The Navy Deck Logs

Today’s post is written by Carrie Jones, Student Employee at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

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 (NAID 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

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.

22 thoughts on “The Navy Deck Logs

  1. 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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

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

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

    Thank you,

    Rich O’Hare

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

  7. 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,

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


  9. 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.

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

  11. 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

  12. 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

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