DAHLGREN HERITAGE FOUNDATION Winter 2015
Dahlgren Heritage Museum P. O. Box 816, Dahlgren, Virginia 22448 www.dahlgrenmuseum.org
Outdoor Christmas Market Draws a Crowd
Photos by Gary Wagner
he 2014 Christmas holiday season kicked off with a resounding celebration on Saturday, Nov. 15, as the Dahlgren Heritage Museum hosted the region’s first German Christmas Market. An estimated 3,000 guests visited the evening outdoor festival held on the museum’s grounds adjacent to Wayside Park and Hwy 301 in King George County. The festive event was open to the public at no charge and featured a craft fair, ornament and cookie decorating activities for the kids, live music and a Christmas tree decorating contest. Ed Jones, Dahlgren Heritage Foundation president, commented, “The event was a fantastic success thanks to the many folks from King George and beyond who turned out for what was truly a community event. “We look forward to bringing this event back next year – bigger and better,” he added. The Foundation staff has announced the date for a 2015 German Christmas Market – November 14. Crafters and other vendors interested in participating may request further information by contacting the Dahlgren Museum at dahlgren email@example.com. Live musical performances by area school groups at this year’s event included holiday songs by Dahlgren School students, the Nutcracker Ballet by a troupe from King George High School, and concert by Thornburg Middle School’s dulce Corde orchestra ensemble, capped with a special guest appearance by Anthony Campbell from Spotsylvania, winner of
Youngsters visit with Santa while a King George High School ballet troupe performs a dance from the Nutcracker for the German Christmas Market audience.
NBC’s “Today’s Superstar” contest in 2003. Christmas trees adorned by students and faculty from six area schools were on display as part of a decorating contest. Trees provided by the Willow Oaks Christmas Tree and Lily Farm were decorated by King George elementary, middle and high school students, and by students from Dahlgren School on board Naval Support Facility Dahlgren. The tree decorating contest was won by Potomac Elementary School. Hot food and refreshments included concessions by The Bavarian Chef restaurant and Oak Crest Winery. A heated vendors’ tent, along with hot chocolate and a toasty outSee MARKET on page 3 Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
DAHLGREN HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Tooting Our Own Horn
President Edward W. Jones
By Ed Jones
Vice President Robert V. Gates Museum Administrator Susan Prien Treasurer Dennis Quick Secretary Jeron Hayes Board of Directors Charles Armstrong Ruby Brabo John B. Ashton Greg Chambers Tim Carsola Joseph McGettigan James Eaton Debbie McInnis Stan Palivoda Ed Watson Lisa A. Rossbacher Our Mission The Dahlgren Heritage Foundation preserves and promotes the history, traditions, heritage and culture of the United States Navy at Dahlgren, Va., and the surrounding community. The Foundation will purposefully and aggressively seek financial support to establish the Dahlgren Heritage Museum and to provide the long-term preservation efforts and educational activities associated with sharing the stories and interpreting the U.S. Navy’s physical, technical, intellectual and social contributions to King George County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation.
top tooting your own horn! That’s the not uncommon remand we often hear. But in the case of the Navy base at Dahlgren, I sometimes think we have just the opposite problem: We don’t toot our horn enough. That’s what we hope to remedy this year with our series of forums marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The thread that will weave through all four of these sessions at the University of Mary Washington, Dahlgren Campus, is the important role Dahlgren played during that colossally challenging time to our nation. From the ordnance testing and development that were key to Allied victory, to Dahlgren’s role in the birth of atomic capability, to the beginnings of the computer age, we’ll bring together knowledgeable storytellers to share the Dahlgren story. Along the way, we’ll focus on the impact those war years had on the Dahlgren community, both inside the gates (with the enduring role of Boomtown) and outside the gates. You’ll find more information on these forums elsewhere in this newsletter, and on our website – www.dahlgrenmuseum.org. We salute UMW Dahlgren for its continuing support of our museum. Thanks to Scott Jones and his team at the UMW campus, this series of forums will allow us to achieve two key goals. The first is to further our mission of bringing the community together in creative ways to tell the Dahlgren story. In addition to the forums themselves, we’ll be offering special exhibitions at the museum that relate to these topics. The second goal is to continue our countdown to the Dahlgren base’s Centennial in 2018, when we hope to have our museum operating on all cylinders. By that we mean regular daily hours at the museum, continuing programs with local schools, many more community forums, and a lively, interactive website. You can help by joining our team. Become a member, attend a forum, volunteer to be a host on a Saturday afternoon at the museum. There’s a lot to do to ensure that all those who have contributed to Dahlgren’s role over the past nine decades-plus are appropriately recognized for their efforts. If that falls into the category of “tooting our horn,” so be it!
