The Orteig Prize was a reward offered to the first Allied aviator to fly non-stop from New York City to Paris or vice versa. Several famous aviators made unsuccessful attempts at the New York–Paris flight before the unknown American Charles Lindbergh won the prize in 1927 in his aircraft Spirit of St. Louis; however a number of lives were lost by men. Six men died in three separate crashes, another three were injured in a fourth crash; the Prize occasioned considerable investment in aviation, sometimes many times the value of the prize itself, advancing public interest and the level of aviation technology. The Orteig Prize was a $25,000 reward offered on May 22, 1919, by New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig to the first allied aviator to fly non-stop from New York City to Paris or vice versa; the offer was in the spirit of several similar aviation prize offers, was made in a letter to Alan Ramsay Hawley, president of the Aero Club of America at the behest of Aero Club secretary Augustus Post.
Gentlemen: As a stimulus to the courageous aviators, I desire to offer, through the auspices and regulations of the Aero Club of America, a prize of $25,000 to the first aviator of any Allied Country crossing the Atlantic in one flight, from Paris to New York or New York to Paris, all other details in your care. Yours sincerely, Raymond Orteig The Aero Club replied on May 26 with Orteig confirming his offer three days later, his offer was accepted by the Aero Club and Augustus Post set up a formal structure to administer the competition. Coincidentally, just a few weeks Alcock and Brown completed the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland, winning an earlier prize offer, in late June the British airship R34 made an east-west crossing from East Fortune, Scotland, to Long Island, New York, returning by the same route in early July. On offer for five years, the goal of the prize seemed beyond the capacity of aircraft of the time and the prize attracted no competitors.
After its original term had expired Orteig reissued the prize on June 1, 1925 by depositing $25,000 in negotiable securities at the Bryant Bank with the awarding put under the control of a seven-member board of trustees. By the state of aviation technology had advanced to the point that numerous competitors vied for the prize. In 1926 the first serious attempt on the prize was made by a team led by French flying ace René Fonck, backed by Igor Sikorsky, the aircraft designer. Sikorsky, who put $100,000 towards the attempt, built an aircraft, the S-35, for the purpose, in September that year Fonck, with three companions, made their flight; however the aircraft crashed in flames attempting to take off. Fonck and his co-pilot, survived, but his companions and Islamoff, were killed. By 1927 three groups in the United States and one in Europe were known to be preparing attempts on the prize. From the US: polar explorer Richard E. Byrd, with Floyd Bennett and George Noville as crew, backed by Rodman Wanamaker, had commissioned an aircraft, a trimotor named America from designer Anthony Fokker.
Aviators Clarence Chamberlin and Bert Acosta, backed by Charlie Levine, planned an attempt in a Bellanca aircraft named Columbia. A third team, Stanton Wooster and Noel Davis, prepared to try in a Keystone Pathfinder, named American Legion for their principal supporters,Meanwhile, in France, Charles Nungesser and François Coli were preparing for an east-west crossing in a Levasseur aircraft, L'Oiseau Blanc. In April 1927 the various teams assembled and prepared for their attempts. Chamberlin and Acosta undertook a series of flights, increasing Columbia's weight as they went to test the aircraft's capability and to simulate the planned takeoff weight, they simulated the duration of the flight, setting an endurance record in the process. However their attempt was riven with arguments, between Levine and the others, resulting in Acosta leaving the team for Byrd's and his replacement, Lloyd Bertaud, taking legal action against Levine over a contract dispute. Byrd's team made preparations. Wanamaker had the Roosevelt Field improved while Byrd had a ramp built for America to roll down on takeoff, providing extra impetus.
