USN Commander James V. Rowney – Pearl Harbor / Midway
This is not only a pretty US Special Passport (1955) in almost mint and unused condition but it belonged once to a WWII (Pearl Harbor & Midway) and Korea war experienced US Navy Commander.
James Victor Rowney was born (November 11, 1917) in Baltimore, MD. Rowney belonged to the Maryland National Guard (1935-1937) and U.S. Naval Reserve (1937). He received an appointment (1937) to the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) and graduated in 1941. During World War II, Rowney was assigned to the aircraft carriers USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and USS YORKTOWN (CV-10) in the Pacific Theatre and participated in the occupation of Japan. After the war, Rowney attended post-graduate school at the Naval Academy (1949) and the California Institute of Technology (1949-1950) for courses in aeronautical engineering with a specialization in jet propulsion. During the Korean War, Rowney commanded VF 112 in Airgroup 11 on the aircraft carrier USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CV-47), served on attack aircraft carrier USS TICONDEROGA (CVA-14), received command of Carrier Air Group 7 (January 1956), and participated in several NATO operations. Rowney was then assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics (1959-1961), taught at the Academy (1962-1965), and commanded two Naval Air Stations in California (1965-1968). Rowney retired (July 31, 1968) with the rank of captain and has received several commendations and service ribbons.
The aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) participated in more major actions of the war against Japan than any other US ship. These actions included the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, various other air-sea engagements during the Guadalcanal campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. On three separate occasions during the Pacific War, the Japanese announced that she had been sunk in battle, earning her the name “The Grey Ghost”. Enterprise earned 20 battle stars, the most for any U.S. warship in World War II and became the most decorated US ship of World War II.
Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an antisubmarine carrier (CVS). She was recommissioned too late to participate in the Korean War but served for many years in the Pacific, including duty in the Vietnam War, in which she earned five battle stars. Late in her career she served as a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission, was used in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! which recreated the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and in the science fiction film The Philadelphia Experiment.
Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970 and in 1975 became a museum ship at Patriot’s Point, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She is a National Historic Landmark.
The Joyner Library (East California University) has a manuscript collection of Rowney. Here it’s content…
The correspondence and orders pertain to Rowney’s different assignments, and includes forms for change of duty stations, commissions, temporary additional duty, personal letters of congratulations from Dwight D. Eisenhower, and documentation for all of the awards and citations, including The Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Gold Star and Air Medal.
Miscellaneous materials include a report on missions flown by Rowney (July 10-August 13, 1945) and an aircraft action report for Bomber-Fighter Group 88 (July 25, 1945) while attached to the YORKTOWN and aircraft carrier USS SHANGRI-LA (CV-38) near the end of World War II. Other items consist of a piece of cloth printed with an American flag and several languages explaining that the holder of this item is a downed American pilot and that any assistance rendered would be rewarded by the U.S. government. Also present is an emblem of the “Fighting 88”, a “Crossing the Arctic Circle” certificate from the Royal Order of the Blue Noses, a history of Carrier Air Group 7 (1957) and biographical information on Rowney. The bulk of the collection is comprised of three scrapbooks and photographs concerning Rowney’s naval career. The first scrapbook (1941-1942) documents the actions of the USS ENTERPRISE with hand-drawn charts including one showing the ship’s location on certain dates, the battles fought, and the positions of the sunken aircraft carriers USS LEXINGTON (CV-2) and USS HORNET (CV-8). Other hand-drawn charts illustrate the Battle of Midway (June 6, 1942); the make-up of Task Forces 16 and 61 and the position of the ENTERPRISE and other ships within them; actions at Guadalcanal; and the near misses and direct hits taken by the ENTERPRISE (August 24, 1942). The scrapbook also contains photographs of damage to the ENTERPRISE and the Solomon Islands during battle (August 7-9, 1942), and a list of ENTERPRISE casualties (August 25, 1942). Throughout the book are ship’s plans-of-the-day, war information bulletins, and news articles concerning various aspects of the war.
The second scrapbook (1943-1945) contains memorabilia concerning the ENTERPRISE, as well as materials pertaining to the USS YORKTOWN and Carrier Air Group 88 that was attached to it. Also included are construction statistics and details of actions in the Pacific Theatre during the war and a tracking chart of the YORKTOWN (July 1-August 15, 1945). Throughout the scrapbook are magazine and newspaper clippings concerning various aspects of the war and the YORKTOWN. The book’s photographs have been removed. They are located in a separate file and primarily concern the occupation of Japan after its surrender. Interesting photographs include aerial shots of bomb damage to Tokyo and Tokyo Bay, atomic bomb damage to Hiroshima, the emperor’s palace grounds, American prisoner-of-war camps, and various ships.
The third scrapbook (1956-1957) focuses on Rowney’s years as commanding officer of Carrier Air Group 7 attached to aircraft carrier USS SARATOGA (CV-60) and the USS TICONDEROGA. This group participated in NATO maneuvers including a series of demonstration flights off Mayport, FL, called “Operation Lantflex” (June 1957) and an exercise over the Norwegian Sea called “Operation Strikflant” (September 1957). Also included are photographs of the SARATOGA and TICONDEROGA, as well as articles, clippings, and memorabilia.
USN Commander James V. Rowney – Pearl Harbor / Midway