Yale University

Class News

Angus Gillespie '64 addresses Norwegian sailors

Angus Gillespie reports that he was very proud to be invited to speak at the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, addressing 54 midshipman before they embarked on a Norwegian sail-training vessel for a trans-Atlantic passage to Norfolk. The following press release pertains

Norwegian Midshipmen to Visit Washington, D.C.

In late September, fifty-four midshipmen from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy left Bergen, Norway, bound for the United States on board a sail training vessel. Their ship will arrive in Norfolk, Virginia, in late October. A highlight of their stay in the United States will be a study visit to Washington, D.C, where they plan to tour the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Before leaving Norway, the midshipmen were prepared for their visit to the United States through a series of lectures at the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy. Among their speakers was an invited guest from New Jersey—Professor Angus Kress Gillespie of the American Studies Department at Rutgers University.

Professor Gillespie spoke to the midshipmen on the topic of the United States Government. Gillespie gave a brief explanation of the American three-part system of government—the executive, the legislative, and the judicial.

The powers of the American president were compared and contrasted with those of a European prime minister. The makeup of the House of Representatives and the Senate were explained. Gillespie also covered the federal court system and the appointment of judges.

The midshipmen were especially interested in asking what forces determine the direction of the foreign policy of the United States. They asked penetrating questions about the foreign policy of George W. Bush and its implications for NATO.

The Royal Norwegian Naval Academy is a college that educates officers for the Royal Norwegian Navy. The subjects vary from navigation, international politics, naval history, strategy, tactics, and leadership.

An important part of the curriculum is a nine-week cruise on a sail training vessel to teach the midshipmen discipline, teamwork, and order. Their square rigger ship, Statsraad Lemkuhl, was built in 1914. Initially she sailed under a German flag as Grossherzog Friedrich August, but in 1920 she was handed over to Britain as war compensation after World War I.

She lay inactive in Britain until she was purchased in 1921 by a Norwegian steamship company, Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab. In 1924 she was given as a gift to a Norwegian merchant marine school and renamed Statsraad Lemkuhl.

In training merchant mariners, the ship went on expeditions to Scandinavian and British ports. During World War II, the ship fell into German hands and sailed under the Nazi flag as Westwarts. She was not treated well by the Germans, but with a great deal of hard work she was made seaworthy for new expeditions in 1946.

Currently the ship is owned and managed by a non-governmental organization with the support of sponsors and friends, and the ship is leased by the Naval Academy for an annual sail training missions of nine weeks duration. In addition to the 54 midshipmen, there are five instructors and a professional crew of about 25.

Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, the midshipmen will take their place as officers in the Royal Norwegian Navy. Their duties will include surveillance and control of inshore waters and the protections of Norwegian interests on the high seas.

The Royal Norwegian Navy has a peacetime strength of 8,000 officers and enlisted personnel. The Navy currently has some 33 ships including 2 frigates, 6 submarines, 14 patrol boats, one minelayer, 8 minesweepers, and 2 training vessels. In the near future, 5 new frigates with helicopters and 5 missile torpedo vessels will be phased in.