Weird Weapons: Strange Artifacts in the US Navy’s Archives

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Weird Weapons: Strange Artifacts in the US Navy’s Archives

Naval Archives

Credit: U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford/RELEASED
Karen France, head curator for the Collections Management Division of the Naval History and Heritage Command, showed Rear Adm. Kate Gregory, commander of the Naval Facilities Command and Chief of Civil Engineers, weapons in the historic small arms vault during a tour in 2013. The division is combing through its archives to make sure all items are correctly catalogued.

Gold-Plated AK-47

Credit: U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford/RELEASED
Julie Kowalsky, the small arms curator with the Collection Management Division of the Naval History and Heritage Command at the Washington (D.C.) Navy Yard, displays a gold-plated AK-47 taken in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The weapon was most likely used in formal ceremonies. On the shelf is a briefcase submachine gun that was donated to the CMD by an NCIS Field Office.

Gold-Plated AK-47

Credit: Collection of Curator Branch: Naval History and Heritage Command, distributed under aCreative Commons license
A close view of a gold-plated AK-47 captured in Iraq.

Gift Pistols

Credit: U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford/RELEASED
Julie Kowalsky, the small arms curator with the Collection Management Division of the Naval History and Heritage Command at the Washington (DC) Navy Yard, reads off the display card about the gift of two .45 caliber Alamo model Colt revolvers and knife set given to the cruiser USS Texas for her Sept. 10, 1977 commissioning by Ross Perot, a former naval officer and future presidential candidate.

Experimental Weapons

Credit: U.S. Navy Photo/RELEASED
Julie Kowalsky, the small arms curator with the Collection Management Division of the Naval History and Heritage Command at the Washington (D.C.) Naval Yard, shows experimental weapons designed by naval ordnance innovator Capt. John A. Dahlgren.

Mini-Machine Gun

Credit: U.S. Navy Photo/RELEASED
Julie Kowalsky holds up an experimental minigun. This mini-machine gun never went into production.

Gold-Plated Gun

Credit: U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford/RELEASED
Small arms curator Julie Kowalsky shows the gold-plated and engraved pistol given to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Thomas B. Hayward during a visit to Brazil in 1982.

Japanese Grenade

Credit: Collection of Curator Branch: Naval History and Heritage Command, distributed under aCreative Commons license
A ceramic grenade taken from Japan during World War II. Near the end of the war, when metal was scarce, the Japense military turned to ceramics.

Civil War Amputation Kit

Credit: Collection of Curator Branch: Naval History and Heritage Command, distributed under aCreative Commons license
An amputation kit from the Civil War held in the Navy’s archives.

Souvenir Lamp

Credit: Collection of Curator Branch: Naval History and Heritage Command, distributed under aCreative Commons license
A souvenir lamp in the Naval collection. The painting is of the USS Enhance MSO 437, a minesweeper.

Sept. 11 Laptop

Credit: Collection of Curator Branch: Naval History and Heritage Command, distributed under aCreative Commons license
A partially melted laptop taken from the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks. This laptop is held in the Naval archives.

Vietcong Sandal

Credit: Collection of Curator Branch: Naval History and Heritage Command, distributed under aCreative Commons license
The Navy archives contain this Vietcong-worn sandal made of an old car tire.
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