Albert Cushing Read

Last updated
Albert Cushing Read, Sr.
Albert Cushing Read in 1919.jpg
Read in 1919
Born(1887-04-29)April 29, 1887
Lyme, New Hampshire
Died October 10, 1967(1967-10-10) (aged 80)
Coconut Grove, Florida
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg United States
Service/branchFlag of the United States Navy (1864-1959).svg  United States Navy
Years of service 1907–1946
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Rear admiral
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
NC-4 Medal

Albert Cushing Read, Sr. (April 29, 1887 – October 10, 1967) was an aviator and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. He made the first transatlantic flight in the NC-4 Curtiss flying boat. [1]

Rear admiral in the United States refers to two different ranks of commissioned officers — one-star flag officers and two-star flag officers. By contrast, in most nations, the term "rear admiral" refers to an officer of two-star rank.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) 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, and 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 and second most powerful air force in the world.

A transatlantic flight is the flight of an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe, Africa, or the Middle East to North America, Central America, or South America, or vice versa. Such flights have been made by fixed-wing aircraft, airships, balloons, and other aircraft.

Contents

Biography

Read was born in Lyme, New Hampshire on April 29, 1887 into a Boston Brahmin family. He attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduating in the class of 1907. In 1915, he was designated naval aviator number 24.

Lyme, New Hampshire Town in New Hampshire, United States

Lyme is a town along the Connecticut River in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,716 as of the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 1,674 in 2017. Lyme is home to the Chaffee Natural Conservation Area. The Dartmouth Skiway is in the eastern part of town, near the village of Lyme Center. The Appalachian Trail passes through the town's heavily wooded eastern end.

Boston Brahmin

The Boston Brahmin or Boston elite are members of Boston's traditional upper class. They form an integral part of the historic core of the East Coast establishment, along with other wealthy families of Philadelphia and New York City. They are often associated with the distinctive Boston Brahmin accent, Harvard University, Anglicanism and traditional Anglo-American customs and clothing. Descendants of the earliest English colonists, such as those who came to America on the Mayflower or the Arbella, are often considered to be the most representative of the Boston Brahmins.

United States Naval Academy The U.S. Navys federal service academy

The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy adjacent to Annapolis, Maryland. Established on 10 October 1845, under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, it is the second oldest of the United States' five service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The 338-acre (137 ha) campus is located on the former grounds of Fort Severn at the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County, 33 miles (53 km) east of Washington, D.C. and 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Baltimore. The entire campus is a National Historic Landmark and home to many historic sites, buildings, and monuments. It replaced Philadelphia Naval Asylum, in Philadelphia, that served as the first United States Naval Academy from 1838 to 1845 when the Naval Academy formed in Annapolis.

As a Lieutenant Commander in May 1919, Read commanded a crew of five on the NC-4 Curtiss flying boat, the first aircraft ever to make a transatlantic flight, a couple of weeks before Alcock and Brown's non-stop flight, and eight years before Charles Lindbergh's solo, non-stop flight. Read's flight started from Rockaway Beach, Long Island, took 23 days before arriving in Plymouth, England. The six stops included layovers at Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, the Azores, and Lisbon, Portugal.

Flying boat aircraft equipped with a boat hull for operation from water

A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water, that usually has no type of landing gear to allow operation on land. It differs from a floatplane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage. Flying boats were some of the largest aircraft of the first half of the 20th century, exceeded in size only by bombers developed during World War II. Their advantage lay in using water instead of expensive land-based runways, making them the basis for international airlines in the interwar period. They were also commonly used for maritime patrol and air-sea rescue.

Transatlantic flight of Alcock and Brown duo

British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919. They flew a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Clifden, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The Secretary of State for Air, Winston Churchill, presented them with the Daily Mail prize for the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by aeroplane in "less than 72 consecutive hours". A small amount of mail was carried on the flight, making it the first transatlantic airmail flight. The two aviators were awarded the honour of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) a week later by King George V at Windsor Castle.

Charles Lindbergh American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, explorer, and environmental activist. At age 25 in 1927, he went from obscurity as a U.S. Air Mail pilot to instantaneous world fame by winning the Orteig Prize: making a nonstop flight from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, to Paris, France. Lindbergh covered the ​33 12-hour, 3,600-statute-mile (5,800 km) flight alone in a single-engine purpose-built Ryan monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis.

