Dear Ms. Manning,
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We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that includes listings for William Audley Martin (service number Service number 261 81 71) on the the muster rolls of the USS Preston (DD–379) and the USS Wainwright (DD-419) as well as various shore stations.
To summarize the information we found, William Audley Martin enlisted 12-14-1933 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He joined the crew of the USS Preston on 10-27-1936, the date of its commissioning. On 10-16-1939, he transferred to Receiving Station San Diego, California, for further transfer to Receiving Station, Norfolk, Virginia. He arrived in Norfolk on 11-6-1939, and received an honorable discharge upon the expiration of his enlistment on 11-17-1939. His rating at this time was Torpedo’s Mate 3rd Class.
He reenlisted 1-3-1940. He was assigned to the USS Wainwright (DD-419) as of 4-15-1940 when the ship was commissioned at Norfolk, VA. On 5-20-1940 he was transferred to Norfolk Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, VA for treatment. On 8-9-1940 he transferred from the hospital to Naval Receiving Station, Norfolk. On 8-23-1940 he was transferred to the USS Jacob Jones for further transfer to the USS Wainwright. On 9-5-1940 received again on the USS Wainwright from the USS Jacob Jones. On 10-24-1940 he was transferred to Norfolk Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, VA for treatment. On 11-7-1940 he was received again from Norfolk Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, VA, following completion of treatment.
On 12-20-1940 he was transferred to Naval Station, Key West, Florida, for treatment at the Naval Station Dispensary. On 2-6-1941 he arrived at the Receiving Ship in San Diego, California, having travelled there from Key West by commercial travel. On 3-3-1941 he rejoined the USS Wainwright, and remained assigned to the ship until 2-28-1944, when he was reassigned to NAVTRASTA, NORVA (Naval Training Station, Norfolk Virginia). His rating at the time of this transfer was CTM(PA). According to the list Navy Rank Abbreviations, during World War II CTM was an abbreviation for Torpedoman's Mate Chief Petty Officer. PA indicates a permanent appointment to the rank.
As part of our on-going commitment to preserve our records, the National Archives has entered into partnership with Ancestry.com to digitize some of NARA's holdings. Digitized records include Muster Rolls/Personnel Diaries (crew rosters) of U.S. Naval Ships and Stations for the dates of January 1,1941 thru January 1, 1949. These records are now available in digital form and can be viewed online at U.S., World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949. There may be a fee for accessing these records via Ancestry. You may check with your local public, state, or university library as these institutions often provide access to Ancestry.com.
For a more complete picture of his service, we suggest that you request a copy of his 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 prior to 1958 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. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know (such as social security number) you may leave it blank or provide estimates. However, please be sure to include the service number 261 81 71. If he separated after 1958, to include reserve time, certain information in the records is not available to the general public without the written consent of the veteran or his next of kin. For more information see Request Military Service Records.
In regards to ship logs, we searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships, 1801 - 1940 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that include the deck log of the USS Preston and the USS Wainwright for 1940 and prior years. These logs have not been digitized and are not available online. For more information, please contact the National Archives in Washington DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) via email at email@example.com.
We also located Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 in Record Group 24 that include the deck log of the USS Wainwright from January 1941 through 26 August 1946. These logs have not been digitized and are not available online. For more information, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next, we located 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) which contains war diaries and reports concerning the USS Wainwright’s activities during World War 2. These records have been digitized and can be viewed online using the Catalog. Please keep in mind that the Catalog does not always list files in chronological order.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1 and RDT2. Also, the NPRC closed again as of November 7, 2020 until further notice. NPRC will respond only to requests involving burials, medical emergencies, and homeless veterans. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines or emergency requests may be faxed to (314) 801-0764. Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Finally, we located a Find-A-Grave entry that may be a match for him, based on the name, rate, and the residence in North Carolina. Be advised that this is only a possible match, not a certainty. The associated obituary is here, although unfortunately it provides no details about his service in the Navy.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!