The biennial symposium hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy’s History Department is widely recognized as the “largest regular meeting of naval historians in the world,” and serves as a global platform for scholars and practitioners to collaborate and discuss the latest research on naval and maritime history.

The range of topics covered during the 2023 symposium was extensive, spanning from the age of sail, with discussions on privateers and prisoners of war, to the nuclear Navy. NHHC representatives made substantial contributions to the symposium by presenting key subjects in various sessions throughout the two-day event.

NHHC presentations included:

·       “Why Should We Remember the Maine,” presented by NHHC Historian John Fahey

·       “The Maine Submerged: An Underwater History,” presented by NHHC Underwater Archaeologist Ivor Mollema

·      “Laws, Policies, and Lawsuits that Opened Doors for Female Navy Trailblazers,” presented by NHHC Director’s Action Group Director Denise Rucker Krepp

·       “U.S. Navy Force Design in a Microcosm, 1950-1970,” presented by NHHC Historian Daniel Curzon

·       “From Lowest Ebb to Highest Tide: Navy Force Design and Strategy, 1970-1989,” presented by NHHC Historian Eric Perinovic

·       “A Tale of Woe: Navy Force Design, 1990-2010,” presented by NHHC Historian Tyler Pitrof

·       “Employing the Adaptive Joint Force Package Concept: Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti 1994,” presented by NHHC Historian Christopher B. Havern, Sr.

·       “Creating the Point of the Spear”: The Deployment of Kitty Hawk (CV-63) as an Afloat Forward Staging Base during Operation Enduring Freedom,” presented by NHHC Historian Justin Blanton

·       “The Naval Academy’s African American Worker Community in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,” presented by NHHC Archives Deputy Branch Head Samuel Limneos

·       “Finding a Permanent Place: Demobilization, Suburbia, Motherhood, and Women in the Navy,” presented by NHHC Historian Heather Haley

·       “Without the ‘Woman’: Gender-Exclusive Language and the Masculinity of War,” presented by NHHC Writer/Editor Kati Engel

·       “Operation Tomodachi,” presented by NHHC Historian John Sherwood

·       “The Boxer Rebellion: Bluejackets and Marines in China,” presented by NHHC Writer/Editor Emily Abdow

In addition to presentations, NHHC Historians Curtis Utz, Heather Haley, Regina Akers, and Anna Holloway; Librarian Penelope Weinstein; Navy Museums Division Director James Rentfrow and Registrar Wesley Schwenk served as panel chairs and discussants by reading and synthesizing the panel papers, providing context for the audience, initiating discussions and offering suggestions for further research.

“It’s extremely import for our team to engage in peer-reviewed, networking events like the McMullen Naval History Symposium,” said James Wilson-Quayle, Assistant Director, NHHC Histories and Archives Division.  “Not only does it develop us professionally, it also expands our partnership and collaboration opportunities, and enables us to navigate the complexities of history with precision and purpose. Their insightful presentations showcased NHHC’s commitment to preserving and promoting the rich naval history of the U.S. Navy.”

Interviews with some of the scholars presenting at the symposium will air on upcoming episodes of the Preble Hall podcast at  For more information on the McMullen Naval History Symposium and a complete list of sessions,

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit or contact NHHC Public Affairs at

230922-N-FJ200-1016 ANNAPOLIS, MD. (Sept. 22, 2023) Naval History and Heritage Command Historian Justin Blanton, discusses his essay “Creating the Point of the Spear”: The Deployment of Kitty Hawk (CV-63) as an Afloat Forward Staging Base during ...