Investigatory Records on Gerald R. Ford, Applicant for a Navy Commission, 1941-1942 (1975)

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Gerald R. Ford
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Gerald R. Ford, 1945 (Photograph H16-2)

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Gerald Ford applied for a commission in the active Naval Reserve at age 28, less than a week after the Japanese bombing of the American fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1941.  His first choice was to serve in the intelligence branch, so the Navy began a background check to see if he qualified. This process took several months, during which Navy investigators checked government records and interviewed his high school principal, former employers, friends, and others.

The documents resulting from this investigation remained in the records of the Office of Naval Intelligence in the Department of the Navy until their transfer to the National Archives in 1987 as part of Record Group 289. The Ford Library has digitized the entire file (22 pages).