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 Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

2 July, 1918.

From:-  Force Commander

To  :-  Secretary of the Navy, (Operations – Aviation).

Subject:-  REINFORCEMENTS FOR BRITISH ROYAL AIR FORCE.

1.   A request has been received from the British Royal Air Force that we place at their disposal two thousand fully or partially trained aviation mechanics together with the requisite number of ground officers to form a pool from which the U.S. Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, can draw personnel according to their requirements by giving the British one month’s notice of withdrawal.1

2.   After consultation with the Commander, U.S. Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service,2 I have come to the conclusion that it will be to our best interests to continue as we have been proceeding in the past until all of our stations abroad have been fully manned. When this has been accomplished, it is considered highly advisable to consider carefully the question of reinforcing our Allies.

3.   The Force Commander very strongly recommends that we make every effort to place two thousand men in training for aviation mechanics and general ground duty, but that no attempt be made to organize these men into the pool as requested by the British. If, after our own foreign Air Stations have been fully satisfied as regards personnel, we have these two thousand men at our disposal, it is thought that they can be utilized to much better advantage by taking over additional British Seaplane Stations to be manned and operated by us and to be known as U.S. Naval Air Stations. This procedure will eliminate any confusion and possible conflict which might result from billeting two thousand of our men with British personnel, and, furthermore, will make our aviation activities entirely separate and distinct from those of our Allies. Although this will be an enlargement of our present projects, in reality it will amount to practically the same thing as turning two thousand aviation mechanics into a common pool from which the British and ourselves would draw.

4.   In reply to the British request for this pool, they will be informed that the recommendation has been submitted to the Navy Department for consideration. Although it is considered highly advisable to place these two thousand men in training at once, it is not recommended that we contemplate taking over any additional British Seaplane Stations until we have successfully accomplished that which we have undertaken to do along these lines in Europe. As and when we have all of our present projects in full commission, we may then consider expanding along similar lines which will include taking over additional British Seaplane Stations to be manned and operated by these two thousand men.

Wm. S. SIMS

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identification number “25-1-4” and “1/2/3” appear in the upper-right corner.

Footnote 1: This request has not been found. Notably, this was the second time in the same day that Sims recommended rejecting a British request related to aviation personnel. See also: Sims to Opnav, 2 July 1918.

Footnote 2: Capt. Hutchison I. Cone, Commander, Naval Aviation Forces in Europe.

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