My grandfather, Michael John Flanagan (1927 – 1997) served in the US Navy from June 15, 1944 to March 18, 1948.
Grandpa never talked about the war, or his military service, in general with us grandkids. I only remember hearing him lecture us against tattoos anytime, as little kids, we would ask about the blue ink he got on his arms while in the Navy. Not interviewing my grandfather about his Navy memories is one of the many regrets I have.
In 2003, I received a copy of Grandpa’s separation form from the National Archives. I was so excited when I saw the NARA addressed manila envelope show up in my mailbox. But I remember being disappointed when I opened it…aside from his years of service and his service member ID number, the NARA documents gave me very little information about his actual service. Not even any mention of the ships or bases on which he served. Or any indication if he received any medals or commendations.
I would have to try to discover and reconstruct this information for myself; a venture I am still pursuing a decade later.
I recently wrote about the ship on which my grandfather served between October 14, 1945 and February 20, 1948, and also the ship on which he served during his final month in the Navy when discharge in March 1948. The US Navy Muster Rolls helped me plot that timeline.
But I cannot find any records identifying where my grandfather served between joining the Navy on June 15, 1944 (at the age of 17), and when he joined the USS Mervine on October 14, 1945. That is a sixteen month gap in history! Since he joined the Mervine in Okinawa, at some point during the first sixteen months of service the Navy transported him from Buffalo, New York (where he enlisted) to Okinawa (where he joined the Mervine).
|The only photos I have from Grandpa’s service days. I have no idea which ship/s these are….the Mervine, the Thompson, or an earlier duty assignment.|
If you have suggestions on where I might find records of those missing years, I greatly appreciate it.