Subchaser Information Sources

Information for those searching for information about a Serviceman’s tour of duty on a particular Subchaser, or for information about a particular Subchaser, or for general information about Subchasers as vessels:


The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) operates an excellent web site at: The website was updated in 2015 and has many excellent features as detailed here.

Ships’ Muster Rolls

There are Muster Rolls available for each WWII-era Subchaser that show the Subchaser’s roster of enlisted men during the War. There is also an index of Draft Cards:

These are available online at: is a subscription service, however it is also available for use for free at many libraries, genealogical societies, and at all National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) locations.

The Muster Rolls show the enlisted members of the ship’s crew on a monthly basis, and show additions and departing crewmembers. The officers on the ships during the WWII era were not shown in the Muster Rolls, but were shown on the first page of each month in the Deck Logs (refer to Ships Histories, below).

For pre-WWII era, the Old Military and Civil Records Branch, National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408 (202-501-5385) holds copies of the Deck Logs from 1801 through December 1940, as well as the Muster Rolls through 1938 in bound books.

Ships’ Histories:

Most information about the day-to-day activities of particular Subchasers for WWII are located at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in College Park, Maryland. NARA has what are called Deck Logs, which vary somewhat in detail and readability from vessel to vessel.

The Deck Logs usually have a page for each day that a Subchaser was in operation, from the time it was commissioned as a Naval vessel, until it was decommissioned. The Deck Logs usually list the Officer’s full names, next of kin, and address of next of kin. The Deck Logs usually have a list of crew member names, particularly when the vessel is first commissioned, although some do not. Most Deck Logs just show arrivals and departures of particular crew members from a vessel; e.g., “John Doe reported for duty aboard this vessel this date”. The Deck Logs usually indicate where a particular Subchaser was on a given date, and speak in general terms about anything unusual; e.g., “Proceeded on Westerly course to Leyte, spotted floating debris and investigated”. Usually an Action Report was filed if a Subchaser was involved in anything more serious; e.g., if a potential submarine was noted and a depth charge attack was launched or there was any kind of combat activity.

For WWII Deck Logs, one generally has to go to NARA in College Park to view this material. When you go to College Park, a Naval Historian in the Textual Reference section can help you look for specific material. College Park is a large facility and is pretty user friendly. But they won’t do the research for you. They’ll help you find what you’re looking for or at least steer you in the right direction. But National Archives is a huge facility with mountains of material, much of which is not indexed real well. Be prepared to spend many hours or days there.

NARA in College Park, MD is your best bet for information about particular ships’ histories. The Deck Logs and Action Reports located in the Textual Reference Section provide some of the best information you’re going to find about specific Subchasers. Information on ordering records from National Archives can be found at:

NARA in College Park also has a huge photographic collection on the 5th floor, but again a lot of it is not indexed very well. For more information on National Archives at College Park, MD, such as hours of operation, etc. go to: and

The Naval Institute in Annapolis, MD also has a library and photographic collection, with limited information on Subchasers.

Ships’ Plans

NARA in College Park, MD has microfilm drawings of Subchasers which can be purchased or you can go there and copy selected sections as appropriate. A complete microfilm roll for a Subchaser costs around $125 - $150. Of course, if you order a microfilm roll you will need a microfilm reader to look at them also. Information on ordering records from National Archives can be found at:

Another source that could be tried if one wants the real thing is through one of the Subchaser builders. A few of them are still in operation – most are not.

Subchaser Photos

Navsource has photos of most subchasers in the “Patrol Vessels” section.

The Still Photos collection at National Archives in College Park, MD has many photos of subchasers. Most Subchaser photos are either in Record Groups 19-LC & 19-LCM, or Record Group 80.

The Navy has digitized a lot of ship photos.

The Photographic Section of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC has many Subchaser photos. If you are interested in researching the Navy’s photo collections they provide limited reference assistance for some specific requests, either remotely or in person (by appointment only). Please contact them at with reference questions or appointment requests.

The Naval Institute has many Subchaser photos.