Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations to Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet
25 May, 1917.
My dear Mayo:-
It is with the greatest reluctance that I have to tell you that in order to meet a most pressing situation, that is, in making up the convoy of troops across the Atlantic, we will have to call upon the Fleet for about forty-four five inch gun crews, signalmen, quartermasters, and radio operators for service on board twelve vessels taken into service, and temporarily, in addition, there will be a demand for at least thirty six officers, part of whom will have to come from the battleships.
It is fully realized that the battleships already are short but there seems no other way in meeting this emergency and the detachments of officers and men is hoped will be only temporary.
The men detailed to guns crews, at least one half of them may be recruits, or at least only partly trained, provided there are a sufficient number of gun pointers and men filling the most important positions at the guns, in order to help out the situation.
I am giving up five officers under me and every effort will be made to meet the demand by officers elsewhere than the fleet, but please realize that we are doing the very best we can under the circumstances.
With best wishes,
Very sincerely yours,
Source Note: TDS, DLC-MSS, Henry T. Mayo Papers, Box 10. Addressed below close: “Admiral H. T. Mayo, U. S. N.,/Commanding U. S. S. PENNSYLVANIA, Flagship,/C/O Postmaster New York.” Document has, “Confidential” written in the upper left corner. Document is on, “NAVY DEPARTMENT/OFFICE OF NAVAL OPERATIONS/WASHINGTON,” stationery. Document number in upper left corner: “Op-9-B.”