Later in 1919, upon returning to the U.S., Read predicted: "It soon will be possible to drive an airplane around the world at a height of 60,000 feet and 1,000 miles per hour." The next day, The New York Times ran an editorial in reaction, stating: "It is one thing to be a qualified aviator, and quite another to be a qualified prophet. Nothing now known supports the Lieutenant Commander’s forecast. An airplane at the height of 60,000 feet would be whirling its propellers in a vacuum, and no aviator could live long in the freezing cold of interstellar space."

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

On June 3, 1919, he was made a commander of the Order of the Tower and Sword by the Portuguese government. [2] In 1929, Read and the rest of the flight crew of NC-4 were awarded Congressional Gold Medals. [3]

Order of the Tower and Sword

The Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit is a Portuguese order of knighthood and the pinnacle of the Portuguese honours system. It was created by King Afonso V in 1459. The order may be bestowed on people or on Portuguese municipalities.

Congressional Gold Medal award

A Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress. The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian awards in the United States. It is awarded to persons "who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement." However, "There are no permanent statutory provisions specifically relating to the creation of Congressional Gold Medals. When a Congressional Gold Medal has been deemed appropriate, Congress has, by legislative action, provided for the creation of a medal on an ad hoc basis." U.S. citizenship is not a requirement.

Read trained naval aviators through World War II. He was nicknamed "Putty Read" because his face rarely showed any emotion. [4]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

On June 4, 1962, he appeared on the TV game show I've Got a Secret. [5]

He died in retirement in Coconut Grove, Florida in October 10, 1967. [1] [6] He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. [7] He was married to Elizabeth Anderson “Bess” (Burdine) Read (September 16, 1896 – December 8, 1992). [8] Rear Adm. Read is survived by his grandson James Marsh Cunningham and his great-granddaughter Julia Elizabeth Cunningham.

Awards

Media

He appeared on I've Got a Secret on June 4, 1962. Rear Adm. Albert Cushing Reed, Ret., Miami: “I commanded the first airplane to fly the Atlantic Ocean in 1919.”

Related Research Articles

Richard E. Byrd aviation pioneer, Medal of Honor recipient and United States Navy officer (1888-1957)

Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. was an American naval officer and explorer. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor given by the United States, and was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Aircraft flights in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau. Byrd claimed that his expeditions had been the first to reach both the North Pole and the South Pole by air. However, his claim to have reached the North Pole is disputed.

Curtiss NC-4

The NC-4 was a Curtiss NC flying boat that was the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, albeit not non-stop. The NC designation was derived from the collaborative efforts of the Navy (N) and Curtiss (C). The NC series flying boats were designed to meet wartime needs, and after the end of WWI they were sent overseas to validate the design concept.

1912 in aviation

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1912:

Frank Wead American naval aviator

Frank Wilbur "Spig" Wead was a U.S. Navy aviator who helped promote United States Naval aviation from its inception through World War II. Commander Wead was a recognized authority on early aviation. Following a crippling spinal injury in 1926, Wead was placed on the retired list. In the 1930s, he became a screenwriter, becoming involved in more than 30 movies. He also published several books, short stories and magazine articles. During World War II, he returned to active duty. He initially worked in a planning role, but later undertook sea duty in the Pacific, where he saw action against the Japanese in 1943–44 before being placed on the retired list in mid-1945.

Frank Friday Fletcher United States Navy Medal of Honor recipient

Frank Friday Fletcher was a United States Navy admiral who served in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was awarded the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions as commander of navy forces at the Battle of Veracruz, Mexico. The Fletcher-class destroyer, the most produced class of United States Navy destroyers, was named after him. He was also the uncle of Frank Jack Fletcher, another U.S. Navy Admiral who also received the Medal of Honor for actions at Veracruz, and who commanded U.S. naval forces at the battles of Coral Sea and Midway during the Second World War.

Curtiss NC flying boat built by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company

The Curtiss NC was a flying boat built by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company and used by the United States Navy from 1918 through the early 1920s. Ten of these aircraft were built, the most famous of which is the NC-4, the first airplane to make a transatlantic flight. The NC-4 is preserved in the National Museum of Naval Aviation, at NAS Pensacola, Florida.

Walter Hinton American aviator

Walter T. Hinton was a United States aviator.

Elmer Fowler Stone United States naval aviator

Elmer "Archie" Fowler Stone was a United States naval aviator and a commander in the United States Coast Guard.

