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“ Letters and Reports Sent.—This part records in tabular form to whom each letter is sent, the subject of the letter, where filed, and any remarks. Each day's record is complete and follows the previous day's record, from which it is separated by two or three blank lines, on one of which the current day's date is stamped. This scheme results in each day's record forming a complete group under its own date, the separated groups adding clearness and greater facility in searching for correspondence.” ..“ Endorsements are recorded in this section as letters sent, and under the remarks column a note is made indicating it is an endorsement.",
“ Letters Received. This form is similar to the first section, except that it requires a double page for complete entry instead of a single page. It contains columns for recording the following data : From whom the letter is received. His file number. The date of his letter. Our file number. The subject of the letter and a column for remarks. The last two items, requiring most space, are given the entire right-hand page of each pair. The other items and one small blank column for indicating to whom the correspondence is thrown, occupy the left-hand page." : “Each day's record is separated from the previous day's group by the same scheme as in the first part of book.”
Procedure.-Immediately upon receipt of mail, the date of receipt is stamped on each letter in the middle of the bottom margin. This scheme facilitates locating dates, as they can be seen by merely turning over the bottoms of the letters like turning over the pages of a book.
After stamping dates, all letters are logged in sequence in day book, first having started the day's record by stamping date in the middle of the page two lines below the last entry of the previous day.
All letters are then delivered to the captain. After glancing through them to acquaint himself with their requirements, he indicates by the key numbers to whom letters are to be referred for action.
The yeoman records in pencil in the blauk column on left-hand page of " Letters received ” the key numbers of officers, and then delivers letters. When letters are returned to captain's desk the key numbers are checked, and letters are filed or otherwise disposed of.
U. S. NAVAL INSTITUTE, ANNAPOLIS, MD.
THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD : ITS
By CAPTAIN F. S. VAN BosKERCK, U. S. Coast Guard
The following paper was prepared several months prior to the outbreak of the present war, but it has been impracticable to print it until now. The fact has become apparent that in the past the navy and the coast guard have not gotten sufficiently close together, but it is thought that from the beneficial results attending present association, each service will have appreciated the worth of the officers of the other, to the mutual advantage of the two services and the public interests. Since mobilization, the enlisted personnel of the coast guard has increased until it now numbers about 6000 men—2000 more than on a peace basis—and many changes have transpired as to the disposition of the entire personnel, which is now scattered among coast guard ships, naval vessels, at air stations, in Washington, and in the several naval districts, and the need for experienced officers has been urgent. It is suggested that now is the psychological moment to make a mental survey of conditions, to take a look at them from a fair, unbiased viewpoint, and thus to realize the errors of the past, brought about as they have been by misunderstandings and a lack of knowledge of facts. e
This paper has been written with the single idea of presenting to the officers of the navy and coast guard tentative suggestions for increasing the military efficiency of the latter service, which, if adopted, would be in the best interests of the navy and the coast guard, when the relations that must exist between them in time of war are considered, or that should prevail in preparation for the same. They are not one-man ideas, but result from an experience of 29 years in the late revenue cutter service (now the coast guard) and from discussion of conditions with officers of the coast guard and of the navy, many of whom are warm advocates of the ideas advanced. If this paper serves no other end than to arouse an interest and general discussion that may be productive of results, the aim of the writer will have been accomplished. The arm of the public service which is now the coast guard was originally established in 1790. As it increased in size, there was added a life-saving branch, which, in the course of years, became disassociated with the then revenue cutter service and was created a separate organization; but officers of the revenue cutter service continued to be detailed as inspecting officers of the life-saving service and elevated it to a high state of efficiency. On January 28, 1915, the President signed the act of Congress creating the “United States Coast Guard,” which unified the then existing revenue cutter and life-saving services. By the terms of the act, the coast guard “shall constitute a part of the military forces of the United States and shall operate under the Treasury Department in time of peace and shall operate as a part of the navy, subject to the orders of the Secretary of the Navy, in time of war, or when the President shall so direct.” Thus the status of the coast guard is clearly defined and its officers and men are regulars in the same sense as are those of the army, navy, or marine corps; a fact that must not be lost sight of in following the subject matter of this paper. It is necessary for a clear understanding that we inquire into both the personnel and matériel of the coast guard to consider the strong and weak points of each and then, to take immediate advantage of the former and rectify the latter without delay.