However, on 8 April Byrd's team, in America, crashed during a test flight. On 26 April Davis and Wooster, in American Legion crashed on a test flight. On 8 May Nungesser and Coli set off from Paris in L'Oiseau Blanc to attempt an east-west crossing, a more difficult proposition given the prevailing winds. Meanwhile, a late challenge, by solo flyer Charles Lindbergh in Ryan aircraft Spirit of St. Louis, backed by bankers in St. Louis, was started in February, with Lindbergh arriving at Roosevelt Field in mid-May. Lindbergh had chosen to fly solo, although this was not a requirement of the prize and required him to be at the controls for more than 30 hours. Following a period of bad weather, before it had sufficiently cleared, Lindbergh took off for Paris, stealing a march on his rivals. Lindbergh pursued a risky strategy for the competition; the decision allowed him to save weight and carry extra fuel as a reserve for detours or emergencies. He decided to fly the aircraft solo, so avoiding the personality conflicts that helped delay at le
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is a United States military cemetery in Arlington County, across the Potomac River from Washington, D. C. in whose 624 acres the dead of the nation's conflicts have been buried, beginning with the Civil War, as well as reinterred dead from earlier wars. The United States Department of the Army, a component of the United States Department of Defense, controls the cemetery; the national cemetery was established during the Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, the estate of Confederate general Robert E Lee's wife Mary Anna Custis Lee. The Cemetery, along with Arlington House, Memorial Drive, the Hemicycle, the Arlington Memorial Bridge, form the Arlington National Cemetery Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 2014. George Washington Parke Custis, grandson of Martha Washington and adopted son of George Washington, acquired the land that now is Arlington National Cemetery in 1802, began construction of Arlington House, named after the village of Arlington, England, where his family was from.
The estate passed to Custis' daughter, Mary Anna, who had married United States Army officer Robert E. Lee. Custis' will gave a "life inheritance" to Mary Lee, allowing her to live at and run Arlington Estate for the rest of her life but not enabling her to sell any portion of it. Upon her death, the Arlington estate passed to George Washington Custis Lee; when Virginia seceded from the Union after the start of the American Civil War at Fort Sumter, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission on April 20, 1861, took command of the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Virginia becoming commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. On May 7, troops of the Virginia militia occupied Arlington House. With Confederate forces occupying Arlington's high ground, the capital of the Union was left in an untenable military position. Although unwilling to leave Arlington House, Mary Lee believed her estate would soon be recaptured by federal soldiers. So she buried many of her family treasures on the grounds and left for her sister's estate at Ravensworth in Fairfax County, Virginia, on May 14.
On May 3, General Winfield Scott ordered Brigadier General Irvin McDowell to clear Arlington and the city of Alexandria, Virginia, of all troops not loyal to the United States. McDowell occupied Arlington without opposition on May 24. At the outbreak of the Civil War, most military personnel who died in battle near Washington, D. C. were buried at the United States Soldiers' Cemetery in Washington, D. C. or Alexandria Cemetery in Alexandria, but by late 1863 both were nearly full. On July 16, 1862, Congress passed legislation authorizing the U. S. federal government to purchase land for national cemeteries for military dead, put the U. S. Army Quartermaster General in charge of this program. In May 1864, Union forces suffered large numbers of dead in the Battle of the Wilderness. Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs ordered that an examination of eligible sites be made for the establishment for a large new national military cemetery. Within weeks, his staff reported; the property was high and free from floods, it had a view of the District of Columbia, it was aesthetically pleasing.
It was the home of the leader of the armed forces of the Confederate States of America, denying Robert E. Lee use of his home after the war was a valuable political consideration; the first military burial at Arlington, for William Henry Christman, was made on May 13, 1864, close to what is now the northeast gate in Section 27. However, Meigs did not formally authorize establishment of burials until June 15, 1864. Arlington did not desegregate its burial practices until President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948; the government acquired Arlington at a tax sale in 1864 for $26,800, equal to $429,313 today. Mrs. Lee had not appeared in person but rather had sent an agent, attempting to pay the $92.07 in property taxes assessed on the estate in a timely manner. The government turned away her agent. In 1874, Custis Lee, heir under his grandfather's will passing the estate in trust to his mother, sued the United States claiming ownership of Arlington. On December 9, 1882, the U.
