I noticed a small brass plaque located on one of the masts that encircles the memorial.  So, naturally, I had to check it out and find out more about it.

It turned out that the plaque marks the spot where a time capsule was placed in the base of the mast nearest to the entrance to the Navy Memorial Heritage Center.  Created by and dedicated to the Navy’s chief petty officers (CPOs), the time capsule was placed there on October 13, 1993, the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Navy’s establishment of the CPO position.

The time capsule is scheduled to be opened on the bicentennial anniversary of the establishment of the CPO position, on October 19, 2093.   And I look forward to being there to see it opened.

The inscription on the plaque reads,

“The rank of chief petty officer – the senior position among naval enlisted ranks – was established by the Navy Department in 1893. A time capsule was placed within this foundation on 13 October 1993 to be opened in the chiefs’ bicentennial year 2093.

The chief petty officers serving in the 1993 centennial year are honored to pass on these items representative of our first 100 years of service to our country and navy to the chiefs serving in the 2003 bicentennial year. As we look to the future, we place our faith and trust in you to carry out the traditions of leadership, pride, and professionalism, and continue “Set the tone.”

Our salute affirms our trust in you – the future chief petty officers of the United States Navy.”

It just goes to show you that you should keep your eyes open and be aware of what is around you when you are in D.C.  because you never know what you’re going to see.

[Click on the photos to view the full-size versions]

The Lone Sailor

The Lone Sailor

The Lone Sailor is a seven-foot tall bronze sculpture by American artist and World War II veteran Stanley Bleifeld. It is located on the granite Memorial Plaza which forms the amphitheater of the United States Navy Memorial, located in downtown D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue (MAP), across the street from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Building, and a block east of the FBI Headquarters Building. On this bike ride I stopped by to see and admire the statue, and to learn a little more about it.

The Lone Sailor is intended to be a composite of the Navy bluejacket, past, present and future, and represents all people who ever served are serving now or who are yet to serve in the U.S. Navy. The process of conceptualization, modeling, sculpting, and casting went through five initial images based on four different models, and took over a year of work before culminating in the final version as it now stands at the Memorial. After giving up on honor guard models, Bleifeld asked New London Submarine Base for someone more typical. They sent Petty Officer 1st class Dan Maloney. Bleifeld felt he had the appearance he had been looking for, and used him as the sculpture’s model. However, the name of the lone sailor as read on the statue’s seabag is a fictitious one, William Thompson.

As part of the casting process, the bronze for The Lone Sailor was mixed with artifacts from eight U. S. Navy ships, provided by the Naval Historical Center. The ships span the Navy’s history, yielding small pieces of copper sheeting, spikes, hammock hooks and other fragments from the post-revolutionary frigates Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) and Constellation; the steamer Hartford, flagship of Admiral David G. Farragut in the Civil War era; the battleship USS Maine; the iron-hulled steamer/sailing ship USS Ranger; the World War II-era cruiser USS Biloxi and aircraft carrier USS Hancock, and the nuclear-powered submarine USS Seawolf. One last addition was a personal decoration from today’s Navy, one given to sailors in war and peace, the National Defense Service Medal. These bits of metal are now part of The Lone Sailor.

The unveiling of the statue took place at the formal dedication of the Memorial on October 13, 1987, the 212th birthday of the Navy. Since that time, the immense popularity of the Lone Sailor led to the Navy Memorial’s Statue Outreach Program which began in 1997 with the placement of replicas of the Lone Sailor statue at other locations. Today there are a dozen replicas of the statue placed throughout the U.S. They are located in: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Bremerton, Washington; Burlington, Vermont; Charleston, South Carolina; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Great Lakes, Illinois; Jacksonville, Florida; Long Beach, California; Norfolk, Virginia; San Francisco, California; Waterloo, Iowa, and; West Haven, Connecticut. So, if you can’t come to see the original in D.C. any time soon, you can visit one of the other Lone Sailors at one of these other locations.