The Naked Warrior stands in Coronado park.

In Coronado, at the water’s edge in Glorietta Bay Park, just south of the boat ramp, stands The Naked Warrior. South of the sculpture and its nearby park benches one can see Naval Amphibious Base Coronado stretching into San Diego Bay.

Beneath the feet of the bronze sculpture is a plaque and the words FIRST ASHORE.

THE NAKED WARRIOR

Artist: John Seward Johnson II

THIS WORLD WAR II COMBAT SWIMMER COMMEMORATES THE U.S. NAVY’S UNDERWATER DEMOLITION (UDT) AND SEA, AIR AND LAND (SEAL) TEAMS. THEY HAVE TRAINED AND HAVE BEEN BASED IN CORONADO SINCE 1946. THESE “NAKED WARRIORS” SWAM UNARMED ONTO HEAVILY DEFENDED ENEMY BEACHES WITH EXPLOSIVES TO CLEAR THE WAY FOR AMPHIBIOUS LANDINGS, HENCE THEIR MOTTO “FIRST ASHORE.” THE CONCRETE “SCULLY” ON WHICH THIS FROGMAN STANDS IS TYPICAL OF THE UNDERWATER OBSTACLES THEY RISKED THEIR LIVES TO DESTROY. THEIR LEGACY OF “NEVER QUIT,” WHILE EXECUTING THE MOST DIFFICULT MILITARY MISSIONS FOR OUR COUNTRY, IS STILL IMBUED IN EVERY NAVY SEAL WHOSE UNIFORM BEARS THE NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TRIDENT INSIGNIA. ON THE BEACHES JUST SOUTH OF THIS SITE, BASIC UNDERWATER DEMOLITION/SEAL TRAINING (BUD/S) GOES ON YEAR ROUND. THE SAILORS WHO COMPLETE BUD/S GO ON TO ADVANCED TRAINING AND ARE THEN ASSIGNED TO U.S. NAVY SEAL TEAMS, BECOMING THE ELITE WARRIORS OUR COUNTRY RELIES UPON FOR COMPLEX AND NO-FAIL SPECIAL OPERATIONS MISSIONS WORLDWIDE.

DONATED TO THE CITY OF CORONADO BY
THE NATIONAL NAVY UDT-SEAL MUSEUM
THE NAVY SEAL FOUNDATION

DEDICATED NOVEMBER 11, 2016

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Chow: Feeding a Navy in San Diego.

The old Naval Training Center San Diego had a reputation for serving sailors and recruits some pretty good chow. But providing over 30,000 meals every day took a lot of work!

Inside the Dick Laub NTC Command Center at Liberty Station in Point Loma, visitors can view the fascinating exhibit Chow: Feeding a Navy.

NTC had one of the finest mess and galley programs in the nation. Many sailors with chef and mess service school command training were sought after by the White House kitchen…

Each recipe contained large amounts of ingredients not found in the family kitchen…

The galleys at NTC offered buffet-style metal partition trays for many years. Later ceramic plates and plastic trays were used… Having plates gave the sailors a feeling of home.

Chow included a main course, sides, and often a dessert…

Many recruits recall their favorite part of the chef and mess school was the bakery. Bread or cake, the bakery at NTC was renowned…

The daily operations…trained sailors to cook for thousands aboard ships, submarines and on land…

By 1990, a few years before decommissioning, the three NTC galleys averaged 6,445,000 meals per year.

Cakes were included in every celebration and prominent in many official photographs. Cake was a staple for Pass In Review with dignitaries and guests presiding.

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You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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Navy ship arrives downtown for Fleet Week!

Fleet Week San Diego is just about here. Many activities begin this weekend, and some are open to the general public!

I was walking along downtown’s Embarcadero yesterday when I saw a huge U. S. Navy ship, accompanied by two tugboats, gliding up to Broadway Pier. A small crowd had already gathered to watch it dock beside the Port Pavilion.

I believe this is the USS Montgomery (LCS-8), an Independence-class littoral combat ship. It’s unusual design includes a trimaran hull, which allows it to operate is more shallow water. The USS Montgomery is based here in San Diego.

Check out the photo of sailors tying up this huge, high-tech vessel with . . . mere ropes! (Whenever I see a gigantic billion dollar cruise ship relying on ropes, too, it always strikes me as a bit funny.)

The general public can go on free tours of this Navy ship this Friday through Sunday. See the details here!

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I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

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Coronado’s surprising role in submarine history.

It’s widely known that Coronado’s North Island is the birthplace of naval aviation. But did you know that shortly before World War I, Coronado was also home to a training school for submariners?

Camp Richardson, which was located on a block of First Street just north of the Ferry Landing, served as the homeport of the United States’ very first Pacific Submarine Fleet. This is one of many interesting facts you’ll learn should you enjoy A View from the Periscope, which is the current exhibit at the Coronado Historical Association‘s museum.