S. Supreme Court ruled 5–4 in Lee's favor in United States v. Lee, deciding that Arlington had been confiscated without due process. After that decision, Congress returned the estate to him, on March 3, 1883, Custis Lee sold it back to the government for $150,000 at a signing ceremony with Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln; the land became a military reservation. President Herbert Hoover conducted the first national Memorial Day ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, on May 30, 1929. Beginning in 1863, the federal government used the southern portion of the land now occupied by the cemetery as a settlement for freed slaves, giving the name of "Freedman's Village" to the land; the government constructed rental houses that 1,100 to 3,000 freed slaves occupied while farming 1,100 acres of the estate and receiving schooling and occupational training during the Civil War and after War ended. However, after the land became part of a military reservation, the government asked the Villagers to leave.
When some remained, John A. Commerford, the Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, asked the Army's Quartermaster General in 1887 to close the Village on the grounds that people living in the Village had been taking trees at night from the cemetery for use as firew
An airport is an aerodrome with extended facilities for commercial air transport. Airports have facilities to store and maintain aircraft, a control tower. An airport consists of a landing area, which comprises an aerially accessible open space including at least one operationally active surface such as a runway for a plane to take off or a helipad, includes adjacent utility buildings such as control towers and terminals. Larger airports may have airport aprons, taxiway bridges, air traffic control centres, passenger facilities such as restaurants and lounges, emergency services. In some countries, the US in particular, they typically have one or more fixed-base operators, serving general aviation. An airport serving helicopters is called a heliport. An airport for use by seaplanes and amphibious aircraft is called a seaplane base; such a base includes a stretch of open water for takeoffs and landings, seaplane docks for tying-up. An international airport has additional facilities for customs and passport control as well as incorporating all of the aforementioned elements.
Such airports rank among the most complex and largest of all built typologies with 15 of the top 50 buildings by floor area being airport terminals. The terms aerodrome and airstrip may be used to refer to airports, the terms heliport, seaplane base, STOLport refer to airports dedicated to helicopters, seaplanes, or short take-off and landing aircraft. In colloquial use in certain environments, the terms airport and aerodrome are interchanged. However, in general, the term airport may imply or confer a certain stature upon the aviation facility that other aerodromes may not have achieved. In some jurisdictions, airport is a legal term of art reserved for those aerodromes certified or licensed as airports by the relevant national aviation authority after meeting specified certification criteria or regulatory requirements; that is to say, all airports are aerodromes, but not all aerodromes are airports. In jurisdictions where there is no legal distinction between aerodrome and airport, which term to use in the name of an aerodrome may be a commercial decision.
In United States technical/legal usage, landing area is used instead of aerodrome, airport means "a landing area used by aircraft for receiving or discharging passengers or cargo". Smaller or less-developed airfields, which represent the vast majority have a single runway shorter than 1,000 m. Larger airports for airline flights have paved runways of 2,000 m or longer. Skyline Airport in Inkom, Idaho has a runway, only 122 m long. In the United States, the minimum dimensions for dry, hard landing fields are defined by the FAR Landing And Takeoff Field Lengths; these include considerations for safety margins during takeoff. The longest public-use runway in the world is at Qamdo Bamda Airport in China, it has a length of 5,500 m. The world's widest paved runway is 105 m wide; as of 2009, the CIA stated that there were 44,000 "... airports or airfields recognizable from the air" around the world, including 15,095 in the US, the US having the most in the world. Most of the world's large airports are owned by local, regional, or national government bodies who lease the airport to private corporations who oversee the airport's operation.
For example, in the United Kingdom the state-owned British Airports Authority operated eight of the nation's major commercial airports – it was subsequently privatized in the late 1980s, following its takeover by the Spanish Ferrovial consortium in 2006, has been further divested and downsized to operating just Heathrow now. Germany's Frankfurt Airport is managed by the quasi-private firm Fraport. While in India GMR Group operates, through joint ventures, Indira Gandhi International Airport and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Bengaluru International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport are controlled by GVK Group; the rest of India's airports are managed by the Airports Authority of India. In Pakistan nearly all civilian airports are owned and operated by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority except for Sialkot International Airport which has the distinction of being the first owned public airport in Pakistan and South Asia. In the United States, commercial airports are operated directly by government entities or government-created airport authorities, such as the Los Angeles World Airports authority that oversees several airports in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Los Angeles International Airport.