Our Vision To generate a public understanding of the impact the community and U.S. Navy base at Dahlgren, Virginia, have had in using science and technology to strengthen national defense, particularly through support for warfighters.
Dahlgren’s Potomac River Test Range proved to be a critical asset in the nation’s war effort, accomplishing proof testing for all the Navy’s large-caliber guns on their way to serve in the Fleet.
The Dahlgren Heritage Foundation is a member of the American Association for State and Local History.
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
Photo Gallery (clockwise from top left): Attendees vote for best Christmas tree; the Bavarian Chef had a steady stream of customers; Dahlgren School students offer a concert of holiday songs; Thornburg Middle School’s dulce Corde orchestra ensemble performs a Christmas carol; youngsters work on a holiday craft in the crafters and concessions tent.
MARKET Continued from page 1
door fire pit provided some welcome warmth against the cold night’s air. Attendees also were invited to bid in a silent auction for a wide selection of items and services by area businesses and individuals, to include a one-week stay at a North Carolina mountain cabin, and a one-night stay at the Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast in King George. Of course, a special guest appearance by Santa caused a stir among the youngsters on hand, who had an op-
portunity to have their photo taken with the “jolly ole elf” in a studio set up inside the Dahlgren Museum. All proceeds from this year’s German Christmas Market were to benefit the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation. The foundation is chartered to establish and operate the Dahlgren Heritage Museum and to provide the long-term preservation efforts and educational activities associated with sharing the stories and interpreting the U.S. Navy's physical, technical,
intellectual and social contributions to King George County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation.
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
LOVE & WAR A WAVES Officer Remembers Dahlgren
he outcome of World War II still hung in the balance when Ensign Genevieve Parker checked into her first duty station at the Dahlgren Naval Proving Grounds in 1944. One of the first WAVES officers to serve at Dahlgren, Parker still fondly remembers excitement, the dizzying pace of work and camaraderie during the war. Her year in Dahlgren was an eventful one: she met her husband Edelen and would spend the next few decades of her life as a Navy spouse. At 95 years young, Parker recounted her memories with sharpness, clarity and humor. Thousands of young women served in the Navy as Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service program, better known as WAVES, during World War II. Unlike the women who served during World War I, WAVES were led by woman officers. Parker was a teacher when the U.S. joined the war and called for woman volunteers. "I'm from the middle-west, in Wisconsin," said Parker. "The war had just begun and they were taking all the men. You didn't have to volunteer in those days; they just took you. They took all the men. I said shoot, this is no fun. I'm going where the guys are. Another teacher and myself, we made the decision. We went to Milwaukee, found the Navy recruitment office and signed up." Parker completed WAVES officer training at Smith College, in Northampton, Mass. "We all got our orders," she said. "The girls were standing around [saying] 'oh, I'm going to New York' or 'oh, I'm going to Philadelphia.' And I looked at [my orders] and said 'did anybody ever hear of Dahlgren?' Nobody had and nobody 4
else got orders to Dahlgren." Parker took a train from Boston to Baltimore and then caught a bus to the then-remote Dahlgren Proving Grounds. "When we got close I went
to the driver and asked if there was a hotel in this area and everybodybecause they were looking at this WAVES officer-everybody broke out laughing."
