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Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, Commander, Destroyer Force, to Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet


Gulf of Guacanayabo, Cuba,   

21 February, 1917.

From:     Commander, Destroyer Force.

To  :     Commander in Chief.

SUBJECT: Preparation for War.

Reference:(a) Alnav availability report C.D.F. R-9-5 of 4 Feb.1917.

          (b) Opnav radiogram 1102 0 of 20 February 1917.

     1.   The Commander, Destroyer Force estimates that the present situation demands that all destroyers be put in thorough readiness immediately for service on the high seas.

     2.   When war is declared there will doubtless be an immediate demand for destroyers and cruisers, which will probably be met by releasing destroyers from duty with the Fleet, and by immediately placing in full commission all destroyers and cruisers.

     3.   My availability report, reference (a) shows that all destroyers are not materially ready for distant service.1

     4.   It is recommended that all destroyers not materially ready be immediately sent to Navy Yards for repairs, and that their duties of preserving neutrality, etc., be taken over by destroyers now ready for distant service, keeping with the fleet only such destroyers as are absolutely necessary for its safety.

     5.   It is recommended that the following destroyers, now with the Fleet, be sent to Navy Yards immediately:

CASSIN and CUMMINGS – Complete repairs to manoeuvring valves.


WAINWRIGHT        )– Repairs to condensers.

FANNING           - Installation of blower.

ALWYNDRAYTON     -  Repair damages by collision.

DUNCAN, CUSHING & TUCKER (Fore River Boats) Thrust bearings.

ERICSSON           - Circulating Pump

McDOUGALWILKES - Evaporators.

     6.   It is recommended that all destroyers of Flotillas One and Two be sent to Navy Yards to fit out for full commission, and be put in thorough readiness for distant service.

     7.   It is recommended that all complements of all destroyers be filled.

     8.   It is further recommended that no officer who has not had experience on a destroyer, and who is below the Rank of Lieutenant be ordered to command any destroyer, and that such orders as may be necessary to put this recommendation into effect be immediately promulgated.

/s/ Albert Gleaves.     

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, Albert Gleaves Papers, Box 8. There is a handwritten note below the signature: “It was the action of the Dept- on these recommendations that Enabled Taussig to report on his arrival in English waters ‘We are ready now.’ The recommendation for repairs were opposed in toto as I recall it, except for the Nicholson Wainwright & on the passage across She broke down—in submarine waters- but fortunately was not attacked- A. G. Naval Home, 22 Feby. 1930”.2 Below that note is another note, seemingly in the same hand but written with a different pencil and at an undetermined date: “It was most gratifying that Admiral Mayo included my preparation of the Destroyers for war in my citation for Distinguished Service Medal”. Gleaves received the Distinguished Service Medal after World War I from both the War Department and the President of the United States. Albert R. Gleaves, The Admiral: The Memoirs of Albert Gleaves, USN, (reprint, Pasadena, Calif., Hope Publishing Co., 1985), 137 and frontispiece.

Footnote 1: Report was not attached and has not been found.

Footnote 2: In Gleaves' 1935 memoir he adds other information about this report. He writes that it was prepared by his chief of staff, Capt. DeWitt Blamer and that it was “so strong” that it was forwarded by Mayo “by dispatch to Washington and was there approved.” Ibid., 135-37. Lt. Cmdr. Joseph K. Taussig was commander of the first destroyer division that was sent to European waters in May 1917 to assist the British. On the division’s arrival and his statement, “We are ready now,” see: Taussig’s diary entries of 3 May 1917 and 4 June 1917, and William S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 11 May 1917.