Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Edward N. Hurley, Chairman, United States Shipping Board
May 18, 1918.
From: Chief of Naval Operations
To: Chairman, U. S. Shipping Board.
SUBJECT: Arming of merchant ships.
Reference: (a) Chief Naval Operations letter March 11, 1918,
Op-28, 28754-1:25/229 to Chairman Shipping Bd.
1. Paragraph 12 of reference (a) recommends that every tenth ship of the 15 to 18 knot type built to carry both troops and cargo be fitted to carry not less than eight 5-inch guns.
2. In view of the immense shipping program, and of the limited number of cruisers available to adequately protect the convoys which will be necessary when the increased merchant tonnage is afloat, it is recommended that the first twelve of the 15 to 18 knot troop-cargo <standard> type ships building by the Emergency Fleet Corporation be fitted to carry not less than eight 5-inch 50-cal. guns, and that thereafter every tenth ship be so fitted.
/s/ W. S. Benson
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identifiers “C-31-232/Op-28” appear in the upper left corner. Addressed below close: “Copy to Bureau of Ordnance/C. & R. [Bureau of Construction and Repair]/Op-Mat/Op-24”.