6 Replies Latest reply on Sep 4, 2018 12:53 PM by Patrick Power

    Multiple Questions Regarding Personnel Information

    Patrick Power Wayfarer

      Is there a definitive source for finding out the name of every single person who served on a naval vessel on a particular date?

      My father was aboard the USS Zircon (PY-16) for a couple of years (plus) during World War II. On 11 May 1944, while on its way to a secret weather-reporting mission in the Atlantic just prior to D-Day, it came across a burning, exploding lighter (YF-415) which was dumping condemned ammunition, ordnance, and pyrotechnics into deep water just outside Boston Harbor. He and two other Zircon sailors helped to rescue fourteen men from that ship.

      Via muster rolls I've obtained from Ancestry's sister site Fold3, I've pretty much been able to narrow down the enlisted crew of the Zircon (with a couple that are questionable) that were on board that day, as well as a few of the officers based on the transcripts from the court of inquiry, but I'm not entirely sure that I have all the names of all the officers as their comings and goings were not always documented on the muster rolls. War Diaries for that month are not yet available at Fold3, but these often have no more than three officers' names on them... so they're not entirely reliable either. Would deck logs list all the officers?


      Also... I have been able to locate family members of many of the crew (as well as three still-living sailors), but because there were a number of names that are very common, it's difficult to know which person is which when searching through Ancestry. Some of the muster rolls indicate a city of enlistment, but that's not always a reliable indicator of a person's home town (although it can at least indicate what part of the country he was from). Is there a definitive source for determining which (for example) James Michael Riley from Boston (of course!) I'm looking for? Would each crew member's home address at the time of enlistment be available?

      I would like to do as much research as possible from home, but I am hoping also to travel to College Park, Maryland in the coming year to do a week's worth of research... it would be nice to know specifically which areas within the archives I should be looking through

        • Re: Multiple Questions Regarding Personnel Information
          Rebecca Collier Guide

          Dear Mr. Power,


          Thank you for posting your request to History Hub!


          We searched the Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 and located the deck log of the USS Zircon (PY-16) for May 1944. The officer muster roll for May is attached to the beginning of the log and includes the name and address of their next of kin. The log entry for 11 May 1944 includes the names & rank of those rescued from the YF-415 but not those on the Rescue Detail from the PY-16.


          The only way to determine the address of the enlisted crew members is to request their Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs). The OMPFs and medical files of enlisted men and officers of the U.S. Navy who were separated from the service prior to 1955 are located at NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. Please use a GSA SF 180 to request these records.


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


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