In Canada, the federal authority, Transport Canada, divested itself of all but the remotest airports in 1999/2000. Now most airports in Canada are owned and operated by individual legal authorities or are municipally owned. Many U. S. airports still lease part or all of their facilities to outside firms, who operate functions such as retail management and parking. In the U. S. all commercial airport runways are certified by the FAA under the Code of Federal Regulations Title 14 Part 139, "Certification of Commercial Service Airports" but maintained by the local airport under the regulatory authority of the FAA. Despite the reluctance to privatize airports in the US, the government-owned, contractor-operated arrangement is the standard for the operation of commercial airports in the rest of the world. Airports are divided into airside areas; the landside area is open to the public, while access to the airside area is controlled. The airside area includes all parts of the airpo
An aircraft is a machine, able to fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines. Common examples of aircraft include airplanes, airships and hot air balloons; the human activity that surrounds aircraft is called aviation. The science of aviation, including designing and building aircraft, is called aeronautics. Crewed aircraft are flown by an onboard pilot, but unmanned aerial vehicles may be remotely controlled or self-controlled by onboard computers. Aircraft may be classified by different criteria, such as lift type, aircraft propulsion and others. Flying model craft and stories of manned flight go back many centuries, however the first manned ascent – and safe descent – in modern times took place by larger hot-air balloons developed in the 18th century; each of the two World Wars led to great technical advances. The history of aircraft can be divided into five eras: Pioneers of flight, from the earliest experiments to 1914.
First World War, 1914 to 1918. Aviation between the World Wars, 1918 to 1939. Second World War, 1939 to 1945. Postwar era called the jet age, 1945 to the present day. Aerostats use buoyancy to float in the air in much the same way, they are characterized by one or more large gasbags or canopies, filled with a low-density gas such as helium, hydrogen, or hot air, less dense than the surrounding air. When the weight of this is added to the weight of the aircraft structure, it adds up to the same weight as the air that the craft displaces. Small hot-air balloons called sky lanterns were first invented in ancient China prior to the 3rd century BC and used in cultural celebrations, were only the second type of aircraft to fly, the first being kites which were first invented in ancient China over two thousand years ago. A balloon was any aerostat, while the term airship was used for large, powered aircraft designs – fixed-wing. In 1919 Frederick Handley Page was reported as referring to "ships of the air," with smaller passenger types as "Air yachts."
In the 1930s, large intercontinental flying boats were sometimes referred to as "ships of the air" or "flying-ships". – though none had yet been built. The advent of powered balloons, called dirigible balloons, of rigid hulls allowing a great increase in size, began to change the way these words were used. Huge powered aerostats, characterized by a rigid outer framework and separate aerodynamic skin surrounding the gas bags, were produced, the Zeppelins being the largest and most famous. There were still no fixed-wing aircraft or non-rigid balloons large enough to be called airships, so "airship" came to be synonymous with these aircraft. Several accidents, such as the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, led to the demise of these airships. Nowadays a "balloon" is an unpowered aerostat and an "airship" is a powered one. A powered, steerable aerostat is called a dirigible. Sometimes this term is applied only to non-rigid balloons, sometimes dirigible balloon is regarded as the definition of an airship.
Non-rigid dirigibles are characterized by a moderately aerodynamic gasbag with stabilizing fins at the back. These soon became known as blimps. During the Second World War, this shape was adopted for tethered balloons; the nickname blimp was adopted along with the shape. In modern times, any small dirigible or airship is called a blimp, though a blimp may be unpowered as well as powered. Heavier-than-air aircraft, such as airplanes, must find some way to push air or gas downwards, so that a reaction occurs to push the aircraft upwards; this dynamic movement through the air is the origin of the term aerodyne. There are two ways to produce dynamic upthrust: aerodynamic lift, powered lift in the form of engine thrust. Aerodynamic lift involving wings is the most common, with fixed-wing aircraft being kept in the air by the forward movement of wings, rotorcraft by spinning wing-shaped rotors sometimes called rotary wings. A wing is a flat, horizontal surface shaped in cross-section as an aerofoil. To fly, air must generate lift.
