Legendary American naval officer George Dewey (1837-1917) was born on this day in Montpelier, Vermont and become a catalyst for transforming the U.S. Navy into a world force.
As George Washington once said, "Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."
Dewey graduated from Annapolis and quickly moved up the ranks. A Civil War hero, he had a reputation for thinking on his feet and once during a battle he heroically risked his life to lead lifeboats back to a burning ship.
"A hero," said writer Kitty Kelley, "is someone we can admire without apology."
Best known for his 1898 defeat of the Spanish fleet in the Manila Bay, Dewey uttered the famous words, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," to the captain of his flagship, the U.S.S. Olympia.
During the memorable Philippines battle, Dewey's forces destroyed the entire Spanish fleet of 10 cruisers and gunboats without losing an American. The one-sided fight brought the U.S. victory in the Spanish-American War and recognition as a powerful naval force. The popular Dewey was promoted to admiral by Congress in March 1899.
Keep your composure high and your temper heroic.