A View from the Periscope focuses primarily on twenty-eight works of art. The Coronado Historical Association’s website explains how these pieces of artwork from the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Navy Art Collection are on loan for the exhibition. Throughout the museum gallery visitors can view paintings of submarines in different settings and their working crews. The website further explains that many of the artists featured are affiliated with the Navy’s Combat Art Program, which places artists on board navy ships on duty and in combat.

But there’s much more to discover in this exhibition! When I walked through it a few days ago, what interested me most were displays that concern local history.

Not only did I learn about short-lived Camp Richardson, but I was surprised to read how the submariners in training, as they practiced diving and firing torpedoes, would put on pre-announced shows in San Diego Bay for tourists staying at Coronado’s Tent City!

I was also surprised to learn that a Coronado artist, a member of the San Diego Fine Arts Guild, was instrumental in successfully camouflaging naval vessels during World War II.

His name was Dayton Brown. His novel approach to camouflage involved mimicking the natural environment, eventually utilizing only two color shades like Haze Grey or Ocean Gray.

Until I visited this exhibition, I had no idea!

A View from the Periscope continues through January 2023.

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Help restore a memorial to lost Navy submariners.

A San Diego memorial to U. S. Navy submariners lost at sea, the 52 Boats Memorial, needs your help. Some of the monuments that line two pathways at NTC Liberty Station in Point Loma are badly damaged.

I was walking through Liberty Station today when I took these photos. A search of the internet brought up this very recent article, which describes one man’s effort to restore broken markers, like those in my photographs.

The original markers need to be replaced with more durable concrete duplicates. There are already sufficient funds to undertake this endeavor–what they need is someone who can make concrete and use the molds…Ideally, the person or business also would be able to deliver and install the heavy monuments…

I first blogged about the 52 Boats Memorial over eight years ago here. It’s a very powerful Veteran’s memorial. Certainly someone out there can help.

If you haven’t read the article yet, do so here.

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Top Gun car honors United States Veterans.

A car has been specially altered to honor those who’ve served in the United States Armed Forces.

Andy “Bluebat” Mercado (@bluebatmobile) told me today in the parking lot near the San Diego Automotive Museum that the intent is also to honor his own Veteran father. Yes, today is Father’s Day.

I’d seen Andy’s blue and yellow 1997 Acura NSX, with distinctive U.S. Navy markings, and a tribute to deceased Blue Angels pilots printed on the rear window, at other special events. But today I noticed the words Blue Angels decorating both sides of the car had been changed to the Top Gun movie logo. The change was made a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, the original TOPGUN (United States Navy Fighter Weapons School) was located at San Diego’s old Naval Air Station Miramar. Pilots competing at the school were an essential part of the first Top Gun movie, whose blockbuster sequel opened a few weeks ago.

I see from a decal Andy supports various causes. I spotted The Wingman Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, and PTSD Awareness.

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Top Gun fans vs. reality on USS Midway!

Yesterday a large group of dedicated Top Gun movie fans from a Facebook group visited the USS Midway Museum.

They all were having a blast, some wearing movie-inspired flight suits, checking out exhibits at San Diego’s popular aircraft carrier museum, taking photos near an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, before heading off to dine at Kansas City Barbeque, where the bar scenes in Top Gun were filmed.

It was interesting to watch their enthusiasm for the classic movie, whose sequel Top Gun: Maverick will be debuting in one week on May 24. I loved the original Top Gun when it came out in 1986, myself!

As I toured the USS Midway yesterday, I noticed a variety of connections the historic aircraft carrier and its present-day museum have to the actual TOPGUN aviator school and its pilots depicted in both the original and upcoming movie.

An F-14 Tomcat on the flight deck of USS Midway. These fighter jets co-starred in the original Top Gun movie, providing exciting, incredible visuals.
A fan group is photographed during their Top Gun Days event aboard USS Midway in San Diego. Three actual Navy pilots pose in front.
Nearby on the flight deck is an F/A-18 Hornet. This fighter jet was used as an adversary during the original Top Gun. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be flown by the characters of Top Gun: Maverick.
One of the pilot ready rooms inside the USS Midway aircraft carrier. VFA-151 Ready Room One is where F-18 pilots gathered for briefing before and after flights.
A look inside USS Midway’s F-18 ready room. During Operation Desert Storm, F-18 Hornets were launched from this long-lived aircraft carrier, which was built at the end of World War II.
What it would have been like sitting in the F-18 ready room. The characters in Top Gun: Maverick are F/A-18E/F Super Hornet pilots, part of a special detachment aboard an aircraft carrier.
White board at front of the ready room, with mission and aircraft details.
An exhibit aboard the USS Midway Museum details the history of TOPGUN, originally the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School located at NAS Miramar, aka Fightertown USA.
Exhibit concerns TOPGUN – The Early Years.
The Navy Fighter Weapons School was established on March 3, 1969 at NAS Miramar in San Diego, California. TOPGUN’s objective was to develop, refine and teach air combat maneuvering tactics and techniques to selected fleet air crews…
Museum exhibit video shows the Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System TACTS in operation.
Visitors to the USS Midway Museum can climb into an F-14 Tomcat cockpit, located on the Hangar Deck.
Maverick call sign painted by the cockpit of the F-14 Tomcat.
The two-seated cockpit’s front seat, where an F-14 pilot sits facing his flight controls. The bubble canopy gives the pilot all-round visibility.
The rear seat of the F-14 cockpit, where Goose in the original Top Gun movie flew. This is where the fighter jet’s Radar Intercept Officer sat.

