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Diary of Commander Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, U.S.S. Wadsworth


Oct 5 [1917]


     Received signal for commanding officers to report on board the Melville at nine thirty a.m. On arrival there found Admiral Sims, Capt. Pringle, Price, Daniels, Bryant, Wygant, Neal, M.S. Davis, Blakely, Russell, Giffen, and Knox.1 I was made senior member of a board composed of destroyer Captains present to present a plan for the forming and training of numerous crews for the numerous destroyers that are being built at home. The board sat until four p.m., stopping about ¾ of an hour for a stand up luncheon which was served in the Melville’s cabin.

     The gist of our report is that the first necessity is to maintain the destroyers actually operating in the war zone, in the highest state of efficiency. This could be done and at the same time provide nucleus crews of trained officers and men for the new destroyers, provided the Department would immediately send here ten officers of suitable rank to command destroyers, 75 lieuts (.j.g) and Ensigns, and 1500 enlisted men of various ratings which we specified. As soon as these officers and men arrived we could send to the states for each new destroyer as required - a captain, one other officer, and 25 men - mostly petty officers

     This seems to me a good practicable plan and I hope it will be adopted. It will give us who have been over here a long time a chance to go home and see our families for a couple of months - and at the same time give officers and men who want to get in the war zone a chance to do so right away.2

     Spent the evening on board ship.

Source Note: D, RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97. Naval Historical Collection.

Footnote 1: VAdm William S. Sims , Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters; Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle , Commander, Destroyer Flotilla, Queenstown; Capt. Henry B. Price, commander, U.S.S. Dixie; Cmdr. Joseph F. Daniels, Sims’ liaison with the destroyer flotilla; Cmdr. Samuel W. Bryant , commander, U.S.S. Allen; Lt. Cmdr. Benyaurd B. Wygant, Commander, U.S.S. Tucker; Lt. Cmdr. George F. Neal , commander, U.S.S. Cummings; Lt. Cmdr. Milton S. Davis , commander, U.S.S. Shaw; Lt. Cmdr. Charles A. Blakely , commander, U.S.S. O’Brien; Lt. Cmdr. Charles F. Russell , commander, U.S.S. Walke; Lt. Cmdr. Robert C. Giffen , commander, U.S.S. Trippe; Lt. Cmdr. Forney M. Knox, commander, U.S.S. Perkins.

Footnote 2: According to historian William N. Still, the proposals outlined by this board set a pattern that the U.S. Navy would also follow in World War II. Shortly after this entry, three commanding officers, three junior officers, and seventy-five men sailed for the States as the nucleus of crews for three new destroyers. Taussig, Queenstown Patrol, 205n. Taussig later wrote that by war’s end there was hardly an officer or man remaining from the original companies of the Queenstown destroyers. Taussig, "Destroyer Experiences,” February 1923, 246-7.


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