Seeking information about submarines in Vietnam

Hello. I'm seeking information regarding the location of submarines during Vietnam as I am trying to work through the Blue Water Act. I know my father had a Vietnam Service Medal and he entered the Navy in 1967. He served 25 years, so obviously through the end of the war. The qualifying Blue Water Act "offshore" definition is very defined - how can I find out where exactly he was? Seems like there isn't much info out there regarding subs during Vietnam.

  • Dear Lorrin Golembieski,

    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


    We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that include the deck logs of Vietnam era submarines.  Some of these logs have been digitized and are available online. Others are still being processed for upload.  See our blog Update on Availability of Vietnam Era (1956-1978) US Navy Deck Logs for additional information. However, please note that deck logs for submarines typically do not show their precise location when they are conducting “special operations” which most submarine missions are classified as, especially when they are operating in hostile waters. For more information about deck logs, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at


    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 from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


    The Naval History and Heritage Command is a repository for Cold War and Vietnam War era submarine records. Command Operational Reports (COR) and Command Histories are annual reports of the ship’s activity. These reports were established in 1964 and maintained through the rest of the Cold War. There were some earlier command histories, but prior to the escalation to the Vietnam War in 1964, regular reporting was not required. The command histories and COR list the location and activities of the ship or sub throughout the year. However, apart from stating the beginning and ending ports and dates for the patrol histories, they do not disclose where and what the submarine was doing while on the actual patrol.


    There are select patrol reports in the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Vietnam Command Report Files. These include: the USS Bashaw (LPSS 241) July 1967 report, USS Perch (LPSS 313) in Operation Dagger Thrust IV in December 1965 USS Pickerel (SS 524) January 1967 report, USS Sabalo (SS 302) report on operations for 1969 to 1971, USS Salmon (SS/AGSS 573) reports on operations in 1966 and 1969, and a report from Submarine Flotilla Seven. For further questions about records on Cold War Submarines in the post-Korean War period, please contact the Naval History and Heritage Command via archives@navy.milTheir websites is

    The Department of Veterans Affairs already has custody of digital images of these deck logs.  They also are aware of the issues surrounding the lack of precise locations on most submarine deck logs.  We suggest you contact the VA for assistance with this matter.  Please see for contact options.

    We hope this is helpful.

    [information provided by Nate Patch, Subject Matter Expert]


  • Lorrin  -  If you are still monitoring History Hub for responses to your original inquiry you should be aware that several new locations have been added to the agent orange presumptive exposure waters and visitation to these new locations are frequently documented on submarine deck logs.  You should consider reinitiating you search focusing on Guam, American Samoa, and Thailand as defined in the PACT Act of 2022.

    To shorten the search process, we have extracted dates, times and locations of these events from VA records and where possible, cross linked them back to available corresponding NARA deck log pages for the date of visitation.  We have also plotted tracks showing the day-by-day movement during the relevant time periods.

    If you (or anyone else) will provide the submarine name and approximate dates of interest we will search our database of over 1,000,000 records and provide whatever information we can locate as shown in the below example.  You can either respond to this current thread or post a new inquiry in this "Community".

    Note - This is not an official NARA sanctioned process but is being offered as a public service in recognition of the difficulties we encountered doing our deck log research over 5 years ago.