William Henry Ashford, Jr., Papers, 1924-1978

Manuscript Collection #369

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: William Henry Ashford, Jr., Papers
Creator: Ashford, William Henry, 1903-
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1924-1978, undated) including correspondence, inventories, research papers, reports, press releases, speeches, orders, awards, citations, certificates, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, photographs, publications, logbooks and miscellaneous.
Extent: 1.09 Cubic feet, consisting of correspondence, inventories, research papers, reports, press releases, speeches, orders, awards, citations, certificates, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, photographs, publications, logbooks, and miscellaneous.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

October 12, 1978, ca. 850 items; Papers (1924-1978) of Naval officer, including correspondence, reports, orders, citations, flight logs, photographs, and miscellaneous. Gift of Real Admiral William H. Ashford, USN (Ret), Raleigh, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

William Henry Ashford, Jr., Papers (#369), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Real Admiral William H. Ashford, USN (Ret)

Processing Information

  • Processed by D. Lawson, February 1979

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

William Henry Ashford, Jr. (b. 1903), a native of Athens, Georgia, attended the University of Georgia and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy (Class of 1927). During World War II, he served aboard the carrier USS ENTERPRISE as aide and flag lieutenant to Admiral William Halsey. After the war, Ashford commanded the Fleet Logistic Air Wing, Atlantic/Continental (1949-1951), served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (1951-1953), and commanded the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

For more detail see biographical file of this collection.

Correspondence files of the Fleet Logistic Air Support Wing Atlantic/Continental (1948-1951) reflect the duties of Ashford as commandant. The Wing performed all Naval Air Transportation Service (NATS) and was later integrated with Air Force services to become Military Air Transportation Service (MATS). The Wing operated from NAS Patuxent River, Md. Topics of interest in the files concern the value of waterfront real estate in Pensacola, Florida (1950) and the fear of hospitalization held by military officers because of possible adverse effects on records and the consequent need for enforced rest periods and holidays (Dec., 1950).

Deputy Chief of Naval Operations correspondence reflects Ashford's duties in that department (1951-1954). Topics include organization of a civilian committee to study flight pay (1952), publications detrimental to defense efforts, and means to counteract or suppress these publications (1952-1953). Other letters include discussions of strategy, the effect of limited range B-52 bombers on overseas Naval bases and intercontinental bombing (1953) and a delineation and discussion of historical programs underway in the Navy Department (Sept., 1953).

Correspondence in the USS MIDWAY file (1954-1955, undated) reflects Ashford's command of that ship during its Mediterranean cruise. Items of particular interest include a letter (Jan., 1954) discussing the exemplary behavior of American sailors in Algiers and their ill-treatment by the natives; and letters (1954, undated) concerning recommended revisions of replenishment procedures for aircraft carriers. Other MIDWAY material includes pamphlets (1954), a newsletter (1954), inventories (1954), and remarks of Ashford on the occasion of change of command (undated).

Topics of interest in general correspondence include letters (Dec., 1954) concerning carrier strategy.

Personal correspondence includes comments on incidents that occurred in Project Mariner, a NATO exercise (1953), and a discussion of the winter of 1944-45 on Lake Michigan as well as the activities of the training carriers USS SABLE and USS WOLVERINE. A letter (Mar., 1970) with accompanying photograph and pamphlet pertains to the recommissioning of the USS MIDWAY. In a letter (Nov. 24, 1974) Ashford details incidents surrounding the hospitalization of Admiral Halsey and comments on Spruance, Browning, and Halsey's staff. A letter (July 28, 1977) and pamphlet pertain to the USS COPAHEE.

Other material in the Ashford Papers consists of research papers written by Ashford at the Naval War College concerning the influence of the atomic bomb on future naval warfare (1947) and the organization and employment of carrier aircraft (1948); a staff orientation course dealing with atomic weapons (1951-1952); and Army War College material (1953). "The American Plan," written by Ashford, is an in-depth account and analysis of factors leading to the battle of Midway (undated).

Press releases [ca. 1970] consist of statements to the voters of Wake County, N.C., concerning the North Carolina state Senate seat sought by Ashford.

Speeches (1953, undated) defend and promulgate the utilization of aircraft carriers by the U.S. Navy, the need for a carrier replacement program, and the importance of naval air power to American security.