John Henry Towers United States Navy admiral, naval aviator

John Henry Towers was a United States Navy admiral and pioneer naval aviator. He made important contributions to the technical and organizational development of naval aviation from its beginnings, eventually serving as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics (1939–1942). He commanded carrier task forces during World War II, and retired in December 1947. He and Marc Mitscher were the only early Naval Aviation pioneers to survive the hazards of early flight to remain with naval aviation throughout their careers. He was the first naval aviator to achieve flag rank and was the most senior advocate for naval aviation during a time when the Navy was dominated by battleship admirals. Towers spent his last years supporting aeronautical research and advising the aviation industry.

Forrest Sherman Recipient of the Purple Heart medal

Forrest Percival Sherman was an admiral in the United States Navy and the youngest person to serve as Chief of Naval Operations until Admiral Elmo Zumwalt in 1970. The Forrest Sherman class destroyer was named for him.

The NC-4 Medal is a military decoration that was authorized by the United States Congress in 1929 to commemorate the 1919 trans-Atlantic crossing by the members of the NC-4 mission. Originally awarded as a non-wearable table medal, in 1935 a wearable version of the medal was subsequently authorized. A commemorative medal, the NC-4 Medal was a one-time award, and does not currently appear on U.S. Navy award precedence charts.

Alfred M. Pride United States Navy admiral

Alfred Melville Pride was a United States Navy admiral and pioneer naval aviator, who distinguished himself during World War II as an aircraft carrier commander.

Alfred A. Cunningham United States naval aviator and Navy Cross recipient

Alfred Austell Cunningham was an American aviator and a United States Marine Corps officer who became the first Marine Corps aviator and the first Director of Marine Corps Aviation. His military career included service in the Spanish–American War, World War I, and U.S. operations in the Caribbean during the 1920s.

Winfield S. Cunningham Officer in Charge, Naval Activities, during Battle of Wake Island

Winfield Scott Cunningham was the Officer in Charge, Naval Activities, Wake Island when the tiny island was attacked by the Japanese on December 8, 1941. Cunningham commanded the defense of the island against the massive Japanese attack. After 15 days, he surrendered the island to the Japanese. Cunningham was taken prisoner and held as a POW in Japan. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his leadership at Wake Island.

USS <i>Aroostook</i> (CM-3)

USS Aroostook (ID-1256/CM-3/AK-44) was the Eastern Steamship Company's Bunker Hill converted for planting the World War I North Sea Mine Barrage. Bunker Hill was built in 1907 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for passenger service between Boston and New York City. Bunker Hill and her sister ship Massachusetts were among the eight ships acquired by the U.S. Navy in November 1917. The two coastal passenger steamers were converted to minelayers at the Boston Navy Yard.

Rear Admiral William Onahan Gallery was a United States Navy admiral — one of three brothers who became United States Navy admirals. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he was a naval aviator who served with distinction in combat during World War II.

Patrick N. L. Bellinger United States Admiral

Patrick Nieson Lynch Bellinger was a United States Navy officer with the rank of Vice Admiral, a naval aviator and a naval aviation pioneer.

Holden C. Richardson American test pilot

Holden Chester Richardson, was a decorated officer in the United States Navy with the rank of captain. He is most noted as a pioneer in United States naval aviation.

Herbert C. Rodd

Herbert Charles Rodd was a United States Naval Aviator. He served as the radio officer on the first successful transatlantic flight by the Curtiss NC-4 in May 1919 and later helped set additional world records for flight payload, duration and speed.

David Hugh McCulloch Early American Aviator

David Hugh McCulloch was an early American aviator who worked with Glenn Curtiss from 1912. Curtiss, was a contemporary and competitor to the Wright Bros, Wilbur and Orville, who had made the first flights at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Curtiss won the worlds first air race at Reims in France in August 1909, and was now becoming the driving force in American aviation. McCulloch's early work with Curtiss consisted of demonstrating, training and selling Curtiss planes and participating in early developments of flight. He trained the First Yale Unit, and in two consecutive days in 1917, he and several of his pupils from the First Yale Unit made flights that convinced the Navy to bring aircraft aboard ships. Later, McCulloch was co-pilot with Holden C. Richardson and flight commander John Henry Towers of the NC-3, the leader of the three Navy flying boats making the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

References

  1. 1 2 "Adm. Albert C. Read Dies at 80. First to Fly Across the Atlantic". The New York Times. October 11, 1967.
  2. "Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas" [Portuguese Honorary Orders]. Presidency of the Portuguese Republic (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  3. "A Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the crew of the first transatlantic flight". artandhistory.house.gov. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  4. Century of Flight: The Atlantic Challenge
  5. "Year 1962". 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  6. Cunningham p. 153.
  7. "Albert Cushing Read". Find a Grave . Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  8. "Read, Bess B". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2018-04-14.

Bibliography