1 Reply Latest reply on Dec 28, 2021 12:06 PM by Rachael Salyer

    Seeking information about Harry Kramer aboard USS California

    John Kinville Newbie

      Hello, My name is John Kinville and I am currently writing a book about F1C - Harry Wellington Kramer (US Navy from Chippewa Falls) who was killed on Dec. 7, 1941, while serving aboard the USS California. Would you happen to be aware of any resources that could provide insight into the following: What specific duty he was assigned to aboard the battleship? (December 1941); Where in the ship he would have been working?; Where his sleeping quarters would have been located on the ship?; Where he died? and Where his body was found? (On or inside the ship, or in the water off the ship). Thank you so much. Not to be confused with two other men named "Harry W Kramer" from Pennsylvania and Georgia. They too served in WW2.

        • Re: Seeking information about Harry Kramer aboard USS California
          Rachael Salyer Ranger

          Dear Mr. Kinville,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          If you have not done so already, we suggest that you request a copy of Harry Wellington Kramer’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.


          Next, we searched the National Archives Catalog and located series Navy and Marine Corps Casualty Records, 1898-1970 and the series Navy and Marine Corps Casualty Records, 1940-1989 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that may include a file for F1C Kramer. For more information about these non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL) via email at stl.archives@nara.gov.


          We also searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Alphabetical Series of Ship Engineering Drawings, 1789-1967 in the Records of the Bureau of Ship (Record Group 19) that includes 16 files related to the USS California that may be of interest to you. Some of these drawings have been digitized and are available using the Catalog. For more information about the non-digitized plans, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Cartographic (RDSC) at carto@nara.gov.


          Plus, we located the series General Administrative Files, ca. 1944 - ca. 1945 in the Records of Naval Operating Forces (Record Group 313) that contains ship plans and other similar records for the USS California (BB-44) and other ships. The series Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1983 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) may also include some records of the USS California in 1941. These records have not been digitized. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at archives2reference@nara.gov for access to these and similar records.


          We also located the series 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 war diaries and reports concerning the activities of the USS California during World War II. These records 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.


          Due to the continued impact of COVID-19, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL, RDSC, and RDT2.  We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.  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.


          Please note that according to the Department of the Navy records management regulations, only the deck logs of major combatant and support ships are considered permanent records and eventually accessioned into the custody of the National Archives. Other types of logs (engineer, engine room, quarter deck, sick bay or sick call, radio, and quartermaster) are deemed to be temporary records and destroyed by the Navy after initial administrative use. Medical information concerning individuals should be included in the medical file of the individual.


          Finally, the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) provides an online Compilation of Enlisted Ratings and Apprenticeships US Navy 1775-1969 and a US Navy Interviewer's Classification Guide: Fireman that may be useful in understanding the responsibilities of a Fireman First Class (F1C). We suggest that you contact them directly for additional assistance.


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