Pearl Harbor Muster Roll
Source: NARA (Bureau of Navy Personnel)
Muster rolls of ships based at Pearl Harbor, 1939-47.

by J. Michael Wenger, military historian and writer (

The Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls are the quarterly Muster Rolls and related documents for the United States Navy’s fighting ships, ground organizations, and shore facilities that were present on the island of Oahu during the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941.

These records are a subset of a much larger group of records for the entire US Navy, covering the years 1939-1949. The Muster Rolls for this period exist only in microfilm form, and reside at National Archives II in College Park, Maryland.

A common misconception among new researchers is to think that the holdings at the National Archives are organized by subject, in a manner similar to a library. Records at the National Archives are organized according to the government agency that created them.

The Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls are contained within the following record group:
Record Group 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798 - 2003

Four times per year at the end of every quarter, all ships, aviation squadrons, air stations, bases, stations, training centers or schools, flag staffs, and Marine Corps units compile a Muster Roll, or listing, of individuals who were attached to that unit on the date of the muster. In addition, these ships and other units are required to keep track of changes in personnel in each of the intervening months prior to the next quarterly muster.

Extraordinary circumstances might cause a ship to compile an extra Muster Roll. The attack on Pearl Harbor was one such circumstance, with a number of ships (though by no means all) creating a Muster Roll in the days shortly after the attack on 7 December 1941.

The importance of these records, particularly as they relate to the Pearl Harbor event, is that the Muster Rolls are the final arbiter of who was present on Oahu, and where they were at the time of the Japanese attack. Among other details, the Muster Rolls provide fuller and more accurate renderings of names and rates (or ranks) than is usually available in other historical resources, including the US Navy’s own after action reports and deck logs.
Muster Roll

The Muster Roll is an alphabetical listing that each ship or unit executes at the end of every quarter. It is a snapshot of the particular ship or unit with regard to who was assigned to the ship on the date of the muster. The data recorded on the Muster Roll are as follows:

Service Number
Present Rating (or rank)
Date of Enlistment
Date First Received on Board

Ship type abbreviations

AD—Destroyer Tender
AG—Miscellaneous Auxiliary
AH—Hospital Ship
AK—Cargo Ship
AKS—General Stores Issue Ship
AR—Repair Ship
ARb—Base Repair Ship
AS—Submarine Tender
ASR—Submarine Rescue Vessel
AV—Seaplane Tender
AVD—Destroyer Seaplane Tender
AVP—Small Seaplane Tender
CA—Heavy Cruiser
CL—Light Cruiser
DM—Light Mine Layer
DMS—Destroyer Minesweeper
YN—Net Tender
YT—Yard Tug

To perform basic searches of the National Archives, link to NARA's Archival Research Catalog (ARC) at

Search on the following text: “bureau of personnel muster roll”

Select: Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, compiled 01/01/1939 - 01/01/1949

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