Internal Organization of Op-30
TTHE TIME has come to consider explicitly the internal organization administrative procedures of the segment of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations which had direct charge of advance base matters. At first glance, this topic might appear to be the very heart of the advance base portion of the present history and to be the proper introduction to the entire discussion. Such a presentation was rendered inadvisable by the particular circumstances of the case. It has been seen that in their pre-war phase, Advance Bases were an eccentric aspect of the business of CNO. Almost by accident was the Naval Districts Division given cognizance over them, and during the first six months of 1942, the rump portion of the War Plans Division, which survived the reshuffling of personnel caused by the establishment of CominCh in Washington, continued to make long range plans for advance bases. Then early in 1943, the reorganization of the logistics organism presided over by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations subordinated the advance base unit in Op-30 to the superior, controlling authority of both the rejuvenated Op-12 and the newly created Op-11G. Advance Base planning turned out to be the largest element in the task of those agencies. All these matters are discussed in detail elsewhere. Furthermore, advance bases were only a part, and initially a small part, of the responsibility of Op-30. Thus at no time did there exist in CNO a distinct advance base segment. Hence, the suggested introductory discussion of advance base organization would have
approximated the history of CNO, which is the subject, not of this part, but of the whole of the present study. It has seemed wise, in consequence, to treat so far the substantive establishment of bases rather than the machinery which produced them. This approach has been further recommended by the fact that the concrete problems encountered largely influenced the development of the administrative machine which discovered their solutions. By the beginning of 1943, however, the broad lines were laid. It is time to analyze the maturing organization.
Like so much else in CNO, in the Navy, and in the nation, Op-30 was unprepared for the advent of war. Not only was it understaffed, but only recently, in October, had it been assigned responsibility for what became its major burden, advance bases Near the end of November, its Director, Rear Admiral Alexander Sharp was detached. His billet was filled for some weeks by a retired Captain E. J. Gillen, until Commander R. W. Cary, on the active list, was promoted and succeeded to the position of Director, which he held for rather more than a year. He was then relieved by Rear Admiral C. H. Wright, who gave way in turn, after a few months, to Rear Admiral H. H. Good. The officer personnel in December 1941 numbered roughly fifteen. It grew during 1942 to rather more than one hundred and continued to increase more slowly thereafter, reaching a maximum of about 180 in the latter part of 1944.
The internal organization of Op-30 at the time of Pearl Harbor consisted, under the Director, of four sections dealing with (District) War Plans, Administration (of Naval districts, including local
defense), Underwater Defense (including nets and booms, mines and mine warfare), and the Shore Establishment. Cognizance of advance base matters was shared by several of these sections. While after 7 December 1941, the work of all desks increased greatly, and in some cases such as mine warfare, rapidly assumed critical importance the dominating stature of advance bases was soon recognized. After a protracted discussion in January and February, outlined elsewhere in the present history, during which representatives of Op-12 and Op-30 each proposed that their own Division swallow up the other, the basic pre-war organization of CNO was left substantially unchanged. The title of Op-30, however, was transformed from Naval Districts to Base Maintenance. Simultaneously, there was a reshuffling of responsibilities within the Division. Seven sections--Nets and Booms, Mine Warfare, Advance and Outlying Bases, Underwater Defense and Detection, Coastal and Harbor Defense, Vessels, and the Shore Establishment--were set up under the general control of the Director and an Assistant Director. Of these, the B-Section (Advance and Outlying Bases), headed briefly by Commander Leonard Doughty, Jr., USN (Ret) prior to the transfer from the Shore Establishment Section of Captain Terry B. Thompson, USN (Ret), is of chief present concern. During 1942 and the early part of 1943, its nucleus of regular officers, mostly on the retired list, was progressively augmented by newly commissioned reserves and a sprinkling of additional retired regulars. While all of them carried out great responsibilities under difficult circumstances, space permits that special mention be made only of Captain Thompson. Until his death in March 1945, his fertile imagination
untiring energy, driving enthusiasm and mature judgment pervaded the advance base section of Op-30. To him may justly be attributed credit for much of its success.
