4 Replies Latest reply on Oct 14, 2021 3:31 PM by Tobi Bodway

    Seeking War Diary of Cold Bay, Naval Detachment

    Tobi Bodway Wayfarer

      I am trying to locate the War Diary of Cold Bay, Naval Detachment "March-September 1945" which was previously listed as Top Secret (declass) and was housed with Operational Archives, Naval Historical Center, Washington D.C. at one point. I'm looking for the account of Captain William S. Maxwell, Commanding Officer of HULA-2. Can anyone advise where to contact for a copy? Thanks!

        • Re: Seeking War Diary of Cold Bay, Naval Detachment
          Elliot Schneider Ranger



          Here is some information I found in the War Diary. Without copying many pages of dairies can I help narrow down your search are you writing a book or looking for information because a family member served at this location? Hope this little information I have provided will help you seek what your looking for.





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            • Re: Seeking War Diary of Cold Bay, Naval Detachment
              Tobi Bodway Wayfarer

              Thank you, Elliot for providing these pages!


              Yes, I'm working on a book. What I'm actually trying to figure out (and I hoped it would be within Captain Maxwell's report) is who the Commanding Officer of Fort Randall, Cold Bay was on March 18, 1945, right before Captain Maxwell arrived on March 19th. 


              Finding the "Navy Town" portion of Cold Bay sadly inadequate, Captain Maxwell took command of Fort Randall, which was an Army Air Base/Field prior. I was hoping the CO of the AAF who turned over control to the Navy would be listed in the War Diary.


              Of course, it's possible that control had been turned over prior to March 18, as the report notes that many of Captain Maxwell's staff and officers had already arrived.


              Any thoughts on where to dig up this info?


              The reason March 18th is important is because whoever the CO was forbade parachuting to a C-47 plane crash that day and the next day (presumably when Captain Maxwell arrived, it's noted in other places that he actually took command on March 20th). The CO's orders were disobeyed, however, and three men jumped to the crash on March 19, eventually resulting in a court martial for insubordination.  


              The documents I have simply refer to "the Commanding Officer of the base"...but not the name of the officer. And that's what I'm trying to find out. Was it actually a Naval Officer who had assumed command prior to Captain Maxwell's arrival? Or was there still an AAF Officer at Fort Randall?


              BTW, my grandfather was rescued off that mountain because of the brave men who disobeyed orders and jumped to save him and two others. So this is also a personal query.



            • Re: Seeking War Diary of Cold Bay, Naval Detachment
              Jason Atkinson Ranger

              Dear Tobi Bodway,


              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


              We searched the National Archives Catalog and located World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories, ca. 1/1/1942 - ca. 6/1/1946 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that contains the digitized file NAVY DET, COLD BAY, ALASKA - War Diary.  The file consists of a Commanding Officer’s Report submitted in lieu of a war diary. The report covers operations from March through September 1945. This report may be viewed online through the Catalog.


              We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

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