Courtesy photo of Lt. j.g. Jacob Singleterry

Courtesy photo of Lt. j.g. Jacob Singleterry, assigned to USS Roosevelt (DDG-80), first place winner in the Naval History and Heritage Command 2021 New Year’s Deck Log Entry contest.


Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abigayle Lutz, Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command announced the New Year's Deck Log Entry contest winners June 4, 2021.

Winners are as follows:

1st Place: Lt. j.g. Jacob Singleterry - USS Roosevelt (DDG-80)

2nd Place: Fire Controlman 1st Class David Sean Willis - USS Cape St. George (CG-71)

3rd Place: Operations Specialist 1st Class Charles Casey Smith - USS Little Rock (LCS-9)     

USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) 

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG-80) is underway in the Atlantic Ocean. Roosevelt is part of Carrier Strike Group 2 and is deploying in support of maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and missions supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II/Released)

While 2021 is officially the first year of the contest, the New Year’s Deck Log Entry contest carries the unique naval tradition of the Midnight New Year’s Day Poem, where the first entry in the deck log is written in verse.

"Reading all of these entries was truly inspirational and showcased the creativity that our Fleet has to offer," said Senior Chief Yeoman Rob Thomas, one of the contest judges and NHHC’s senior enlisted leader. “Each one gives the crew's unique perspective on this past year and allows us to understand how they persevered. It is good to know that after all of my years of service, these naval traditions are alive and well for future generations to enjoy and learn from."

USS Cape St. George (CG 71) at sea. 

The guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG-71) operates in the Pacific Ocean during exercise Koa Kai 14-1. Koa Kai is a semiannual exercise in the waters around Hawaii designed to prepare independent deployers in multiple warfare areas and provide training in a multi-ship environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Kolmel/Released)

A deck log is the official record maintained by all commissioned U.S. Navy vessels and prepared following Navy regulations and specific instructions. Deck logs record all significant and established events occurring on board or in the immediate vicinity of the ship.

While deck logs are concise in purpose and not a medium for creativity, the first night of the new year is an exception. Sailors are allowed the creative freedom to write the first deck log entry in verse, as long as it includes the specified requirements. This tradition provides a human aspect to the deck log, giving a glimpse into the minds of Sailors and shipboard life.

The exact origin of the New Year's tradition is unknown. However, it became well-recognized around the time of escalated U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1968, the first New Year's Eve Log contest, promoted by Navy Times, received over 1000 submissions. Over the years, submissions to the contest have declined. In 2020, NHHC revived the contest to preserve the tradition and boost participation throughout the fleet. This year NHHC received over 30 submissions.

The first prize winner shall receive an engraved piece of copper sheathing from the USS Constitution, as well as a certificate. All of the winners will receive an NHHC commander's coin. To read the winning entries, visit

NHHC, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities, including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, 10 museums, USS Constitution repair facility, and the historic ship Nautilus.

USS Little Rock (LCS 9) at sea. 

CARIBBEAN SEA (February 16, 2020) The Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Little Rock (LCS-9) underway in the Caribbean Sea. USS Little Rock is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) Campaign MARTILLO targeting counter illicit drug operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marianne Guemo/Released)


Note to Media: For more information, contact the Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs Office at 202-433-7880 or