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Artifact Friday: The Bluejacket's Manual

The United States Navy has been defending our seas since 1775.

Since then, the US Navy policies, rules, and regulations have changed considerably.

Prior to the 20th century, the Navy taught its recruits by word of mouth or short manuscripts or textbooks.

However, to meet the ever-increasing needs of the Navy’s influx of recruits, the Navy department made a monumental decision to put all this knowledge into one book or the Blue Jacket’s Manual.

Tradition states that the name "Bluejacket" came from the Navy’s pea coat, a piece of winter uniform they were issued (that is still issued today). It is also noted as being the sailor's Bible because it contains everything the recruit needs to serve the Navy well.

The first edition of this manual came out in 1902, and it was 304 pages long. The most recent edition was published in 2023 (over 120 years later) and has 712 pages.

Every recruit that goes through boot camp is issued a Blue Jacket’s Manual.

This one was the Navy’s 2009 edition written by Thomas J. Cutler.

It was issued to Petty Officer Third Class (PO3) Brandi Hall of Mena, Arkansas during her boot camp. She joined the US Navy at twenty-six and served from 2010-2014. Her career focused on maintaining, towing, troubleshooting, and performing final checks on the F-18 Legacy Hornets. She was stationed at VMFAT-101 Marine Corps Training Squadron.

Her full story as well as this manual are featured in a new exhibit at the museum! We hope you make time to come and see it!

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