From Naval Order of the United States
May 16, 2012

MERRIFIELD, Va. -- Dr. John Hattendorf, D.Phil., L.H.D., F.R. Hist.S., Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History at the Naval War College and also Director of the Naval War College Museum, is the 2012 recipient of the Admiral of the Navy George Dewey Award, Naval Order of the United States.

The Naval Order of the United States (NOUS) was founded in 1890 by descendants of New England seafarers who fought in the Revolutionary War. The Order’s “charge” is to encourage research and writing on naval and maritime subjects and to promote the preservation of historic artifacts and memories of naval and maritime history.

Professor Hattendorf follows in the footsteps of President George H. W. Bush, the first recipient of this award, along with Admiral/Senator Jeremiah Denton, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, Secretary of State George Schultz, Senator John Warner and Admiral James Holloway. 

The award, which recognizes the exemplary service of a senior civilian, eligible for Regular membership in the Naval Order, whose record of exemplary service sets the awardee apart  from his peers, will be presented  later this year.
Forty-five years ago this fall, Hattendorf joined the U.S. Navy. He was fresh out of Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio, named after Admiral James Lord Gambier (1756-1833). For Hattendorf, Kenyon was where he found his interest in historical research and where as an undergraduate he established the college's archives.
His seven-year career in the U.S. Navy was memorable. During November 1965, while patrolling the Taiwan Strait, John's ship USS O'Brien (DD 725) arrived just after an attack on two Nationalist Chinese patrol boats by "Communist Chinese torpedo and gun boats." One Nationalist boat was sunk in this encounter, and O'Brien helped transport survivors back to land. His ship was also one of the first to be hit by shore batteries in Vietnam.

These events triggered Hattendorf's first scholarly publication pertaining to the U.S. Navy, written jointly with his CO, entitled "O’Brien's Odyssey: One Destroyer's Duty in the Seventh Fleet," Our Navy (September 1966). He went on to serve several more years, first in the Naval History Division in Washington, then in two other destroyers, and finally as speechwriter to Adm. Stansfield Turner at the Naval War College.

Upon leaving the Navy, Hattendorf earned his M.A. in history (1971) from Brown University and PhD in modern history (1979) at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Returning to the NWC in 1977, Hattendorf was named in 1984 the Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History, a chair he has now held for a quarter century. From 1988 to 2003, Hattendorf directed the Advanced Research Department, and, in January 2003, he became chairman of the newly established Maritime History Department and director of the NWC Museum. Hattendorf was also a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore and on exchange with the German Armed Forces Military History Research Office.
Kenyon College, where Hattendorf earned his B.A. (1964), awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1997, and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, awarded him its Caird Medal in 2000.

In June 2009, he received the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award for his work as chairman of the Secretary of the Navy's Advisory Subcommittee on Naval History.

During October 2009, the Navy League of the United States awarded him its Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement and the USS Constitution Museum presented him its Samuel Eliot Morison Award. These honors reflect his authorship of more than one hundred scholarly articles and numerous encyclopedia and dictionary entries, as well as being the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of more than forty books on maritime history. Among them, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History (2007) won the 2008 Dartmouth Medal as "a reference work of outstanding quality and significance."

Posted by Cmdr. Carla M. McCarthy
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