District War Plans Officer
In the period prior to 15 December 1940, when the Eighth Naval District was reactivated, the War Plans Officer of the Sixth Naval District was responsible for the War Plans of the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Naval Districts. When the headquarters of the Eighth Naval District were reopened in New Orleans, the War Plans Officer assigned to the Commandant's staff organized his office and began operating. The Commandant issued an order to his staff on 2 January 1941 detailing staff officers to prepare certain Eighth Naval District War Plans. Monthly reports of progress in the work were to be submitted to the Commandant by the War Plans Officer, and a quarterly report was to be submitted by the Commandant to the Chief of Naval Operations. The following duties for the War Plans Officer were set forth in this order:
- Preparation and maintenance of Joint Army and Navy Plans.
- Coordination and promulgation of District Operating and Contributory War Plans.
- Reports and general correspondence relative to War Plans.
- Corrections and changes to copies of all War Plans.
- Liaison with the Army.
- Member of Joint Planning Committee.
During the first few months the War Plans Officer spent a great deal of time supervising and coordinating the revision of old plans and the preparation of new. in these months of expansion he also acted as an adviser to the Commandant in the establishment of new
activities, the acquisition of property, and the construction of facilities. When war broke out and a Security Officer was needed for the headquarters staff, the War Plans Office was functioning smoothly, so that the Commandant was able to assign the War Plans Officer the difficult collateral duty of setting up the security organization for the district. Three months later, after the security program was well under way, the War Plans Officer was relieved of this additional duty.
Throughout the war, however, he performed various duties that had little connection with War Plans proper, but that required coordination, supervision, or execution under some member of the Commandant's staff. These matters usually involved collaboration with the Army, the Army Air Force, the Gulf Sea Frontier, the Coast Guard, division heads on the district staff, or district activities. He handled certain matters in connection with the establishment and development of Section Bases, Frontier Bases, the Inshore Patrol, the Air/Sea Rescue organization, and the Eighth Naval District Naval Air Bases Command. Usually such matters entailed following through from the planning stage well into the operational stage. When the time for consolidation and reduction of activities arrived, the War Plans Officer assisted in drawing up plans to effect economy, conservation of manpower, and redistribution of facilities. He conducted manpower and activity surveys for reduction of personnel at district headquarters and outlying activities, and for the disestablishment of such activities.
The War Plans Officer worked in coordination with the Golf Sea Frontier, the Army Air Force, the Naval Air Training Activities, the Interdepartmental Air Traffic Control Board, and other Government agencies in connection with danger and caution areas for aircraft and surface craft and aids to air navigation. It compiled and published district data on danger and caution areas.
It worked in conjunction with the Coast Guard on matters pertaining to port security, aide to navigation, and the establishment, reduction, and disestablishment of the Coastal Lookout System, the Beach Patrol, and the Auxiliary Coastal Patrol. It assisted in the transfer of radar direction finders to the Coast Guard.
The War Plans Officer handled various policy matters concerning command relationships, particularly with the Coast Guard. He conducted a special survey on command relationships in the Eighth Naval District when the Farber Committee was gathering data on command relationships in Naval districts for its report to the Secretary of the Navy.
Among other functions of the War Plans Officer was the procurement of adequate craft for district needs, particularly tugs. He assigned and redistributed district craft and other small craft for the District Operations Officer; he compiled data on such craft and made monthly and quarterly reports on them to the Chief of Naval Operations. He had charge of the laying up of, and the return to owners of, small boats lent or leased to the Navy by civilians, and also had charge of the disposal of surplus small craft under Public Law 305. He drew up Fishing Regulations for the control of small
Among miscellaneous other matters with which his office was concerned, the following may be mentioned: the establishment of ammunition disposal areas; conferences on hurricane evacuation of aircraft and coastal defense; the handling of complaints concerning hazardous operation of Service aircraft; and the compilation of district rifle range data for the Commander, Fleet Operational Training Command, U. S. Atlantic Fleet.
Apart from the War Plans proper, the following detailed plans were prepared and supervised into the execution stage:
Eighth Naval District Hurricane Plan
New Orleans Area Hurricane Plan
Eighth Naval District Rescue Plan
Eighth Naval District Air/Sea Rescue Plan
Eighth Naval District and New Orleans Area Disaster Plan
Eighth Naval District Salvage Plan
Several heads of divisions, newly arrived in the district, were assigned to the War Plans Office for familiarization with the district organization.
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