A flexible wing is a wing made of fabric or thin sheet material stretched over a rigid frame. A kite is tethered to the ground and relies on the speed of the wind over its wings, which may be flexible or rigid, fixed, or rotary. With powered lift, the aircraft directs its engine thrust vertically downward. V/STOL aircraft, such as the Harrier Jump Jet and F-35B take off and land vertically using powered lift and transfer to aerodynamic lift in steady flight. A pure rocket is not regarded as an aerodyne, because it does not depend on the air for its lift. Rocket-powered missiles that obtain aerodynamic lift at high speed due to airflow over their bodies are a marginal case; the forerunner of the fixed-wing aircraft is the kite. Whereas a fixed-wing aircraft relies on its forward speed to create airflow over the wings, a kite is tethered to the ground and relies on the wind blowing over its wings to provide lift. Kites were the first kind of aircraft to fly, were invented in China around 500 BC.
Much aerodynamic research was done with kites before test aircraft, wind tunnels, computer modelling programs became available. The first heavier-than-air craft capable of controlled free-flight were gliders. A glider designed by Geo
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U. S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches, it has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force. The U. S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, established during the American Revolutionary War and was disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter.
The U. S. Navy played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers, it played the central role in the World War II defeat of Imperial Japan. The US Navy emerged from World War II as the most powerful navy in the world; the 21st century U. S. Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in strength in such areas as the Western Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, it is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward deployments during peacetime and respond to regional crises, making it a frequent actor in U. S. foreign and military policy. The Navy is administratively managed by the Department of the Navy, headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy; the Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations is the most senior naval officer serving in the Department of the Navy.
The mission of the Navy is to maintain and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. The U. S. Navy is a seaborne branch of the military of the United States; the Navy's three primary areas of responsibility: The preparation of naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war. The maintenance of naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy; the development of aircraft, tactics, technique and equipment of naval combat and service elements. U. S. Navy training manuals state that the mission of the U. S. Armed Forces is "to be prepared to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations in support of the national interest." As part of that establishment, the U. S. Navy's functions comprise sea control, power projection and nuclear deterrence, in addition to "sealift" duties, it follows as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, with it, everything honorable and glorious.
Naval power... is the natural defense of the United States The Navy was rooted in the colonial seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors and shipbuilders. In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own Massachusetts Naval Militia; the rationale for establishing a national navy was debated in the Second Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, make it easier to seek out support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy the world's preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned the ocean-going schooner USS Hannah to interdict British merchant ships and reported the captures to the Congress. On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchant ships. S. Navy; the Continental Navy achieved mixed results.
In August 1785, after the Revolutionary War had drawn to a close, Congress had sold Alliance, the last ship remaining in the Continental Navy due to a lack of funds to maintain the ship or support a navy. In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, authorized the Navy to celebrate its birthday on 13 October to honor the establishment of the Continental Navy in 1775; the United States was without a navy for nearly a decade, a state of affairs that exposed U. S. maritime merchant ships to a series of attacks by the Barbary pirates. The sole armed maritime presence between 1790 and the launching of the U. S. Navy's first warships in 1797 was the U. S. Revenue-Marine, the primary predecessor of the U. S. Coast Guard. Although the USRCS conducted operations against the pirates, their depredations far outstripped its abilities and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 that established a permanent standing navy on 27 March 1794; the Naval Act ordered the construction and manning of six frigates and, by October 1797, the first three were brought into service: USS United States, USS Constellation, USS Constitution.
Due to his strong posture on having a strong standing Navy during this period, John Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy". In 1798–99 the Navy was involved in an undeclared Quasi-War with France. From 18
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the United States of America's highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U. S. military service members who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is awarded by the President of the United States in the name of the U. S. Congress; because the medal is presented "in the name of Congress", it is referred to informally as the "Congressional Medal of Honor". However, the official name of the current award is "Medal of Honor." Within the United States Code the medal is referred to as the "Medal of Honor", less as "Congressional Medal of Honor". U. S. awards, including the Medal of Honor, do not have post-nominal titles, while there is no official abbreviation, the most common abbreviations are "MOH" and "MH". There are three versions of the medal, one each for the Army and Air Force. Personnel of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard receive the Navy version; the Medal of Honor was introduced for the Navy in 1861, soon followed by an Army version in 1862.
