Military Records

Digitized Deck Logs

Collaborative Deck Log Digitization Projects

In October 2012 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) hosted a joint press conference to announce a groundbreaking collaboration. Digital images of the National Archives’ extensive holdings of historical documents relating to the American exploration of the Arctic, dating from the golden age of exploration in the 19th century to the height of the Cold War, would be produced jointly by NOAA and NARA experts. The scope of this project includes some World War 2 era Deck Logs dated 1941-1950.

On August 9, 2019, the National Archives and the Department of Veterans Affairs entered into an agreement that will digitize the Vietnam-era US Navy Deck Logs in support of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. In late March 2020, the Department of Veterans Affairs completed the scanning of the U.S. Navy Deck Logs. Since that time, the National Archives has been receiving the digital images of the Deck Logs from the VA, and we are working to make the millions of resulting digital images available in the National Archives Catalog. 

Locating Digitized Deck Logs

Some Deck Logs are already digitally available on the National Archives’ online Catalog. To determine if a Deck Log is digitally available, conduct a search for the ship on our Catalog. Search for the name of the ship without using “USS” as a prefix. For example, when searching for the “USS Ranger”, only use the search term “Ranger”. Also include the search term “Deck Log” as part of your search. Collectively your search term should appear as “Ranger Deck Log”. You may also use additional terms to narrow your search. For example you may include the ship’s hull number or the year of interest. If including the hull number or year of interest this will alter the search terms so that they will appear as such; “Ranger CVA-61 Deck Log”, “Ranger Deck Log 1974”, or if including both “Ranger CVA-61 Deck Log 1974”. If the deck log you are searching for is not yet available we recommend checking for periodic updates as we continue to add digital images of the deck logs to our Catalog.

We have also created predefined searches for some of the digitized ship deck logs. These predefined searches provide a simpler way to locate a ship's digitized deck logs. Simply look for the ship’s name alphabetically and click on then click on the ship’s name. A drop down menu will appear with a link to the digitized deck logs arranged by year. Please note that we have not established predefined links for all the digitized deck logs as this is an ongoing project. If a predefined search is not yet available we recommend checking for periodic updates as we continue to establish predefined links.

Deck Log Redaction Project

Deck Logs dated 1971 and later may contain instances of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and must be reviewed prior to being uploaded to our Catalog. In response to requests, the available post-1970 Deck Logs are added to our queue for review. Once the review is complete and any instances of PII are redacted, the scans will then be added to our online Catalog. Researchers are welcome to check the catalog periodically for new uploads. We encourage you to search for the name of the ship without using “USS” as a prefix. See additional tips for searching for deck logs in our Catalog above.

Please note: If you are requesting U.S Navy Deck Logs in relation to a VA Claim, the Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to provide the most direct assistance with information, as the VA maintains the original set of the U.S. Navy Deck Log digital images for the years 1956 through 1978. We encourage Veterans and their next of kin to work with their VA representative for claims related research for deck logs dated 1956-1978 that are not yet digitally available on our Catalog.