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Records of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding San Francisco, California

Dates: 1937-1997

Collection Number: COLL/484

Finding aid (Word)

Historical Note

The Office of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, United States Navy, was established on 16 August 1940 to supervise the construction of Navy ships by private contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The office was located at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard and the initial complement consisted of Captain Albert Norris, assisted by three officers and eight civilians.

The achievements of the Office of Supervisor of Shipbuilding during World War II were outstanding, having delivered 2,738 ships and boats ranging from barges to cruisers.  In May 1943 the Supervisor's complement reached its maximum.  In that month approximately 25,250 people were employed on Navy new construction in the Bay Area, while the Supervisor's office included 61 officers and 490 inspectors and clerical workers.

After World War II there was a continuous decline in manpower, both in the private shipyards and in the Supervisor's office. In 1944 the Supervisor's office was assigned additional duties as Navy Inspector of Repair and Construction, and reported for this function to the Assistant Industrial Manager, San Francisco.  In 1958 the Commander, San Francisco Naval Shipyard, became the Assistant Industrial Manager, the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, and the Naval Inspector of Ordnance, San Francisco, as additional duties.

Offices for the Supervisor established initially at Bethlehem Steel were moved to Yerba Buena Island, then Treasure Island, and downtown San Francisco prior to being located in the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.  When closure of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard was announced, the Supervisor of Shipbuilding consisted of 3 officers and 59 civilians.

The late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed the growth and development of the activity into one of the major ship repair activities on the West Coast.  The military staff increased from 3 to 10 officers, 0 to 11 enlistee personnel, the civilian staff from 59 to 308 and the annual dollar value of repair and modernization work from less than $10 million to more that $170 million.

The intervening years have witnessed a gradual decline in Navy ship repair work being scheduled and accomplished in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Base closures, force structure homeporting decisions, defense budgetary reductions, and reduced global threat have contributed to a reduced Navy workload in the area.

Significant achievements of the 1980s and 1990s included the successful Selected Restricted Availabilities of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), Phased Maintenance Availabilities of USS Mount Hood (AE-29) and USS Flint (AE-32), and Decommissioning Availabilities of USS Pyro (AE-24), USS Gallant (MSO-489), USS Kansas City (AOR-3) and USS Mauna Kea (AE-22).

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of records of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, San Francisco (SUPSHIP).  It contains histories of the Industrial Manager and Supervisor of Shipbuilding, materials relating to changes of command, and awards, publications, and notices from the Supervisor of Shipbuilding.  The collection is organized in three series, Change of Command, Histories, and Miscellaneous. 

The first series, Change of Command is arranged chronologically. It contains photos and news articles about the changes in command, as well as invitations, guest lists, and other materials used in the planning of change of command ceremonies. Programs for a number of the ceremonies are included as well.

Series II, Histories, holds yearly histories from the office of the Industrial Manager, the Naval Inspector of Ordnance, and the Supervisor of Shipbuilding. This series is arranged alphabetically by the name of the office and sub-arranged chronologically.

The third series, Miscellaneous, contains awards, a collective bargaining agreement from 1990 between the Local Union and the Supervisors of Shipbuilding, and a document dealing with the Hunters Point turnover.  Also in this series are two publications, The U.S. Marine Corps Flag Manual and the program from the 24 June 1997 disestablishment ceremony for the Supervisor of Shipbuilding. The series concludes with a group of  SUPSHIP Notices from the 1990s and several oversized items.

Preferred Citation

Records of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding San Francisco, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.




Published: Mon Oct 18 11:54:02 EDT 2021