U.S. Navy photo by Andrew Revelos
By Andrew Revelos
Genevieve Parker in her Clinton, Md. home for a recent interview at 95 years young. Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
WAVES, pictured at work at chart tables at the Dahlgren proving ground during World War II, were a significant component of the baseâ€™s workforce required to support around-the-clock range operations.
Parker was "saved" by fellow WAVES when she finally arrived at the base. "Those were the days," she recalled with a grin. The flurry of work undertaken at Dahlgren during the war impressed Parker. "It was a pretty lively, going thing, Dahlgren," she said. "They were testing these big guns, all the way from the 3-inch, the 5-inch, whatever, all the way up to the 16-inch guns." The first task was getting used to the very noisy testing that echoed across the base. "You ever seen that 16 -inch gun fire?" she asked. "When they used to test those guns at the proving ground, it would blow the pictures off the wall and the furniture would shake and rattle. It was really fun." Parker's primary job was to create range tables that helped Navy gunners hit their targets. In the days before computers, this was no small task and the list of wartime ordnance requiring new range tables was growing. "In those days, they had a formula," she said. "You had to put in the speed of the bullet, the weather played a part-the wind, the temperature-it was a formula that incorporated all these things. This was a range table. When you shoot the gun, where does it go? What is the angle? You had to put all this into your formula so you could find out if you'd hit your target or not. You had to fig-
While Parker calculated range tables with pencil and paper, she witnessed one of the Navy's most important transformations. The incredible amount of work that needed to be done led Navy leaders to seek more efficient means of completing new range tables. ure it out for every angle. And [the formulas] were huge. No calculators. you had to do it all with paper and pencil." Though that particular job took place behind the gun line at Dahlgren, the WAVES occasionally got a frontrow seat to the testing. "All the women got out there to watch them fire the guns," said Parker. "It was neat because they fired down the Potomac River and you could see the projectile if you stood right behind [the gun]." While Parker calculated range tables with pencil and paper, she witnessed one of the Navy's most important Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
transformations. The incredible amount of work that needed to be done at Dahlgren led Navy leaders, including base commander Capt. David Hedrick, to seek out more efficient means of completing new range tables. Hedrick ordered more desk calculators and commissioned the project that created the Harvard Mark II relay calculator, delivered to Dahlgren in 1947. Earlier types of computers had already made their way to the base just as Parker was leaving. "It was just starting," she said. "A computer filled a whole room. I was just getting ready to leave when they got this computer. All the bigwigs. they were so excited about his computer." Parker was later tasked with compiling reports and scheduling appointments for two captains in one of the range offices. As one of only a few WAVES officers, Parker was also charged with leading the enlisted WAVES. "They lived right with the enlisted Sailors," said Parker of the enlisted WAVES. "They had a separate hallway or something. One of us [officers] had duty every night. We had go over there and sleep in the barracks with the enlisted WAVES so they didn't get into any trouble." That responsibility continued when the enlisted WAVES went on liberty in Fredericksburg or Colonial Beach, where Parker patrolled the boardwalk. "We had to watch out for the WAVES and make sure they didn't get into any trouble," said Parker. "We had to walk up and down that boardwalk and watch the enlisted WAVES. They were just like us and probably some of them were just as welleducated." If that weren't enough responsibilities, Parker also had one more collateral duty selling war bonds. Everybody bought them," she said. Despite the frantic war effort that affected every facet of base life, Parker and her fellow WAVES found time to relax. She still seems to be a little surprised by all the attention the WAVES See WAVES on page 6 5
Neither love or friendship could overshadow the war WAVES Continued from page 5
