Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, to Captain Hutchinson I. Cone, Commander, United States Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service

Subject Copy                                 File No.

Cablegram Sent 22 December 1917    ROC1

To Jackson, Marine, Paris                      Serial No. 806

Prep. by  A-1              NCT2      DR

                                     10 D

806. For Cone. Your 567 – 101 AV.3 Following from Opnav QUOTE 1712. Naval Aviators in addition to those already sent will be approximately, December 30, January 50, February 50, March 50 and thereafter 100 per month. Aviators sent up to end of February will have little gunnery and bombing training. After that date will be completely trained. By holding graduates of January and February can send 100 completely trained end of March and continue 100 per month thereafter.4 Which method is desired. Most aviators will have been taught in tractors5 up to end of January when there will be a sufficient number of flying boats completed to give all advanced pupils boat training. Gunnery and bombing facilities for training Observers will not be ready until February first. Completely trained Observers for abroad expected as follows: end of February 50 and 100 per month thereafter. Reference you 563 – 93 AV not clear. We are shipping material for construction of five double dirigible sheds. Shall we furnish material for one more?6 Benson UNQUOTE. 23022

Sims.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. This message was sent via Sims’ headquarters to Capt. Richard H. Jackson, liaison officer with the French Marine Department in Paris, with the intention that Jackson would pass it on to Cone. While Benson’s signature is attached, it was procedure for Benson’s aides in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to affix his signature to messages that Benson did not compose.

Footnote 1: Presumably, the initials of the person who decoded the message.

Footnote 2: Sims’ chief of staff Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 3: Cone’s message has not been found.

Footnote 4: A report done after the war found that naval aviators sent from the United States over the entire course of the war were insufficiently trained. Turnbull & Lord, Naval Aviation: 146.

Footnote 5: “Tractor” airplanes had the propeller in front. The alternative, “pusher” airplanes, with the propeller in the rear, were found to be too slow and dangerous and were eventually phased out. George van Deurs, Wings for the Fleet (Annapolis, United States Naval Institute, 1966), 153.

Footnote 6: Cone’s reply has not been found.

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