Letter: U.S. Naval visit to Bristol a big success

Posted 6/21/19

For the fifth consecutive year, five Naval Academy sloops, each with eight Midshipmen (some ladies) visited Bristol for the long weekend. Originally organized by retired Navy Captain Gary Holmstrom, …

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Letter: U.S. Naval visit to Bristol a big success

Posted

For the fifth consecutive year, five Naval Academy sloops, each with eight Midshipmen (some ladies) visited Bristol for the long weekend. Originally organized by retired Navy Captain Gary Holmstrom, these visits have produced significant sea training together with pleasure for the Midshipmen as an element of their developments.

Especially important is the mutual respect engendered by host families accommodating Mids at Bristol homes. Walkabouts, a special dinner, Oyster Festival, and meeting our especially cordial Bristol citizens combine wholly positively for all involved.

This year, as always, I was honored to escort the midshipmen to witness the Nathanael Greene Herreshoff model room that is on loan by the Herreshoff family to the Herreshoff Marine Museum. There, while we viewed 500 design hull half models, I was able to recount the fact that Captain Nat and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company of Bristol designed and built the earliest pioneering USN torpedo boats. The most significant of these was the USS CUSHING, Sea-going Torpedo Boat Number 1, constructed on our shores in 1890.

That fact and the evidence of great sail and power craft produced here were eyeopeners to midshipmen hailing from every state in the Union.

Well known to all is the special nature of this best town in Rhode Island, especially at the Fourth of July season. So, given our long-time naval connection, what could be more appropriate than an annual visit by future officers of the U.S. Navy. Meeting these gallant young people is always a pleasure. The remarkable culture of the U.S. Naval Academy seems to fit all students into a mode of curiosity, ability, confidence and good manners that will serve both them and our country well in the future.

Personally, I was especially gratified by an invitation to sail back to Annapolis on one of the sloops – I could not fit that in this year, but hope to do so in 2020.

Halsey C. Herreshoff
Bristol

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