Chapter II
The Men

The following sub-section index was not part of the original text, but has been added to aid the reader in navigating what is otherwise a very long chapter. The sub-section headings appeared in the original text, but were not part of the index. [HyperWar]

  • Requirements and Procurement
  • Communication Personnel
  • Facilities for Training Merchant Seamen
  • Training of Armed Guards
  • Armed Guard School, Little Creek
  • Armed Guard School, Chicago
  • Armed Guard School, Gulfport
  • Armed Guard School, San Diego
  • Armed Guard Gunnery School, New York
  • Armed Guard Gunnery School, New Orleans
  • Armed Guard Gunnery School, Seattle
  • Armed Guard Gunnery School, San Francisco (Treasure Island)
  • The Functions of the Armed Guard Center
  • Armed Guard Center (Atlantic)
  • Armed Guard Center (Gulf)
  • Armed Guard Center (Pacific)
  • Port Directors and the Armed Guard Program
  • Armed Guard Pools
  • The Mission of the Armed Guard
  • The Armed Guard Inspection Service

    Requirements and Procurement

    The men of the Armed Guard came from all walks of life. Their one common characteristic was that few of them had ever been near the ocean. They were not selected because of background and civilian training. Since there was an urgent need for large numbers of men to man the guns on merchant ships, the Navy took all officers and men who could be spared from combatant ships and other activities and made them into Armed Guards. It was a terrific gamble on the ability of the Navy to develop a training program which could turn men out for combat duty at a fast pace and on the ability of men, many of whom had never seen the ocean, to take to the sea under the most trying conditions. Men who had been living quiet and normal lives as farmers, bankers, merchants, writers, lawyers, school teachers, factory workers found themselves in mortal combat with the enemy after only a few months in the Navy. Men who had never done more serious shooting than at ducks or quail soon found themselves bringing down German planes and firing heavy guns at submarines. That these men were always available to man the guns and that they were able to convert Armed Guard duty from the most hazardous duty afloat to perhaps the best duty in the Navy is a tribute to those who planned their procurement and who arranged the many details of training and equipment.

  • --10--

    It is also a tribute to those who went down with their ships, with their guns still firing to the last, and a tribute to the inherent ability of the American people to adjust themselves to crisis periods and new situations. While there may be some doubt that the American people will ever develop into a great seafaring nation, the fact is undeniable that they can and do take to the sea when their security demands it.

    Men of the Armed Guard must be in good physical condition. They must have good eyesight and good ears. They must be qualified as swimmers. Since they were often at sea for long periods of time, they were required to have their teeth always in good repair. Above all, they must be people who had their hearts in their work, who loved their country and were willing to sacrifice even their lives for it if necessary. The Armed Guard was no place for the malcontent, the never-do-well, or the loafer. For months, Armed Guards lived on board ships with merchant seaman who were highly paid. They must be able to get along with those men who lived under no other discipline than that of their own labor union and the demands of the master of the ship. Every effort was made to keep up the morale of the Armed Guards, to make life as comfortable for them as possible, and above all to indicate to them that they were not going out to have ships blown from under them as a form of punishment, or as a disciplinary measure.1

    Officers who were in charge of the men, and who had the status in the Navy of commanding officers, had the usual qualifications of


    leadership expected of all naval officers who wear the uniform of the United States Navy. Other than strong bodies and good eyes and ears, there were no special qualifications. But experience soon indicated that a certain amount of maturity and a certain ability to get along with masters of ships were important characteristics. Emphasis soon shifted away from procurement of the very young officer and especially the person who knew or thought he knew much about running merchant ships. The ideal Armed Guard officer was a tactful person who could look after the interests of his men and at the same time keep relations smooth between Navy complement and the master, officers, and crew of the merchant ship. He was a man who could get along with people and win their confidence. His relations with his gunners was close. He must be able to win their respect and admiration. He was a kind of doctor, chaplain, and commanding officer at the same time. The highly nervous individual did not last in the Armed Guard. Neither did the trouble maker nor the officer who had too exalted an idea of the scope of his duties and the privileges which the uniform of the United States Navy conferred upon him. The calm and not necessarily brilliant individual often made a much better officer than the erratic and highly intelligent man who cracked in a crisis.

