Find your ancestors in Duty locations, Naval Group China, World War II, 1942-1945

What can these records tell me?

These muster roll reports were created by the Department of the Navy, U.S. Naval Group China (NGC) to record locations and changes made to ranks and rates of pay for naval personnel. The reports were then used to create summary reports. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) hold these records. The records, titled Naval Group China Muster Roll and Report of Change Punch Cards, 1942-1945 on NARA, is part of the Records of Duty Locations for Naval Intelligence Personnel, 1942-1945 series.

  • First name(s) – most only have first initials recorded for first and middle names (e.g. A G)
  • Last name
  • Supplied full name
  • Muster roll report year
  • Muster roll date
  • Year reported or arrived
  • Date reported or arrived
  • Rank
  • Service
  • Location
  • Country – countries included are Algeria, Burma, China, India, and the United States

In 1942, China and the United States created a joint intelligence-gathering organization called the Sino-American Cooperative Organization (SACO), which allowed the two countries to collect and share intelligence on Japan. SACO was based in China and worked alongside the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was the first intelligence agency in the United States.

Naval Group China (NGC) was the US Navy’s intelligence unit in China during World War II. United States Navy Captain Milton E Miles was the commander of NGC. The records contained in this collection relate to those persons attached to the NGC and provide names, ranks or rates of pay, branches of service, muster roll dates of reporting or detachment, and duty locations approximately every two weeks. As such, naval officers and sailors may appear multiple times in the records, tracking changes in an individual’s location, unit, rank or rate of pay over the course of the war.

In 1943, SACO created units to train Chinese guerilla forces in demolition, sabotage, radio handling, and other techniques. Fighting alongside the Chinese guerilla forces were some 2,500 American Marines and sailors. SACO operated in the China-Burma-India theater and oversaw many tasks such as training, scouting landing areas, and rescuing downed American flyers. SACO/NGC-supported guerrilla forces would go on to destroy in excess of 200 bridges, 141 ships/river crafts, and 84 locomotives, as well as take the lives of some 71,000 Japanese military personnel.

After the end of the war, in 1946, SACO dissolved following the departure of the NGC.