Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Leigh C. Palmer, Chief of Bureau of Navigation
November 9th, 1917.
My dear Palmer,
We are very much pleased indeed over here that you have apparently accepted our scheme of training officers and enlisted men for the destroyers. While we have received no official approval of our scheme, and though Admiral Benson was apparently not informed about it, or how it was brought about, still we understand that it is at least tentatively approved because we have a cable directing us to send home three captains with three nucleus bunches of twenty-five men each. Also that you are sending out three captains to be put in training to take their place. The three captains go home on the BRIDGE which is sailing within a few days.
Admiral Benson arrived only yesterday, and is now in the throes of communicating with the Admiralty and preliminary conferences with various people who are going to take part in the big Conference in Paris about the middle of the month. It may interest you to know, what you probably already know very well, that the Admiral is filled with admiration for the way you have handled your very difficult and harassing job. I know it is difficult, but I hope that none of the harassment has come from this side.
I have just received a letter from Puleston, who is on Admiral Knight’s staff, saying he believes Admiral Knight would spare his services if he were ordered to duty elsewhere. He wants very much to come over to this side and get command of a destroyer. If this meets with your approval I would be very glad to have him, as I can foresee that we are going to find it difficult to get good commanders for all of the numerous destroyers that are coming out.
I was talking to Carter the other day about this business of destroyers being given to entirely new men on the other side, and I told him I thought that such officers who have been promised destroyers would very likely prefer to be sent out to me to be placed in command of a well trained and experienced ship whose captain has been sent home to bring out a brand new one. The experience of this peculiar kind of warfare is so important that I should think this scheme would appeal to any officers who wish a destroyer command. If so, I would be very glad indeed to have any such officers sent out to report to me and be assigned to the destroyers vacated by her captain being sent home. As we proposed to send home only the best captains who have been out the longest, such officers would be assured of the command of the best ships we have out here. Really, I should think this scheme would appeal strongly to any officer desiring a destroyer command.
In connection with the above, I have received a letter from Lieutenant Settle who is now serving on the NEVADA who says that his highest ambition is to get a billet as Executive officer of a destroyer. Settle is one of the very best young officers whom I know, and if you can make it possible for him to be assigned to this duty I should be very glad to have him.
Always very sincerely yours,
Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 23. Following the close, the letter is addressed to “Rear Admiral L.C. Palmer,/Chief of Bureau of Navigation,/Navy Department,/Washington, D.C.”.