Personnel Due for Retirement or Transfer to Fleet Reserve to Be Given Suitable Ceremony
BuPers Circular Letter 228‐48, dated 30 November 1948, enjoined Commanding Officers to arrange
a suitable ceremony on the occasion of any personnel being transferred to a separation activity for
further transfer to the Fleet Reserve.
The policy of the time required all personnel being transferred to the Fleet Reserve or the Retired
list be transferred to a separation facility for processing and release from active duty. Many men
were transferred from their last permanent duty station without any recognition of their long
honorable service in the Navy. AH January 1949
Ribbons on Ships
SECNAV Letter dated 6 December 1948 authorized ships and aircraft to
display a wider variety of ribbons than previously authorized. Replicas of
ribbons for service medals, area or campaign medals were authorized for
display. Previous provisions did not authorize the Presidential Unit Citation. AH February 1949
Changeover to 1947 Uniform Regulation
On 2 April 1949, the changeover to 1947 Navy Uniform Regulations became mandatory. Some of
the changes included:
• All rating badges worn on the left arm.
• Distinguishing Marks to be worn on the right arm, midway between shoulder and elbow.
• Seaman stripes to be worn by non‐rated personnel on the left arm, midway between
shoulder and elbow. (Prior to 1947 non‐rated men did not wear seaman stripes. Non‐rate
women first started wearing seaman stripes in 1942.)
• Branch marks no longer authorized for wear on enlisted men’s jumpers.
• Cuff marks on jumpers for all enlisted men to consist of three stripes. Cuff marks no longer
used to indicate the paygrade of non‐rated men.
• Enlisted women to wear the officer style combination cap along with gilt buttons on their
• Only brown shoes to be worn with khaki uniforms for all officers and chief petty officers.
• Service ribbons to be in 3/8 inch lengths instead of 1/2 in lengths. (Optional until 1 October
• Chief Petty Officers to wear a rating badge on khaki cotton shirts.
Navy supports the Berlin Airlift
Two Military Air Transport System (MATS) Navy
squadrons, VR‐6 and VR‐8, flying 25 R5D transports
began operating out of Rhein Main Air Force Base
near Frankfurt. AH February 1949
New Regulations Established Limit Number of Dependents Allowed Certain Enlistees
New regulations regarding the number of dependents permitted for men enlisting and reenlisting
have been established and put into effect.
Under the new ruling the maximum numbers of dependents are as follows:
• Recruits having no prior service in any branch of the Armed Forces may not have any
• First enlistments by personnel who served previously in another branch of the Armed
forces or in the peacetime Naval Reserve, and‐
• Broken‐service reenlistments by personnel who previously served in the Navy but
remained separated for more than three months are governed by the following
o No dependents are permitted in the case of men eligible to enlist in pay grades 5, 6
or 7. (Now E3, E2 and E1).
o As many as three dependents are permitted in the case of men eligible to enlist in
pay grades 1, 2, 3, or 4. (Now E7, E6, E5, and E4.)
• Continuous‐service reenlistments are not restricted due to number of dependents
The new ruling replaced one that was based on the age of recruits. Under the former regulation,
men older than 21 years of age could have three dependents; those between 19 and 21, one
dependent; and those 17 and 18 years of age, none. AH March 1949
Stricter Policy on Disloyalty Applies to Both Regular and Reserve Personnel
Personnel whose loyalty to the United States is in doubt by reason of questionable conduct or their
association with any one or more of various inimical groups may be separated from the Navy or
rejected upon application for commission, enlistment or reenlistment.
In more serious cases, personnel could have been brought before a court‐martial for trial.
The tightening down on possible disloyalty with the armed forces carried out principles of closer
control previously ordered by the President for the federal government.
The new Navy policy was all‐inclusive, covering officer and enlisted personnel on active, inactive or
retired status in the Navy, Marine Corps and their Reserve components. Administrative details and
standards were listed in a SecNav letter dated 10 Jan 1949 and BuPers circ. Ltr. 4‐49. AH March
Seabee Reserve Force Planned of 75,000 Construction Men
The Navy opened a drive to obtain 75,000 experienced construction men as a
standby reserve Seabee force. Veterans enlisting in the organization would
receive their highest wartime rating, plus credit for postwar construction
experience. Non‐veterans too, will receive credit for civilian experience.
Recruits were enrolled in the inactive Volunteer program for call to active duty in the event of a
national emergency. They did not receive pay except when they volunteered and were accepted for
two weeks’ annual training duty. They could, however, take part in non‐pay meetings conducted in
250 cities by volunteer Seabee reserve units.
Fourteen Navy rates, including approximately 60 different construction trades were included in the
Flags of Flag Rank Specialists have White Field, Blue Stars
Flags of flag officers not eligible for command at sea consist of a white field and
blue stars, according to an OpNav directive. As an example, a rear admiral
(EDO) will fly a flag with white field containing two blue stars.
This new type flag would be displayed on at shore establishments under
command of such officers and their automobiles, boats and so forth—not on ships.
The authority to use the white flag was contained in OpNav letter 29 December 1948.
