The United States Navy, October 1, 1939
While going through the government documents section of a university library several years ago, I came across The Navy Directory from October 1, 1939. This document included
listings not only of the commissioned and warrant officers of the service, but also organizational tables for the forces both ashore and afloat. Using it, as well as Ships and Aircraft of
the U.S. Fleet, 1939 edition (James Fahey, ed) I compiled the following pages.

As the major European powers had just become embroiled in World War II, and the Sino-Japanese conflict continued unabated in Asia, this was an important period in world affairs.
The United States had not yet fully begun to rearm itself following the lack of attention paid to the armed forces in the inter-war era. For the Navy specifically, the ships resulting
from expansion legislation in 1937 and 1938 were still under construction and had not yet reached the fleet. Thus, should the United States find itself involved in either of the
world's major conflicts, the Navy would have to fight with a far less powerful and far less effective force than it would possess just two years later.

The organization of the fleet reflects this fact. In addition, the lack of vessels able to be spared for service in the Atlantic, where the Neutrality Patrol declared by President
Roosevelt in September was just starting up, shows the distance the Navy would have to travel before it would be capable of fighting a Two-Ocean War. Many of the vessels out of
commission in October 1939 would be hastily recommissioned, with some being turned over to the British in late 1940.

The information presented on the following pages helps show how the Navy stood at this key moment and shows how some of the key players in World War II were being prepared
for their service.

FORCES AFLOAT
*
BATTLE FORCE
*SCOUTING FORCE
*ATLANTIC SQUADRON
*SUBMARINE FORCE
*BASE FORCE
*SHIPS ON TEMPORARY OR SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT
*ASIATIC FLEET
*VESSELS OUT OF COMMISSION
*VESSELS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 12-1-39
*"LEFTOVER" SHIPS


SHORE ESTABLISHMENT
*
OFFICE OF SECRETARY, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, AND CNO
*BUREAUS (Info available only on 4 Bureaus)
*
NAVAL DISTRICTS AND OUTLYING STATIONS
*UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS HEADQUARTERS

Senior Officers by Signal Number (coming soon)

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USS CASSIN in 1939. CASSIN would be all but destroyed at Pearl Harbor. The new hull built
around surviving machinery kept the same hull number, and the "repaired" ship served
throughout the rest of World War II. US Navy Photo from the Naval History and Heritage
Command On-Line Library. As far as I know, it is in the public domain.
USS ARIZONA at sea in the 1930's.
US Navy Photo from the Naval History and
Heritage Command  On-Line Library.
As far as I know, this photo is in the public domain.
USS PHILADELPHIA in the 1930's.
US Navy Photo from the NAVSOURCE photo archive.
As far as I know, this photo is in the public domain.