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The Navy Deck Logs

by on March 28, 2011


Today’s post is written by student technician Carrie Jones. 

I have been with NARA for a year as a student and since I started, I have been working on the team that has been processing and consolidating the Navy deck logs in RG 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, or as we call it, “the deck log project.”  I helped process, re-folder, re-house, label, and verify box contents of deck logs from the years 1941 through 1978.  The series is “Logbooks of the U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1978″ (ARC Identifier 594258). 

It has been a lot of work and our team cannot wait until it’s completed.  Even though I look forward to the day when the deck log project is finished, I came to appreciate getting the chance to work with these records.  It became a learning experience as I got a glimpse of the history of the Navy and its endeavors.  Sure, some people do not like to do repetitive things day in and day out, but when you sit down and get into the records, you’re amazed at how much information the deck logs really hold. 

One of my most memorable experiences working on the deck logs was when I processed the deck log for the ship, USS Vestal, which was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack against the Pacific Fleet.  Few deck logs of ships stationed at Pearl Harbor survived; when the ships were sunk, so were their records.  However, the USS Vestal and its deck log survived.  The USS Vestal was stationed alongside the USS Arizona, and its deck log contains detailed descriptions of the events on the USS Arizona, including the bombings and injuries of the naval personnel serving aboard the ship.

Carrie Jones displaying a deck log
Carrie Jones displaying a deck log

This was the point when I truly became interested in what kind of information is in the deck logs.  All the movies about Pearl Harbor cannot and do not give you as much detail and truth as the records describing the experiences of the people who actually lived through it.  It was then that I realized just how important the deck log project is.  Preserving these records so that my generation and future generations can use them couldn’t be a better job.

Archivist Patrick Osborn, the team lead for the Navy processing team, offered an explanation of why consolidating the deck logs is so important to staff and researchers.  The deck logs are some of the most requested records by researchers and are heavily pulled by staff.  Consolidating the logs into fewer chronological blocks greatly facilitates records pulls.  Previously, if someone wanted the logs of USS Constellation from 1966 to 1970, they’d have to submit five separate pull slips, and pulling and refiling would involve going to five different locations in Stack 470, twice. Now, the same pull would entail only one pull slip and going to one location inside the stack.  Over time, this will help save a lot of time for both researchers and staff!


Comments

Melissa B. March 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Thank you so much for your hard work on this project. I’ll be digging into the stacks soon for information on my grandpa’s ship, Navy Destroyer Escort 536, the USS Biven, and it sounds like you’re making my job a lot easier. My grandpa will be so excited to read the logs! Keep up the good work!

Kathlene Mayfield Tate September 7, 2011 at 8:26 am

Please Help: I’ve been trying to find out about my Farther “52 Navy Seaman Arthur Mayfield” (he had no middle name) at Pearl Harbor 1941. Can you find his name on any of the deck logs and the Ship’s Name he was on? Thanks & God Bless

Jackie L. Beauvais February 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I’m trying to locate deck logs for my husband David Lee Beauvais for the uss princeton lph-5. (1959-1962) Don’t know where to start. Any help appreciated. Thanks

Jeff Getz February 29, 2012 at 11:28 am

Need deck logs from USS ORISKANY CVA-34.May 1969-Mar-1970 Thanks Jeff

Gary Rowin March 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Please send me the deck log for the USS Princeton – LPH-5 from Sept. 25th to Oct. 15th of 1969. Thank you Connie

Rich May 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Great project. Any idea how I can get a copy of my ship’s (USS Belknap) log?

Thank you,

Rich O’Hare

Robin Waldman June 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

As with any reference request, please email archives2reference@nara.gov, from which point you will receive direct assistance or further direction. Thank you.

Nick June 30, 2012 at 11:34 am

I need deck logs for USS ORISKANY 1969-1972.
Thank you
Nick

Robin Waldman July 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Thank you, Nick. We have forwarded your request to our reference staff. For further information, you may contact them directly at Archives2Reference@nara.gov .

Mary Warner August 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm

How do I get deck logs (ship logs) for the USS Constellation from Jan. 1968 – Aug. 1969.

Robin Waldman August 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Mary,
Please send an email to archives2reference@nara.gov, and an archivist will be able to facilitate your request.

T David Thornton September 9, 2012 at 3:04 am

Hi Ms Jones
I need your help in getting the flight manifest or deck log for the USS Oriskany’s COD flights. I need proof that I flew off of the Oriskany to DaNang on December 3, 1972
You can email me for my full name and ssn if need be.
Thank you,
David

Jason Clingerman September 10, 2012 at 6:30 am

David,
Please submit your request by e-mail to archives2reference@nara.gov.

T David Thornton September 11, 2012 at 4:33 am

Thank you Jason…
David

Fred Corle October 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I am interested in finding the Deck logs for the USS Belknap (DLG-26) for the period October 23, 1968 to April 1, 1969.

Fred

Wayne Rademacker November 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

Please send me deck logs from the Oriskany for august 1969 thru Sept 1969 to show that I flew on the ship while at sea with a stop over on the mainland of Vietnam on the way to the ship on a cod.

mitch edwards March 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm

please send me deck logs for the USS SAVAGE (DER-386) for january 1965 thru september 1968 thank you

Robin Waldman March 5, 2013 at 10:50 am

Hi Mitch, please direct your inquiry to archives2reference@nara.gov — thanks!

John Drewry May 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm

We are trying to find ship’s rosters and deck logs for the USS Illusive MSO 448. The dates in question are for the years of 1966 through 1969. We are trying to piece together the actions of this old lady during the Viet Nam conflict (Market Time Patrol? Please let me know if you can help on this project.

Kindest Regards,

John Drewry
703 W. Ridge Ave.
Harrison, AR 72601
jmdrewry@windstream.net

Robin Waldman May 13, 2013 at 11:23 am

Hi John,
Please direct your query to archives2reference@nara.gov and a reference archivist will be able to assist you. Thanks!

Gary W. Davenport May 14, 2013 at 6:18 pm

seeking to retrieve information related to the longitude and latitude of the U.S.S America (cva-66) for 1972-73 while stationed of the coast of Vietnam. I know we were close to shore but not sure how close, i know that we were chased by N. Vietnamese gun boats and had to launch aircraft. in an attempt to support my Va claim – i could use any info related to our stay off the coast of Vietnam

Robin Waldman May 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Hi Gary,
Please direct your query to archives2reference@nara.gov and a reference archivist will be able to assist you. Thanks!

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