Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “Navy”

Navy Online Journals

Navy Online Journals – http://www.navy.mil/navydata/infoIndex.asp?id=M

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What can you learn from a crashed plane?
  • How is the US Navy using unmanned helicopters?
  • Where can I find examples of Navy art?

Description:

This URL actually points to part of the Navy Information Index, which could be worth an entry of its own. The top part of this page points to the following online Navy magazines:

  • All Hands (August 1922 – Present) – The Magazine of the U.S. Navy
  • Chips (July 2004 – Present) – The Navy’s technical journal. Focus on IT
  • Naval Aviation News (Jan 1943 – Present) – the magazine of U.S. Navy aviation
  • Naval War College Review (June 1950 – Present)
  • Navy Reservist (2003 – Present) – the monthly publication of the Reserve Component
  • Shift Colors (January 2000 – Present) – The newsletter for Navy retirees
  • Undersea Warfare Magazine (Fall 1998 – Spring 2010) – the official magazine of the U.S. Navy Submarine Force

For the most part, these journals will be most helpful in establishing background and mood. All Hands, Naval Aviation News and Naval War College journals will probably be helpful for historical based stories or “How did they do it?” type questions. 

Here are a couple of example articles:

  • Technical Aviation Intelligence: Captured Equipment Reveals Enemy’s Secrets to Buaer’s Air Information Branch. Naval Aviation News. June 1943, page 1. – Provides information on the value of captured enemy equipment to Allied forces and describes in some detail how that value is extracted.
  • Bureau of Navigation News Bulletin No.1 (Now All Hands) August 30, 1922. A litany of complaints to Navy field personnel including a scolding for not turning in ships logs in the time and manner directed.
  • On 2d Anniversary… Waves Pass 70,000 All Hands, August 1944, page 8. Article on the Navy Women’s Reserve. Commended or freeing “enough officers and men to man a fleet of 10 battleships, 10 aircraft carriers, 28 cruisers and 50 destroyers.” Details on different types of positions that employed waves including but not limited to radio operators, navigation instructors, dentists, yeomans, chauffeur and film projectionists. Article notes that as of August 1944, Waves were limited to the continental United States

If you don’t have a high-speed internet connection, be aware that some of these magazines, especially the ones digitized from paper, may have large file sizes. For example, the August 1944 issue of “All hands” was 34 MB. Paper copies of most of these magazines ought to be available through Federal Depository Libraries or through interlibrary loan through your local library.

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Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships  – http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/danfs.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What Navy ships were destroyed in World War II?
  • How many Navy ships were named Experiment?
  • How is a large auxiliary floating dry dock abbreviated?

Description:

This multivolume work is available online and in paper. From the website:

The Histories Branch researches and writes the multi-volume Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, available in many libraries in the United States and abroad. Compiled like an encyclopedia, each volume includes summary histories of U.S. Navy ships from certain sections of the alphabet. The volumes also include an assortment of appendices on small craft, dictionary entries for Confederate Navy ships and various essays related to naval ships.

Each entry starts with the background on the name of the ship, then a brief physical description, followed by a ship history from keel laying to final disposition (final decommissioning/destruction/sale). In cases where multiple ships have had the same name (I.e Mosquito), ship histories will be separated by roman numerals.

If you station characters on real ships, this book will avoid placing ships in wrong place and time.

Search Tips / Story Ideas

The primary access to this resource is by browsing. There is no official dedicated search to the Dictionary. But you can use Google if you format your search like [keyword/phrase inurl:/ship-histories/danfs site:navy.mil]

This opens up some good possibilities for a writer. Try some of these searches and see if you’re touched with a story idea:

destroyed inurl:/ship-histories/danfs site:navy.mil
sunk inurl:/ship-histories/danfs site:navy.mil
burned inurl:/ship-histories/danfs site:navy.mil
sold inurl:/ship-histories/danfs site:navy.mil

United States Navy in Desert Shield / Desert Storm (Naval History and Heritage Command)

United States Navy in Desert Shield / Desert Storm (Naval History and Heritage Command)

(HTML: https://web.archive.org/web/20141006090324/http://www.history.navy.mil/wars/dstorm/index.html)
(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/25081170)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How were Navy medical personnel deployed to the Gulf as part of Desert Shield?
  • What was involved in carrying out the marine interception campaign?
  • How did the Navy treat peace activists who opposed the Marine interception campaign?
  • How much and what kinds of food did the carrier John F. Kennedy get prior to their six month deployment to the Gulf?

