An association of Aerographers & Mates,
Meteorologists & Oceanographers

NWSA Historian
xAG2 Tom Hanagan, USN REL


See Organization

Source: Aerograph August 2023

Naval Weather Service History

In an ongoing effort to preserve the history of the Naval Weather Service, members who are in possession of or come across historically related items are highly encouraged to contact NWSA Historian Tom Hanagan.  Items like met office equipment, Christmas cards and pictures, and especially history of AG folks and weather related events and programs all tell a wonderfully unique story that can be used in a variety of shipboard and shore museums. Specifically, if anyone has information about the "Hurricane Trailer" program from the early 1950's, that would be a big help. Tom’s contact information can be found in the Association Committees list.

Source: Aerograph May 2020

Greetings to all from Woodland, California. One of the silver linings in the very dark cloud of the Coronavirus tragedy, is that I have had more time at home to sort through the Historian files. Paper clipped together are a few items pertaining to the responsibilities of the position; notably from Don Cruse and, I believe, Sam Houston. The notes and script are giving me a better understanding of my task and helping sort things out more understandably.


Among the focal points are updating material on past reunions. Sorting through, and cleaning up the files, many reunions have no records at all or very little to commemorate the event. They include: 1974, 1976-79, 2001-10, 2013-14, 2016-19. Many scrapbooks are logged, but the years 1975, 76, 77, 79, 83, 86,88, 89, 91-95, 98, 99, and 2000, 01, 03, 07-09, and 12-19 have nothing. If any of you have anything you would like to contribute, please do. Let me know what you have, please, and we can figure out how to get it to me.


We have some very interesting historical information, including the Sino-American Cooperative Association from WW2, Operation Deep Freeze, and the Invasion of Kiska in 1942. As I dig through the files, more is sure to be uncovered.


Regarding the formation of the NWSA, a lot of material is at hand, it needs to be better collated and presented for future reference. It appears diskettes are the primary form of storage and I’ll be transferring the files to a more current storage format.


As I sift through the old files, I’ll be happy to receive any archives or information any of you may have. 

Thanks to all,

Tom Hanagan


November, 2019

In July, I made the trip to Texas to pick up the archives for the Association, and met with Harry for a few minutes before returning from the 1500 mile trip. Took a detour though, and traveled to San Diego to visit the folks on the USS Midway CVA41 at their invitation. Impressive organization with a huge volunteer base to support the operation. Also visited the meteorologists at San Diego Gas and Electric and toured the operation. Absolutely astonishing how modern computerization has transformed weather modelling, forecasting, and, of course, observations.

The archives are now safely stored away at my shop, and almost everything has been sorted out. Quite an assortment of items, including:

Reunion files for each year

Bellinger Lists

Aerograph and NWS Newletters

NWSA history

Numerous publications, manuals, FWC scrapbooks, Christmas card collections, etc.

Books – especially “Sea Stories” by Larry Warrenfeltz, and “The Time of My Life” by G.D. Parham

Two boxes remain to be sorted out, and they include a number of files on early members of the NWSA as well as files on the USS Hornet CVA12, and other items.

The archives are stored in cabinets with adequate protection from the elements as well as insects, especially silverfish. As I organize the material into more discrete categories, appropriate archives will be placed in a file cabinet, and larger items will be placed in a bookcase.

As you may know, I am restoring the OA spaces on the Hornet, and last weekend catalogued the publications collected over the years. It is an amazingly broad collection of more than 60 items spanning 1938 to the 1960’s. Many are from World War2, including Navy Aerography manuals. Many were donated by people such as LT Glen Drummond USN(ret), Capt. Lee Halverson USMC(ret), and Mr. W.G Burris. Preserving these books is a difficult task, as even though they are secure in the OA spaces, humidity and temperature variations are a reality.

I am now studying the NWSA Constitution and Bylaws, historian notes and articles, and a handwritten charter for the historian penned by Sam Houston more than 20 years ago. The idea is to gain a better idea of what is expected of me as a historian, and what to focus on in the future. As I mentioned in August, any questions or suggestions are welcomed… please let me know.

Tom Hanagan


Aerograph August 2019

 I’m a Historian???

Greetings to all, and especially the members I met at the reunion almost a month ago. I just joined the association within the last year, and have a lot to learn, but it should be a lot easier with the friendly help of my new friends. I was asked if I would be the new Historian, and I accepted without hesitation. Harry is a great guy, and after talking to him on the phone a while ago, I can tell he will be of help as we make the transition. First of all, I need to pick up the many boxes of historical information, and I plan to head out to west Texas in June to make that happen. The month of May is super busy for my wife and I, as we like to travel, and after a quick trip to Purdue for a graduation, we’re heading to Amsterdam for a river cruise to Budapest, and that kills the month.

Where to go from here? Well, I have to sort through the material Harry has, and get a feel for what we have and what we don’t have. Fortunately, I have a lot of space, and spreading it all out will be the first familiarization task. Organizing and assembling next, then I’ll reach out to the Board and see what they would like to have done and with what priorities. Finally, I’ll reach out via The Aerograph to see if the membership has any requests or needs. At this point, I see the Historian billet as a resource for the association, and will do my best to be of assistance to all.

Unlike everybody I’ve met so far, I only had one enlistment, and that was March 1968 to June 1971. Immediately after boot camp at Great Lakes, I went to Lakehurst for A school, and reported for duty aboard the USS Coral Sea CVA43 in December 1968. Made Third Class quickly, went to Upper Air C school after my first WestPac, and made Second Class before my second WestPac. Loved being an AG, and when I was rotated off the ship in January 1971 and sent to the Navy Weather Research Facility in Norfolk, I became a computer operator on an old Univac 1107 mainframe. Well, I felt like a fish out of water, and really missed being a weatherman. The facility was decommissioning, and as the war was winding down if one had less than a year obligated service, you could stay in or get out. Best guess was that I’d stay a computer operator ending up in Monterey, so I opted to get out.

My life took a very different path. I finished my education and worked in food manufacturing for a number of years, then my wife and I started a service business in 1986. Sold that business in 2000, then purchased a manufacturing business in 2001, selling and retiring in 2016. Went for a tour of the USS Hornet CVS12 in December of 2016, had another tour in January of 2017, and got the bug to restore the weather spaces up on the O7 level. That’s my fun project now, and making slow progress. A lot of the clean up work is done, and it will take another year or so to complete the project. The really new project, though, is becoming your Historian. I’ll try to send in updates to the Aerograph now and again, and if anyone has questions, comments, or suggestions, please send them to me. I look forward to hearing from you! 


xAG2 Tom Hanagan, USN REL

NWSA Historian

In May 2010 NWSA members welcomed and congratulated AGCM Harry Hale, USN RET as he relieved CDR Don Cruse, USN RET as the NWSA Historian!


Don had been our Historian since "Day 1" and no one has worked any harder to preserve the Navy's Meteorology & Oceanography history AND the history of the NWSA.

After almost a decade the torch passes again, after 2019's Reunion #45  -- this time from Harry to Tom Hanagan. 

Don's dedication to the task he loved will be remembered every time we read the many historical articles on this website and elsewhere. Harry preserved Don's legacy and created 
one of his own.

Thank you Harry!  Fair Winds & Following Seas in your next endeavor!