Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Commander BenyaurdB. Wygant, Commanding Officer, Calhoun, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Quincey Mass.,

April 5th.

My dear Admiral Sims,

                   I am taking the liberty of writing to you [as you] might care to hear from some one of us on duty at the Fore River plant,awaiting new destroyers, The Little (T aussig) went into commission on the 6th and the Kimberley (J ohnson) is now out having a builders trial.1 I believe that from now on a new one will go into commission onan average of evry two weeks from this plant and shoulden’t be surprised if that were bettered after awhile, The things that held up the Little did not seem to be deep seated faults. She has not been standardized as originally intended,but the Kimberleywill be. T aussig showed me a copy of his orders which he sent you (regarding a month’s duty on this side). I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we regard with great disappointment any prospect of a stay on this side when we are so badly needed in European waters,and I know that anything I can do to expedite my arrival under your command will be done.

     W ith the permission of the Navy D epartment the submarine crews,or those who are skilled workmen,have donned civilian cloth[e]s and are helping build their own ships. We have approached Admiral McElroy2 and told him that we should like to have the same thing done in the case of destroyers. It is wrong to have skilled men idle for a minute these days. Admiral McElroy says he will recommend it.

     Among people at large,particularly in this vicinity I think, great dissatisfaction is manifested at the slow work of the Aircraft Production Board,but there is no criticism of the Navy’s activities.

     An article recently appeared in the Washington Post and I think the N.J.Tribune expressing disapproval of certain of our relations with the British Navy. An article in refutation of any such feeling of dissatisfaction on the part of those working in the closest cooperation with the British Navy may be published shortly. Ev<e>ry time I can, in conversation with the people in Boston or otherwise I make it a point to emphasize the friendship and cordiality that exists.

     Americans are at last thoroughly aroused to the immensity of the war and are really sacrificing themselves in the way of food etc. Over 80,000 people of whom 10,000 were wemon marched in the Liberty Loan parade in Boston on Saturday [30 March 1918].

Very respectfully           

Benyanrd B.Wygant.

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 23.

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Joseph K. Taussig, Commanding Officer, Little, and Cmdr. Walter N. Johnson, Commanding Officer, Kimberley.

Footnote 2: RAdm. George W. McElroy, Bureau of Steam Engineering and Ordnance.