On the Trail of the Deck Logs: Correspondence with NHHC(*)

Approximately  a month and a half ago I made a Freedom of Information Inquiry to the Department of the Navy, specifically the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington D.C. trying to find the lost Deck Logs from the USS Solomons, (CVE-67).

I surprisingly received my reply yesterday 4 May 2016.  I say surprised because I had directed my request specifically to the Director S.J. Cox.  Though I aimed high; I always try to, I expected any kind of response would come from someone lower down the chain of command.

Director Cox was gracious enough to write me personally and I am very thankful for it. So what does his response boil down to? Well, it was disappointing and encouraging all at the same time. It seems that in the 4 years  or so that the ship had been in existence ( 1942- 1946) the log books and documentation from the last 10 months prior to its decommissioning had not been kept, were lost or disappeared.

Furthermore it turns out that the deck log, possibly  hundreds of pages thick was also not likely kept by the last Captain and that any other personal logs were likely destroyed. Unlike the deck log a diary or personal log has no Naval requirement or regulation enforcing its archiving. If it exists it most likely traveled with the Captain to his next assignment or discharge.

He’s also suggested that no records would be found from the Boston Navy yard as decommissioning ceremonies are  a naval tradition and also not a requirement. And as i mentioned in another blog, my research there was uneventful. That’s the sad part.

On the other hand he gave me some advice suggesting that any records from after Sept 2, 1945, during the period when Flight-19 was lost may have been transferred to NAS Ft.Lauderdale  for use by the Board of Investigation. If that is the case there doesn’t seem to be much mention of it in the resulting board report.

In the end the deck logs may have been sent to the National Archives in College Park Maryland with the rest of the report.

So it looks like I’m definitely going to have to visit Maryland and for that matter Ft. Lauderdale.

Stay tuned.

* Addendum 9/2/2016:So what happened to the last Deck Log? See the previous post dated from June 2016.  The last Ten Months of the Solomons can be located at the National Archives in Maryland.


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