Seamanship: A Report from the Navy Team

Today’s post is written by Dale Jackson, an enthusiastic archives technician with the Navy Records processing team at Archives II.

Hello, here at the National Archives we the Archives Technicians have had the opportunity to process, preserve, and repair historical military records, specifically from the United States Navy.  My undergraduate major is in Criminal Justice, I have a passion to understand law and order and as a youth I idolized defenders of justice like in the comics!  The history of the U.S. Navy is filled with the traditions of its heroes.  Since its founding, the Navy has preserved the memories of those whose courage and ability have brought honor and victory to this nation. However I also have a strong curiosity about my history, culture, and about how things work in the world.

Some of the work our team has accomplished includes organizing the Navy’s various types of Naval vessels.  These include battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and specialized combat vessels.  We have also had the opportunity to learn special terms used in the Navy like navigation and hull.

Navigation is the art and science of conducting a ship or aircraft from one position to another.  The problems of navigation are those of position, direction, and distance on the water or in the air.  The Bureau of Ships (BuShips) is charged with and responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of the ships and small craft of the Navy. This responsibility includes the design, construction, installation, and maintenance of the main propelling machinery, auxiliary machinery, including that necessary for the distribution of electric power, and the exterior and interior communication systems; the design, development, and procurement of diving gear, paravanes, minesweeping gear, material and appliances for defense against chemical warfare, and for protection against fire.

The hull is the framework of a vessel, together with all decks, deck houses, and the inside and outside plating or planking, but exclusive of masts, yards, rigging, all outfit or equipment, and all items generally classed as superstructure.  While deck houses are considered part of the hull, they are discussed in connection with the superstructure.

I would like to learn more about navigation, especially about nautical astronomy, star identification and celestial navigation.  I look forward to doing more research on these subjects to bring you another report.