Great Lakes Bulletin: The Voice of NSGL for 101 Years

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

For over a century, Navy sailors, civilians, and local residents at or near Naval Station Great Lakes received base and Navy news from the Great Lakes Bulletin. With the rise in popularity of the internet and digital media, “the United States Navy’s Oldest, Continuously Published Base Newspaper” will become a digital-only publication beginning on March 30, 2019.  As part of a look back on the paper’s history, the National Museum of the American Sailor has selected from its archives a few historic headlines from the publication.

“Service Grid Title to Station, Defeat Marines at Pasadena 17 to 0” was the headline on January 2, 1919. George Halas, who later formed, played on, and coached the Chicago Bears, led the Great Lakes Bluejackets football squad to a Rose Bowl Victory against the Marines’ football team on New Year’s Day in 1919.

“Service Grid Title to Station, Defeat Marines at Pasadena 17 to 0.” Great Lakes Bulletin, January 2, 1919.

On March 24, 1944, the headline read, “Appoint 12 Negroes To Be Naval Officers; First Line Officer Group Starting Indoctrination School at Great Lakes.” Later known as the “Golden Thirteen,” the first African American men to be U.S. Navy officers attended Officers’ Indoctrination School in Camp Robert Smalls at U.S. Naval Training Station, Great Lakes.

Tap the above image to see a larger version.

Also stationed at Great Lakes was Lance Corporal Steven D. Nelson. The Bulletin’s top story on February 16, 1968 was “Marine Lance Corporal; Escapee of North Vietnamese Slated for Great Lakes Duty.” Nelson and another Marine, Private First Class Michael R. Roha, escaped a North Vietnamese Army prison on January 21, 1968. Nelson arrived for duty at the Marine Barracks at U.S. Naval Training Center, Great Lakes around March 1 that year.

Expanding from four pages in its formative years to today’s thirty-two pages, the Bulletin served as essential reading for those working or stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes. Sailors could get national, local, and Navy news in features like “This Week’s News in Pictures,” The World This Week,” or “Around the Station.” The Bulletin historically included popular recurring features such as crossword puzzles, classified advertisements, Op/Ed columns like Viewpoint and sports sections like Sportscene. Additionally, galley information, movie theatre showtimes, and menus such as Chow Call or Galley 535 Menu were included as well.  The Great Lakes Bulletin also provided comic strips which shed light on the humorous aspects of sailor life. Perplexing Problems and Salty Steve were popular cartoons in the paper during World War I. During World War II, Sylvester th’ Salt, General Orders of a Sentry, Pin-Ups From Seaman Simons’ Dream Book and The Navy “Boot” filled its pages.

Do you have any memories of the Great Lakes Bulletin? Feel free to post your comments below about the Navy’s oldest continuously running base newspaper!

Below are more select editions of the Bulletin from the National Museum of the American Sailor’s collection. Click on the image to go to the Attachment Page, once there click on the image to see a larger version of it.


Volume 1, Number 1, Great Lakes Bulletin, February 27, 1918.



Tap the above images to see larger versions.


Great Lakes Bulletin, November 7, 1997.

For more information on the National Museum of the American Sailor’s collection go to our website.

If you’d like to read more copies of the Bulletin from 1918-1919 go to the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections website.

You can read the Bulletin online at ews.html

2 thoughts on “Great Lakes Bulletin: The Voice of NSGL for 101 Years

  1. The link above to Museum of Navy Sailor and to the Bulletin don’t work
    I would like to see the Greatlakes Bulletins from October 1944-November 1945. Seeking any photos of Negro WAVES that might have been at Greatlakes or Any Training facility other than boot camp.


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