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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, Circular to Naval District Commandants


C O P Y                   CIRCULAR LETTER

Navy Department

Office of Naval Operations

March 13, 1918

From:     Chief of Naval Operations

To:       Commandants, 1st Naval District (Armed Guard)

                      3rd Naval District    "   "

                      4th Naval District    "     "

                      5th Naval District1 "     "

          Commandants, Navy Yard, Charleston


                                 Mare Island

                                 Puget Sound2

SUBJECT:  Vessels building for Emergency Fleet Corporation –

              Preparation of, for Armed Guards.

Reference: (a) Opnav. Cir. Let.#28754-1:25/112,Sept.12,1917.3


     1.  The enclosed copy of letter from the Emergency Fleet Corporation transmitting copy ofcircular letter to their District Officers regarding the preparation of vessels for Armed Guards while building is forwarded for your information.

     2.  Please be guided by the instructions issued to the Emergency Fleet Corporation District Officers and afford every assistance to these officers in inspecting the vessels and advising the Shipping Board’s representatives in respect to the proper preparation of these vessels while building. It is understood these inspections will be made by the Commandants’ representatives as indicated in reference (a).

     3.  Within a reasonable time before the completion of the vessel and after formal application has been made for Armed Guards, it is understood the Commandants’ Board of Inspection for Armed Guard vessels will make inspection of the vessel in accordance with the present practice.

          A copy of the Board’s report covering any deficiencies will be furnished the Shipping Board’s representative, who as noted will furnish a copy to the Master of the vessel to be retained as one of the ship’s papers.

     4.  Features of Armed Guard installation which have been passed as satisfactory by the Commandant’s Board in one District will not be subject to change in another District, unless it is manifestly apparent that deficiencies have been overlooked, or unless actual experience with a certain installation has demonstrated its unsuitability, or unless a change is necessitated by new conditions not existing at the time the vessel was first inspected.

By Direction:     


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identifier “Op-34-Mu/28754-1:25/112” appears on the left side of the first page roughly parallel with the heading. Addressed below close: “Copies to:/Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation/Attention of Mr. [Daniel H.] Cox [Manager, Construction Division]/ " " Capt. Munn/Bureaus of Ordnance/Construction & Repair/Steam Engineering/Material (Lt.Comdr.[John] Grady)”.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Spencer S. Wood (Boston), RAdm Nathaniel R. Usher (New York), RAdm. James M. Helm (Philadelphia), and RAdmWalter McLean (Norfolk).

Footnote 2: Capt. Benjamin C. Bryan (Charleston), Capt. Frank M. Bennett  (Pensacola), Capt. Harry George (Mare Island), and Capt. Robert E. Coontz (Puget Sound).

Footnote 3: This document has not been found.

Footnote 4: The enclosure is another circular letter, dated 5 March 1918, from Daniel H. Cox, Manager Division, Steel Ship Construction, Emergency Fleet Corporation, to the corporation’s district officers. In it, Cox instructs his officers to work closely with Navy representatives in fitting out ships for armed guards, and explaining that a Board of Inspection will tour each ship before its completion to point out any deficiencies.

Footnote 5: Capt. William Pitt Scott, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Scott also served as the representative to the Ship Protective General Committee.

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