Arlie George Capps Papers

Manuscript Collection #589
Capps, Arlie George, 1918-1986
Physical description
0.43 Cubic Feet, 307 items , consisting of correspondence, a partial diary, a thesis, articles, military orders, citations, clippings, certificates, and photographs.
Preferred Citation
Arlie George Capps Papers (#589), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1941-1987) of member of U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1941, including correspondence, a partial diary, a thesis, articles, military orders, citations, clippings, certificates, and photographs relating to his World War II service aboard the USS CUSHING, USS HUTCHINS, and USS NEWCOMB; also including materials relating to his civilian business career, 1954-1987.

Biographical/historical information

Arlie George Capps (1918-1986) was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, and was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1937, graduating in February 1941. During World War II, Capps served aboard the USS CUSHING, USS HUTCHINS, and USS NEWCOMB, seeing action in the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Capps was involved with the amphibious landings at Inchon, Korea, as advisor for amphibious support weapons to General Douglas MacArthur. Capps attended the U.S. Naval Academy post graduate school, studying chemistry and physics, and received his Master's degree in engineering physics from Cornell University. Retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1954, Capps worked for Aerojet General Corporation, Convair of General Dynamics Corporation, and the Stanford Research Institute International.

Scope and arrangement

Personal correspondence in the collection consists largely of letters of condolence from classmates of Arlie Capps to his wife upon his death. Included in some letters are reminiscences of days at the Naval Academy and of actions during World War II.

The bulk of the collection consists of military papers including travel orders, requests for leaves of absence, promotion documents, and resignation documents. Also included is a list of officers of the USS NEWCOMB and a summary of the NEWCOMB's actions in the area of the Philippines during 1944-1945 (February 1, 1945 memo). Capps's appointment (June 21, 1954) as officer in charge of investigating charges of collusion in service examinations on board the HERBERT J. THOMAS; recommendations (September 19, 1952) from Commander Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, for a conference on draft recommendations concerned with the coordination of supporting arms of U.S. fleets; letters recommending Capps to teach amphibious training command to the Chinese Navy on Formosa (July 9, 1953); and Capps'stravel authorization from the U.S. Army (April 25, 1966) to go to Bangkok, Thailand, as a task leader for counterinsurgency operations are also included.

Navy reports include articles on the use of hydrogen peroxide for propulsion (December 1946) and the need for research of high pressure reactions on liquid fuels; "A Lesson in Naval Leadership," describing expected conduct and actions of officers; military explanations of procede time and travel instructions; Capps's thesis (1948) from Cornell University on the use of liquid propellants in guns; and a memo on training an amphibious unit for the Chinese Navy in Formosa (September 22, 1953). Other reports pertain to defense contractor Aerojet-General Corporation and include the Anti-Submarine Warfare Division's planning activity (January 27, September 22, 1961), an organization chart for proposed Project MOHOLE (September 1961), and memoranda on small submersible vehicle systems with specifications and sketches (February-March 1963).

Excerpts from the diary of a captured Japanese medic relate Japanese and U.S. actions in the vicinity of Attu Island during May 1943. The diary describes U.S. landing operations and battle activities including gas attacks and bombing by U.S. Forces (May 12-14); the Japanese passing through a minefield with wounded men (May 16-17); the type and scarcity of Japanese daily rations (May 23 and 28), and the numerous cases of Japanese soldiers committing suicide (May 26-28). The last two entries (May 28-29) report the killing of all wounded Japanese soldiers by Japanese doctors with morphine and hand grenades to escape capture.

Citations include the Legion of Merit, Navy Cross, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. Photographs show Capps receiving various awards, the Naval Academy Wrestling Team, Capps's activities in Thailand and village life there, and Capps's homes near Bodega Bay and Top Mountain in California.

Administrative information
Custodial History

January 10, 1990, 283 items; Papers (1941-1987) of U.S. Naval officer, member of USNA Class of 1941, including correspondence, reports, service files, citations, photographs, and miscellaneous materials. Gift of Mrs. Josephine Capps, Portland, Oregon.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Josephine Capps

Processing information

Processed by V. Jones, Jr., June 1991

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

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

Key terms
Personal Names
Capps, Arlie George, 1918-1986
Corporate Names
Herbert J. Thomas (Ship)
Newcomb (Ship)
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American
World War, 1939-1945--Pacific Ocean