The Medal of Honor is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the United States armed forces. The President presents the Medal of Honor in Washington, D. C. at a formal ceremony, intended to represent the gratitude of the U. S. people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin. According to the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, there have been 3522 Medals of Honor awarded to the nation's soldiers, airmen and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration's creation, with just less than half of them awarded for actions during the four years of the American Civil War. In 1990, Congress designated March 25 annually as "National Medal of Honor Day". Due to its prestige and status, the Medal of Honor is afforded special protection under U. S. law against any unauthorized adornment, sale, or manufacture, which includes any associated ribbon or badge. The modern-day Medal of Honor had a number of precursors; the first medal for military service in the United States was issued in 1780, after its creation in the same year by the Continental Congress.
Known as the Fidelity Medallion, it was a small medal worn on a chain around the neck, similar to a religious medal, awarded only to three militiamen from New York state. They received it for the capture of John André, a British officer and spy connected directly to General Benedict Arnold during the American Revolutionary War; the capture saved the fort of West Point from the British Army. The first formal system for rewarding acts of individual gallantry by U. S. soldiers was established by George Washington when he issued a field order on August 7, 1782, for a Badge of Military Merit to recognize those members of the Continental Army who performed "any singular meritorious action". This decoration is America's first combat decoration and was preceded only by the Fidelity Medallion, the Congressional medal for Henry Lee awarded in September 1779 in recognition of his attack on the British at Paulus Hook, the Congressional medal for General Horatio Gates awarded in November 1777 in recognition of his victory over the British at Saratoga, the Congressional medal for George Washington awarded in March 1776.
Although the Badge of Military Merit fell into disuse after the American Revolutionary War, the concept of a military award for individual gallantry by members of the U. S. Armed Forces had been established. After the outbreak of the Mexican–American War a Certificate of Merit was established by Act of Congress on March 3, 1847, "to any private soldier who had distinguished himself by gallantry performed in the presence of the enemy". 539 Certificates were approved for this period. The certificate was discontinued after the war and reintroduced in 1876 effective from June 22, 1874, to February 10, 1892, when it was awarded for extraordinary gallantry by private soldiers in the presence of the enemy. From February 11, 1892, through July 9, 1918, it could be awarded to members of the Army for distinguished service in combat or noncombat; this medal was replaced by the Army Distinguished Service Medal, established on January 2, 1918. Those Army members who held the Distinguished Service Medal in place of the Certificate of Merit could apply for the Army Distinguished Service Cross effective March 5, 1934.
During the first year of the Civil War, a proposal for a battlefield decoration for valor was submitted to Winfield Scott, the general-in-chief of the army, by Lt. Colonel Edward D. Townsend, an assistant adjutant at the War Department and Scott's chief of staff. Scott, was against medals being awarded, the European tradition. After Scott retired in October 1861, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles adopted the idea of a decoration to recognize and honor distinguished naval service. On December 9, 1861, U. S. Senator James W. Grimes, Chairman on the Committee on Naval Affairs, submitted Bill S. 82 during the Second Session of the 37th Congress, "An Act to further promote the Efficiency of the Navy". The bill included a provision for 200 "medals of honor", "to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen and marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seaman-like qualities during the present war..." On December 21, the bill was passed and signed into law by P
William Vincent Astor was an American businessman and member of the prominent Astor family. Called Vincent, he was born in New York City on November 15, 1891, he was the elder son of John Jacob Astor IV, a wealthy businessman and inventor, his first wife, Ava Lowle Willing, an heiress from Philadelphia. He graduated in 1910 from St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island, attended Harvard University from 1911 to 1912, leaving school without graduating. Like his father, Astor belonged to the New York Society of Colonial Wars, he served as commodore of the New York Yacht Club from 1928 to 1930. Astor was interested in trains. In the early 1930s, he established an estate in Bermuda which included a private narrow-gauge railway and union station with the Bermuda Railway; the estate is now divided between none of whom are part of the Astor family. As as 1992, the remains of some of his rolling stock were visible. Vincent Astor was, according to family biographer Derek Wilson, "a hitherto unknown phenomenon in America: an Astor with a developed social conscience."
