Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Nimitz Library
Nimitz Library

Jay W. Hedden Diary, 1943-1945 (bulk 1944): Finding Aid

Published in October 2019

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 535
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Jay W. Hedden Diary
  • Dates: 1943-1945
  • Bulk Dates: 1944
  • Size: 0.21 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 half-manuscript box
  • Creator: Hedden, Jay W.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Jay W. Hedden was an enlisted shipfitter in the United States Navy. The Jay W. Hedden Diary spans from January through October 1944, with several additional documents dating from 1943 and 1945. The diary is the product of Hedden's service aboard U.S.S. La Vallette (Destroyer: DD-448) while that vessel conducted LST escort, shore bombardment, and anti-submarine operations in the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, and New Guinea during World War II.

Biography of Jay W. Hedden

Jay Willis Hedden, of Blue Island, Illinois, enlisted in the United States Navy on June 6, 1939 and served as a shipfitter. On April 6, 1940, he was attached to U.S.S. Denebola (Destroyer tender: AD-12), which was stationed in the waters of Casco Bay, Maine. On September 11, 1942, Hedden was attached to U.S.S. La Vallette (Destroyer: DD-448), aboard which he saw action during the campaigns in the Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, New Guinea, and the Philippines. While serving in the Navy during World War II, Hedden published several short stories in Our Navy, including "Death Keeps a Notebook" (November 1941), "My Heart Tells Me" (August 1, 1944), and "Source of the Wind."

Back to Top

Description of Contents

The Jay W. Hedden Diary, comprising 0.21 linear feet of documentation, spans from January through October 1944, with several additional documents dating from 1943 and 1945. The diary is the product of Hedden's service aboard U.S.S. La Vallette (Destroyer: DD-448) while that vessel conducted LST escort, shore bombardment, and anti-submarine operations in the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, and New Guinea during World War II.

The diary, which begins on January 1, 1944 with Hedden in San Diego, typically offers notations on daily operations, the ship's location and destination, the number and type of ships being escorted, a note that general routine was observed, watch keeping duties, and whether movies were shown on any given day. Specific incidents and actions touched upon include a report of an air raid on Truk (February 20); the description of a depth charge attack (February 29); report of a number of sailors visiting a local prostitute (March 9); brief description of New Guinea in the area of Milne Bay (April 2); preparations in Oro Bay, New Guinea (April 4); bombardment and amphibious operations at Aitape, New Guinea (beginning April 22); Japanese air raids near Hollandia (May 2); promotion exams; escorting LSTs to the Russell Islands (May 7-12); anti-submarine operations and successes (May 29-31); orders to intercept any Japanese reinforcements for Biak and subsequent engagement with Japanese destroyers (June 8-10); preparations for and invasion of Noemfoor (June 30-July 2); subsequent patrols off Noemfoor; support for landings at Sansaport (July 27-August 11); invasion and patrols off Morotai (September 16); and transporting troops and an escort carrier to the Philippines (October 12-13).

In addition to discussing the events of the war, Hedden often notes his work on his short stories, including work on a new short story about a U.S. Navy pilot and a female Japanese pilot crash landing together (March 27); acceptance of a story entitled "My Heart Tells Me" for publication (June 21); and La Vallette's Executive Officer's offer to edit Hedden's story entitled "Nothing New" (July 8).

Following the diary's final entry, the volume is composed of photographs, including those of Hedden's father, mother, sister, and wife Honey, as well as nurses Barbara Jean Hunter and Peggy Jones. The volume also includes several newspaper clippings dating as late as 1945. Tipped in throughout the entries of the diary are occasional plans of the day, orders, and citations, as well as a comic from U.S.S. La Vallette inside the back cover. Several pages between the entry for January 30 and February 2 have been cut out.

The remainder of the collection consists of several loose newspaper clippings, copies of two plans of the day from U.S.S. La Vallette, a memo on war zone readiness, a photograph of U.S.S. La Vallette, and a 1945 letter from Hedden to his wife regarding logistics for his return to the United States.

Back to Top

Arrangement

The Jay W. Hedden Diary is arranged by document type.

Back to Top

Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Jay W. Hedden Diary 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.

Back to Top

Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased in June 1999. Accession No. 99-49.

Back to Top

Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Official documentation of the U.S. Navy career of Jay W. Hedden may be available at the National Personnel Records Center.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

Back to Top

Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Jay W. Hedden Diary, MS 535

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Muster Roll of the Crew of the U.S.S. DENEBOLA for the quarter ending September 30, 1941, RG 24, Muster rolls of U.S. Navy ships, stations, and other naval activities, 1939-1949, National Archives and Records Administration.

Muster Roll of the Crew of the U.S.S. LA VALLETTE (DD448) for the quarter ending March 31, 1943, RG 24, Muster rolls of U.S. Navy ships, stations, and other naval activities, 1939-1949, National Archives and Records Administration.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in October 2019. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in October 2019.

Back to Top

Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Destroyers -- United States
  • Hedden, Jay W.
  • La Vallette (Destroyer : DD-448)
  • Naval convoys
  • Sailors -- United States -- Diaries
  • United States. Navy -- Sea Life
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Marshall Islands
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Solomon Islands
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- New Guinea
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, American
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations -- Pacific Ocean

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
Back to Top

Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Diary, 1944-1945

Box 1 Folder 2

Correspondence, 1945 May 20

Box 1 Folder 3

Memorandum - Readiness of Personnel and Material for Action Against the Enemy, 1944 October 18

Box 1 Folder 4

Newspaper Clippings, 1943-1945, undated

Box 1 Folder 5

Photograph, 1945

Box 1 Folder 6

Plan of the Day, 1944 November 6

Box 1 Folder 7

Plan of the Day, 1945 February 19

Back to Top