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Military Tribute at Civita in Mission Valley.

Protecting our Freedom.

Four years ago, Military Tribute Plaza was dedicated at Civita in Mission Valley.

This monument, saluting the United States Armed Services, features flags above black marble columns. Bronze plaques recall the history of each military branch in San Diego. Veterans are also honored.

I took these photographs a few weeks ago when I enjoyed a walk through the large Civita residential community. I thought now would be a good time to post them, because Veterans Day has arrived.

In Memory of The Five Grant Brothers Who Honorably Served Their Country During World War II.
SAN DIEGO’S COAST GUARD. One of the predecessors of the modern Coast Guard traces it presence in San Diego to the opening of the Point Loma Lighthouse in 1855…
SAN DIEGO’S AIR FORCE. Originally part of the U.S. Army, the Air Force took shape with military aviation at Rockwell Field at North Island, beginning in 1912…
Lt. Col. Ronald Grant, USAFR.
Lt. Tom (Suds) Sudberry.
SAN DIEGO’S NAVY. San Diego’s development owes much to the Navy, starting with the visit of the Great White Fleet of 16 battleships in 1908…
SAN DIEGO’S MARINE CORPS. Beginning in 1914, strife in Mexico created a continuing presence in San Diego for the U.S. Marine Corps…
SAN DIEGO’S ARMY. The U.S. Army was naturally in the forefront of San Diego’s American beginnings…

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Uncle Sam wants your Grandpa!

I spotted these attention-grabbing recruitment ads pasted to a wall while walking in downtown San Diego. It appears that Uncle Sam Wants Your Grandpa!

I then read the fine print. Actually, the USS Midway Museum is looking for volunteers. And I don’t think you even need to be a grandpa, or a veteran!

Want to make the past come alive on a historic aircraft carrier? Want to be part of a team that includes tutors, docents, storytellers and ambassadors?

Funny that I spotted these during San Diego Fleet Week.

Check out the details here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Monument to tallest structures ever built in San Diego.

For over seventy-five years, the tallest structures that have ever been built in San Diego County stood atop a hill in Chollas Heights, four miles east of downtown San Diego. Three enormous towers marked the location of U.S. Naval Radio Transmitting Facility Chollas Heights, which operated the most powerful radio transmitter in North America.

A monument to these historically important towers can be viewed today at Lincoln Military Housing, across the street from the small Chollas Heights Naval Radio Transmitting Facility Museum, near the corner of College Grove Way and Transmitter Road.

The unusual monument is in fact a remnant of the old Navy communication station–an antenna that once was suspended 600 feet above ground.

While many San Diego residents saw three tall radio towers rising just north of Chollas Lake, their historical importance is less widely known. This is where the mainland United States received the first news of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The U.S. Naval Radio Transmitting Facility Chollas Heights was purposely built beside Chollas Lake so that its water might cool the heated transmitter tubes.

Chollas Heights. Home of the world’s first global naval radio transmitting facility. 1917-1991.

A small, very badly faded sign in front of the old antenna provides interesting information. I’ve transcribed the words:

This structure once perched 600 feet above the ground atop Tower 33, which was one of three towers. In the center of the tower array, wires suspended an antenna so high it was almost invisible. Completed in 1917, the Chollas Heights complex accommodated the largest and most powerful radio transmitter in North America. The historic 200 kilowatt poulsen-arc transmitters had an unprecedented 12,000-mile range and broadcast at a frequency of 30.6 kilocycles. The innovations of the arc, or continuous wave, transmitter improved the range and reliability of communications over that of traditional “spark” transmitters. These could not be tuned to a specific frequency, so they encountered much interference. A landmark in the development of radio, the Chollas Heights facility played a vital role in Naval communications during World War I.

Built between 1915 and 1917, materials used in the Naval Radio Transmitting Facility were delivered by mules. The radio towers were visible for over 50 miles in clear weather, a familiar fixture in San Diego’s landscape for over seventy five years. Aircraft warning lights at their tips were used as a reference for pilots on their final approach to Lindbergh Field. To this day the towers were the tallest structures ever erected in San Diego County. The more modern transmitter, supporting three additional high-frequency antenna types, was used until the 1960’s, when it became outdated by advancing technology. It was then decommissioned in 1991 and dismantled in 1995.

“In behalf of the citizens of San Diego I have the honor of extending to you the season’s greetings and their good wishes and congratulate you upon the completion at San Diego of the world’s most powerful radio station. Space has been completely annihilated and the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards are as one.”

San Diego Mayor Edwin Capp’s original message sent to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels in Arlington on the transmitter’s official testing day, January 26, 1917.

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