The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552 (as amended by the OPEN Government Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-175, 121 Stat. 2524) gives the public the right to access any Department of the Navy records unless the information in those records is protected by one or more of the nine exemptions that qualify an Agency’s need to withhold records from a requester, and there is a sound legal basis to withhold them.
The mission of Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) is to collect, preserve, protect, present, and make relevant the artifacts, art, and documents that best capture the Navy's history and heritage. While adhering to the rules and regulations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we strive to provide access to all textual and microfilm records within our holdings.
Frequently Requested Records:
- Aircraft Accident Reports through 31 December 1969 involving U.S. Navy aircraft are in the custody of Naval History and Heritage Command. These records are filed by the type of aircraft and the date of the accident. To fulfill a FOIA request within a timely and efficient manner, we must have the type of aircraft involved and the date of the accident. Aircraft Accident Reports after 1 January 1970 are maintained by the Naval Safety Center, they can be contacted directly at the following:
Naval Safety Center
375 A Street
Norfolk, VA 23511
- Aviation and Ship Command Operations Report, formerly known as Command History Reports, these records are submitted by aviation squadrons and by U.S. Navy ships. They provide narrative summaries of operation and activites for each calendar year. For Command Operation Reports that have been digitized please visit:
- Deck Logs
- Naval History and Heritage Command maintains deck logs covering the past 30 years. Deck logs that are over 30 years old are maintained by the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration. Deck logs that are up to 1940 are maintained by the Old Military and Civil Records Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
- Deck logs typically serve as administrative logs recording the daily activities on board a commissioned U.S. Navy ship. For more information on the type of information typically recorded in a deck log please see:
- When submitting a FOIA request for Deck Logs we ask that you are as specific as possible; please include the name of the ship and the specific date for the deck logs that you are requesting. If you are unsure of the specific date, we recommend requesting the Command Operations Report from the Archives reference section. Command Operation Reports can often assist in narrowing down the date that an incident occurred.
- Deck logs can run upwards of 400 pages per month and require a line by line review to determine releasable information under the FOIA. It can take upwards of five hours to review and determine if a single month of deck logs is releasable to the public. Please note, under FOIA statute, "all other” requestors are entitled to two hours of search and 100 pages of duplication free of charge. More information on FOIA Fees and Applicability for a FOIA Fee Waiver can be found at:Department of Justice Fees and Fee Waivers.
- Investigation Reports – Official investigations involving U.S. Navy ships and incidents that occurred on board U.S. Navy ships are maintained by the Office of Judge Advocate General. For more information the type of records and how to submit a FOIA request with the Judge Advocate General, please visit: http://www.jag.navy.mil/library/foia_faq.htm#record_custodian
- Personnel Records – The National Personnel Records Center has custody of official individual personnel and medical records of Navy commissioned officers. For more information on how to obtain a personnel records please visit: http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/
Submitting A FOIA Request:
- Send a written letter to:
ATTN: NHHC FOIA
805 Kidder Breese Street
Washington, DC 20374
-All FOIA Requests must address the following:
- Contact information, including name of individual requesting the information, physical address, and at least one method of contact for individual (email and/or telephone).
- Willingness to pay fees. Per the FOIA statute "all other requestors" are entitled to two hours of search time and up to 100 pages of duplication free of charge. Requests that exceed the time required to search for responsive records and/or those that exceed the 100 page allotment will be charged $20.00 per hour for search and 15 cents per page.
- Description of the records sought so that a knowledgeable official can locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort. For assistance in narrowing down the records sought please visit Research Guides and Finding Aids.
The following links may assist you in finding information
Archives Section Electronic Finding Aids - View
Navy Department Library - View
Information on Naval Aircraft - View
Information on Naval Ships - View
FOIA Reading Room
NHHC FOIA Reading Room - View
FOIA requesters who have any questions concerning the processing of their requests with the NHHC FOIA service center should contact this center at (202) 433-FOIA (3642) or email NHHC_FOIA@navy.mil.
If you are not satisfied with the response from the center, you may contact the DON FOIA Public Liaison at 202-685-0412 or email DONFOIA-PA@navy.mil.
Naval History and Heritage Command
Attn: FOIA Service Center
805 Kidder Breese St. SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060
Phone: (202) 433-FOIA (3642)