officers received. "We had a good time," she said. "We were only three WAVE officers, so even the captains and admirals invited us to all the parties. We were a phenomenon, I guess." The WAVES officers saw their male counterparts at meals and the group enjoyed movies, cards, golf outings and ping pong together. "We saw them three times a day," said Parker of the male officers. "Every once and awhile they'd a have a little party or serve drinks before dinner. My husband came over a couple of times and we'd walk over to dinner together; that's where I met him." Then-Lt. Edelen Parker had already spent several years in the Navy, earning his wings in 1937. The dash6
ing young officer was quickly promoted as the war progressed. "My husband was a dive bomber pilot testing bomb sights," said Parker. "He said they dropped bombs and missiles all over the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Once, they dropped one in a woman's back yard and boy did they hear about it." According to family legend, Edelen Parker once flew his plane underneath the Harry Nice Bridge, then called the Potomac River Bridge. He clearly made an impression on the young ensign. "I thought that was the best year of my life," Parker said. Edelen Parker stayed in the Navy after the end of World War II, reaching the rank of rear admiral and retiring in 1972. He shared his own recollections of Dahlgren with his wife and children before he passed away in 1993. One of the most striking, and Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
one that still affects base operations today, were the Parkers' thoughts about working with civilian scientists. The perpetual culture clash between military leadership and the sometimes idiosyncratic scientists came to a head at Dahlgren during the 1940s. "There were a lot of civilian PhDs [in Dahlgren] that were part of the development of bomb sights and he would always kind of chuckle because they were in a different world," said Rhoderick, the Parkers' oldest son. "He said [Dahlgren] was full of a bunch of PhDs who didn't know how to tie their shoes," added Chris, the Parkers' other son. Some of those scientists were brought directly into the uniformed ranks, a move that either helped or hurt the situation depending on one's loyalties. "They brought these professors, these PhDs, and gave them a
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rank," said Parker. "They didn't know anything about the Navy." Though the tension between the military and scientific communities persisted at Dahlgren after the end of the war, the brains and the brass always seemed to find a way to accomplish the mission at hand. One such officer-scientist, Dr. Allen Hershey, stayed on at Dahlgren as a civilian after the war and eventually became senior member of the Warfare Analysis Department. He was highlyregarded by his peers, though his professorial mannerisms seemed a little "weird" to military service members. Hershey married Parker's friend, a fellow WAVES officer. "He was a typical scientist-professor," she said. "It was a good match." Neither love nor friendship could overshadow the war and the transience it produced, however. Edelen Parker was promoted to lieutenant commander and soon received orders to San Diego, where he would be as-
signed to USS Manila Bay. Parker married Edelen and left the service, though the required bureaucratic maneuvering was not without its complications. "I had everybody working on it, even the head of the WAVES unit in Washington," she said. "So I was able to get out then." For the Parkers, World War II ended some months after VJ Day, when USS Manila Bay returned to San Francisco in 1945. In the many years since Parker left Dahlgren, she still remembers the main features of the base. "I can picture it pretty well," she said. Parker's fondest memories, however, are of her husband. Edelen, it seems, including lots pranks in his courtship of Parker. "He'd push the doorbell and then run off and leave me standing there by myself," she said, smiling. The Parkers' descendants currently manage Parker Farms, a business that began when Edelen retired from Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
the Navy and began growing berries at his parents' Clinton, Md. farm. With the help of the Parkers' sons, the business grew and the family now manages agricultural operations in seven states. The origins of the family and family business, however, are the product of a wartime romance at Dahlgren. Parker smiles sublimely as she remembers the days she spent with her groom at Dahlgren. "We got this canoe and we were out there in our uniforms on the water, so what does he do? He tips over the canoe. My hat went floating down the river. We finally got back into the canoe and he did it again. He was a real joker." She doesn't hesitate when asked whether or not she avenged the prank. "I married him," she said, laughing. "That fixed him."
