U.S. Navy, Naval Training Shipyards, Great Lakes, IL; Bainbridge, MD; Norfolk, VA; Photo Album
A personal scrapbook of an Italian-American fellow recruited to serve in the Navy in late 1953. The album documents, through pasted-in documents, photographs and ephemera, the early part of the maritime service of Rocco “Rocky” Ernest Pignoli (1934-2022).
14 leaves/28 pages; inside rear cover also utilized. Light chipping and a few minor closed tears; overall terrific condition, lace binding intact, covers in fine if worn condition with one small area of separation at the binding (lower front cover). Covers 12 1/2” w X 14 1/2 h.
The first page has a charming painting of a little boy, in sailor’s outfit, holding up a ship in a bottle. On each side, a long list of islands and ports-of-call around the Caribbean and the Pacific, including dates when the Equator and the International Date Line were crossed; this list was likely filled in towards the end of this sailor’s service. Most of the album details the earlier part of Pignoli’s military career, including call-up letters from late 1953 and orders to report for physical examinations.
One large regimental photograph is mounted onto page 3 - from Recruit Training Command, Bainbridge, MD - Company 368, which was graduated in February 1954. Thence Pignoli was transferred for further training to the Service School Command of the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, IL, from which he graduated in July 1954 (as part of Machinists Mates School Class “A” Class 2238C). He was then immediately assigned to the deck of the U.S.S. Mindoro, C.V.E. - 120, stationed in Norfolk, VA. The ship was named after an island in the Philippines, site of an important battle during the American campaign to liberate the Pacific islands from Japanese occupation, towards the end of WWII.
One interesting letter from the Catholic Chaplain at his naval base, addressed to Pignoli’s father, is pasted in - reassuring him that everything will be taken care of in terms of keeping young Rocco connected to his faith, including Mass times, opportunities for confession, and recreational activities.
A couple of holiday menus are pasted in, since these are the first he is spending away from home, as are photographs of visiting day at Bainbridge, just a short drive from the Pignoli home in Bridgeport, PA, where young Rocco grew up - his family are all in attendance. A little booklet, acquired from the PX on base, offering various photos from around the training center as well as a history of the facility, is pasted in, next to four matchbooks from different sites visited during the early part of his tour of duty.
Photographs are tabbed in four or six to a page, with simple captions (“real old salts”, “boot camp”) or none at all. 2 pages contain tabbed-in postcards of different cities Pignoli visited or trained in - Chicago, Milwaukee, Norfolk.
A very cool decal of the Great Lakes Naval Base
Graduation programs for both Bainbridge and Great Lakes training courses
Certification of satisfactory completion of the MM (Machinist’s Mate) course at Great Lakes (‘Standing 50 in a class of 74’)
Several letters relating to on-base religious services
Several letters sent to the sailor’s parents
A code of conduct issued to all sailors regarding off-base behavior.