Orders (1927-1956); biographical material (1956, undated); awards, citations, and certificates (1927-1977, undated); clippings (1929-1956, undated); flight logs (1938-1956); and photographs (1924-1970, undated) reflect Ashford's naval career. Photographs also pertain to ships USS NEW YORK (1924), USS TEXAS (1930), and USS MIDWAY (1953), aswell as seaplane training at N.A.S. Pensacola (1929). A photograph (1942) pertains to Admiral Halsey and staff.

Miscellaneous material includes a copy of a memo (1948) and an enclosure relating to operating and repair statistics of carriers, and a report of damage inflicted on World War II naval vessels by land-based aircraft and a comparison with predictions of surface vessel vulnerability made by General Billy Mitchell (1948). Pamphlets (undated) relate the histories of the Fleet Logistics Air Wing and the USS ENTERPRISE. An application for membership in the Society of Colonial Wars (Nov., 1972) delineates the Ashford family lineage.

Additional miscellaneous material includes a detailed article by the Public Information Division of the Navy Department on the history of the ENTERPRISE.

One oversized folder contains photographs of students and staff of the Naval War College, 1948-1949, various diplomas and documents including commissions by Presidents Collidge and Roosevelt, an Ashford genealogical chart, and photographs of early aircraft carriers and their on-board "flying machines."

The photograph album includes pictures of the SABLE and other aircraft carriers, aircraft and crew aboard ship, and salvaging an aircraft from the sea.

For related material see Oral History Collection, Interview #55.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Geographic Entries :

  • Maryland, Patuxent River
  • District of Columbia, Washington

Autograph Entries :

    • Andrew, Adolphus 1935
    • [Bacher, Robert Fox], Bob 1952
    • Bull, H[arold] R[oe] 1952
    • Carney, [Robert Bostwick], Mick 1950
    • Cassady, J[ohn] H[oward] (2) 1951
    • Craig, H[oward] A[rnold] 1953
    • Craigie, L[aurence] C. 1954
    • [Doyle, Austin, K.], Artie (3) 1953
    • Durgin, Cal[vin Thornton] 1951
    • Fechteler, W[illiam] M[orrow] 1951
    • Halsey, W[illiam] F[rederick] 1938
    • Hoover, J[ohn] H[oward] [1950]
    • Moebus, L[usian] A[ncel] (2) 1952
    • Reeves, J[ohn] W[alter], Jr. 1952
    • Sprague, [Thomas Lamison] 1950
    • Wallace, Dewitt 1951

Subject Entries :

    • FLORIDA— PENSACOLA-Real Estate— 1950
    • HALSEY, WILLIAM FREDERICK— 1942
    • LAND— Real Property— Florida— Pensacola— 1950
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Weapons Systems
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Aviation— 1938-1956
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Censorship— 1952-1953
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Deputy Chief of Naval Operations— 1951-1954
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Education— Naval War College— 1948-1949
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Historiography
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS COPAHEE
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS ENTERPRISE
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS MIDWAY— 1955
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS NEW YORK
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS SABLE
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Pay, Allowances, etc.
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Strategy— 1953
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Training— 1929
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Training— 1944-1945
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Aviation
    • U.S.— MILITARY— Promotions— 1950
    • TREATIES— North Atlantic Pact, 1949
    • WAR— Atomic Warfare
    • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Battles— Midway, 1942

Genealogy Entry :

    • ASHFORD FAMILY— 1972

Images below are listed alphabetically by subject. This list reflects only those portions of the collection for which negatives have been prepared.

COMMUNICATION— Humor
Description: Young men dressed in turn of the century clothing for a Christmas card
Call Number: p-369/10(346)
Date: 1935

U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Aviation
Description: Flagging an SNJ for takeoff
Call Number: p-369/34
Date: 1950s

U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Aviation
Description: FGF Hellcat
Location: At sea
Date: 1950s
Call Number: p-369/40

U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Aviation
Description: F. B. Ely landing on the deck of the USS PENNSYLVANIA
Location: At sea
Date: 1911
Call Number: p-369/54

U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS MIDWAY
Description: Returning to port from cruise
Call Number: p-369/16(347)
Date: 1954

U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS NEW YORK
Description: Crew scrubbing deck after coaling
Location: At sea
Date: 1924
Call Number: p-369/5(344)

U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS TEXAS
Description: Biplanes aboard ship
Location: At sea
Date: 1930
Call Number: p-369/7(345)

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Oversize Folder os1#0369.os1
Photographs, diplomas and commissions, Ashford genealogical chart

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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