African Americans and the U.S. Navy
World War II Activities in the United States
Great Lakes Naval Training Station,
General Views



In mid 1942, the Navy began accepting African American enlistments for general service. Recruits received initial training at Camp Robert Smalls, a part of the Naval Training Station at Great Lakes, Illinois. Many men went on to specialized training there, and at other bases in the United States.

This page features views of African Americans in Wartime recruit companies, inspections, and shop training at Great Lakes, and provides links to other photographs taken there.

The following pictures feature African Americans in recruit companies, inspections, and shop training at Great Lakes during World War II.
For additional views of Wartime training and other activities at Great Lakes
Graduation Ceremonies
Field & Military Training
Shore Patrol Training
Recreation and Sports
Visiting Entertainers, Political Figures and Celebrities

Additional pictorial coverage of African Americans during World War II African Americans and the U.S. Navy World War II

Pictorial coverage of other eras African Americans and the U.S. Navy

Click photograph for a larger image

Photo #: 80-G-43078

Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois


Company 833, made up of African-American recruits, in formation on 20 August 1943. The company was entered in the station's "Hall of Fame", established by the Great Lakes weekly newspaper to honor "crack" recruits.
Company Honor Man was Robert F. Gervin, Company Clerk. William H. Walker was Apprentice Chief Petty Officer. Simon Fouse was Master-at-Arms.
Note flags. Left one features a rooster. Right flag is the Navy Battalion Flag, with "N.T.S. Great Lakes" written across its top.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 152KB; 740 x 610

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-43080

Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois


Company 761, an African-American recruit unit, photographed on 20 August 1943. The company was entered in the station's "Hall of Fame", established by the Great Lakes weekly newspaper to honor "crack" recruits.
Company Honor Man was Andrew McNeil, Apprentice Chief Petty Officer. Andrew J. Morrison was Company Clerk and Allan Jackson was Master-at-Arms.
Note "E" flag, at right in the front rank.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 132KB; 740 x 615

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-294731

Camp Robert Smalls, Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois


A Navy Captain inspects Service School personnel, 2 April 1943.
Note band playing in the left background.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 114KB; 740 x 600

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-294920

Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois


Members of the tenth class to graduate from the Negro Service School examine a Wright "Whirlwind" aircraft engine during their training, 15 September 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 67KB; 740 x 610

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-294863

Camp Robert Smalls, Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois


Shop training for the first class to attend the Negro Service School for Machinist's Mates, 30 July 1943.
Men in the foreground are working with metal lathes.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 130KB; 740 x 605

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-294865

Camp Robert Smalls, Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois


A Chief Petty Officer instructs members of the first class to attend the Negro Service School for Machinist's Mates, 30 July 1943.
Note use of plastic goggles for eye protection.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 91KB; 740 x 605

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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