Dear Ms. Jacobs,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located a series titled Central Correspondence Files, 1936 - 1950 in the Records of the U.S. Maritime Commission (Record Group 178) that includes 901-6820 Thomas McKean (SS) (#241699), 901-5215 Cities Service Koolmotor (SS) Renamed California, 901-9562 Pearl Harbor (SS) (MCE # 927) (Official #242617) and 901-4002 Chickamauga (Vessel) (MC Hull No. 365) (Builders Hull No. 260) (Renamed "Utilitas"). We also located a series titled Armed Guard Logs, 1943 - 1945 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that includes logs for the Armed Guard units on the SS Chickamauga and the Pearl Harbor and may include logs for the other ships. Additionally, we located Armed Guard Files, 1934 - 1946 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that includes files titled Thomas McKean 05/26/42 - 12/28/42 - Sank after torpedoed by submarine, Cities Service Koolmotor 04/28/42 - 11/01/45, Pearl Harbor 12/22/42 - 10/30/45, and Chickamauga 09/04/43 - 05/13/46. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plus, we located Reports Concerning the Sinking of Merchant Vessels During World War II, 1938 - 2002 in the Records of the U.S. Coast Guard (Record Group 26) that includes files concerning Thomas McKean in Box 47. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) via email at Archives1reference@nara.gov.
Next, we located 41 logbooks for the Cities Service Koolmotor, 11 logbooks of the Chickamaugu, and 15 logbooks of the Pearl Harbor in various record series. For more information about these records, please email the reference units listed in the Catalog descriptions.
Further, we suggest that you request a copy of his 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. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates (such as for dates), but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file if it survived the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.
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, RDT1 and other NARA reference units. Also, the NPRC is closed except for emergencies. Currently, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, and homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter. 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 any inconvenience.
Finally, we searched the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and located the Walter Howard Lewis Collection that includes a personal narrative from your father.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!