On August 9, 2019 the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) entered into an agreement to digitize the Vietnam-era US Navy and Coast Guard deck logs from 1956 through 1978. On 28 September 2020, the VA announced the completion of the digitization of declassified Vietnam era deck logs. The project generated an estimated 23.5 million images. All of these images will be retained by both NARA and the VA. Data contained in the digitized images is already being used by the VA to assist veterans in resolving claims.
Although the scanning is complete, the work is not finished for NARA. We are still receiving images and prepping them for upload to the National Archives Catalog. Since April, NARA has added over 5.4 million Navy deck log images to the National Archives Catalog. More will be uploaded in the coming weeks and months.
We are unable to provide specific details, estimations, or time tables on when any particular ship's logs will be made available on our online Catalog. We also cannot expedite the processing of any specific log. Deck Logs after 1970 will take longer to add to the National Archives Catalog because the digital images must first be reviewed line-by-line for information protected under the Privacy Act of 1974.
At this time, no Coast Guard deck logs have been uploaded to the National Archives Catalog.
Some of the Navy deck logs already available using the Catalog are listed on the web page Navy Deck Logs Available in the National Archives Catalog. This list is arranged by name of ship and thereunder by year. Clicking on the hyperlinked year will take you to the digitized deck logs for that ship and year.
Other Navy logs are available in the Catalog, but are not listed yet on that web page. To locate these logs, go to the Catalog description for Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) (National Archives Identifier 594258). Click on the blue “Search within this series” button. In the menu that comes up, type in the name of the ship into the upper left hand search field, without using “USS” as a prefix. You may wish to include the hull number as well, especially if there were multiple ships with the same name. After you typed in the name, click on the magnifying glass search button. This should link you to the deck logs for the ship. Please note that the Catalog does not always list files in chronological order. To see a specific log, click on the title.
When viewing logs for each month, you may have the option to click on a PDF icon under the “Documents” heading. This will allow you to view the entire month’s logs as a single file. Once you have done so, you may use the blue download button to download the PDF. Due to the size of the files involved, it may take a little while for them to download in full. Please be patient. If the files do not download to your PC, please email Catalog@nara.gov.
Under normal circumstances, you or your representative could view Navy deck logs, to include post-1971 deck logs, in the Textual Research Room (Room 2000) at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland. You could also hire a researcher to conduct research on your behalf. However, visiting is not an option at this time. All National Archives research rooms have been closed since at the end of business on March 13, 2020 as a public health precaution due to COVID-19. For updates on the status of research rooms, please visit https://www.archives.gov/coronavirus.
Questions about Navy deck logs may be asked here on History Hub or emailed to the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at Archives2reference@nara.gov. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.