    One has to visualize a city of 145,000 inhabitants to get some picture of the size of the Armed Guard program, for 144,970 officers


    and men were assigned to the Armed Guard during World War II. Of this number 9,390 were officers and 135,580 were enlisted men. The Armed Guard reached its peak of 106,661 enlisted-men and 5,447 officers for a total of 112,108 men on 1 November 19442. It will be seen that many battle experienced men were transferred to the Fleet after a year or more of Armed Guard duty. The Armed Guard schools were, therefore, important in meeting the needs of the Fleet, as well as merchant ships. When war ended Armed Guards were aboard 4,290 merchant ships. They were supplied to most of the 5,114 U. S. flag and U. S. owned foreign flag ships which received guns and to a few of the 1,122 foreign owned foreign flag ships which were armed.3

    The training of Armed Guards commenced about 15 April 1941. Those men were trained in accordance with correspondence between individual districts and groups of districts. Some were assigned to duty with the Fleet while others were ordered retained in district local defense forces.4 Nearly 200 reserve officers received elementary ordnance and gunnery instruction at the Naval Academy in the summer of 1941,5 and many of these officers served in the Armed Guard with special distinction.

    There was little or no appreciation of the magnitude of the program in the Navy Department prior to the decision to begin arming ships. On 25 September 1941 CNO informed BuNav that 200 officers and 1800 men should be trained by 15 January 1942. This planning was based


    on the assignment of an officer, a petty officer, and seven seamen to each merchant ship. It was assumed that four seamen would be needed to man the machine guns, three seamen and a petty officer for the larger gun. Already the Navy was planning to use merchant seamen in handling ammunition and to furnish Armed Guards only for the key positions. Training was to include all stations and was to enable the Armed Guard to fire machine guns, and to handle larger weapons for anti-aircraft barrage and surface firing. Persons who had already received training for Armed Guard duty were to be incorporated with personnel to be trained under the above outlined program.6 On 3 November the estimated needs for arming about 275 ships in four months were increased to 280 officers and 2,300 men. The complement for a 3"/23 gun was set at two men.7

    On 17 November the Bureau of Navigation directed that personnel in the naval districts who had been trained for Armed Guard duty should be assigned to Little Creek, Virginia or San Diego, California for further training along with men receiving their first training for Armed Guard duties. These men were then to be transferred to the Armed Guard Centers at New York and Treasure Island for assignment to merchant ships.8 It appears that the first Armed Guard crew vas placed on the S. S. Dunboyne on 2 December 1941.9

    Since the British had well established training facilities available in their ports, CNO on 22 December 1941 requested the Maritime Commission to arrange for masters of ships touching British or Dominion


    ports to have appropriate members of their crews take the training offered by D.E.M.S. schools. Armed Guard officers were likewise instructed to take advantage of the training, repair, and maintenance facilities offered by the British.10

    For a time the Navy held that Army personnel should man the guns on Army transports, but by 17 January 1942 a firm decision had been reached that in the future the Navy would supply Armed Guards to all United States ships which carried Navy guns.11 By August, 1942 the Navy was able to supply the men necessary to man the guns on all Army transports and vessels chartered to the Army and Army personnel were removed as gun crews.12

    The Secretary of the Navy on 28 January 1942 approved a request from CNO for authority to furnish Armed Guards to foreign flag ships owned or operated by United States citizens. This decision was reached after the Judge Advocate General had ruled that an Armed Guard crew could be furnished to a ship of a cobelligerent or friendly neutral with the consent of the allied or friendly government concerned.13

    On 12 February the estimated needs for Armed Guard officers to the end of June were set at 80 a month, an increase of 10 a month over the earlier estimate of 3 November 1941. Of this number about 60 were assigned to United States ships and 20 to foreign flag ships. Enlisted quotas were to be maintained at 800 a month, the capacity of the Little Creek and San Diego schools.14 But there was such a shortage


    of officers that the decision was reached at a conference in the Navy Department on 16 February that petty officers could go in charge of Armed Guard crews. The decision was also reached that Armed Guards should not be supplied to foreign owned, foreign flag ships, a decision which was later reversed in certain special cases. Petty officers were authorized on 17 February to take charge of Armed Guard crews on Area 2 ships when officers were not available.15 The petty officer should be first or second class, the gun crew not over six men, the ship less than 10,000 tons, and the armament made up of only a broadside gun and .30 cal. machine guns. A training program for 50 petty officers a month was inaugurated at Little Creek and San Diego.16

    CNO recommended to BuNav on 21 February that a new rating of Armed Guard petty officer be established in order to provide the necessary incentive to attract men of high caliber into the Armed Guard service. It was thought that it would be necessary to supply officers for only about 25 per cent of the ships armed and that petty officers could take charge of Armed Guards on many of the estimated 130 ships a month which would require Armed Guards in the next two years. Behind this suggestion was the fact that qualifications for Armed Guard petty officers did not coincide with any of the established ratings and a desire to provide continuity of duty and equal opportunities for advancement in rating


    to these men.17 Again on 19 May the same recommendation went: to BuPers (as BuNav was now named), but BuPers refused to create the new rating,18 one of the few examples in the history of the war where a Bureau flatly refused a request from the office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

