Re: My husband What is an armed guard but he’s not on the list of men that I see on and other side
Posted by Ron Carlson on May 28, 2022, 12:06 am, in reply to "My husband What is an armed guard but he’s not on the list of men that I see on and other side"
Dear Mrs. Reese, |
Thank you for your inquiry. I join the earlier respondent to your message, J.P. Green, in noting your late husband’s brave World War II service in the U.S. Navy Armed Guard. You have just reason to be proud of him. He and his shipmates performed a vital service to our country during wartime at great personal and collective risk, unfortunately little known or understood at the time and even less known today.
J.P. Green kindly provided a good summary of the role of the U.S. Navy Armed Guard. For a more detailed explanation, see this page on the Armed Guard website: http://www.armed-guard.com/about-ag.html.
Please understand that the list of Armed Guard personnel found on the Armed Guard website (beginning at http://www.armed-guard.com/ag26.html) is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all Armed Guard sailors and officers. It is simply a membership list, now long outdated, of individuals who became members of the U.S.N. Armed Guard World War II Veterans’ Association in the decades distantly following the war. Some of those members voluntarily shared the names of the ship(s) in which they served and applicable dates. But the vast majority of former Armed Guard sailors were never aware of the existence of this organization or declined to join the organization if they knew of it.
I don’t know when the Armed Guard veterans’ association was formed but it was many decades after the end of the war. It was established by an Armed Guard veteran who made it his goal to track down as many Armed Guard sailors as he could find. But even at its greatest size, the Armed Guard veterans’ association comprised only a few thousand members, out of about 145,000 men who served in the Armed Guard during the war. So the reason your husband’s name is not found on the list on the Armed Guard website, and why J.P. Green’s father is not listed, and why thousands of other men are not listed is simple: they never knew there was a veterans association they could join.
The Armed Guard veterans’ association no longer exists. Its founder and longtime chairman died last year, and he had ceased operating the association even earlier. Arguably the only extensive remaining source of information easily available to the public about the U.S. Navy Armed Guard is the Armed Guard website, and I acknowledge that it is but a faint shadow of all the information that could have been included but is no longer available.
So far as I am aware, there is no comprehensive, online list of all Armed Guard sailors and officers. If such a list exists, it probably exists only deep in the paper records of the U.S. Navy. Those records are so old that the Navy itself no longer maintains them. Instead those records, existing only as vast amounts of paper, are likely held by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. And even so I doubt there is a single neat list but rather great numbers of lists, each a snapshot in time of the Naval Armed Guard service at various moments in its history.
I am saddened to know that Ponie Star Reese is no longer with us. Like so many others of the Armed Guard he has sailed over that far horizon. But please know that he was a brave man; they all were.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website