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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Commandants of Various Naval Districts

<August 28, 1918.>

From:     Chief of Naval Operations.

To:       Commandant, First Naval District.



                     Fifth       1

Subject:  Orders to Commanding Officers of Naval Overseas Transportation Service vessels, proceeding from one District to another to join convoy.

     1.   The following report has been made to the Director, Naval Overseas Transportation Service regarding the action on certain occasions of the temporary relief assigned to command vessels of the N.O.T.S:2

     “It has frequently proved to be the custom in the case of ships leaving one district for another for the purpose of joining convoy, to send the regularly assigned Commanding Officer ahead of his ship to the district where he will join, a  temporary relief being assigned the vessel by the District Supervisor, N.O.T.S., of the district whence the vessel comes.

     Upon the arrival of the vessel at her convoy port, the Commanding Officers have been in the habit of arranging to meet at some place on shore, where the command is again turned over to the regular Commanding Officer. They have, furthermore, in some instances arranged with their temporary relief to anchor the vessel in some particular part of this port without any previous knowledge of port conditions.

     Both actions are strictly irregular and are filled with possibilities of failure to properly administer the vessel’s affairs while in port and should be immediately discontinued.”

     2.   When it is necessary to assign a temporary relief as Commanding Officer of a vessel written orders should be given this temporary relief to cover this temporary duty. In both the orders of the temporary relief and of the permanent Commanding Officers it should be specifically stated that the actual relief of Commanding Officer should take place on board the vessel, and that the temporary relief is the Commanding Officer of the vessel during the time he is in command so far as control of her movements and other responsibilities connected with the command are concerned. Immediately upon arrival at the convoy port, both the Commanding Officer and the temporary relief in command shall establish communication with the District Supervisor N.O.T.S. in order that all the vessel’s affairs may be properly administered while the vessel is in that port.


(s).                By Direction       

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “Op-47/28963.” Date may have been added later.

Footnote 1: Commandants RAdm. Spencer D. Wood, 1st District; RAdm. Nathaniel R. Usher, 2nd District; Capt. George F. Cooper, 4th District; RAdm. Augustus F. Fechteler, 5th District.

Footnote 2: Naval Oversees Transport Service.