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

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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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Navy Support for Native American Sailors in 1920

By Martin Tuohy, National Museum of the American Sailor Archivist

As a Navy recruit in training, Joseph LaPrairie stood out at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in January 1920. Among the young trainees, Joseph LaPrairie was older – 31 years old, almost the same age as the chief petty officer in charge of his company. LaPrairie came from Minnesota, a state rare for Navy enlistments. Continue reading

Navy Ghost Stories at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum — U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

Halloween was celebrated at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum with a story telling session by the Seabee Zombie. The STEM Center was filled with fog, the guest arrived, and the Seabee Zombie with his wife, the Mistress of the Night, appeared to tell stories from Eric Mills’ book, “The Spectral Tide: True Ghost Stories of […]

via Navy Ghost Stories at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum — U.S. Navy Seabee Museum