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Donald D. Engen. Photograph by Carolyn Russo. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution (#99-15320).

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Engen, Donald Davenport (28 May 1924–13 July 1999), naval officer, test pilot, public servant, was born in Pomona, California, the son of Sydney M. Engen, a stockbroker and later an Internal Revenue Service employee, and Dorothy Davenport Engen. Engen spent his childhood years in southern California, principally in Pasadena. When he was in fourth grade, he decided that he wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and become a naval officer....

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Fox, Gustavus Vasa (13 June 1821–29 October 1883), naval officer, assistant secretary of the navy, and business executive, was born in Saugus, Massachusetts, the son of Jesse Fox, a physician, inventor, and manufacturer, and Olivia Flint. Growing up in Lowell, Fox developed an “unconquerable desire” (Jesse Fox to ...

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Richmond Pearson Hobson. From a photomechanical print celebrating "The Sinking of the 'Merrimac.'" Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-108486).

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Hobson, Richmond Pearson (17 August 1870–16 March 1937), naval officer and congressman, was born in Greensboro, Alabama, the son of James Marcellus Hobson, a lawyer, and Sarah Croom Pearson. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in May 1885. The youngest member of his class, he was put “in Coventry” (ostracism via the silent treatment) by his classmates for placing some of them on report and spent the balance of his second- and all of his first-class years under the ban. Never lower than third academically, he graduated in 1889 first in his class. The ostracism was to cast a long shadow on the active naval career of one who, in his own words, “ ...

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Williams, John Foster (12 October 1743–24 June 1814), officer in the Massachusetts State Navy and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. The identities of his parents are unknown, although he is believed to be a descendant of Roger Williams...