In February 1943, the expanded and still growing work of the Division dictated a revision of its internal organization. Under the Director and Deputy Director were established an administrative section and two main subdivisions, base Development and Maintenance, and Base Defense, each headed by an Assistant Director. Thus, advance bases were given a position of recognized equality with all the other varied responsibilities of the Division. Captain Thompson became one of the Assistant Directors. Within his subdivision were six sections:
D Base Liaison, Development and Plans
A Advance Bases Atlantic
P Advance Bases Pacific
K Advance Base Projects in the U.S. and Base Personnel
X Base Aviation Projects
H Home Bases
The functions of each of the sections are indicated by their titles. D Section had rather general cognizance. It devised overall policy and coordinated new development. A and P were concerned with the needs of and plans for specific bases within the two broad areas in which they Navy operated. They resolved the individual problems of the many bases within their territories. They decided just what equipment each should have. This was a vital matter, but one which does not lend itself to detailed treatment in the present study. K Section worked on personnel and training problems and also developed the highly important Catalogue of Advance Base Functional Components and the Advance Base Schedule,
both of which will be discussed in detail in subsequent chapters. It was also the segment of CNO which worked on general policy with regard to Construction Battalions and determined the assignments of particular units. Aviation required a section all its own because of its special problems and great importance at all bases. Like the A and P sections, its business was largely one of detail.
Still, a year later, in March 1944, the growing urgency and magnitude of maintenance problems induced a further rearrangement. The Base Development subdivision was itself partitioned into Development, Maintenance, and Scheduling groups. Captain E. B. Gibson, USN (Ret.), who had been on duty in Op-30 since the spring of 1942, was placed in charge of the Development group, Op-30-2C. Its sections were substantially those which already existed. Captain C. H. Sanders, USN, formerly Commanding Officer of the Naval Station at Borabora, who for several months had been head of the Local Defense Section, was given charge of the new Maintenance group, Op-30-2B. Within it there were established sections or desks having cognizance over matters involving Atlantic Bases, Pacific, Bases, Spare Parts, each of the Bureaus of the Navy Department, and Projects in the United States. There was also a West Coast Auxiliary attached to Director Advance Base Office, Pacific, who represented the Maintenance group in San Francisco. This division of labor proved to be unduly elaborate, and during the ensuing year and a half, there occurred minor readjustments which affected a progressive reduction in the number of sections by means of rearrangement and combination of duties. This reorganization of the Base subdivision of
of Op-30 was completed by the formation of the Scheduling and Expediting Group, Op-30-2F which comprised several units performing a variety of tasks, including Schedules, Reports, Expediting, and Traffic. The personnel were derived largely from the former K Section and were headed by Lieutenant Commander F. Thomas, USNR.1 Its activity paralleled that of both 2B and 2C.
the number of officers assigned to the various sections in the base subdivision of Op-30 varied with the current load of work. The efficiency and particularly the initiative demonstrated by the several sections reflected the imagination and force of the individual officers-in-charge and of their assistants. In general, standard administrative procedures were followed, since all action was taken in the name of the Chief of Naval Operations. Yet one of Op-30's most important functions was that of liaison and coordination. Thus, much of its most useful activity was transacted by means of informal telephone conversations and personal consultations between officers, very often junior officers in Op-30 and in the Bureaus, Supply Depots, personnel training activities and other agencies which contributed to the complex logistics pattern of advance bases. Even within the Division itself, personal contacts and relationships greatly assisted the smooth and expeditious transaction of business. There unquestionably was considerable duplication of effort not only with other agencies in the Navy Department, but even within th Division itself. At times, particularly in the latter months of the war, the base subdivision was overstaffed. Like all military organizations, its complement had to be large enough to handle any
emergency situation. Its mission was extremely complex and there was a true need for a high degree of specialization. The various reorganizations were inspired by the purpose of achieving a greater competence and efficiency, though that goal was not always attained.
Liaison with other Naval agencies was for Op-30 a major mission. The Division came to be a chief intermediary between the planning agencies of CominCh and CNO and the Bureaus and field commands. Several special procedures which were developed to this end require brief consideration.