Description:

The online version of this document is divided into an executive summary, seven sections and a set of appendices. The odd part about the appendices is that a list of appendices from A – P is provided, but text is only available for appendices A and B without any explanation of the missing text. The missing appendices should available in paper copies housed in libraries.

The main sections of this report are:

  • I. Overview (Includes history of Mideast Navy operations since 1945)
  • II. “The Gathering Storm” (Activities during Desert Shield)
  • III. “A Common Goal” (Joint Operations)
  • IV. “Bullets, Bandages and Beans” (Logistics)
  • V. “Thunder and Lightning” (Air & Ground Action)
  • VI. “Lessons Learned and Summary”
  • VII. Epilogue

This work provides a background of the issues and challenges that Navy characters would have had to face during this period. It could also be used as a template to create reports on fictitious wars of the future.

Navy medicine in Vietnam: Passage to Freedom to the fall of Saigon

Herman, Jan K. 2010. Navy medicine in Vietnam: Passage to Freedom to the fall of Saigon. Washington, DC: Naval History & Heritage Command, Dept. of the Navy.

(Paper – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/458583716)
(PDF)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was life about a hospital ship like?
  • How did American doctors and nurses interact with ordinary Vietnamese?
  • What was it like to have to triage dozens of wounded soldiers?
  • What was the life of a medical corpsman like?
  • Why would you toss a perfectly good Huey helicopter into the sea?

Description:

This 50 page book documents the US Navy’s medical experience during its time in Vietnam from the somewhat quiet beginnings in 1954 to the mad evacuation of Saigon in 1975. Medical environments from the fox hole to major hospitals are covered in story and with photographs. A list of suggested readings appears on page 50. All of the graphics are acceptable for all ages. Some of the personal accounts are harrowing.

 

Chaplains with Marines in Vietnam, 1962-1971

Chaplains with Marines in Vietnam, 1962-1971. Cdr Herbert L. Bergsma, CHC, USN. 1985. 240 pp.

(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/12676782)

(PDF)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What denomination was represented by CGP in Marine Chaplin documents?
  • What role did chaplains play in the “hearts and minds” activities of US forces?
  • What was it like to have Christmas services in the fields of Vietnam?
  • Where can I find a story of a priest giving communion in a minefield?

Description:

According to the preface, the aim of this work was to provide basic history of the Vietnam War and use it as context for the work of the chaplain corps and to highlight the work of some individual chaplains.

The work is divided chronologically. Some of the chapter/subheading titles refer to types of ministry. Some that might interest a writer of wartime stories include:

  • Christmas highlights
  • With the Wounded or On the Line?
  • Chaplain Participation in Major Operations
  • Easter and Passover in I Corps
  • Hearts and Minds : The Personal Response Project
  • “Greater Love Hath No Man . . .” – Death of a priest ministering on the battlefield.
  • The 3d Marine Division Memorial Children’s Hospital

Between the notes section and the index are these two helpful appendices:

  • Religious Denomination Short Titles Chaplains Corps, United States Navy
  • Navy Chaplains In Vietnam, 1962-1972 – The chaplains are listed by year. Each entry shows: name and rank, denomination, date arrived in Vietnam and first assigned unit.

Captain William J. Longhi Collection: Naval Communication Station Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam (Album) (Naval History and Heritage Command)

Captain William J. Longhi Collection: Naval Communication Station Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam (Album) (Naval History and Heritage Command) – https://web.archive.org/web/20131002115202/http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/albums/s588/s588.htm

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where can I find a picture of a soldier playing with base dogs?
  • What did CO quarters look like during the Vietnam War?

Description:

From the website:

This collection contains photographs and documents concerning personnel and activities of the U.S. Naval Communication Station Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam during the period 1970-1971.