He was 20 when his father died, having inherited a massive fortune, dropped out of Harvard University. He set about to change the family image from that of miserly, aloof slum landlords who enjoyed the good life at the expense of others. Over time, he sold off the family's New York City slum housing and reinvested in reputable enterprises, while spending a great deal of time and energy helping others, he was responsible for the construction of a large housing complex in the Bronx that included sufficient land for a large children's playground, in Harlem, he transformed a valuable piece of real estate into another playground for children. Astor appeared as No. 12 on the first list of America's richest people, compiled by Forbes magazine. His net worth at the time was estimated at $75 million. Amongst his holdings was Newsweek magazine, he was its chairman; the magazine had for a time its headquarters in the former Knickerbocker Hotel, built by his father. He inherited Ferncliff, the Astor family's 2,800-acre estate near Rhinebeck, New York, where his father had been born.
Vincent Astor, would be the last family owner of the estate and occupant of the "Ferncliff Casino", a Stanford White—McKim Mead & White designed 1904 Beaux Arts style 40,000 square feet building, inspired by the Grand Trianon at Versailles. On his death in 1959, Astor bequeathed a main house at Ferncliff to the Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, New York, his widow, Brooke donated "Ferncliff Casino" to the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, sold off many parcels of the estate. In 1963, Homer Staley, a local retired businessman in the area, asked Brooke Astor to preserve the remaining natural acreage of woodlands from development, she donated the land to the Rotary Club of Rhinebeck, to become the Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve. Astor married Helen Dinsmore Huntington, on April 30, 1914. At the ceremony, he was stricken with a disease that made him sterile; the couple divorced in 1940. A year Helen became the second wife of Lytle Hull, a real-estate broker, a friend and business associate of her former husband.
Shortly after his divorce, Astor married Mary Benedict Cushing, the eldest daughter of Dr. Harvey Williams Cushing and Katharine Stone Crowell. Mary's sisters were Barbara "Babe" Cushing, they divorced in September 1953, the following month, Mary wed James Whitney Fosburgh, a painter who worked as an art lecturer at the Frick Museum. On October 8, 1953, several weeks after divorcing his second wife, Astor married the once-divorced, once-widowed Roberta Brooke Russell. According to an often-told story in society circles, Astor agreed to divorce his second wife only after she had found him a replacement spouse, her first suggestion was Janet Newbold Ryan Stewart Bush, the newly divorced wife of James Smith Bush II, who turned Astor down with startling candor, saying, "I don't like you." Astor proceeded to tell her that he was not well and, though only in his early 60s, he could not be expected to live for long, whereupon she would inherit his millions. At that, Janet Bush replied, "What if you do live?"
Mary Cushing proposed Brooke. Together and Brooke developed the Vincent Astor Foundation, a foundation, designed to give back to New York City. Brooke died in 2007 at the age of 105. Astor joined the Naval Reserve shortly after it was founded and was commissioned as an ensign on December 28, 1915, he was called to active duty as part of the New York Naval Militia in February 1917 by order of Governor Charles S. Whitman to help guard bridges and aqueducts against possible German sabotage. Astor was assigned to help guard the Manhattan bridges. Following the declaration of war against Germany, Astor took advice from his friend and future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and volunteered for active duty with the Navy on April 7, 1917, he went overseas on June 9 on the USS Noma. He was assigned to the armed yacht USS Aphrodite, he was promoted to lieutenant on January 1, 1918, to lieutenant on July 1, 1918. He was joined in France by his wife, who did charity work with the YMCA at the naval base in Bordeaux, while he served as Port Officer at Royan.
His last assignment was as an officer on the captured German minelaying submarine U-117 during her voyage to the United States. Astor re