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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander, Atlantic Fleet


From:     Chief of Naval Operations.

To:       Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet.

SUBJECT : Composition of Destroyer Force.

Reference: (a) Commander-in-Chief’s first endorsement.

          File 1445 – 8 May, 1917.

     1.   Receipt is acknowledged of reference (a).

     2.   The Department fully appreciates the importance of maintaining a Destroyer Force with the Battleship Force. At the present time, however, it is necessary that as many destroyers as possible shall be employed on distant service.

     3.   Five yachts will be fitted for service with the patrol Force by 8 May. Five more should be available shortly thereafter and six others will be taken over at an early date.

     4.   Of the twenty-five destroyers recently ordered to home yards to fit out for distant service, eighteen will be sent and the Department desires that all twenty-five be held in readiness for distant service until 1 June, in order that prompt substitutions may be made in case any of the eighteen now scheduled to go cannot be gotten ready in time.

     5.   The Commander-in-Chief is authorized to withdraw the first division of destroyers from the Patrol Force immediately and assign them to the Destroyer Force and the Commander-in-Chief is authorized to assign to the Destroyer Force all other destroyers not assigned to distant service by 1 June.1

     6.   It is requested that the Commander-inChief issue the necessary instructions.

W.S. Benson   

Source Note: DS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517. There is an identifier in the top left-hand corner: “Op-11/(27761-5?).” The latter number is crossed through and difficult to read. Below the signature is “Copies:/To Commander, Patrol Force [Capt. Henry B. Wilson]/Bureau of Navigation.”

Footnote 1: There were twenty-three U.S. destroyers at Queenstown, Ireland, by 1 June. See: Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Henry T. Mayo and Various Division Commanders, 1 May 1917.

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