3 Replies Latest reply on Sep 1, 2021 9:45 AM by Chris Tucker

    Seeking Deck Logs of USS South Dakota BB-57

    Newbie

      My Grandfather, John E Kemper, served on the South Dakota from 1942 until right before the end of the war.  I am looking for the deck logs to the ship specifically their engagements.  I am new to this and have looked around some, but I am not sure how to go about it. Thank you

        • Re: Seeking Deck Logs of USS South Dakota BB-57
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Mr. Kemper,

           

          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 log of the USS South Dakota (South Dakota) from its commissioning on 20 March 1942 through its decommissioning on 31 January 1947. We also located World War II Action and Operational Reports, 12/7/1941 - 1946 which includes reports concerning the South Dakota’s engagements.  For access to and/or copies of these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

           

          Also, 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) contains war diaries, a war history, and other records concerning the USS Dakota’s activities during World War 2. These records have been digitized and can be viewed online through the Catalog.  Please keep in mind that the Catalog does not always list files in chronological order.

           

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

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          • Re: Seeking Deck Logs of USS South Dakota BB-57
            Chris Tucker Wayfarer

            Mr. Kemper, I am the archivist/collections manager of the BB 57 memorial in Sioux Falls SD. I have all of the actual deck logs in our collection. We are in the process of securing grants to digitize them. The original logs are approximately 11”x 17” and need a non standard blue print scanner. I am however going through each one and pulling out notable events for further research. Please contact me and I can attempt to further help you in your quest. Respectfully, Chris Tucker.

            2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking Deck Logs of USS South Dakota BB-57
              Chris Tucker Wayfarer

              I have a John Edward Kemper listed on the crew manifest, he was assigned to the South Dakota on 4 Oct 42. His rating was QM2/C, Quartermaster Second Class.  I have several second generation family members come to the museum and see their grandfathers rating and get discouraged. The say that they were told that their grandfather was on the guns but their rating puts them below decks at general quarters. I always assure them that veteran testimony comes first (primary source). Captain Gatch was a fighting leader and ordered every Sailor to be qualified on at least two (2) anti-aircraft (AA) machineguns. I have his service number and if you contact me I will email it to you if you would like.

              2 people found this helpful