Dahlgren Takes Spotlight in Year-Long Commemoration of the End of World War II By Gary Wagner
he Dahlgren Heritage Foundation is targeting 2015 as a yearlong opportunity to observe the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II through the lens of the innovations and technology developed and tested by the U.S. Navy at Dahlgren, Va. that helped determine the outcome of that war and continue to be critical to the tactical and strategic capabilities to U.S. armed services today and into the future. The centerpiece of this year-long commemoration will be a series of quarterly community forums hosted at the UMW Dahlgren Campus. The March 11 forum which kicks off the series will be themed to highlight the role of guns, technology and Dahlgren
in helping to bring World War II to an end. Held in the UMW Dahlgren Campusâ€™ University Hall, the community forums will be open to the public and offered at no charge. Each forum will begin at 4:30 p.m. with an informal reception and the program will begin at 5 p.m. The World War II commemorative programming of 2015 will also provide a platform for the Foundation to prepare for the centennial of the Navy base at Dahlgren in 2018. The Foundation anticipates that the Dahlgren Heritage Museum will factor into the baseâ€™s centennial observance and will serve as helpful catalyst not only to tell the history of Dahlgren, but also to promote its future.
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
The Dahlgren Heritage Museum will host special openings and programs to coincide with the quarterly community forums. Plans are underway to showcase special exhibits at the museum and coordinate with military commands on Naval Support Facility (NSF) Dahlgren for public tours of the base. Additionally, the museum plans to host a student STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activity and student tour of the base. The goal of the Foundation is to generate a public understanding of the impact the U.S. Navy base at Dahlgren and the surrounding community have had in using science and technology to strengthen national deSee World War II on page 10
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
Thank You! From the Dahlgren Heritage Museum for a Wonderfully Successful
German Christmas Market An estimated 3,000 people attended this inaugural celebration, featuring live musical and dance performances, Christmas trees decorated by local school students, a holiday craft bazaar, German food, refreshments, kids crafts, and an early visit by Santa. We truly appreciate the tremendous outpouring of community spirit that made this event so special. Community Sponsors NSWC Federal Credit Union Waste Management EXIT Realty J. T. Title Hildrup Moving & Storage Willow Oaks Christmas Tree & Lily Farm Individual & Silent Auction Donors High Tides on the Potomac Restaurant Wilkerson’s Seafood Restaurant Domino’s Pizza in Dahlgren Rivers Edge Inn Pancho Villa Mexican Restaurant Belle Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast City of Fredericksburg Tourism Courtyard Marriott Fredericksburg Smoking Ron’s BBQ Yesterday’s Family Restaurant Bobby K’s Roadside Café Vinny’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria Lavender Heights Bed & Breakfast Mason’s King George Florist Not Your Mother’s Cupcakes Ingleside Winery NSWC Dahlgren Division Walmart O’Donnell Family Rob Gates Debbie McInnis Susan Saunders
Plan now to visit next year’s German Christmas Market Saturday, November 14, 2015! 10
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
WORLD WAR II Continued from page 8
fense, particularly through support for warfighters. Dahlgren’s function as the Navy's principal proving ground at the outset of World War II provided a critical capability for proofing and testing every major naval gun and all ammunition supplied to the Fleet to directly influence and support force readiness throughout the global conflict. Dahlgren’s ballistic ranges, coupled with the scientific and technical expertise resident at the base at the outset of World War II, played an important role in the nation’s development of its first atomic weapon delivery system. Dahlgren’s ballistic ranges continue to provide a unique capability for proofing and testing every major naval gun and Fleet ammunition, as well as supporting RDT&E and proof testing for leading-edge weapons systems for Navy and other U.S. armed services. The siting of the Naval Ordnance Relay Calculator (NORC) computer and further evolutions of computer systems employed at Dahlgren have been key to development of leading-edge ballistics research, space geodesy and space surveillance, and computer/ weapon systems integration, and have provided essential operational support to Navy and other U.S. armed forces on both strategic and tactical levels. Today, Dahlgren has grown to serve as home to multiple DoD commands that execute a broad spectrum of scientific and response-force missions serving all branches of the U.S. armed services. NSF Dahlgren makes a significant economic contribution to the local community and the installation’s military commands, as a whole, serve as the largest employer in King George County, and one of the largest employers in the greater Fredericksburg area.
