Navy CDR James Rowney – Pearl Harbor

Commander Rowney Pearl Harbor

Not only is this a visually appealing US Special Passport from 1955 that remains in near-mint and unused condition, but it also has a notable ownership history as it was once held by a US Navy Commander who served in both World War II (at Pearl Harbor and Midway) and the Korean War. Commander Rowney Pearl Harbor


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 the attack aircraft carrierUSS TICONDEROGA (CVA-14), received command of Carrier Air Group 7 (January 1956), and participated in several NATO operations.

From 1959 to 1961, Rowney was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics. Following this, he spent the years 1962 to 1965 teaching at the Academy and went on to command two Naval Air Stations in California from 1965 to 1968. Ultimately retiring on July 31, 1968, Rowney received multiple commendations and service ribbons during his military career, retiring with the rank of captain.C

USS ENTERPRISE Commander Rowney Pearl Harbor

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.


The USS YORKTOWN (CV-10) participated in several campaigns of WWII in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation.

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, which was used in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! 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. Commander Rowney Pearl Harbor

The Joyner Library (East California University) has a manuscript collection of Rowney

The correspondence and orders pertain to Rowney’s different assignments and include 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).

SCRAPBOOKS Commander Rowney Pearl Harbor

The scrapbook features a number of hand-drawn charts that provide visual depictions of events such as the Battle of Midway on June 6, 1942, as well as the composition and location of Task Forces 16 and 61, including the positioning of the ENTERPRISE and other vessels within them. Additionally, the scrapbook includes details of actions that took place during the conflict in Guadalcanal, as well as information regarding the damage incurred by the ENTERPRISE during the battle on August 24, 1942, including both near misses and direct hits.

Photographs within the scrapbook offer a visual representation of the damage incurred by the ENTERPRISE, as well as the Solomon Islands during the conflict between August 7 and 9, 1942. A list of ENTERPRISE casualties on August 25, 1942, is also included in the scrapbook. The book features various ship’s plans-of-the-day, war information bulletins, and news articles related to different aspects of the war, which are interspersed throughout.

Contained within the second scrapbook, spanning from 1943 to 1945, are a range of memorabilia items related to the ENTERPRISE, in addition to materials associated with the USS YORKTOWN and Carrier Air Group 88, which were attached to it. The scrapbook also features information pertaining to construction statistics, as well as details of actions that took place in the Pacific Theatre during the war, and a tracking chart of the YORKTOWN, spanning from July 1 to August 15, 1945.

In addition to the above items, the scrapbook also includes a range of magazine and newspaper clippings that cover 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. Commander Rowney Pearl Harbor

The third scrapbook, dated from 1956 to 1957, centers on Rowney’s tenure as the commanding officer of Carrier Air Group 7, which was attached to the aircraft carriers USS SARATOGA (CV-60) and USS TICONDEROGA. During this period, the group participated in a number of NATO maneuvers, including “Operation Lantflex,” a series of demonstration flights that took place off the coast of Mayport, Florida in June 1957, and “Operation Strikflant,” an exercise that took place over the Norwegian Sea in September 1957.

In addition to photographs of the SARATOGA and TICONDEROGA, the scrapbook contains articles, clippings, and memorabilia related to this time period.