Sailor Jerry

By Kelly Duffy, National Museum of the American Sailor Curator

Norman Collins, known better as Sailor Jerry, was perhaps the most influential tattoo artist of the twentieth century. His style of tattooing is still copied and is a classic example of the Golden Age of Tattoos, especially Naval tattoos. Continue reading

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Baseball the Navy’s Goodwill Ambassador

By Dan Smaczny, National Museum of the American Sailor Contract Curator

For years the students at Merizo Martyrs School played baseball on a raggedy field in the village of Merizo, Guam. That changed when the NAVFAC Marianas Self-Help Seabees of U.S. Naval Base Guam volunteered their time to refurbish the George Leonard Charfauros Baseball Field in May 2016. Continue reading

E-3 Cindy

By Kelly Duffy, National Museum of the American Sailor Contract Curator

Mascots, especially animals, were and continue to be an important tradition in the United States Navy. Individual ships often had mascots of their own, from roosters to dogs. Dogs were so well-loved that many of them had their own ratings and even their own ID cards. This blog tells the story of how a stray dog became a ship’s mascot and a E-3 Sailor. Continue reading

Pigeons: Not Just Air Rats

By Kelly Duffy, National Museum of the American Sailor Contract Curator

Nicknamed “rats with wings,” pigeons are often viewed as a nuisance. Historically for the military, however, pigeons were much more than “air rats.” They save lives, are brave and are incredibly smart. They deliver important messages and fly great distances at fifty to ninety miles per hour. Continue reading

Blood Chits: Say What Now?

By Kelly Duffy, National Museum of the American Sailor Contract Curator

What exactly is a blood chit? The term “blood chit” comes from “chit”, British slang for a note, and “blood” possibly comes from the blood downed pilots might have spilled in front of confused foreign civilians. Simply put, blood chits are notes written in local languages meant to be presented to any civilian who might be able to help a lost service member in foreign territory. Typically, blood chits are sewn into the back of flight vests, jackets, and suits, making them easy to carry and find. Continue reading

Dennis Nelson and his book, The Integration of the Negro into the U.S. Navy

By Justin Hall, National Museum of the American Sailor Contract Curator

As a member of the Golden Thirteen, the first African American sailors to undergo officer training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station (now Naval Station Great Lakes), Dennis Nelson broke down color barriers throughout his Naval career. While other members of the Golden Thirteen made accomplishments for equality in their post-Navy professional lives, Nelson was the only member of his officer class to serve a full career on active duty in the Navy. During his service, he challenged segregation and fought for equality in the Navy. Continue reading

New Year’s Deck Log Poems: What Rhymes with Lovell?

By Dan Smaczny, National Museum of the American Sailor Contract Curator

U.S. Navy vessels record events like inspections, speed changes, and their location in a chronological manner in official deck logs. Logs are sent to the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C. and stored for thirty years before being transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration. Deck logs are usually written in a matter-of-fact style with one exception, the first deck log entry of the New Year.

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