    Various expedients were adopted to meet the personnel demands of the Armed Guard program in the early months of the war. One of the expedients was to reduce the Armed Guards on each vessel below complement in order that all vessels could have a few Armed Guards.19 Another expedient was to reduce firing practice and shorten training.20 Still another was to provide 30 per cent of the gun crew from untrained personnel and to omit assigning a petty officer on Area 1 ships, which were furnished an officer.21

    But these were all makeshift arrangements and were not intended to be permanent. More important were the plans to enlarge the training program. On 5 April the training of enlisted personnel was increased to 2000 a month. The 800 men trained at Little Creek were to go to the Armed Guard Center at Brooklyn. The 600 men trained at Chicago were to be assigned to the Center at New Orleans. The 600 men trained at San Diego were to report to the Center at Treasure Island. When the program began to catch up with requirements all regular navy personnel were replaced with reserves. Partially trained crews were scheduled to go back


    to the training centers to complete their training and vacancies were to be filled in all short handed Armed Guard crews.22 On 6 April directions were given to train 150 officers a month instead of 80.23

    The decision to adopt the 5"/38 as the standard stern gun which should be installed on new construction ships as soon as it became available created new personnel demands and new training requirements. The 5"/38 is a complicated gun and requires careful maintenance by skilled personnel if it is to function effectively. On 14 May a conference of representatives of CominCh, BuNav. BuOrd, BuShips and Fleet Maintenance decided that maintenance personnel should be trained at the rate of 125 to150 a month at the Northern Pump Company, Minneapolis.24 Training of gun crews in operation of the 5"/51 gun also became necessary. These guns required five men, whereas the 5"/38 required an additional maintenance petty officer, for a total of six men.25 The Northern Pump Company was able to handle only 20 men at. a time and steps were taken in June to assign 80 men a month to a maintenance school at Little Creek and 40 to a similar school at Treasure Island. In January, 1944 a maintenance course was also authorized at the Armed Guard Center, New Orleans.26

    It was not always possible to supply even a petty officer in charge of the Armed Guard crew on Area 2 vessels. For example, the S.S. Helen sailed from Tampa in the middle of 1942 with the Armed Guard in charge of an apprentice seaman. Every effort was made to supply


    at least a petty officer. Meanwhile, there was evidence that in most cases petty officers did not make satisfactory Armed Guard commanders.27

    In July BuPers announced that the training of officers would be temporarily increased to 200 a month. Op-23L thereupon reminded BuPers of the critical shortage of petty officers.28 Actually only 150 officers could be trained during the months of July and August because of a shortage of officers, but BuPers had plans to place 200 officers and 80 petty officers a month in training to take charge of Armed Guard crews. A slight increase in personnel requirements became necessary through an increase in the complement for six pounder guns from 2 to 4 men.29

    On 24 August BuPers was directed to increase the output of Armed Guard officers from 150 to 200 so that all Area 1 ships and all Area 2 ships with more than six men in the gun crew could have an officer aboard. This action was necessary because some Area 1 ships had been sent to sea with a petty officer in charge of the gun crew. Many Area 2 ships had neither an officer nor a petty officer aboard and in some cases an apprentice seaman had been in charge of ships armed with


    a 4" and two .50 cal. machine guns. At the same time BuPers was directed to increase the output of petty officers.30

    On 3 September CominCh placed training of Armed Guards at anti-aircraft training centers in first priority, along with new construction ships and ships under regular navy yard overhaul.31 CominCh assigned primary interest in the training of Armed Guards to VCNO (Op-23L) on 11 September.32

    Already BuPers had taken steps on August 10 to have officers for Armed Guard duty sent to indoctrination schools at Boston and San Francisco at the rate of 260 a month, 200 to the former and 60 to the latter. It was thus arranged that the monthly output of Armed Guard officers would reach 230 by early October. About 90 would be trained at Little Creek, a similar number at Chicago and 50 at San Diego. Since it was no longer possible to assign petty officers to Armed Guard duty after about 1 June because of the demands from the Fleet, commanding officers of the Armed Guard Centers were to advance men to the rating of seaman first class, coxswain, and gunner's mate third class without formal examination, and without regard to complement. The Centers were directed on 5 September to comply with an earlier BuPers directive of 29 May for speedy advancement of men to petty officer ratings. As finally arranged, all seamen second class were advanced to seamen first class when they finished training and were assigned to an Armed Guard crew. Petty officers third class, including signalmen and radiomen on merchant ships, were rated without examination on the recommendation of the Armed Guard


    officer. Advancement beyond third class was by examination, but there were normally no first class or chief petty officers in the Armed Guard. They were transferred to other duty upon qualifying for a rate higher than second class.33

