One Among Thousands: The First African American Navy Women

By Martin Touhy, National Museum of the American Sailor Archivist

Since America’s earliest decades, African American women lived and worked maritime lives. Today, the U.S. Navy reflects that truth; African American women are seasoned sailors.  But who chose to be the Navy’s first African American women sailors, and why? 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

Seabees Lend a Helping Hand in Bosnia

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

While Seabees lent a helping hand in war-torn Bosnia during the mid-to-late 1990s, rebuilding schoolhouses, homes, and bridges for transportation, there was also the duty of protection and prevention. As their construction uniform includes flak vests and Kevlar helmets, protecting civilians in combat zones have always been a part of their humanitarian efforts.

Bosnia map

Between 1992 and 1999, approximately 200,000 military and civilians were killed as a result of the Bosnia civil war. To minimize their vulnerability in the face of war and genocide, the United Nations and the U.S. Department of Defense joined together to help Bosnian civilians in the mid-1990s. One program they jointly developed and instituted was a campaign to protect children against landmines. The campaign appealed to children’s superhero pop-culture sensibility with the Superman: Deadly Legacy comic book. The U.S. military, including the Seabees, gave these comic books to children teaching them to stay away from explosives…

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