Primary among them was the Advance Base Conference. It originated in a series of small informal gatherings of officers attached to CNO and to the Bureaus which was initiated by Captain W. A. Corn while the United Kingdom bases were being constructed in 1941. These meetings for the discussion of advance base problems were continued at irregular intervals until in March 1942 they became established as a fixed engagement on Friday mornings for interested officers. At the same time, a formal record began to be kept, first as summary minutes and shortly in the guise of a mimeographed full stenographic transcript. At first, the record, classified secret, had a limited distribution in Washington only, the recipients being a small group of planning officers in Operations and in the Bureaus, most of them participants in the meeting. Later, the list waxed into the hundreds and comprehended appropriate officers in the field attached to Supply Depots, Base Service Units, Advance Base personnel training and distribution centers, overseas bases, fleet and area planning staffs and others. Likewise,
the number of participants increased. A considerable portion of the staff of Op-30 attended. Each of the Bureaus, each of the logistics divisions of Operations and each of the sections of Op-30 was formally represented either by its head or by a senior officer in the advance base segment. Until July 1942, informal direction came largely from Captains Corn and Gordon Hutchins in Op-12. Subsequently, Captain Thompson regularly presided until, after his death, his mantle was capably assumed by Captain H. H. Little, USN (Ret.). Several of the original participants were still playing a regular and important role at the time of the surrender of Japan. Until 1943, the Director of Op-30 attended regularly even though Captain Thompson presided. In the autumn of 1942, the Under Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Forrestal, visited on several occasions. While at no time were there many flag officers present, the record was available for their study.
The order of business and the uses to which the conference was put evolved with experience. In the hectic days of 1942, it had the status of an action agency. Appended to the record was a summary of items upon which a written report of action was required by Op-30. On several occasions, it was explicitly stated that the oral instructions given and agreements reached had the force of written directives.2 The standard order of business came to be an introduction by the presiding officer, who summarized such important developments, problems and pertinent information as had come to his attention, followed by a calling of the roll of participating Bureaus, Divisions, and Sections for their contributions of similar items. Frequently, a summary report of
observations was made by an officer who had returned from an inspection trip in the United States or overseas. Whenever possible, officers who were in Washington after duty at overseas bases were invited to attend and were called upon for an account of their experiences with emphasis being placed upon deficiencies which might be remedied. Such was the general character of the conference which never became unduly stereotyped.
The merits of this particular procedure were several. It made possible and easy the consideration of matters too intangible to be readily incorporated i written correspondence. Often, the observations of one member evoked complementary remarks from another. Thus, the true dimensions of a problem might more readily be ascertained ior the experience of one desk profitably made available to another, or the implications determined for other agencies of a proposed course of action by one. The relative informality of the proceedings invited the introduction of miscellaneous informative items which otherwise might have been disseminated only in some military equivalent of a gossip column, had one existed. The method of the conference likewise fostered the participation of junior officers. Thus, the wide distribution of the record was a fine means of broadcasting valuable, if rather unrelated, information through channels which would never have been reached otherwise. The record also gave publicity to the nature and dimensions of problems under study in Washington and permitted the field to know that many at least of their difficulties were appreciated and that efforts, albeit halting, were being made to find remedies. There exists no better means to plumb the changing intricacies of advance base logistics
between 1942 and 1945 than to read the record of the Friday Morning Conferences.
Another means of disseminating information and maintaining liaison with the field was the periodical entitle Base Maintenance Nots, which was first published in July 1944 and appeared at intervals of two or three months thereafter. A printed magazine of some thirty pages, classified Restricted, it was given very wide distribution among personnel interested in advance bases, both officer and enlisted. It was illustrated and included material from many sources, but particularly reports, formal and informal, from Pacific bases which promised to simplify maintenance problems.
The maintenance of liaison with the field was the primary mission of a Field Liaison section of Op-30 which was established in the B section int he autumn of 1942 and transferred to the Director's administrative office in the reorganization of February 1943. Its mission is indicated by its successive subsidiary titles: Readiness and Inspection, Progress, Records. When created, its special task was the inspection of COntinental and Overseas activities. Members of its small staff visited at irregular intervals, sometimes in association with officers attached to other sections or agencies, a variety of naval stations. On several occasions, representatives of Op-30 were temporarily attached to selected initial movements and, on their return, were able to furnish first-hand information about the good and bad features of advance base logistics. The liaison work of Op-30-11 filled a great need.
