Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Frank D. Berrien, former Commanding Officer, U.S. Destroyer Nicholson

August 16th.1918.

My dear Berrien,

          Your letter of July 27th. just received.1

          As regards the policy in reference to destroyer commanders who are promoted to captains, I have long since informed the Department that it would be to distinctly decrease the efficiency of the force if officers promoted to captain were detached. The Department has replied that such officers would not be detached until I am satisfied that they can be replaced by officers who have had sufficient training. This will probably mean that they will not be displaced during this war.

          In any case I should oppose losing any of these experienced officers for the very reason that you mention, namely, that if they should have to operate with the battle fleet it would be necessary that they be commanded by men who understand the tactics that would be used on such occasions.

          I thank you very much for the estimate you enclosed concerning the probable date of the delivery of destroyers. We have been very much disappointed in this, and I rather fancy a good many boats are being kept on the other side by reason of the submarine scare.2

          Please be so kind as to give my best respects to Mrs. Berrien and believe me,

Always sincerely yours,      

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 49. Addressed below close: “Commander F.D.Berrien, U.S.Navy./Union Iron Works,/San Francisco./California.”

Footnote 2: Capt. William V. Pratt, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, indicated to Sims that the Navy was not particularly alarmed by the German submarines operating in American waters, and that they had no impact on which ships were sent over to Europe. See: Pratt to Sims, 15 August 1918.

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