Director of Discipline
On 20 February 1945 the District Legal Officer became the first Director of Discipline in the district when he was assigned the duties of that office in addition to his own.1 The Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel relieved him of the office two months later, when he took it over as additional duty. It was not until 24 June 1945, however, that an officer of the rank of captain was assigned to the billet as full-time duty.
The Director of Discipline served, under the Commandant, as the primary representative of the Bureau of Personnel on all matters of discipline, shore patrol, and prison administration. As regards the disciplinary situation in the district, he received reports of offenses, and saw that prompt, adequate, and consistent action was taken by the various commands. He attempted to coordinate actions, as, for instance, in ordering one station to turn over a man to another station where circumstances warranted.
Just ten days before the Japanese surrendered, the Chief of Naval Operations issued a directive on the subject "Responsibilities of District Disciplinary and District Legal Officers" which stipulated that "Recommendations for disciplinary action are the responsibility of the District Director of Discipline.2 According to the directive, he was
to confer with the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, or whoever was appointed for the purpose, and then to recommend trial by court-martial or the convening of a court of investigation. On approval of a recommendation by the Commandant, the case was then to be referred to the District Legal Officer. In the Eighth Naval District recommendations for disciplinary action had been originating with the District Legal Officer.
The Director of Discipline was responsible for the proper administration of brigs in the district (there were no prisons) and for the training program in effect for the prisoners. Working under his supervision, a Prison Administration Officer made inspections of the brigs and investigated the medical, social, and educational facilities at each. Though the Director of Discipline had no jurisdiction over the brigs at Air Commands, the Prison Administration Officer had been assigned the inspection of those brigs as additional duty.
The Prison Administration Officer made regular inspections of all the brigs under his cognizance; the number stayed close to forty-five. The general court-martial prisoners awaiting trial by the court convened by the Commandant were confined in the brig at the Naval Repair Base, New Orleans. The capacity of the brig was 400, but 500 to 600 were usually confined in it. Shortly after the Prison Administration Officer reported for duty at District headquarters, in October 1944, the Bureau of Personnel assigned to the brig at the Naval Repair Base two Specialists (C) whose duty it was to discover, by interviewing the prisoners, those who should be sent to the Retraining Command at Camp Perry, Williamsburg, Virginia. About 2500 cases were screened between
November 1944 and August 1945. After a doctor had also interviewed a prisoner and written a report on him, the Prison Administration Officer made a recommendation to the convening authority in regard to the prisoner. The screening process turned up, on the one hand, mental defectives, who, instead of being tried, were surveyed from the Navy. On the other hand, it enabled the Navy to find prisoners who were capable of profiting by the excellent training in various fields offered at the Retraining Command.
During the development of its rehabilitation program for prisoners, the Navy had no manual for its Prison Administration Officers. Ironically enough, an advance copy of the Manual for Naval Places of Confinement, issued by the Bureau of Personnel, arrived at district headquarters on the day the war ended.
The District Shore Patrol Officer was also under the supervision of the Director of Discipline. Like the Prison Administration Officer, the District Shore Patrol Officer was functioning before the establishment of the office of Director of Discipline.
On 26 August 1942 the Commandant authorized and established a permanent Shore Patrol unit for the New Orleans area. His letter to all activities of the area, which cited Navy Regulations, Article 693, as authority, gave details concerning the organization and duties of the unit. In compliance with a directive from the Bureau of Personnel,3 on 30 September 1942 the Commandant requested from various district activities an estimate of the number of Specialists (S) that they would
need to set up an adequate Shore Patrol in connection with their respective activities.4 When these estimates were received, the Commandant notified the Recruiting Inspector of the Southern Division of the total number of Specialists (S) desired (60) so that they might be recruited.5
In order to indoctrinate and train these men for the performance of shore patrol duties, the District (then called Senior) Shore Patrol Officer set up a school at the Naval Station, New Orleans, in October 1942. Before the school closed, ten months later, 253 men had been graduated from the six weeks' course offered. By that time a substantial number of Specialists (S), trained at Class A schools, had been assigned to the district. For general service men assigned to Shore Petrol duty there was a period of informal training during which they studied a manual on such subjects as what charges to bring against offenders and the disposition of prisoners, and they were sent out in the beginning only with experienced men. A few officers and men were sent to the Provost Marshall General's School, Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, in order to receive the three weeks' course offered there by the Army for its Military Police.