4 Reservists First to Retire Under New Retirement Plan
The first three members of the Naval Reserve to become eligible for retirement under the Naval
Reserve Non‐disability Retirement Plan (title III of Public Law 810, 80th Congress) were placed on
the retirement list.
They were Captain Grover C. Farnsworth, USNR; Commander Harold D. Padgett, USNR, and Harold
K. Kittell, EMC USNR. As required by law, all were over the age of 60. Captain Farnsworth had
completed 26 years of satisfactory Federal service, Commander Padgett 23 years and Chief Kittell
32 years of service.
First member of the Marine Corps Reserve to be retired under the Reserve Retirement Act was
Colonel Harvey L. Miller, USMCR, who just turned 60, had served 39 years as a Regular and Reserve
in the Navy and Marine Corps.
First Wave Officer in Europe Has Duty with Berlin Airlift
First Wave officer to be stationed in Europe was Lieutenant Margaret E. Carver,
USN, who was on duty at an air base near Frankfort, Germany.
Lieutenant Carver was personnel officer for Navy Air Transport Squadron Eight,
which was being utilized in Berlin airlift operations in conjunction with the
USAF. AH April 1949
Leahy Leaves Post
Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN, who began a distinguished naval career
upon his graduation from the Naval Academy more than half a century ago,
retired from his position a Chief Staff to the President after a surprise White
House ceremony in which he received a gold star in lieu of a third Distinguished
President Truman announced no successor would be appointed to the admiral,
who was the only man ever to hold the unique post.
The admiral graduated from the Naval Academy in June, 1897 and served in USS Oregon during the
Spanish‐American War. He later became Chief of Naval Operations before the outbreak of World
War II. AH May 1949
Enlisted Designators Approved
Enlisted personnel who had attained a special qualification or received special training were
identified in official records by an “enlisted designator.”
The designator was entered on each page 9 and 9y of the service record, transfer orders and official
correspondence concerning the person by name, prepared subsequent to assignment. It would
follow the rate in parentheses. Examples: ENC (SS); AD1 (AP).
Designators approved for use by BuPers Circ. Ltr. 5‐49 are: Qualified in submarines (SS); qualified
in lighter‐than‐air (LA); qualified as aviation pilot (AP); qualified as diver (DV); qualified in
submarines limited (SG); qualified in submarine instruction (SP). The latter two designators (SG)
and (SP) are limited to inactive Naval Reserve personnel. AH May 1949
Navy Opens Permanent Housing Project on Guam
The Navy opened the first Twenty‐two units of a permanent naval housing project on Guam. The
remainders of the 150‐units were projected to be completed by the end of 1949. The first four units
were occupied by the families of HM2 R.C. Attebury, Jr; ME1 T.C. Luckey; BMC T.A. Abell; and PN1 K.
I. Larson. The modern duplex buildings were specially designed for tropical living.
WarFamed Helldivers Retired from Active Duty
The last 15 SB2C Curtis dive bombers, known as Helldivers, were retired from the active Navy
inventory. The last 15 planes flew off the USS
Valley Forge CV‐45 near San Francisco to fly to
San Diego. The pilots flying the aircraft were from
Attack Squadron 54 based in San Diego.
The plane was first produced in 1943 and more
than 6000 were completed by the end of World
War II. The plane which replaced the Dauntless
dive bomber will be replaced by the new
Skyradier. AH June 1949
Dramamine Introduced as a Sure Cure for Seasickness
Dramamine was introduced aboard Navy ships as a cure for seasickness. The drug research was
conducted at John Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore MD. The drug was initially investigated
as a cure for skin rashes. It was discovered that the drug was effective for treating motion sickness
as well as rashes. The U.S. Army conducted tests in November 1948 involving nearly 500 soldiers
crossing the Atlantic. The drug proved to be 98% effective when used as preventive medicine. AH
USS Iowa BB61 Decommissioned
The USS Iowa was decommissioned in 1949. This was the first decommissioning of the ship. The
ship was decommissioned at the San Francisco Naval Ship Yard Hunters Point. The only Battleship
left in commission in the U.S. Fleet was the USS Missouri BB‐63. AH June 1949
Film Badges for Personnel Will Detect Radiation
Navy personnel who worked with X‐ray, radio isotopes or industrial radiography were now
protected by use of film badges. The badges were expected to be in use in all U.S. naval hospitals,
hospital ships and mobile X‐ray units and in many naval dispensaries by 1 July 1949…Film badge
protection was found to be simple, reliable and economical. The process was called
photodosimetry. Note: film badges were first used in 1947 during the atomic tests in the Pacific. AH
Waves on duty in England; More to Be Assigned
Three Wave officers were on permanent duty in London, in the first instance of Waves on
permanent duty in England.
