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Rear Admiral Leigh C. Palmer, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, to William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters




September 5, 1917.      

Vice Admiral

     William S. Sims, U.S.N.,

          United States Forces,

               Operating in Foreign Waters,

                    c/o Embassy Bag.

My dear Sims:-

          I have your letter of August 21, containing official letters of August 14 and 15 in regard to personnel.1 As you know, we had already cabled over before the arrival of your letter to see what we could do in the way of enlisted personnel and some two weeks ago sent 125 men over as a starter.

     I note in your cable reply you say that you will look up the accommodations and let us know how many men you can take.

     You probably know that the Department is considering building one hundred and fifty additional destroyers in record time, and if it goes through as Operations seems to believe, we will have some 260 new boats going out before the end of 18 months. The training of the personnel for these boats is of course of the utmost importance, and there is no place like the boats themselves, so I hope you will be able to help us so that we can send sufficient men to be trained up and also to be of assistance as reliefs until such time as it is necessary to put them in the boats.

     In regard to <new> officers personnel, I know that some of the twelve had already gone before the receipt of your letter and I will do the utmost possible in keeping your force in as <good> condition as can be. Everyone on this side know that the officer personnel is now thinly spread over an enormous slice of duties until we can turn out more. It is a condition and I know that our efficiency is impaired to just the extent of the shortage.

     I suppose Operations is supplying you with complete information as to the distribution of all our force so you can readily see that the command personnel is called upon to do almost the impossible. However, now is not the time to get discouraged as the obstacles are greater, and it is up to us to work harder, and I think we have a scheme now to get the greatest number of officers in the shortest possible time. They cannot be as good as the officers we have been turning out at the Naval Academy, but they will be the best that can be obtained and the service will have to modify its general ideas and every vessel do its share in training both officers and men in all parts of the world.

     With best wishes to you and all the fellows on the Staff. <Cone> Kohn2 is here today and he will not need urging when it comes to taking the first steamer for the other side.

Very sincerely yours,   


Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 77. Document on Bureau of Navigation Stationary.

Footnote 1: See: Sims to Palmer, 20 August 1917. The letter from the 14th has not been found. For the letter from the 15th, see: Sims to Benson, 15 August 1917.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Hutchinson I. Cone.

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