Hispanic Americans - 19th Century to the 1930s



Hispanic Americans have served in the U.S. Navy since the foundation of the United States. Admiral David G. Farragut's father, Jorge Anthony Magin Farragut, was from Spain and fought against the British during the American Revolution. Following his father into the Navy, David G. Farragut became a national hero and was the Navy's first full Admiral.

Serving with distinction in the Civil War, Seaman John Ortega was the first Hispanic American to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions on board USS Saratoga during the Union blockade in the fall of 1864. In 1883, Robert F. Lopez became the first Hispanic American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Continuing this progression, Frederick L. Riefkohl became the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the Naval Academy in 1911, opening the door to numerous future graduates.

The Photographic Section does not have photographic images of Hispanic Americans that pre-date the Civil War.

Continue here for Hispanic Americans in the U.S. Navy - 1940s.

Click the photograph to prompt a larger view.

Photo #: KN-1044 (Color)

Lieutenant David G. Farragut, USN

Painting by William Swain.

Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute.

U.S. National Archives Photograph.

Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

Online Image: 75KB; 735 x 925

 
Photo #: NH 49527

Admiral David G. Farragut, USN

Admiral Farragut is shown on board his flagship USS Franklin during his European Cruise.

Courtesy of Mr. Franklin Bache Huntington.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 141KB; 705 x 925

 
Photo #: NH 105926

U.S. Navy Medal of Honor

Reverse of a Medal of Honor awarded to Seaman John Ortega, USN, who served twice with landing parties from USS Saratoga during the Union blockade in August and September of 1864. For his performance in these actions, he was also promoted to rank of Acting Master's Mate.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 132KB; 585 x 765

 
Photo #: NH 106914-KN (Color)

Board of Medical Examiner's Form

Lieutenant Junior Grade Robert F. Lopez, USN, signed this form on 13 March 1896. The form was required for all Naval officers for the promotion review board. Lopez was the first Hispanic-American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and saw military action in the Spanish-American War during the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May 1898. In 1911, Lopez retired as a Commodore but returned to active duty during World War I as the Acting Commandant of the Mare Island Shipyard, California. He died in 1936.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 114KB; 595 x 925

 
Photo #: NH 106915-KN (Color)

Midshipman Frederick L. Riefkohl, USN

Halftone reproduction of a photograph, scanned from the official publication, "The Lucky Bag" 1911. Riefkohl was the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. He went on to serve in both world wars and received the Navy Cross for his service on board USS Philadelphia (C-4) on 2 August 1917. During his time in the Navy, he attained the rank of Rear Admiral and retired in 1947. Riefkohl died in 1969.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 180KB; 680 x 925

 
Photo #: NH 106918-KN (Color)

Midshipman Pedro Augusto del Valle


Halftone reproduction of a photograph, scanned from the official publication, "The Lucky Bag" 1915. Pedro Augusto del Valle was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and served during both World Wars. While in the Marines, he became the first Hispanic American to attain the rank of Lieutenant General. In January 1948, Del Valle retired. On 28 April 1978, he died and is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 133KB; 630 x 925

 
Photo #: NH 106916

Midshipman Jose M. Cabanillas, USN

Halftone reproduction of a photograph, scanned from the official publication, "The Lucky Bag" 1924. Born in Puerto Rico, Cabanillas saw service in World War II on board USS Texas (BB-35) and commanded USS Dixie (AD-14) during the Korean War, providing cover for the U.S. Marines that landed in Inchon Invasion. While serving in the Navy, he was promoted to Rear Admiral. In 1955, he retired from the Navy and practiced law in Virginia. Cabanillas died on 15 September 1979.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 73KB; 700 x 925

 
Photo #: NH 106917-KN (Color)

Midshipman Edmund E. Garcia, USN

Halftone reproduction of a photograph, scanned from the official publication, "The Lucky Bag" 1927. During World War II, Garcia commanded USS Sloat (DE 245) during the Allied Invasions of Africa, Sicily and France. While serving in the Navy, he was promoted to Rear Admiral. Garcia died in 1971.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 81KB; 650 x 925

 
Photo #: NH 106919

Midshipman Marion F. Ramierz de Arellano, USN

Halftone reproduction of a photograph, scanned from the official publication, "The Lucky Bag" 1935. Ramierz de Arellano became the first Hispanic American to command a submarine when assigned as the Commanding Officer of USS Balao (SS-285) during World War II, earning two Silver Stars for his exceptional service. He attained the rank of Captain before retiring in July 1961. Ramierz de Arellano died on 15 May 1980.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 67KB; 615 x 925

 



For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.





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