There was excellent cooperation in the district between the Army and the Navy in handling cases of misconduct among personnel of both branches of the service. In accordance with a joint agreement of the Army and Navy Departments, all military personnel on 15 December 1942
became subject to correction and arrest by both Military Police end Shore Patrol.6 In some areas both branches conducted patrols; in others, only one branch functioned, as, for instance, in the Corpus Christi area, where there was only the Shore Patrol. Though the Military Police operated on various trains, the only run in the district that the Shore Patrol was assigned to was that between New Orleans and Gulfport. The cooperation between the Shore Patrol and the civilian authorities for keeping order was also very good; only in the rarest instances did civilian policemen refuse to turn over offending Naval personnel to the Shore Patrol.
One of the chief problems of the District Shore Patrol Officer was shifting men from one area to another in the district as the needs of the various activities changed. All Shore Patrol activities within the geographical limits of the district were under the cognizance of the Commandant. There were a few areas for which the Commandant did not furnish men, but for most Shore Patrol units he provided the nucleus, and the Commanding Officer of the activity to which the unit was attached provided the remainder. The commanding officer responsible for the maintenance of the patrol requested trained personnel from the Commandant according to the needs of the area. At the end of the war the number of personnel assigned by the Bureau of Personnel to Shore Patrol duty under the Commandant numbered 708. There were 17 officers: 6 at district headquarters and in the New Orleans area, 11 in charge of the more important units throughout the district. Over 600 of the men
were specialists (S); there were a few seamen and a few general service rates. Fifty-seven of the total were negro Specialists (S) and seamen, who were stationed where there were large complements of negro personnel. In April 1945 there were 85 negro Shore Patrolmen in the district, 29 of them at the Naval Ammunition Depot in McAlester, Oklahoma. These patrolmen were found very effective in the handling of negro personnel. Shortly before the war ended, a Wave officer was assigned each night to standby Shore Patrol duty, being "on call" in case some difficulty arose that involved women personnel.
There were generally about eighteen permanent Shore Patrol units in the district. When the war ended, the following sixteen were functioning, over half of them, as indicated, serving more than one city:
- Headquarters, New Orleans, La. (New Orleans, Algiers)
- Naval Air Training Bases, Corpus Christi, Tex. (Beeville, Kingsville, Corpus Christi)
- Naval Air Technical Training Center, Memphis, Tenn.
- Naval Air Technical Training Center, Norman, Okla. (Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa)
- Naval Training Center, Gulfport, Miss. (Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula)
- Naval Air Station, Dallas, Tex. (Dallas, Fort Worth)
- Naval Barracks, Houston, Tex.
- Naval Barracks, Orange, Tex. (Orange, Beaumont, Port Arthur)
- Naval Barracks, Chickasaw, Ala. (Chickasaw, Mobile)
- Receiving Station, Galveston, Tex. (Texas City, Galveston)
- Naval Air Station, Clinton, Okla. (Clinton, Weatherford, Elk City, Sayre)
- Naval Ammunition Depot, McAlester, Okla.
- Naval Air Training Bases, Pensacola, Fla.
- Branch Intelligence Officer, El Paso, Tex.
- Branch Intelligence Officer, Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Semi-Main Recruiting Station, San Antonio, Tex.
As apparently everywhere else, the commonest offenses in the Eighth Naval District were drunkenness and disorder arising from drinking, absence without leave, and absence over leave. Of course when the curfew
regulation was in effect, there were more arrests for violation of that than for any other reason; but curfew lasted less than a year, and departed unwept by Naval personnel.
1. Dist. Hq. Memo No. 5-45, dtd. 20 Feb. 1945. 2. CNO ltr., Ser. 493730, dtd. 4 Aug. 1945. 3. R.C.L. No. 112-42, dtd. 5 Sep. 1942. 4. ComEight Ltr. to Various Activities, Ser. P-48153, dtd. 30 Sep. 1942. 5. ComEight Ltr., Ser. P-47878, dtd. 28 Sep. 1942. 6. AlNav 251, dtd. 21 Nov. 1942.
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