Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Navy support books are "yearbooks" for naval units based on land rather than onboard ship. For example, this collection includes books for the U.S. Navy Preparatory School, Navy ROTC programs at various colleges and universities, U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School, U.S. Naval Training Centers, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, mobile construction battalions, recruiting depots, naval air stations, and others.

Content of support books varies. Some contain labeled individual head shots or group photos of unit members, while others contain only candid (unlabeled) photographs of unit members at work and play. Some contain photos documenting significant events in the history of that naval unit, and most include short biographies of prominent currently-serving officers. Photos are sometimes color, sometimes black and white (sometimes both types in one support book). A majority of these books date from World War II era forward.

It is possible to search or browse these books. The following searches are possible:

  • First & Middle Name
  • Last Name
  • Keyword
  • Year (covered by Support Book)
  • School, Station, or Unit

You can also browse by:

  • Location (state or territory)
  • City
  • Year (covered by Support Book)

I browsed through a Support Book for the Parris Island Recruit Depot (South Carolina), 1973. This 128 page item includes a photo and bio sketch of the commanding officer, an historical sketch of Parris Island, and a photo essay (in color) concerning the training of Marine Second Battalion, Platoon 226. This unit began training on 19 March 1973, and graduated on 5 June 1973. The photo essay begins with the arrival of these recruits at Parris Island, and ends with their graduation ceremony. These photos are not labeled, but are generally sharp and clear, so that it would be fairly easy to identify recruits of interest. Next are labeled black and white head shots of training officers and enlisted men, followed by labeled head shots of graduating recruits.

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