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By Captain J. F. Hellwec, U. S. Navy

A large number of new ships are being commissioned, particularly small ones, and many of the young officers ordered to them have had little previous experience as commanding officers or heads of departments. These officers will eventually develop some system for handling the details of their work, but at the expenditure of time which could be more profitably devoted to other important duties.

In order to save them this time, the following scheme is published, hoping that it will be of as much assistance to them as it has been to me. I have used this system on four ships and one shore station and it has saved considerable time and effort for all officers responsible for the execution of the work.

The allotment of details to many subordinates prevents the overloading of the various heads of departments, while at the same time insuring execution of the work.

One General Suit's Office

The ideal arrangement on any class of ship is one general office with the various heads of departments assigned desk room only There should be one filing cabinet of ample size with one filing system. This cabinet should be centrally located in the general office. The saving in time in handling correspondence cannot be overestimated. No papers go out of the office except in the mail, the risk of loss is reduced therefore to a minimum. All yeomen are under the eye of the chief, necessitating regular office hours. They cannot waste time, hidden in some office with a magazine or newspaper. All yeomen are available for work. Any yeoman seen unoccupied is given the work which next develops. The output is enormously increased without overworking any of the office force. Inter-departmental correspondence on board ship is eliminated, as everything is handled in one office. Various short cuts are possible, and suggest themselves when the system is tried. I have used this system with marked success and recommend its trial. If all new construction eliminated the old system of numerous small separate offices, and one large well-ventilated and well-lighted centrally located general office was provided, increased efficiency would result. Flat-top table desks with side drawers should be provided, each with chairs on opposite sides of the central opening; one for yeoman and the other for head of department. Typewriter should be secured to a "swing-up" on yeoman's side of desk.

Immediately after receipt of mail, it is logged and thrown to the various desks having cognizance of it; there to be acted upon by the head of the department, without any waste of time for logging and indexing as is required by the separate office system. The captain's yeoman logs all mail, notes to whom thrown, acts as head filing clerk, and sees that all letters are promptly acted upon, returned and forwarded. A rubber stamp with numbers from i to 12 or higher assists in throwing the mail expeditiously. This column of numbers is stamped on the margin of the letter or on a slip of paper clipped to the letter, and a pencil check is made against the number whose attention is required. The following key for throwing mail will be found satisfactory for the average small ship. Larger ships will have to add additional numbers for their greater subdivision of work:

1. Executive officer.

2. Navigating officer.

3. Ordnance officer.

4. Communication officer.

5. Chief engineer.

6. Medical officer.

7. Pay officer.

8. Information of all officers. To be initialled and passed

on. Last one to return papers to office. •

9. Post a copy on bulletin board.

10. File.

11. Place contents or requirements of this letter on a card

in tickler system.

12. First lieutenant.

The captain, sitting at his desk, can dictate letters to his yeoman seated opposite. He can discuss any questions with his heads of departments without their leaving their desks, and can obtain their views Immediately instead of as now, with our oldfashioned push-the-button-and-wait system. How much time do you suppose is wasted daily in the entire fleet, waiting for some one who has been sent for?

All records and correspondence are immediately available, with the certainty that they are all there and not scattered through two or three other offices, as is possible at present with the separate office system. The general office spells co-ordination, team-work, and speed, without which complete success can never be attained. This system is the antithesis of the "one-man-shop."

Routine Inspections

The following synopsis explains the details of the system of inspections: "Inspections required by the Naval Regulations, Fleet Regulations, and Ship's Regulations, will be carefully made and logged in the proper records." "In order to eliminate the possibility of overlooking any inspections, all have been arranged in groups."

The requirements regarding each inspection are recorded on separate cards (standard 3-inch by 5-inch size), and each card numbered consecutively in its own group. Thus, while the weekly inspections are allotted numbers 10 to 40, up to the present time the cards are only up to and including number 29.

The groups given below are recorded on a standard 3-inch by 5-inch card in tabular form. Alongside of each group is entered in pencil the number of the highest card in that group. This synopsis of inspection cards will be found of assistance in several ways.

(White Cards)

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The following copy of routine inspections listed by the above synopsis, shows the cards in my tickler. If each is copied on a standard sized card, they will be ready for tickler file.


Smokeless Powder. Daily.

Examine all powder samples of all indexes daily in a good light without removing stopper. Observe whether normal condition and appearance. Presence of reddish-brown fumes indicates decomposition of powder. Feel for temperature, as decomposition is accompanied by heat.

S.O. 22.

Mess Gear. Daily.

Mess gear inspected by petty officer in charge. Reported to executive if

unsatisfactory regarding cleanliness, quantity, or if broken. (Ship.)


Hammocks, Bedding. Weekly.

Bedding aired from 8 a. m. to 1 p. m. twice weekly. Hammocks inspected. While airing, hammock nettings thoroughly cleaned out. Owners of dirty hammocks or bedding restricted pending their cleaning. Inspection made by O. O. D. and P. O.'s of divisions. Logged in deck log.

Fleet Regs., 1917, Art. 403.


Auxiliary Machinery. Weekly.

All auxiliary machinery inspected and tested weekly. To be made by chief engineer and executive, assisted by C. M. M.'s, C. W. T., C. G. M., and C. C. M., respectively. Results to be logged in engineering and deck log books, respectively. All auxiliary machinery to be moved by hand daily, and once weekly by steam.

N. I. 3045, 3046.


Storkrooms, Holds. Weekly.

Storerooms, holds, etc., will be inspected weekly. Made by first lieutenant and medical officer, assisted by the C. P. O.'s of departments and storeroom keepers. Results to be logged in weekly hull book, accompanied by recommendations for necessary corrections or improvements.

N. I. 2702 (2) and 2115.

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