Permission to "Date Ahead"

Permission to "Date Ahead": Virtual Proof the USS Healy's Log Shows Bush's Being "Out of Pocket" on June 19, 1944

Several items discovered in my research indicate the possibility of a scenario in which the deck log of the USS Healy, the destroyer that picked up a crew from a sinking Avenger plane on June 19, 1944, may have been "dated ahead." Among them is Robert Stinnett, who, in his pro-Bush "official" biography George Bush: His World War Two Years (DC: Brassey's, 1992. 200) in his bibliographic notes under "Operation Forager (Wake-Marcus prelude May 17-23, 1944)", writes: ". . . See also action reports of USS San Jacinto (CVL-30), Air Group 51 and Torpedo Squadron 51. (Note: Greenwich Civil Time is used in the May 1944 SAN JACINTO reports of Wake-Marcus. In later 1944 reports local time is used [emphasis added--mcs]. )"

It's interesting that Stinnett, a major Bush reputation defender, is here virtually conceding that the deck logs of Bush's squadron were varied as to their dating/timing format. Perhaps not intentionally, but Stinnett is also here not specifying which ships in Bush's squadron were thus dated by local time, and which may not have been.

But the point is, if there were any "play", any difference--that is, if one ship were dated by GMT, another by local-- there could have been confusion that could have helped in a de facto, if not deliberate, cover-up of the actual events surrounding Bush's whereabouts on June 19, 1944. (Such a confusion phenomenon was something of which well-versed military intelligence types like Allen Dulles would have been keenly aware.)

Stinnett, for example, does not say definitely that it is the San Jacinto itself that was dated by local time, but only that "in later 1944 reports" local time was used. That is, he makes an interesting shift from "the May 1944 San Jacinto reports," specifically were dated by GMT, to "later 1944 reports", without a specific ship name actually cited, as being where/when local time was used in the deck logs/action reports.

In addition to this intriguing bit from Stinnett himself are some recently arrived materials from the National Archives in Washington, DC that include Naval rules and regulations about World War II warship deck logs, war diaries and action reports. These appear to affirm the idea that the deck log of the USS Healy may, indeed, have been "dated ahead", as "my" scenario would suggest as an explanation for the "funny looking" records in ships' logs involved with George H. W. Bush on June 19, 1944. Those newly-received records include the following:

"List of Logbooks of US Navy Ships, Stations, and Miscellaneous Units, 1801-1947", compiled by: Claudia Bailey, Michael Kurtz, Rebecca Livingston, Timothy Mulligan, Muriel Parseghian, Paul Vanderveer, James Yale. Introductory Special List, Alice Russell and Annis K. Olsen, comp. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1978. 1, 1fn1, 2, (paragraph 2), 3 (paragraph 3).

"Before 1850, the officers of American naval vessels did not use standardized forms for logbook entries in paragraph form or in hand-drawn columns, usually listing the hour of the entry, knots, fathoms, course, winds, and miscellaneous remarks. {fn1: For the purposes of the logbook entries, the day was calculated according to 'sea time,' from noon on one day to noon on the next. Beginning in 1848, the day was calculated in logbooks according to 'civil time,' from midnight to midnight of each calendar day. [Author's note: I've noted in the USS Healy's deck log that noon always appears at virtually mid-point in the text of the USS Healy's log, as it does in almost none of the other deck logs I've examined. That doesn't, in itself, mean that the deck log of the Healy would have been dated "differently", but it does move the argument in the direction that the Healy's log was not dated exactly like the others examined--mcs]."(List of Logbooks, 1).

[The List of Logbooks continues:]

"The printed logbook usually consisted of a title page; a set of directions for keeping the logbook; lists of officers; lists of the numbers of petty officers, seamen, landsmen, boys, and marines; observations concerning the local deviation of the ship's compass; log pages for each day; and occasionally a description of the armament of the ship, and plans and drawing of the ship...The columnar page generally contains listings for knots, fathoms, course, winds, leeway, barometer, temperature, state of the weather, forms of clouds, state of the sea, record of the sail at end o fthe watch (for the 19th century entries), distance traveled SINCE PRECEDING DAY [--my emphasis added--mcs], latitude, longitude, current, variation of the compass, coal and water consumed, and training exercises. ..The page for general remarks usually contains observations concerning the weather, personnel, supplies, sightings, course changes, and training exercises. Other types of information, such as periodic reports of the condition of the ship's ammunition and notations that orders were received and read by the crew, are sometimes included. [Author's note: these are present in the Healy's log]."(List of logbooks, 2).

"Various ship officers had responsibility for the preparation of the logbook. Depending on the size of the ship's conplement, the watch or deck office made or supervised most of the entries in the log, noting the ship's performance, weather, supplies received, personnel matters, accidents, and other miscellaneous happenings and signing his name at the end of his 4-hour duty. This initial log was called the rough deck log. Each day the navigator examined the rough log for the preceding day, entered such additional information as the course and distance traveled by the end of the day. . .and then had the rough log neatly copied or typed into whast was known as the smooth log. . ."(List of Logbooks, 3).

