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
50 years of the Cassette Tape
SEAMAN (SN) Daniel Rosen dubs audio tapes during his off-duty hours aboard the guided missile frigate USS SIMPSON (FFG 56) in the Persian Gulf, 03/11/1988
Pardon us while we rewind back a week — we missed the 50th anniversary of that ubiquitous symbol of 80s pop culture, the audio cassette tape, first introduced by the Philips Corporation on August 30, 1963 and launched on September 13, 1963.
The cassette tape wasn’t just for making your high school crush a mixed tape; they were used by the Federal government as well. Alan Walker, archivist, took pictures of these cassette tapes that are part of Record Group 64 (records relating to the National Archives). These cassette tapes hold the minutes of National Archives Advisory Council Meetings from 1977 to 1979.
What was on your favorite mix tape?
"A Signal Victory"
"U.S. Brig Niagara off the Western
Sister Head of Lake Erie, Sept. 10th, 1813
It has pleased the Almighty to give to the arms
of the United States a signal victory over their enemies
on this Lake. The British squadron consisting of
two ships, two brigs, one schooner & one sloop
have this moment surrendered to the force under
my command, after a sharp conflict.
I have the honor to be
Your Obed. Servt.
Letter from Commodore Oliver Perry to Hon. Wm. Jones, Secy. of Navy, September 10, 1813
Early in the War of 1812, the Americans lost control of Detroit and Lake Erie to the British and their Native American allies. The U.S. Navy sent 28-year-old Oliver Hazard Perry to Lake Erie to build a squadron and retake that important waterway.
On September 10, 1813, the Americans defeated the British on Lake Erie. Commodore Perry declared the naval battle “a signal victory.” In a war marked by early failures, this victory secured Ohio and the territories of Michigan and Indiana. It also provided a needed boost in national morale and marked a rare surrender of a complete Royal Navy squadron.
With a crew that Perry once described as “a motley set, blacks, soldiers and boys,” the Americans met Britain’s powerful Royal Navy on Lake Erie. A flag flew above Perry’s ship, the Lawrence, emblazoned with the words “Don’t Give Up the Ship.” This battle cry was the dying command, in an earlier battle, of Perry’s friend Capt. James Lawrence (for whom the ship was named).
In the middle of the battle, however, Perry abandoned the Lawrence because it had become disabled and two-thirds of its crew were casualties. Refusing to surrender, Perry was rowed to the Niagara and then commanded his squadron to an unprecedented victory. After the battle was won, Perry wrote a short report about the victory in a letter to Secretary of the Navy William Jones, shown here.
Perry’s Letter will be on display in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives through September 19, 2013.
"We have met the enemy and they are ours…"
Battle of Lake Erie. September 1813. Oliver Hazard Perry, standing. Copy of engraving by Phillibrown after W. H. Powell, published 1858.
An American squadron commanded by Oliver Hazard Perry defeated a British naval force 200 years ago in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. The victory secured American control of the lake for the remainder of the War of 1812.
Perry’s Letter to the Secretary of the Navy announcing “A Signal Victory” is on display at the National Archives through September 19. (Ed note: Updated 9/10/2013)
A Wave Winds-Up
WAVE [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service] activities at Jacksonville, Florida. Violet Falkum, AMM, spins prop of SNJ, training plane., 09/1943
Victor Jorgensen, photographer. From the General Photographic File of the Department of the Navy, 1943 - 1958
"The old (Pacific) swimmin’ hole. Come on in mates; the water’s fine. And there’s plenty of it between the coast of California and the shores of the Philippines. Coast Guardsmen and Marines "beat the heat" by taking a dip from the side of the ship., 1944"
What’s your favorite way to beat the heat over Labor Day weekend?