Archive for December, 2012

Young George Patton, The Sailor

Written on: December 14, 2012 | 3 Comments

Growing up in Beverly, Massachusetts I was familiar with the legend of young George Patton rescuing three people whose sailboat had overturned off Beverly Cove.  Last week we had a visit from a group of Coast Guard personnel and among the records selected to show them was the file documenting the incident.  Imagine my surprise and delight to read the actual evidence.  It actually did happen!

The records tell the story from both sides—the rescuers and the rescued.

George Patton Life-saving Medal file, ARC ID 568559, RG 26, USCG General Correspondence, 1910-35, File Code 181, Box 286, Patton, George S.


Beatrice Ayer Patton writes that on August 21, 1923, she and her husband, Major George Patton, were sailing just off the coast in “an seaworthy 14 foot skiff” when the weather became squally.  “Our boat began to leak badly and become almost unmanageable.”  Heading for shore, they “…heard a shout… The water was covered with white foam and black squally patches, making it difficult to distinguish any object.  At last we saw three boys, apparently standing up to their armpits in the sea…As we approached the boys, they sank to their chins..One of them called to us that his two companions could not swim.”

Patrick T. Jackson, Jr., age 16, one of the three rescued writes that they had been in the water for … [ Read all ]

Transforming Classification

Written on: December 5, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) at the National Archives has been hard at work this year developing recommendations to the President of the United States to transform the national security classification system. PIDB is an advisory committee established by Congress to advise and provide recommendations to the President and other executive branch officials on the identification, collection, review for declassification, and release of declassified records of archival value.  In addition, PIDB advises the President on policies regarding classification and declassification of national security information.

Through their “Transforming Classification” blog, they have solicited hundreds of public comments and ideas on ways to reduce inefficiency and increase public access to improve our classification and declassification system.

The work of the PIDB embodies the principles of open government, transparency and participation, and I encourage you to provide your feedback on their blog as they continue to tackle the challenge of improving the national security classification system, especially as it relates to digital records.

Transforming the Security Classification System cover image

On Thursday, December 6th, the Public Interest Declassification Board will host an open meeting to discuss its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System. The full Report to the President will be published online on December 6th . The meeting will focus on the Board’s fourteen recommendations, centering on the need for new policies for classifying information, new processes for declassifying information, … [ Read all ]