Individual record keeping presented a particular challenge for the Navy in WWII. Operating on board ships where space was at a premium and tracking navy personnel in constant motion all over the globe required an inventive solution. By WWII, the result was a flexible system of small carbon paper slips clipped into a card-stock book that traveled with the WWII Navy veteran. Copies were shipped back to Naval base commands for safekeeping and stored with other important papers in wallet style folders. The WWII Navy veteran’s assignments were logged on the cover of the service folder for easy reference. Upon discharge, the WWII Navy service book was placed into the base storage folder and filed away permanently. The WWII Navy Official Military Personnel File (O.M.P.F.) storage folders are known as ‘bricks’ for their physical resemblance to that building material. All larger papers were folded to the size of the slips, and some WWII Navy O.M.P.F. bricks can be almost six inches thick. This is partly due to the presence of multiple copies of many WWII era documents, and partly due to the WWII Navy’s staggering dedication to folding paper. It can also make scanning WWII Navy O.M.P.F.’s difficult, as the delicate papers rarely flatten easily. This can lead to some distortion, especially inside the bound service books.
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