Papers (1941-1945) of U.S. Naval officer, USNA Class of 1941, including an autobiographical account, a letter describing experiences aboard the USS West Virginia during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and a letter explaining terms used in letters to avoid censorship; Address (November 2000) to the Coronado Shores Beach Club, Coronado, California, entitled "Archie Kelley's First 80 Years," including an account of his relationship with Admiral Hyman Rickover. Compact Disc. (S/N157-H.912313152B14).
Archie P. Kelley (b. 1918) was born in Washington, D.C. His father, Frank H. Kelley, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1910. Kelley lived up and down the West Coast with his father's various duty assignments. Following his father's path, he attended the Academy and graduated in the Class of 1941. His career began with service aboard the battleship USS WEST VIRGINIA, which he was on during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941). After the attack, he served temporary duties in the War Plans Office at Pearl and as navigational officer aboard the WEST VIRGINIA. Kelley's next major assignment was as gunnery officer aboard the destroyer USS GANSEVOORT. Before reporting to duty he married his wife, Rosemary, in Las Vegas. The GANSEVOORT served in four combat actions primarily in support of amphibious landings, the first at Tarawa, in the South Pacific with Admiral Halsey's Task Force 38. Two years later, after being in the Aleutians, the ship returned to Hawaii. Kelley then became executive officer of the USS FRAZIER where he served another year and was involved in support of two more amphibious landings, one at Kwajalein. He was ordered to postgraduate school in naval architecture at MIT, where he was introduced to the study of nuclear physics. This resulted in his assignment to an experimental group investigating ways to decontaminate radioactive ships used in the atomic tests at Bikini. His experience earned him a position serving under Hyman G. Rickover beginning in 1948. Under Rickover, Kelley worked with GE contractors to develop the second nuclear propelled submarine, the USS SEAWOLF, and train its first crew.
The collection contains a typescript copy of a speech given by Kelley to the Coronado Shores Beach Club, entitled "Archie Kelley's First Eighty Years." The material goes in depth on the information described above, plus childhood memories, social life for naval officers in Hawaii before and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and his experiences on the WEST VIRGINIA during the attack. He also mentions his father's experience with the USS WEST POINT rescuing British civilians from Singapore. Kelley discusses his problems with the loss of Marines at Tarawa due to ineffective bombardment and post-Second World War details of his work decontaminating radioactive ships at Bikini. He goes into great detail concerning the background of Rickover's experience with discrimination against Jews in the Navy and the controversy that always dogged him in his Naval career, the development of nuclear-powered submarines by Rickover, i.e. the USS NAUTILUS and the USS SEAWOLF, and the development of the first civilian nuclear power plant. The speech was recorded onto a compact disc included in the collection. The CD is seventy-one minutes in length and contains additional details that Kelley elaborated on during his speech.
Other items in the collection are two letters. The first is an account of Kelley's experiences during the Pearl Harbor raid, dated January 19, 1942, written to his father. This covers much of the same information as in the speech with some additional details. The other piece of correspondence, dated October 8, 1999, provides definitions explaining terms used to pass censorship in the 1942 letter.
Gift of Captain Archie P. Kelley
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