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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Chiefs of Navy Bureaus


                    NAVY DEPARTMENT

CONFIDENTIAL                            Washington,

                                             May 21, 1917.

From:     Chief of Naval Operations.

To:       Chiefs of Bureaus of Navigation,


                               Construction and Repair,

                               Steam Engineering,

                               Supplies and Accounts,

                               Hydrographic Office,

                               Commander, Convoy.1

Subject:  Convoy.

     1. A convoy of troopships is to sail from United States ports, at a date to be designated.

     2. The Navy Will furnish escorting vessels to be designated later. The Navy will also furnish “Armed Guards” to each transport. The Armed Guards are expected to operate in accordance with the attached tentative regulations concerning the “Naval Convoy of Military Expeditions.”2

     3. In order that the Navy may be prepared to meet any reasonable demands of the War Department, the bureaus will make immediate preparations for a convoy of 24 troop transports and assume:

     (a) That all transports are to be armed and furnished with special armed guards.

     (b) That gun emplacements, lookout stations and magazines will have to be provided under the direction of the Navy.

     (c) That naval radio operators will have exclusive charge of the radio equipment.

     (d) That a set of European charts will be issued to each transport and to eight escorting vessels.

     (e) That 20,000 tons of coal will be required at destination.

     (f) That the “Instructions for Convoyed Vessels” will be enforced.

     4. The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations will furnish additional information as it becomes available.

W. S. Benson.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517. In the top left-hand corner of the sheet is typed: “SPK:CMM” and the identifying numbers “No. 28754-21:9/Op-17-3.”

Footnote 1: The chiefs of the bureaus receiving this memorandum were: RAdm. Leigh C. Palmer (Navigation); RAdm. Robert Earle (Ordnance); Chief Constructor David W. Taylor (Construction and Repair); Engineer in Chief Robert S. Griffin (Steam Engineering); Paymaster General Samuel McGowan (Supplies and Accounts). Capt. Thomas Snowden was head of the Hydrographic Office and RAdm. Albert Gleaves commanded the first convoy of thirteen troopships and four supply ships, which sailed from New York on 14 June. Gleaves, History of the Transport Service: 34-35.

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