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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Captain Samuel S. Robison, Commander, Submarine Force

13 February-1918. 

From:  Chief of Naval Operations.

To:    Commander SUBMARINE FORCE.

SUBJECT:  Escort for Submarine Chasers.

Reference (a) Chief of Naval Operations letter No.28754-20:107 Op-11, of 25 January,1918.1

     1.   Referring to reference (a), as the sailing of the British submarines has been postponed and the sailing of Canadian drifters from Halifax cancelled, the yachts and tugs at New London will be used for escorting submarine chasers.

     2.   In this connection, it is desired that instructions be issued to the Senior Officer of the vessels assembled to proceed with the WADENA, YACONA,2 two tugs, and twelve submarine chasers assigned for distant service to Bermuda as soon as the Commander of the Naval District Base at New London3 notifies you that these chasers are ready to sail. It is the intention of the Department that these submarine chasers will proceed under their own power and not to be towed except in case of an emergency. It is essential that the Senior Officer Present of the escorting division has instructions to keep all vessels together, as previous experience has shown the serious consequences that may arise when one or more of these vessels is permitted to become separated from the convoy.

     3.   Upon arrival at Bermuda, the WADENA and one tug will be ordered to proceed to Charleston, S.C., to serve as escort for the submarine chasers sailing from that port.

     4.   The two tugs remaining in New London will be utilized as follows:

     One tug will be assigned to Commander Naval District Base for the purpose of transporting from New London to Charleston, S.C., the listening devices and other equipment for the 13 submarine chasers fitting out at that place.

     One tug will be kept in readiness to be sent to the Navy Yard, Washington, when directed by the Department for the purpose of transporting guns from that place to Charleston, SC. for the submarine chasers assigned to distant service.

     5.   A copy of this letter has been sent to the Commander of the Naval District Base, New London, for his information and guidance.

<Wm. S. Benson>

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “Op-55-6.”

Footnote 1: The document referred to has not been found.

Footnote 2: Private yachts acquired by the Navy.

Footnote 3: Cmdr. Yates Stirling, Jr.

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