I have recently been doing a lot of research for various individuals asking for information on the names of Armed Guard shipmates. In looking through Armed Guard crew lists I notice that the vast majority of the enlisted men and officers are designated as US Naval Reserve (USNR) not as regular Navy (USN). This seems to be widespread and common rather than being just a few isolated examples. Why is this?
Two possibilities come to mind. Perhaps those intending to make the Navy their careers, and especially if they had been in the Navy prior to the war, were considered regular Navy. Those who enlisted or were drafted into the Navy "for the duration" were considered Naval Reserve. If this theory is correct then presumably crew lists of ships in the fleet likewise would show most men designated USNR and only a relatively few (primarily more senior personnel) designated USN. I have not done any research on crew lists of ships in the fleet.
Or could it have been that Armed Guard personnel, for whatever reasons, were (perhaps arbitrarily) designated USNR while personnel assigned to the fleet were designated USN? In that case the crew lists for ships in the fleet would show most crew members designated USN, unlike the Armed Guard crew lists.
Does anyone know, or remember from personal experience, why Armed Guard sailors and officers were usually designated USNR?
Ron Carlson, Webmaster