This record provides a good introduction to the thinking as to set up and preservation of Naval deck logs. There now follow two essential documents that show that there WAS, indeed, flexibility as to how Naval ships' commanders could date their ships' logs.

Interoffice Communication of July 26, 1943, "W-o80-0004739, Box 5, folder NRI-3 Deck Logs Study by Mr. Jess Boell"

National Archives Form SR-3 (Rev. 8-15-41)

From: J.E. Boell, Assistant Director (3) War Records OfFice

TO: E.G. Campbell, Director, War Records Office.

Subject: Preservations of Deck Logs

Notes on the disposition of ribbon copies of the smooth deck log. Naval Regulations: Article 1022: paragraph 3, paragraph 6;

ALNAV 176-43: 43-1530--War Diaries and Ship's Logs

Restricted. 29 October 1943. 2, Section 1, paragraph 2. (Ref. to "Part B, Chapter 1, BuPers Manual modified to be in in accord US Navy Regulations, 1920. BNP forms 134, 135, 136 as presently issued, or similar superseded forms":

"War diaries shall contain matter presently prescribed in paragraph 3a Cominch serial 3899 of 19 October 1942 except do not attach copy of action report. Submit diary in letter form on 8 by 10 1/2 paper, TYPEWRITTEN WHEN PRACTICABLE [--my emphasis added: the CK Bronson's deck log, we may recall, was NOT typewritten--mcs], suitable for microfilming. SEVERAL DAYS MAY APPEAR CHRONOLOGICALLY BY DATE ON SAME SHEET OR, IF ROUTINE OPERATIONS ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME, THEY MAY BE COVERED IN ONE ENTRY."

[--my emphasis: here, we see that the US Navy is, in effect, giving ships' commanders permission to be highly flexible as to how a specific page is dated. This is key in proving that the USS Healy's deck log may have been "dated ahead".--mcs].

Another source that repeats this flexibility as to dating, is:


Serial: 7152

Restricted 29 October 1943

Subject: War Diaries, Ship's Logs, Submarine Reports of War Patrols, and Action Reports. 3. (b)(2). Section 4 (a). 4, "Deck Logs" Section 5 (d) (3).


"(b)(2)Events of importance. (This should be interpreted liberally."

"4. (a) All War Diaries shall be submitted in letter form on 8 X 101/2 paper, typewritten when practicable, suitable for microfilming. SEVERAL DAYS MAY APPEAR CHRONOLOGICALLY BY DATE ON EACH SHEET OR IF ROUTINE OPERATIONS ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME, MAY BE COVERED IN ONE ENTRY. [--my emphasis--mcs] In the latter case the nature of the operation must be fully described."

Page 4: "Deck logs""The Deck Log containing combined administrative and operational remarks, shall be maintained and submitted as prescribed by US Navy Regulations 1920, with the following exceptions:

...(3)papers and lists may be pasted in the rough log if desired, instead of copying. . ."

Finally, we have these details, furnished by another document:

Navy Bulletin 43-1531-3 October 29, 1943. COMINCH File UNITED STATES FLEET FF1/A12-1/A16-3 Headquarters of the Commander in Chief, Navy Department, Washington, DC. Restricted. Serial 7152, 29 October 1943. 1. "WAR DIARIES." Section 2 (a). 2. Section 3(a) (1), (3).


"2. The War Diaries shall be submitted by:

(a)Commanding officers of all combatant ships. . .

"3.(a)(1)"The designation and composition of the unit and the designation of the next higher echelon and of the Fleet or Force to be attached. This information need be entered ONLY ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH AND ON DAYS IN WHICH CHANGES OCCUR. [--emphasis mine. Again, we note the flexibility implied as to dating procedures--mcs]."

(3) Positions at 0800, 1200, 2000, L.C.T., if underway, otherwise statement of location. . . " Though somewhat dry and technical to wade (pardon the unintentional pun) through, these documents establish the clear possibility--if not probability--that the USS Healy's deck log was, indeed, dated ahead. This is highly-significant in increasing the "case" that GHW Bush was "out of pocket" on June 19, 1944. It helps explain why the USS San Jacintodoesn't know the name of the destroyer that allegedly picked up Bush's crew on June 19, 1944--even though they'd allegedly water-landed just off the bow, in a situation and position virtually identical to that of Houle's plane EXACTLY 24 hours "later". It could also explain the odd appearance of the CK Bronson's deck log pages that refer to Bush's pick up, It also helps explain the discrepancy in the date of the "intercept" of June 20, 1944 and the subsequent plane shootdown of June 22, 1944, which the Healy seems to record on June 23, 1944.

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