Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Congressman Benjamin. K. Focht, Republican from Pennsylvania
May 29th, 1918.
My dear Mr. Focht:
The Department has received your letter of May 24th, 1918, regarding alleged preference in the matter of promotion between Naval Reservists and men of the regular Navy.
The Department is cognizant of such comment, but assures you that no preference is given to any man on account of branch of service, as all men are required to show by examination that they are qualified for each promotion. The Department feels, however, that this understanding that Naval Reservists are given preference in the matter of advancement is due to the many instances wherein members of the Naval Reserve Force rise more rapidly in rating than men of the regular establishment.
This is probably due to the fact that many of these Naval Reservists are young men who have given up responsible positions in civil life to respond to the call, whereas men of the regular Navy are mostly those who have been in the service for a number of years, having enlisted while quite young, many of them without a trade, with the idea of making a career for themselves in the Navy. These men of the regular Navy have been trained in schools maintained by the Department in connection with their desire for a career. Any advancement which they earn is a permanent one, while any advancement obtained by a member of the Naval Reserve Force is only temporary, as this Force goes out of active service at the expiration of the War. The Department feels that it can best set forth its point by an illustration.
A young man who has had college education, and after some years of endeavor, has reached a position of responsibility in commercial life, at the outbreak of the war, enlists in the Navy as a yeoman. It is evident that his advancement in rating, and even to warrant and commissioned rank in the Pay Corps will be much more rapid than a young man of some 20 years of age, who, about two years ago, enlisted in the Navy, without any college or business training, but who was prepared for yeoman work in one of the schools maintained by the Navy.
If the young man in question will bring to the Department’s attention, specific instances where a member of the Naval Reserve Force was favored in the matter of promotion on account of being a member of the Naval Reserve Force, and such promotion was given him in preference to an enlisted man of the regular Navy more worthy of the promotion, the Department assures you that it will make thorough investigation with a view to doing justice.
Source Note: TL, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Subject File, Roll 80. Addressed below close: “Hon.B.K.Focht,M.C./House of Representatives,/Washington, D.C.” Document reference: “IN REPLY ADDRESS/THE SCRETARY OF THE NAVY/AND REFER TO NO./N-62-LF-D.”