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opportunity for a merchant marine officer to study while in port, as his stay is very uncertain and usually is occupied with taking on or discharging cargo. This course should include strictly naval subjects, such as International Law, Gunnery, and Navy Regulations. The utter unfamiliarity of many of our Reserve officers with the Navy Regulations is deplorable. When first enrolled they must seek advice and guidance upon simple matters which they might determine for themselves with previous instructions in the regulations.
The correspondence course would, of course, be supplemented by examinations. The examinations would include subjects not included in the correspondence course which the officer might reasonably be expected to have studied, namely: seamanship, navigation and engineering. Upon satisfactorily meeting the requirements of the Department, the merchant marine officer can be enrolled in the Naval Reserve. After a reasonable specified period of service with a good record, promotion can be obtained in the Reserve by further study and examination in accordance with plans which should be made if such a scheme were instituted.
In connection with any correspondence course for officers of the merchant marine a library of standard Navy Department publications should be distributed, or sold. The details of the elaboration of this scheme readily suggest themselves. In order to lend some incentive to merchant marine officers to qualify for commissions in the Naval Reserve, retainer pay as members of the Naval Reserve will be necessary. The lack of complete success of the Naval Militia prior to the allowance of retainer pay was chiefly due to this cause. The writer was Inspector-Instructor of the Naval Militia of Oregon for a period of two years and found that the chief difficulty in securing attendance was the fact that no corresponding punishment, such as loss of pay, could be awarded for* nonattendance; in the same manner with the incentive of retainer pay the Naval Reservist will keep up his studies and strive to obtain higher rank with increased retainer pay. Any scheme for augmenting the Naval Reserve which is not based on the individual's effort is bound to meet with failure. There is such a thing as a too paternal attitude which fosters lack of initiative. It will be impracticable for officers of the merchant marine to undertake naval cruises for their education, but it will be entirely practicable to place naval officers on board the larger merchant ships for a month or so for instruction purposes if the navy personnel ever reaches the point where there are sufficient officers to permit a thing of this nature being done.
I am a firm believer in intensive training and do not believe that a man has to do one thing all his lifetime in order to be reasonably proficient at it. Experience in training officers for engineering duty and hundreds of enlisted men for engineering ratings showed that men of intelligence and a reasonable amount of education are much more adaptable and can qualify for their work in a much shorter period of time than could reasonably have been believed possible before the war.
I do not regard it within the proper province of the Navy Department to initiate a supply of raw material for merchant marine officers other than to lend encouragement to enlisted men of the navy to enter the merchant marine as officers. Agencies, such as the Shipping Board, should be more interested in training officers for the merchant marine. When these officers have been obtained, it will then become a matter of interest to the Navy Department to encourage them to qualify for commissions in the Naval Reserve.
The abolition of the Naval Militia eliminated the only non-professional element from the navy. Originally intended to organize the seafaring element of coastal cities, it succeeded only in organizing young men of no experience into units which received some measure of naval training. Their war experience has made them a valuable reserve. Their nonseagoing officers as well as the non-seagoing officers of the Reserve recruited chiefly from college men, who were intensively trained during the war and who will return to non-seagoing professions, will require different supervision with periodical cruises to keep them from losing the seagoing habit.
Unless a man has served in the navy during the war as officer or enlisted man, has retired or resigned from the navy, or regularly follows the sea as >a profession, any effort to educate him for the Reserve will be fraught with the same difficulties which we experienced in attempting to develop a naval militia.
U. S. NAVAL INSTITUTE
Announcements revised and enlarged by professors in the
The annual dues ($2.50) for the year 1919 are now Dues payable.
Regular and associate members of the U. S. Naval Institute are subject to the payment of the annual dues until the date of the receipt of their resignation.
Life, regular and associate membership, 5783. Membership Resignations: 40.
Whole Nos. 145, 146, 147, 149, 155, 166 and 179 of Notice the Proceedings (March, 1913, June, 1913, September, 1913, January-February, 1914, January-February, 1915, and November-December, 1916, January, 1918) are exhausted; there are so many calls for single copies of these numbers that the Institute offers to pay for copies thereof returned in good condition at the rate of 25 cents per copy. Annapolis, Md., February 15, 1919.
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