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Captain Frank D. Berrien to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Union Iron Works,

San Francisco, Cal.,

27 July, 1918.

Dear Admiral Sims,

     Please allow me to congratulate you upon your decoration. I was glad to read of Carpenter receiving the D.S.O.,1 also. Mrs. Berrien and I were sorry not to have seen Mrs. Sims2 before coming out here. Packing up took too much time.

     Miller3 and I may possibly get our captaincy from the present selection board and we are wondering what the Bureau’s policy will be toward our Keeping our destroyers. I am most anxious to remain in the Flotilla.

     I sent a letter to the Department about three weeks ago recommending that a few of the older destroyer Commanders, at present connected with destroyers, be left in the Flotilla, or rather Force, even though they be selected as Captains.

     My reasons were that the near future may require our destroyers to operate with the battleships, where smokescreen tactics, night attacks by divisions, and cooperating with major ships in an engagement will be required. If all officers promoted to captain or permanent commanders are detached, there will remain practically no destroyer commanders who have had the necessary experience and training, such as was gained during your regime.4 I am submitting a request to Navigation asking that I be permitted to remain in the Destroyer Force. As you know, I served under you and Captain Eberle;5 I have had the short and long courses at the War College, and I have just finished nearly a year in the War Zone “over there.”

     In case opportunity offers, may I ask if you will consider my name, perhaps as a Flotilla Commander. I realize that you are very busy, so please do not trouble to write me.6

     Mrs. Berrien joins me in very best to you. I enclose a list of destroyers building here, giving probable dates of completion A rumor today says that my boat, the “McKean,”7 may be rushed to completion by the end of August. With best wishes to all my friends in your office,

I am     Sincerely

F.D. Berrien                 

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 49.

Footnote 1: Medical Inspector Dudley N. Carpenter received the Distinguished Service Order from the British Government.

Footnote 2: Mary Elizabeth W. Berrien and Anne Hitchcock Sims.

Footnote 3: Probably, Cmdr. Cyrus R. Miller.

Footnote 4: Sims previous commanded the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island and was the Commandant of the Second Naval District where he oversaw submariners, torpedo boats, and destroyers. “William Snowden Sims,” United States Naval History and Heritage Command, Accessed on 15 August 2018,

Footnote 5: Capt. Edward W. Eberle.

Footnote 7: McKean was not commissioned until February 1919. DANFS.

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