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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations


COPY                                    File No. 4-1-50.



Prep: By A-1                  C of S


8498. Due primarily to shortage of officers of sufficient rank and experience to handle ground work and secondarily to shortage of enlisted personnel, I will not undertake any further obligations in connection with U.S. Naval aeronautic activity until more officers and men become available. British have requested us to undertake establishment of additional seaplane and dirigible stations which however I have declined on the ground of not being in a position to undertake further aeronautical contracts until we have fulfilled those to which we are now committed. The situation as regards officers could be relieved somewhat if certain Reserve Officers now attached to Naval Aviation Force were promoted in accordance with my repeated recommendations in this respect. With very few exceptions the majority of Reserve Officers attached to Aviation are of rank of Ensign. Many of these are qualified to hold commissions as Lieutenant Commanders and are of suitable age fortly years and upwards and are qualified to command our Air Stations successfully. As Ensigns it is not considered advisable to give them field commands where they must transact business with Allied Officers of considerably higher rank. I will keep in close touch with our own needs of the future for additional aviation establishments as well as those of our Allies in order to judge urgency of any proposed expansions which under present circumstances could only be undertaken by abandonment or temporary suspension of our present undertakings in favor of such proposed new projects.1 8498.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: For more on the frustrations with insufficient aviation officers, see: Hutchison I. Cone to Sims, 22 February 1918.

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