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Deck Log Book of the U.S.S. Arkansas, 1943: Finding Aid

Published in April 2020

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 142
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Deck Log Book of the U.S.S. Arkansas
  • Dates: 1943
  • Size: 0.13 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 19 leaves
  • Creator: Arkansas (Battleship : BB-33)
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. Arkansas (Battleship: BB-33) was a Wyoming Class battleship often assigned to midshipman training duty. The Deck Log Book of the U.S.S. Arkansas spans from August 14 through August 19, 1943. The volume consists of a practice logbook kept by Naval Academy midshipmen during their summer training cruise, during which time the Arkansas was steaming out of Norfolk. The log records the ship's course, weather conditions, personnel matters, boiler status, movements of other vessels, and other daily occurrences.

History of U.S.S. Arkansas as a Training Vessel

The third U.S.S. Arkansas (Battleship: BB-33) was laid down on January 25, 1910 by the New York Shipbuilding Company in Camden, New Jersey, launched on January 14, 1911, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1912, Captain Roy C. Smith in command.

For a number of years, Arkansas was detailed to take midshipmen from the Naval Academy on their summer cruises. In 1923, the battleship steamed to Europe, visiting Copenhagen, Denmark (where she was visited by the King of Denmark on July 2, 1923); Lisbon, Portugal; and Gibraltar. Arkansas conducted another midshipman training cruise to European waters the following year. In 1925, the cruise was to the west coast of the United States. During this time, on June 30, 1925, Arkansas arrived at Santa Barbara, California, in the wake of an earthquake. The battleship, along with U.S.S. McCawley (Destroyer: DD-276) and Eagle 34 (Patrol Craft: PE-34) landed a patrol for policing Santa Barbara, and established a temporary radio station ashore. Upon completion of the 1925 midshipman cruise, Arkansas entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for modernization.

In May 1928, Arkansas again embarked midshipmen for their practice cruise along the eastern seaboard and down into Cuban waters. Following overhaul at the New York Navy Yard in the spring of 1929 for overhaul, Arkansas carried out her 1929 practice cruise to Mediterranean and English waters, returning in August to operate with the Scouting Fleet off the east coast. In 1930 and 1931, Arkansas was again detailed to carry out the midshipmen's practice cruises; in the former year she visited Cherbourg, France; Kiel, Germany; Oslo, Norway; and Edinburgh, Scotland; in the latter her itinerary included Copenhagen, Denmark; Greenock, Scotland; and Cadiz, Spain, as well as Gibraltar.

In the summer of 1934, the battleship conducted a midshipman practice cruise to Plymouth, England; Nice, France; Naples, Italy, and to Gibraltar, returning to Annapolis in August. In June 1935, Arkansas conducted another midshipman practice cruise to Europe, visiting Edinburgh, Oslo (where King Haakon VII of Norway visited the ship), Copenhagen, Gibraltar and Funchal. After disembarking the midshipmen at Annapolis in August 1935, Arkansas proceeded to New York. There she embarked reservists from the New York area and conducted a Naval Reserve cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia in September. In the summer of 1936, she carried out a midshipman training cruise to Portsmouth, England; Goteborg, Sweden; and Cherbourg, before she returned to Annapolis that August. Steaming then to Boston, the battleship conducted a Naval Reserve training cruise before putting into the Norfolk Navy Yard for an overhaul that October. The following year, 1937, saw Arkansas make a midshipman practice cruise to European waters, visiting ports in Germany and England, before she returned to the east coast of the United States for local operations out of Norfolk. During the latter part of the year, the ship also ranged from Philadelphia and Boston to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Cuban waters. During 1938 and 1939, the pattern of operations largely remained as it had been in previous years, her duties in the Training Squadron largely confining her to the waters of the eastern seaboard.

The outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 found Arkansas at Hampton Roads, preparing for a Naval Reserve cruise. She soon got underway and transported seaplane moorings and aviation equipment from the naval air station at Norfolk to Narragansett Bay for the seaplane base that was to be established there. Sailing on for Annapolis on May 30, 1940, Arkansas, along with Texas and New York, conducted a midshipman training cruise to Panama and Venezuela that summer. Before the year was out, Arkansas would also conduct three V-7 Naval Reserve training cruises, taking her to Guantanamo Bay, the Canal Zone, and Chesapeake Bay.

During much of the first two years of America's participation in World War II, Arkansas was engaged in convoy duty, and was also present for the Atlantic Charter conferences. Following drydocking at the New York Navy Yard in May 1943, Arkansas sailed to Norfolk on 26 May and assumed her new duty as a training ship for midshipmen, based at Norfolk. After four months of operations in Chesapeake Bay, the battleship returned to New York to resume her role as a convoy escort in October. Arkansas closed out the war on bombardment duty during the Invasion of Okinawa and was later sunk during the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.

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Description of Contents

The Deck Log Book of the U.S.S. Arkansas, comprising 0.13 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 19 leaves, spans from August 14 through August 19, 1943. The volume consists of a practice logbook kept by Naval Academy midshipmen during their summer training cruise, during which time the Arkansas was steaming out of Norfolk. The log records the ship's course, weather conditions, personnel matters, boiler status, movements of other vessels, and other daily occurrences.

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The Deck Log Book of the U.S.S. Arkansas comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use


Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Deck Log Book of the U.S.S. Arkansas is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition


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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

This collection also available on microfilm.

Related Archival Material

Additional material in this repository pertaining to the 1943 Summer Practice Cruise aboard U.S.S. Arkansas may be available in Office of the Superintendent/Correspondence: General Correspondence, RG 405.2.1 Entry 39b. Recollections of early cruises aboard Arkansas can be found in the John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters, MS 358.

Official logbooks of U.S.S. Arkansas may be available in Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships, ca. 1801 - 1940, Record Group 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798-2007 at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Deck Log Book of the U.S.S. Arkansas, MS 142

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:

"Arkansas III (Battleship No. 33)." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2015,

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in April 2020.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Arkansas (Battleship : BB-33)
  • Naval education -- United States
  • Training-ships -- United States
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 20th century -- Sources

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Deck Log Book of the U.S.S. Arkansas, 1943 August 14-19

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