The photos are presented as small album pages with captions. Clicking on the picture brings up a larger version.

History of United States Naval Operations: Korea (Naval History and Heritage Command)

History of United States Naval Operations: Korea (Naval History and Heritage Command) – https://web.archive.org/web/20140220101129/http://www.history.navy.mil/books/field/index.htm

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How far did allied forces go into North Korea before turning back?
  • What was the composition of the 7th fleet in 1950? Who were the leaders of the fleet?
  • What forces were used in the evacuation of Hungnam?

Description:

From the introduction:

For these reasons, and to mark the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, the Naval Historical Center decided to make available once again James A. Field’s comprehensive history, History of United States Naval Operations: Korea, first released in 1962 but no longer in print. No work published to date contains as much detail on U.S. naval operations during the conflict. Based on a wealth of primary source material, including previously classified action reports, staff studies, official correspondence, message traffic, and personal observations, the Field book should be the starting point for anyone wishing to investigate the naval conduct of the Korean War.

To improve the history for today’s readers, the tables have been updated by adding ship hull numbers, supplying the full names of officers, and providing the meaning of abbreviations. The maps accompanying the text can be enlarged and printed full size by clicking on them. Images from the web site’s Online Library of Photographic Images have been added and linked to other related photographs of the Korean War.

The search engine for the Center’s web site provides full indexing of the text and tables, and will also help the reader locate related information on the web site.

Most of the work is arranged chronologically, with the exception of Chapter 11, “Problems of a policeman,” which reviews difficulties faced throughout the war.

In addition to the main text, this online book offers a list of maps and tables, plus a note on sources used and a glossary of naval abbreviations. The main purpose of this work will be background for stories set in this era.

World War II era WAVES (Naval History and Heritage Command)

World War II era WAVES (Naval History and Heritage Command) – https://web.archive.org/web/20141026031220/http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/prs-tpic/females/wave-ww2.htm

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What did the acronym WAVES stand for?
  • What duties did the WAVES perform?
  • What did a WAVES uniform look like?
  • What values did WAVES recruiting posters invoke?

Description:

Website featuring many annotated photos and posters of the US Navy women known as WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). Site is divided into the following areas:

  • Recruiting and Training
  • Quarters & Meals
  • Recreation, Leisure & Good Deeds
  • Ship and Aviation Orientation
  • Transportation
  • Occupations – Aviation Related
  • Artworks and posters of wartime WAVES “Recruiting Posters for Women from World War II – The WAVES”.
  • Additional information Women in the U.S. Navy.

Each area has a textual overview up to several paragraphs. This site will be useful in describing WAVES characters and keeping them in era-appropriate occupations.

US Navy Ship Camouflage – World War II (Naval History and Heritage Command)

US Navy Ship Camouflage – World War II (Naval History and Heritage Command) – https://web.archive.org/web/20140707134751/http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-co-mk/camouflg/usn-wwii/31-33tp.htm

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How were battleships camouflaged in World War II?
  • How were destroyers camouflaged in World War II?

Description:

A set of drawings and photographs showing how various Navy ships were painted camouflage in World War II. May aid in describing scenes from that era.

World War I Era Transports — Organized by Type ( Naval History and Heritage Command)

World War I Era Transports — Organized by Type ( Naval History and Heritage Command)

https://web.archive.org/web/20141008171716/http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/usnshtp/ap/w1ap-t.htm

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where can I find a passenger steamship impressed into troop service?
  • Where can I find a crew picture of the USS Canonicus?
  • Where can I find World War I ships that were both transports and mine layers?

Description:

From the introduction:

This page features a list of World War I era U.S. Navy transport groups, defined by ships’ physical characteristics, with links to pages dedicated to each group of ships. Those pages provide further links to the individual ships in each group. Representative photographs are also presented for ship groups and for individual vessels.

The major groupings here are:

  • Passenger liner type transports (75 ships)
  • Former mine layers employed as transports (4 ships)
  • Freighters converted to transports (45 ships)
  • Former coastal and river passenger steamers (21 ships)
  • Combat warships employed as transports (25 ships)

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