The Wave officers reported for duty at the headquarters of Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces,
Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean…names of the three Waves in the group are: Lieutenant Helen
W. Lawrence, USN, Lieutenant Virginia Lee Gilmer, USN, Lieutenant (junior grade) Sybil M. Space,
USN. It was planned that 30 enlisted women would be assigned to the same activity in London,
where they would perform duties in communications and administration. AH June 1949
ENS Jesse L. Brown commissioned as first African American Naval Aviator
ENS Jesse L. Brown, USN was the first African American
commissioned as a naval aviator. Brown was sworn in at sea
aboard the USS Leyte CV‐32. Brown was later killed in action
during the Korean War. AH June 1949
Two Wave Officers Serve in Ships during Cruises
Two Wave officers made tradition‐breaking cruises as crew members
aboard two Navy transport ships. The USS General W. A. Mann AP‐112 and
USS General H.W. Butner AP‐113 each had a Wave officer aboard serving in
The two Reserve officers were Lieutenant May N. Karns, USNR, of San
Francisco, and Lieutenant (junior grade) Clarice L. Pierson, USNR, of
Oakland, Ca…their duties consisted entirely of administrative tasks—
assistance in office work and in the numerous details connected with
transportation of naval dependents aboard ships. AH June 1949
First African American graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy
In 1945, Ensign Wesley Anthony Brown, USN (CEC) became the sixth African
American midshipman to enter the Naval Academy but was the first to
graduate. Brown was commissioned in the summer of 1949. He retired in
1969 as a Lieutenant Commander.
USS Salem CA139, Newest Heavy Cruiser, Joins the Fleet
USS Salem CA‐139 a Des Moines class heavy cruiser was built
in Quincy, Massachusetts. USS Salem, a fully air‐conditioned
ship, was armed with automatic rapid firing 8‐inch guns.
Helicopters, instead of planes, flew from her deck. Salem was a
sister ship of USS Des Moines and USS Newport News. The
17,000‐ton cruiser was commissioned during a ceremony at
the Boston Naval Shipyard in May 1949. AH August 1949
Chief Stewards now Chief Petty Officers
Chief Stewards—SDCs and SDCAs—had their official status changed to chief petty
officers and were accorded the prerogatives of the CPO status as prescribed by U.S.
Naval Regulations and the BuPers Manual.
BuPers Circular Letter 115‐49 (NDB, 30 July 1949) announced the change in status
chief stewards. Since 1944, Chief Stewards had worn the uniform of chief petty officers
and received the same pay as chief petty officers but were not classified as chief petty officers. They
had no military authority over sailors in other branches of the Navy. AH September 1949
USS Norton Sound First Ship to Fire Rockets
USS Norton Sound AV‐11 became the first U.S. Navy ship specially equipped to fire large rockets
from her decks. Norton Sound fired missiles that traveled 65 miles over the surface of the ocean
while steaming 700 miles of the coast of South America. The missiles were non‐explosive and were
filled with over 150 pounds of scientific instruments for recording data on the upper atmosphere.
AH September 1949
Enlistment, Shipping Over Hitches Changed to Four or Six Years
It was announced that enlistments and reenlistments in the Regular Navy would only be contracted
for periods of either four or six years. Seventeen‐year‐olds were not included in the new
regulation. They were still required to be enlisted for a minority enlistment that terminated on
their 21st birthday.
The new regulation, announced by ALNAV 86‐49 (NDB, 31 August 1949), was placed in effect on 1
Navy officials stated the reason for increasing the minimum period of enlistment was that the Navy
desired to return to a normal basis of input and losses. Having longer term enlistments permitted
better personnel planning and a more orderly control of overall strength. In addition, the
government would realize an increased return on the initial investment to procure, outfit, and train
Sailors. AH October 1949
New Medical Technique Ultrasound developed by Naval Medical Officer
Foreign bodies—as a shell fragment, a piece of glass or a wooden splinter—lodged in soft tissues of
the human body, were usually not visible in an X‐ray but could now be located through the use of a
Developed by a Naval Reserve Medical Officer on active duty, the new method involved the “echo”
of high frequency sound waves that are sent into the body by an instrument applied directly to the
skin. As the ultrasonic energy bounces back from the foreign object, it is transformed into electrical
pulses which were amplified and shown on a cathode ray oscillo‐graph screen.
Lieutenant (junior grade) George D. Ludwig, MC, USNR, developed the technique and was assisted
in the early stages by the Naval Research Laboratory, Bellevue, DC. All experiments conducted up
to this time had been performed on animals which demonstrated that the technique was not
harmful to humans. AH November 1949
Rated Stewards Classified as Petty Officers and to wear Regular Enlisted Uniforms
BuPers Circular letter 141‐49 (NDB, 31 Aug 1949) announced that effective 1
January 1950, stewards first, second, and third class would be considered petty
officers in their appropriate pay grade.
Petty officers of the steward’s branch were accorded the prerogatives of their status
as prescribed by U.S. Navy Regulations and BuPers Manual. The steward rate took
precedence immediately after dental technicians. The directive also announced that stewards
would wear the same uniform as other first, second, and third class petty officers.
Prior to 1949, rated Stewards wore the petty officer rating badge on a coat, similar to a chief petty
officers coat. However, even though they received the same pay as petty officers they were not
classified as petty officers. AH November 1949