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Captain William V. Pratt, Acting Chief of Naval Operations, to Commandants of Navy Yards


Circular Letter.

Navy Department

Office of Naval Operations.


From:     Chief of Naval Operations

To  :     Commandants, Navy Yards, Boston, Norfolk, New York, New Orleans, Phila., Mare Island, Puget Sound.1

Subject: Armed Guards for Vessels for Army Service.

     1:   In furnishing Armed Guards to vessels assigned for use of the War Department as Cargo or Animal Transports the following procedure will be followed.

     Upon receipt of formal application from the War Department for Armed Guards for any vessel,Operations will issue orders to the Commandant of the Navy Yard for inspection of the vessels. The Commant wil notify the local representatives of the Army Transport Service and of the U.S.Shipping Board of the time and place of inspection in order that a joint inspection may be made.

     The Naval representatives will determine upon the location of battery and make recommendation as to character of same. This recommendation should be on a basis of one gun not less than 4 inch 50 cal. to be mounted on the center line aft. and one 3 inch 50 cal. gun forward.

     Location of Armed Guard quarters, magazines, etc., should be determined upon after consultation with the Army representative having due report to the particular use for which the vessel is to be fitted out.

     Upon completion of the inspection, the Commandant will report by wire, [gun] battery recommended, purpose for which vessel is to be fitted out and estimated time and place, when and where vessels will be ready to receive battery and navy personnel.

     At the earliest moment practicable, the Commandant will furnish the Commanding General, Port of Embarkation, or his designation representative, sketch plans and instructions for guidance in preparing vessels to receive battery and Armed Guard.

     The preparation of gun emplacements, necessary structural charges and quarters for the Navy personnel will be made at the expense of the owners (War Department, Shipping Board, or individual owners as may be indicated by the Commandant in design and executing before guns are mounted.

     Bureau of Ordnance will be directed to designate the battery and to arrange to have it ready for installation by the time emplacements are prepared to receive it.

W. V. Pratt                  

Acting Chief of Naval Operations.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document was dated by a later letter to 12 November 1917. Addressed below close: “Copies to/Bureaus of Ordnance,/Construction & Repair,/Steam Engineering,/Navigation,/Chief of Embarkation, Service,/U.S.Shipping Board(Captain [Charles] Yates),/Emergency Fleet Corporation (Mr. [Peter S.] Gerry).”

Footnote 1: Commandants, Capt. William R. Rush of Boston, RAdm. Walter McClean of Norfolk, RAdm,. Nathaniel R. Usher of New York, Capt. Marbury Johnston of New Orleans, Capt. Robert L. Russell of Philadelphia, Capt. Frank M. Bennett of Mare Island, Capt. Robert E. Coontz of Puget Sound.

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