If we consider the coast guard with respect to the numerical value of its personnel, the service may not be deemed a large one, although 4000 men are practically the equivalent of the crews of four capital ships. We must differentiate, however, as between mere “numbers” and “force” and realize that in the coast guard there lies the potentialities for the latter and advantage taken of that fact. We may here regard the words of a noted military writer as aptly applying: “The stronger each unit is in peace, the more efficient will it become for war; hence, the vital importance of aiming at quality and not numbers.” We seek to increase the value of the coast guard as a “force,” therefore it will become our duty to inquire as to ways and means. The total personnel of the coast guard, as at present organized, consists of approximately 259 commissioned officers, line and staff, and about 4000 warrant officers and enlisted men. There are also 13 district superintendents who were transferred from the late life-saving service, and hold relative rank with certain grades in the commissioned rank. They are not sea-going officers. In addition to the personnel above noted, there are at the Coast Guard Academy, Fort Trumbull, New London, three classes of cadets and cadet engineers. All of the line officers of the coast guard and practically every member of the two junior grades of engineers are graduates of that institution, while the senior grades of engineers are largely composed of graduates of colleges or technical schools where marine engineering is specialized in. The three-year course at the academy is a rigorous one, and upon graduation the cadets go forth exceptionally well equipped educationally for the profession they have chosen. That there are few “bilgers” may be attributed to the fact that the entrance examination is difficult and strictly competitive. It is also intended to assure that the successful candidate has the necessary groundwork to warrant his graduation, providing he applies himself to his studies. It can be confidently stated that the Coast Guard Academy is yearly graduating young men who are as competent all-round officers as are to be found in any branch of the regular service. Due to the excellent results that have eventuated from assigning junior line officers to engineering duty and junior engineers to line duty, the commandant of the coast guard has advocated the amalgamation of the engineer corps with the line, a project much to be desired, providing it can be accomplished with harmony to the best interest of the service. While ballistics is included in the course in ordnance and gunnery, and Alger is completed, it is unfortunate that the cadets are not afforded an opportunity to have practical experience with heavier ordnance than 6-pounders and 3-inch naval field pieces. Their knowledge so far as the handling of heavier pieces is concerned is confined to theory only. Does it seem a good business proposition to deny to the young officers the opportunity to put into practice that which they have been taught and which they have thoroughly learned while cadets?
The warrant officers and enlisted men attached to the vessels of the coast guard are as thoroughly drilled, both afloat and ashore, as infantry, as is possible with the means at the hands of their officers, and the station bills are modeled upon those of a certain destroyer. The crews are always under strict military discipline and may be regarded as highly efficient, so far as their military training extends. As a body of men they are the equal of any and they are an upstanding, fearless group of seamen—those who man the coast guard cutters and those who go down to the sea in ships know this to be so.
The principal shortcoming in the training of the ships' companies is the lack of experience with guns of a caliber that they will use in war, for while the present 6-pounders with which the cutters are armed will undoubtedly be carried in battery, it is a fallacy to believe that they will be the heaviest guns carried in war-time. The installation of 4-inch 50-caliber pieces has been urged within the past two years, but without avail. The point is: Must the coast guard wait until mobilization and then begin to train gun crews with the pieces they are to use for offensive and defensive purposes? There is not a range-finder issued a single coast guard cutter; hence, antiquated methods for determining the range must be resorted to, while good spotting is in reality solely depended on for results while on the range.
So far as the crews of the coast guard stations are concerned the men (with the exception of those who have previously served upon the ships) are lacking in the essentials of military training, but it is because they have never had the opportunity for acquiring any. In the late life-saving service there were no military features. Now, however, that the station crews are components of a military service, intensive training along military lines should be a matter for immediate consideration, because such training can be given without prejudice to their duty of saving life upon occasion.