Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command –

Live – http://www.history.navy.mil/

2014 Internet Archive version – https://web.archive.org/web/20141216073338/http://www.history.navy.mil/

UPDATE 1/29/2015 – This website had a major reorganization in December 2014. The description below refers to the 2014 Internet Archive version. A write up of the live site, described as a work in progress, is planned for later in 2015.

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was the Navy’s involvement with nuclear weapons testing?
  • How can I get a log for a Navy ship?
  • Why were there aircraft carriers in the Great Lakes?


The front page of this site has a number of articles of current interest. For example in August 2012, the front page featured an article on Naval Olympians. For writers, the most important section of this site will be the “Resources and Research” tab. This section links to a dozen plus topics, including:

Biographies – One to two page biographies of notable naval figures.

Block 39 Resources – Set of illustrated postcards on naval history topics aimed at Chief Petter Officer (CPO) evaluation. (Only about half of these work in the Internet Archive version)

Deck Logs – Procedures on obtaining ship deck logs. Includes explanation of what is and is not included in ship logs.

Diversity – Information on African Americans, Asians & Pacific Islanders, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and women serving in the US Navy. Also includes information on current diversity efforts.

Photography – From the website, “The Online Library of Selected Images is a readily accessible picture index to some of the Photographic Section’s images. The Online Library contains thousands of interesting photographs on a variety of Naval and Maritime subjects. New images are added continuously.” The photography section also includes information on conducting an in person research visit.

Publications – Annotated bibliography of naval history publications. Only a handful appear to be available electronically. One example of a book that could be useful to writers of a number of genres is The Battle Behind Bars: Navy and Marine POWs in the Vietnam War, by Stuart I. Rochester which covers techniques to communicate with fellow prisoners, maintain fitness and other tasks.

Video Index – Topical index to YouTube videos posted by the Naval History and Heritage Command. Note: this is a link to the live site.


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