. Make sure your presentation is between 15 or 20
minutes in length. The longer the presentation,
the more you risk losing your audience.
Further information on staging a presentation can
be found in Chapter 6 of the JO 1 & C TRAMAN.
Command histories provide the only overall
account of the activities and achievements of U.S. Navy
commands. Housed at the Naval Historical Center in
Washington, D.C., command histories serve as the
eventual basis for published naval histories.
All command histories are indexed and accessible
to authorized users (within security limitations). They
are used by staff officers who need information on the
recent past, as well as by official study groups,
authorities responsible for verifying unit combat and
overseas awards and service, and often the command
itself when a need arises for background information.
Furthermore, numerous queries from other government
officials, Congress, former naval members and the
public at large are answered using command histories.
Normally the PAO is tasked by the CO or XO to
write a complete annual history of the command.
However, this assignment may someday be your
responsibility, especially if you work for a collateral-
The typical command history is not intended to be
a work of literary art, but you must write it in clear and
concise English with a minimal amount of technical
jargon and acronyms. It should contain a basic historical
narrative written in chronological order or broken down
by department or subject. It also should include
significant statistical data that should be part of the
Navys permanent records, such as ammunition
expenditure, number of underway replenishments, ships
and aircraft overhauled and repaired, and other facts
important to fulfill the mission.
Follow the narrative with a brief discussion of any
special topics that merit further coverage, such as major
events, developments and operations; changes in
missions and functions since the submission of the last
command history; and changes (if any) in home port,
group, squadron or headquarters. Include any
appropriate supporting documents, such as change of
command booklets, personal-for messages and
Some references you can use to compile the
command history include deck and engineering logs and
the ships diary. You also may ask each department head
to submit a monthly input (if not already ordered by the
CO or XO). Another method is for you to maintain an
annual file and put notices, memos and ideas in it. Use
whatever method works for you, but make sure you
gather the material you need well in advance to meet the
submission deadline. With few exceptions, the Naval
Historical Center must receive all command histories by
March 1 of the following year.
For more detailed information, refer to Command
Histories, OPNAVINST 5750.12 series.
COMMAND AND FLAG
Biographies of command and flag officers (and
C/MCs) are an important part of your public affairs
office files. You will use them in media kits, welcome
aboard booklets, external releases and other media-
The standard biography has l-inch margins with
either blocked or indented paragraphs. There are two
spaces between paragraphs.
The first paragraph of a biography mentions where
the subject is from and lists educational achievements
beyond high school (do not include the birth date). Also
mention when officers received commissions and from
what source. For an enlisted person, mention when he
joined the service and where he attended basic training.
Subsequent paragraphs usually outline (in chrono-
logical order) the persons career, listing significant
jobs, accomplishments and educational achievements.
Devote separate paragraphs to the persons current
assignment and his medals and awards.
The last paragraph should indicate the subjects
marital status, spouses name (including maiden name,
if applicable) and place of birth. Names of children are
included, and if there is enough space where they
are attending college and serving in the military.
Some additional points to remember when you
write biographies are as follows:
Keep the civilian reader in mind. For example,
Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation
Force, Atlantic (COMOPTEVFORLANT) may
be the correct way to phrase a military title, but
it is much easier to understand if you write it like
this: Rear Adm. Clauster is the commander of
the Operational Test and Evaluation Force,
Pay special attention to capitalization. If you are
not saying Commanding Officer Lemming,
then commanding officer is not capitalized. The
same rule applies to any other billet titles listed
throughout the biography, such as executive
officer, training officer and company