The section also maintained comprehensive Advance Base records. Indeed, some of the liaison trips were inspired by the purpose of
improving the character of the reports from the field which Op-30 received. Many of the records were organized to suit a Kardex filing system. Different files, all kept as current and as accurate as the many sources of information--reports, letters, dispatches, O.N.I. monographs, and others--made possible were maintained for:
- Status of Advance Base projects.
- Condition and content of all Advance Base movements.
- Present position of movements.
- Location and facilities of established bases.
- General strategic and geographic information.
Perhaps the single most important sources of information wa the monthly Logistics Reports which were received by Op-30-11 from all naval advance bases. The form, content, and other features of this report, which was initiated in December 1943, were revised as experience dictated. By the end of the war, it provided some data, in uniform style, with regard to most features of all overseas bases. The main headings were personnel, subdivided to show officers and men, CB's and other Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Army, miscellaneous, in ground, aviation, and afloat categories; aircraft, aircraft facilities, base facilities, housing, storage, port facilities, functional components, and special units. Other forms showed the stock levels of many consumable supplies. The whole report came to about 350 pages, was highly secret and was reproduced by photographic process in only 14 copies.3 It suffered from the serious defect that Op-30 never succeeded in extracting from field commands full and complete data. Washington knew what equipment was dispatched in
initial movements and what was its original destination. Seldom were subsequent movements or, indeed, changes in destination, reported to CNO. Likewise, CNO know little about maintenance shipments which were under Bureau cognizance. Full information could have been obtained only by instituting and maintaining a system of perpetual inventories. This was never done. Lack of such information seriously handicapped the work of Op-30 and not infrequently rendered its efforts futile.
The monthly Logistics Report, posted to the file for individual bases, was a major source of the confidential Directory of the U.S. Naval Advanced Bases, published at frequent intervals by Op-30-11, which showed the location and strictly major facilities of all naval advanced bases. Op-30-11 also prepared manuals for the ACORN Training Detachment, Advance Base tactical training, Advance Base Development and Maintenance.4 Still another responsibility was the posting of current data on a very large secret wall map which showed the establishment and the roll-up of facilities at all bases.
The liaison and coordinating function of Op-30 is shown, finally, by the special committees with which it was concerned. The Mobility COmmittee was set up in September 1944 with a representative of Op-30 as chairman and each of the technical Bureaus represented by an appropriate member. It was inspired by reports from the filed that showed that advance bases did not possess as much mobility as might be achieved. Too often, the equipment was more suitable for a permanent base than for one whose major mission should be performed in the first few months after the initial landings. The committee met at monthly
intervals and served as a stimulus to Bureau designers. Under its prodding, considerable progress was made during the final year of war along lines which should have been followed from the beginning. Thus, the E-22 component was redesigned so that its machines were mounted on trays and were thus capable of use almost immediately for the repair of small amphibious craft. they could likewise be moved readily to another location or to a more advanced base, should circumstances so direct. Similarly, plans were made for an E-2A to be mounted on six LST's so that it could begin operation within two or three weeks after the initial landing, instead of after some three months. Of all the various activities of Op-30, the Mobility Committee most nearly exemplified the fundamental character of advance bases.5
The second committee was the Joint Army-Navy Standardization Committee for Advance Base Construction and Motor Vehicles. Consisting of four members, it met form time to time from November 1943 onwards, with Admiral Ben Morreell, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, as chairman, and Admiral H. H. Good as the other Navy representative. Several subcommittees worked on different phases of the broad problem, and their reports were adopted by the parent committee and promulgated in an overall directive on standardization in March 1944. Its primary goal was the elimination of unnecessary types of equipment. By limiting the number of makes of trucks, for instance, at any one base, the problem of maintaining sufficient spare parts was greatly facilitated. Here again, Op-30 played a useful coordinating role.6
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