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Military History/Pearl Harbor photographs


Hello John. I hope you can help me. I recently acquired my grandfathers WWII items. These include his dog tags, medals, service stars, awards, enlistment and discharge papers, commemerative medal, the list goes on and on. The most interesting thing is this photo album. My grandfather enlisted in 1938 to the US Navy. He served on the USS Phoenix until the end of the war. He was at Pearl Harbor during the attack and engaged in combat during several campaigns in the south pacific, new guinea, Australia. The photo album contains dozens of photographs of the Pearl Harbor attack. Photos include; Japanese planes flying overhead, Japanese planes dive bombing the ships, cannons firing and shooting down planes, massive explosions and destruction of the ships, downed aircraft in the ocean, japanese submarines surfacing and being captured, and various photos of the US ships before, during and after the attack. My question is this; The photographs are all stamped on the back with either this notation, "Not for publication. Not suitable for transmission through post.", or with this one, "Not for publication. Suitable for transmission through post." What exactly does this mean and do these have any value to them? Obviously to me they have enormous sentimental value. I truly hope you have an answer for me. I have researched it myself for days on the internet and can find nothing. Thank you for your time.

Without seeing them, I can't be absolutely sure, but I'd bet a lot of money that they are just copies of official US Navy photographs.  I'm not sure why some would be marked, essentially, "do not mail - courier only", but I suspect at they showed, what at the time was, sensitive parts of the ship etc.  The sentimental value of the photographs would far outweigh any intrinsic value.

If you go to the official US Navy web site,, you can find a wealth of information about US Navy operations.  At you can find a history of the USS Phoenix.

Good luck in your search.  There is a wealth of information out there for those who take the time to find it.

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Retired US Navy, stationed 10 years in Hawaii. Study of the early years of the Pacific War 1941-42, including the attack on Pearl Harbor. Easy access to actual sites in and around Pearl Harbor. More limited knowledge of general WWII history in the Pacific.


I'm well-read in general WWII history, and spent a lot of off time exploring various military sites on O'ahu.

I hold a B.A degree from Chaminade University of Honolulu in Historical and Political Studies, Summa cum Laude, earned in 2002.

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