Seeking orders for packaging location of atomic bombs

In 1945 the atomic bombs were packaged for delivery to Tinian Island in Building 627-A at Mare Island Navy Base in California.  It appears that my late father was one of the sailors who worked on this secret project in 627-A.  I have found quite a bit of information online, but would like to find the orders designating 627-A as the location for the packaging and the orders assigning the team to do the work.  There must have been classified paperwork. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Dear Mr. Galvin,

     

    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

     

    We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Rough Log, 1941 - 1964, Selected Special Reports and Correspondence, 1936 - 1959, and General Correspondence, 1916 - 1981 in the Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments (Record Group 181) that may include records relevant to your research. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at San Francisco (RW-SB) at sanbruno.archives@nara.gov.

     

    We also located the series World War II Command Files, 1971 - 2004 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) which holds six file units concerning Mare Island Naval Shipyard. You may also be interested in the series

    World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories, 1/1/1942 - 6/1/1946 in Record Group 38 which includes 90 results for Mare Island in the Catalog. The records in World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories, 1/1/1942 - 6/1/1946  have been digitized and may be viewed online using the Catalog.  Please keep in mind that the Catalog does not always list files in chronological order. For more information about these series, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

     

    In addition, we suggest that you request a copy of your father’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and medical records of enlisted men of the U.S. Navy who were separated from the service after 1885 and before 1959 are located at NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002.  To request these records, please mail a completed GSA Standard Form 180 to NPRC.  Veterans and their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.

     

    Please note that 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 requests from RW-SB and RDT2. Also, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter, and those involving the VA Home Loan program. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels.  Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

     

    We also suggest consulting NARA’s pamphlet Finding Information on Personal Participation in World War II for general suggestions that may be useful in your research.

     

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

     

  • Thank you so much for your detailed response.  First, I have my father's military records - ordered back in 2014. While they are very helpful in plotting out his WWII Navy career, they do not provide any references to classified work or any written orders such as I have from my own time in the USAR. Specifically the order sending him to Mare Island for Special Duty "Com12ND Serial 2090-45 3 April 1945" could be telling.

    I am transcribing his 650+ letters home which give many hints pointing to his working on the atomic bomb component packaging in Building 627-A, Mare Island beginning in April 1945. Here is an example from his letter to my mother of 27 Aug 1945 “You mentioned about me telling [you] that my work is finished. I don't think that I will ever tell you dear or anyone else just what I did as it just ain’t to be told at any time no matter how long it is. I believe you will realize what I mean and don't get mad at me as you said in one of the letters they could not have picked a better guy to keep his mouth shut. I still have to.”

    I have checked the War Diaries online and haven’t found anything concrete as yet.  I will drop a line to NARA in San Bruno and D.C. noting your recommendations. Thank you for that.  I know what a massive job the National Archives has. I spent 40 years as an archivist and still maintain membership in the Society of American Archivists.

    Ed

  • I have just made contact with the daughter of a sailor who was transferred from Treasure to Mare Island the same day as my father for "special duty."  She wrote "So, it was known that my dad was stationed at Treasure Island and Mare Island during the war and that he "worked on the bomb".  What he did was "secret".....so wasn't really ever discussed in detail.

     

    That makes two of us who have the same information about our fathers. The evidence is stronger and stronger that they were part of the team that packaged atomic bomb components in Building 627-A at Mare Island.