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Expands Business Support Program The Dahlgren Heritage Foundation preserves and promotes the history, traditions, heritage and culture of the U.S. Navy at Dahlgren, Virginia, and the surrounding community. The Foundation is chartered to establish and operate the Dahlgren Heritage Museum and to provide the long-term preservation efforts and educational activities associated with sharing the stories and interpreting the U.S. Navy's physical, technical, intellectual and social contributions to King George County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation. Consider This Opportunity to Invest in Preserving Navy History
We invite you to join us in this exciting endeavor as a business supporter. Financial support from businesses serves as a key component in helping us expedite our plans for operating the Dahlgren Heritage Museum on a continuing basis, and to undergird our educational efforts and special programs for the benefit of our community. You can help by becoming a business supporter at the Corporate Member, Corporate Contributor, Corporate Sponsor or Corporate Partner levels. The Dahlgren Heritage Foundation is chartered as a non-profit organization, and all donations made to the Foundation are fully tax deductible. You may use the application provided below to sign up for the Foundation’s Business Support Program, or you can make your donation on line at www.dahlgrenmuseum.org. All donations are welcome. Consider This Opportunity to Promote Your Business
Those businesses that enroll as a supporter of the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation at the Corporate Member, Corporate Contributor, Corporate Sponsor or Corporate Partner levels will be listed in the quarterly Digest magazine. Supporters at these levels will also have an opportunity to place free display advertisements in the Digest, as outlined below. The Digest magazine is produced every quarter as an electronic publication, and distributed by email to Foundation members and a broad base of government, educational and business organizations, media, and special-interest groups. The magazine is also available to readers worldwide through its posting on www.issuu.com. We appreciate your consideration to partner with us as we endeavor to preserve and promote the history, traditions, heritage and culture of the U.S. Navy at Dahlgren. — Ed Jones, President, Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Dahlgren Heritage Foundation
BUSINESS SUPPORT PROGRAM APPLICATION
articipants in the Business Support Program for the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation may select from one of the following membership categories (please check the appropriate box): Corporate Member - A minimum donation of $500. Free quarter-page advertisement in one quarterly edition of the Digest. Corporate Contributor - A minimum donation of $1,000. Free quarter-page advertisement in two quarterly editions of the Digest. Corporate Sponsor - A minimum donation of $2,000. Free half-page advertisement in two quarterly editions of the Digest. Corporate Partner - A minimum donation of $5,000. Free half-page advertisement in four quarterly editions of the Digest. As a Corporate Member, Corporate Contributor, Corporate Sponsor or Corporate Partner you will receive a certificate of appreciation. Supporting businesses in these categories will be listed in the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest newsletter, in addition to having an opportunity to place free display advertisements in the Digest as outlined above. In order to assist the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation in its operation of the Dahlgren Heritage Museum, and in the Foundation’s outreach and related activities, I agree to contribute to the Business Support Program the sum of $ ________ .
NAME BUSINESS NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE
Signature Date Make checks payable to Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Mail all contributions to: Dahlgren Heritage Foundation P. O. Box 816 Dahlgren, VA 22448
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation News & Upcoming Events
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Enrolled in AmazonSmile Charitable Giving Program The Dahlgren Heritage Foundation is now a participating charity in the AmazonSmile program, which offers Amazon customers a simple and automatic way to support their favorite charitable organization every time they shop, at no cost to customers. Amazon customers shopping at smile.amazon.com will find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to a customer’s favorite charitable organization. To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. Tens of millions of products on Ama-
zonSmile are eligible for donations. Shoppers will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Shoppers can use their existing account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. A customer’s shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same. On their first visit to AmazonSmile, customers will need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before they begin shopping. Customers’ selections are remembered, and then every eligible purchase made on AmazonSmile will result in a donation.
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation P. O. Box 816 Dahlgren, VA 22448
Dahlgren Heritage Foundation Digest - Winter 2015
News and information concerning the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation and Dahlgren Heritage Museum.