Keep Them Fit To Fight: The Salvage of Pearl Harbor

By Tricia Runzel, National Museum of the American Sailor Curator

The attack on Pearl Harbor lasted just two hours, but the loss of life, supplies, and ships was staggering. When the smoke cleared, thirteen ships were in various stages of damage and seven ships, as well as a floating dry dock, were sinking or already sunk. Worse still, the attack had killed over 2,000 military personnel, including Navy, Army, and Marines. The human loss could never be repaired, but for a nation entering war, repair and reuse of the ships and materials was paramount. The question was, how? Continue reading


Dress Blues: George G. Koplos, Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class (CB)

By Samantha Belles, National Museum of the American Sailor Collections Manager

The National Museum of the American Sailor’s collections are comprised of numerous artifacts, each telling a unique story of an enlisted Sailor’s career. When taken together, these stories help illuminate just what it was like to be a Sailor in the United States Navy. In particular, uniforms play a key role in helping the museum tell the Navy’s history. Continue reading

Fire Control on Iowa-class Battleships

By Michael Frutig, National Museum of the American Sailor Intern

An Iowa-class battleship was the single most powerful ship ever built for the United States Navy, comprised of 45,000 tons of steel and equipped with the largest guns ever fitted to an American ship. Nine 16-inch guns sat in three-gun turrets; each barrel was capable of firing on its own. These guns could fire a shell that weighed either 1,900 (HE) or 2,700 (AP) pounds a distance of twenty-four miles. Continue reading

Defending the Seas and the Sky

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

Much has been written about how the airplane changed naval warfare, however, what did these changes mean for the U.S. sailor during World War II? A significant change due to the aerial threat was the manning of a ship. Prior to the airplane, a ship had to be spotted by another ship before they closed in to engage. Continue reading

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