Pennant of the USS Akron, ca. 1931
USS Akron was a U.S. Navy Airship built in 1931 that crashed into the sea during a storm on April 4, 1933, off the coast of New Jersey. This pennant was sent to FDR in January 1942, by Fred C. Muttersbach of Vallejo, California.
Be sure to see some of our earlier posts on the Akron, including footage of her in flight:
Burial services of sailors recovered from the Battleship Maine, held at the south end of the State, War, and Navy Department Building, March 23, 1912. Washington, DC. 3/23/1912
Records of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital. National Archives Identifier: 513477
The victim of a mysterious explosion on February 15, 1898, the USS Maine sank in Havana harbor with 260 of her crew, and hastened the start of the Spanish-American War. In 1912 the ship was raised in order to recover the bodies of the crewmen and clear the wreckage from the harbor.
Read More about the legacy of the USS Maine at Prologue…
"Negro sailors of the USS MASON commissioned at Boston Navy Yard 20 March 1944 proudly look over their ship which is first to have predominantly Negro crew."
From the series: General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1943 - 1958
The USS Mason was one of only two ships during World War II with predominately African American crews. The experiences of the USS Mason’s crew would later be dramatized in the film Proud (2004).
More images of the USS Mason and her crew at the U.S. Navy’s History and Heritage site.
In March of 1794, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the “Act to provide a Naval Armament.” It authorized the President to acquire six frigates, four of 44 guns each and two of 36 guns each, by purchase or otherwise. In addition, it specified how many crew members would be necessary and what their pay and daily rations would be.
Read more about the New U.S. Navy
Senate Draft of an “Act to provide a Naval Armament” March 18, 1794; Records of the U.S. Senate; Record Group 46
At the US Naval Facility at El Centro, California (CA), the US Navy (USN) flight demonstration team, “Blue Angels” fly their F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft into their signature diamond formation during their first air show of the 2006 season, 03/11/2006
Item from Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. (1994 -)
The National Archives’ new exhibition “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” opens to the public on March 21, 2014, allowing the public to view a variety of signatures that significantly contributed to the American narrative.
Did you remember to adjust your sundial for daylight savings time?
"A sailor resets his clock using a sun dial to reflect the one-hour difference between standard time and daylight-saving time, 04/05/1987"
Naval Station San Diego, California (CA). Scene Camera Operator: PH2 Sherrie De Long
Remembering Pearl Harbor: Personal Stories Salvaged from the USS Arizona
Personal Story Saved from the USS Arizona: 72 Years Later
A big challenge in preserving paper is dealing with the consequences of how records were maintained during the time they were actively used. Navy personnel records are difficult ones. Folded in thirds to fit into “jackets” or “bricks,” as the expandable brown folders are called, pages get torn, creased, and scrunched, requiring treatment. In the case of career Seaman 1st class Walter Lewis Hampton, the record is one hefty assemblage of papers spilling out of the small folder. Enlisted in 1925, Hampton served on the USS Henderson, the Arkansas, and the Wyoming, among others, before reporting for his final duty in December 1940 when he joined the USS Arizona.
Hampton’s sizable record contains a very special segment of documents - the Service Record kept on board the Arizona itself. This portion of his record was maintained to keep at close hand information on his enlistment, service, training, and physical description while at sea. It was among the records salvaged by the Navy after the loss of the USS Arizona on Dec. 7th, 1941. As Archives staff identifies records damaged aboard the Arizona, they are brought to the Paper Lab.
Hampton was among the missing after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He left four children and a wife who had initiated divorce proceedings on the grounds of years of abandonment. Although bearing the scars of the attack, his service record still details his personal description. Brown hair, blue eyes, a ruddy face, and tattoos—a kewpie doll, sailor boy, Red Cross nurse, pig, and rooster. This personal information is all perfectly maintained despite the bloom of heat from the center of the booklet, or accretions of dirt along the edges of the pages that still remain from long ago blasts. For these special documents, not only the information they contain but the remnant damage of battle itself preserve an important piece of history.
Remembering Pearl Harbor - USS Nevada escapes
The Japanese air attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii began at 8:01 AM, Sunday, December 7, 1941. The Nevada, tied up with the U.S. Pacific Fleet, brought down several attacking planes. Although she sustained many hits; she was able to slip her mooring and unsuccessfully attempted to reach the open sea. The logbook entry describes those first harrowing 40 minutes of the attack that resulted in over 100 wounded and 47 killed or missing crewmembers.
The entire entry for December 7th 1941 can be viewed in our catalog: Logbook of the USS Nevada
Photograph of the USS Nevada beached at Hospital Point after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 12/07/1941
Mission: Turkey! Thanksgiving Dinner and the U.S. Military
Are you ready for Thanksgiving? If it’s your turn to cook, no doubt the next few days will be stressful. But imagine trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner for an entire ship or regiment, or being a mess sergeant tasked with cooking and bringing the meal to troops in the field. Do you know how you’re cooking your turkey yet? According to a Navy chef in 1956, the best way to roast your turkey is upside down.
Learn more about the mission of providing Thanksgiving dinner in the U.S. military, using examples from 111-DD, Filmed News Releases of the Department of Defense, recently digitized by our Motion Picture Preservation Lab and now on the U.S. National Archives’ YouTube Channel!
What’s your special turkey technique?
"Twenty-one year old James R. Gould is the envy of 3,000 crewmembers as television actress Kathleen Nolan singles him out for a song. The young sailor and Bon Homme Richard both celebrated their "coming of age" on November 26. 11/26/1965"
From the series: Miscellaneous Vietnam Photographs, 1958 - 1974
“The U.S. Navy’s attack submarine USS POGY (SSN 647) surfaces through 18 inches of Arctic ice. Standing lookout and perched high on the sail of the boat is Radioman Second Class Mark Sisson. While personnel are out on the ice, a lookout is continuously posted to scan the horizon for polar bear activity.…During the several thousand mile trek, the submarine collected data on the chemical, biological, and physical properties of the Arctic Ocean, and conducted experiments in geophysics, ice mechanics, pollution detection, and other areas…11/05/1996”
Camera Operator: PH2 Steven Vanderwerff
So You Want to be a Naval Pilot in 1919?
Only applicants of “unquestionable high moral character’ and under thirty years of age may apply.
Circular Letter Number 238-19 Training of Enlisted and Warrant Aviation Pilots, 10/25/1919