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Dear Mr. Wheelihan,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that include the deck logs of the USS Avocet for 1941 through 1945, to include December 1941. This deck log has been digitized and can be viewed online through the Catalog.
We also search the Catalog and located Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949 in Record Group 24. According to digitized muster rolls, Wheelihan enlisted in San Francisco on 27 February 1941, and reported aboard USS Avocet on 1 May 1941. His first enlistment expired on 12 July 1944. On 14 September he reported to Commander, Fleet Air (COMFAIR), Seattle, for assignment, and on 6 December 1944, he reported aboard USS Carteret (APA-70) after attending Landing Craft School (LCSch) at the Naval Training Center, San Diego. He was discharged in July 1946 while a crewman of USS Puget Sound (CVE-113). Some of the muster rolls can be viewed through the National Archives Catalog, including Avocet (AVP-4), 1/31/39-11/1/45 and the following results that come up in a search for John Clifford Wheelihan. The muster rolls also may be searched on Fold3. There may be a fee for using Fold3, or you can access the service for free at any National Archives location via ALIC.
We also located World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories in Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations with war diaries of and relating to the USS Avocet.
Photographs of various U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps activities dating from World War II are in the custody of the National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures (RDSS). They may have photographs of the USS Avocet. To request a search, please contact RDSS by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information please review the blog post How to Research: Photographs Relating to World War II Navy Ships.
If you have not already done so, you may wish to request your father’s Official Military Personnel File. Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) and medical records of enlisted men of the U.S. Navy who were separated from the service after 1885 and prior to 1957 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 or next-of-kin of deceased veterans can also use the online order form at vetrecs.archives.gov. For more information, see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.
We searched the website of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) and located an article about the USS Avocet in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships that provides a history of the Avocet, to include a narrative of its experience at Pearl Harbor and a photograph of the Avocet during the day of the attack. We also located USS Avocet, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack. NHHC and its affiliated museums may have additional resources of interest to your research. Their Contact Information is listed on their website.
We also searched online and found a number of sources, to include an article on the website of the Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau about the USS Avocet, a page about the Avocet at NavSource Online, a Wikipedia Page, and multiple photographs in WikiMedia Commons.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!