1 Reply Latest reply on Aug 25, 2017 6:28 AM by Research Services at the National Archives

    Explosive Ordnance (EOD) records

    Martha Collins Wayfarer

      Who would I contact for Explosive Ordnance (EOD) Technicians records of their activities in the Central Pacific islands from the 50’s or 60’s? My uncle’s Navy PB4Y-1 (BuNo 32222) went down on Alet Island, Puluwat Atoll, Caroline Islands on 22 Apr 1944. According to local guides, who told divers visiting the lagoon (in 2010 or later), some military entity (am guessing EOD), visited in the 50’s or 60’s and detonated. Thank you for any ideas.

        • Re: Explosive Ordnance (EOD) records
          Research Services at the National Archives Scout

          Dear Ms. Collins,

          Thank you for your question to History Hub!  Regarding your uncle’s crash and according to the information you gave (BuNo 32222), he would have been a member of naval squadron VB-115 (designation pre-October 1944).  This reference manual notes the correct location, date, and missing status of the squadron as Puluwat, along with the commander of the squadron.

          The National Archives has a number of records relating to that squadron’s actions, but your primary focus of interest will likely be Record Group 38 (Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations).  This Record Group contains both the war diaries, along with the action and operational reports of that squadron in boxes 97 and 399 respectively of those two series.  It is about three folders worth of material in total relating to the April 22nd mission.

          The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library also has this entry from Roosevelt’s military files regarding Japanese naval activities around this time if you would like to scan through the digital sample for relevant entries.  There is likely additional material to what was able to be located in a catalog search (Record Group 313, Records of Naval Operating Forces would also be good to look at).  If you are interested in locating these records and getting a quote on reproducing them, please contact archives2reference@nara.gov for a consultation with an archivist more familiar with this squadron and related records in question.

          With regard to the EOD Technicians records you requested, the claim made by those local guides would be difficult to substantiate in our records.  Because of its remoteness to the main operating locations of the Pacific Theater and postwar areas of concern, NARA features limited materials pertaining to the Caroline Islands, and a cursory search of our catalog and internal location records discovered no records related to ordnance disposal there. 

          However, if any cooperative EOD operations were undertaken by the US in the Carolines after the war, the United States Navy Pacific Fleet and its EOD technicians would have been involved.  For example, this document details recent efforts by the nations of the Pacific Islands to dispose of unexploded ordnance from their lands and references in several places cooperation with the United States Navy to do so.  In terms of NARA’s holdings, there is Record Group 313, Records of the Naval Operating Forces-- specifically entry P 38, 34 archival boxes worth of material detailing the military occupation of Truk and the Central Caroline Islands from 1945 to 1951.  The majority of these records consist of civil administration and dispatch files, so sifting out material relation to ordnance from them would require in-person examination in the research room, either by you or by a researcher you hire to examine the boxes in your absence.

          Hope this helps you in your continuing search for information related to your uncle’s sacrifice and thank you again for inquiring with History Hub.

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