    By December, 1942 the complement for merchant vessels had been definitely standardized. There was to be an officer for all vessels carrying six or more Armed Guards. Each 5"/38 gun would have six men, other 5" guns would have five men. Four men were assigned for each 4"/50 and each 3" gun, also for six pounders. Each 20 mm gun was to have one man plus an additional man until the total Armed Guard complement of 24 had been reached. But two men were assigned to each 20 mm gun on troop transports. In addition the merchant crew was to furnish ammunition handlers, plus five men for each 5" gun, three men for the 4"/50 and 3"/50, two men for 3"/23 and 6 pounders, two men for each 20 mm gun and one man for each .50 cal. Gun. With the complement thus standardized it was possible to make accurate and long range forecasts of personnel requirements.34

    At a conference at the Navy Department on 20 November between representatives of the Navy and the War Shipping Administration a decision was reached to make a trial substitution of 8 class M-1 naval reserve ordinary seamen graduates from the Maritime Service Training Stations for 6 Navy gunners on 24 Liberty ships for the purpose of augmenting the 20 mm gun crews. From 12 to 18 Area 1-A ships at New York and 6 ships at San Francisco were to be used in the experiment.


    Ships bound for North Russia should not be selected, but rather ships bound on shorter voyages in Area 1-A waters. The merchant cadets were to be available for gun lookout watches and for gunnery instruction when requested by the Armed Guard officer. When not employed in the defense of the ship, they were to be available for ship's work. Armed Guard officers were to report on the efficiency of this trial arrangement. Behind this move was an attempt to alleviate crowded conditions in Armed Guard crew quarters. But the plan was never put into effect because of the objections of the seaman's union.35

    In spite of the difficulties experienced in the first year of war because of the lack of earlier farsighted planning concerning personnel, the record is an impressive one. Over 1,900 officers and 24,000 men had been trained for Armed Guard duty. In addition Mobile Units 1 and 2 in the New York area had given instruction to 9,900 merchant seamen.36

    Personnel requirements for 1943 were estimated on 13 January 1943 at 57,824 men and 2,402 officers of which 32,724 men and 1,164 officers were needed by 30 June and the remainder to the close of the year. This meant training 5,450 men a month for the first half of 1943 and 4,200 a month for the second half.37 It meant a substantial increase in training of enlisted personnel, for only 750 a week were entering the Armed Guard Schools at Little Creek, San Diego, and Gulfport (substituted for Chicago because of weather conditions on the Great Lakes).38


    The estimate of ships to be built in 1943 numbered 1,781.39 Of some 33,781 men and 2,641 officers in the Armed Guard by the middle of February, more than 3,500 men had been assigned with no training. Op-23L advised BuPers by telephone on 10 March 1943 to speed up input to schools in view of the fact that an eventual shortage was developing.40

    With demands of the Fleet for officers and men still mounting, it is not surprising that large numbers of Armed Guards were shifted over to combat ships. Their training in gunnery and experience in combat fitted them well for this new duty. In January, 1943 BuPers developed plans to transfer some 461 D-V(G) officers to combatant ships (D-E's) in the next few months. BuPers also considered transfer to other service after one year of Armed Guard duty. This would mean a turnover of about 1,800 officers during 1943 and that many ships would be sent to sea with an inexperienced officer in charge. Op-23L proposed that transfers be limited to DE gunnery officers or instructors at Armed Guard Schools and centers. The assistant Chief of Naval Operations, however, did not wish to raise any objections to the transfers at that time.41 BuPers directed all ships and stations on 12 March to discontinue the practice of removing Armed Guards from vessels and assigning them other duty.42 On 3 April BuPers directed that officers with the D-V(S) classification could be transferred to combatant ships


    after a year of duty afloat if they requested such transfer. Preference should be given to those who had arduous duty and those who had shown initiative and a desire to improve their professional qualifications.43 In the same month BuPers provided that such officers who were 35 years old or older could be ordered to advance bases or to shore activities for duties in connection with gunnery. They could, however, continue Armed Guard duties if they preferred and so notified BuPers.44

    Numerous incidents and cases of misconduct on the part of Armed Guards on tank ships in Area 2,45 led to the directive of 20 February that all Area 2 ships equipped with either a 3", 4", or 5" gun should have an officer on his first assignment after school. This duty would give the new officer valuable experience for the more exacting assignments on Area 1-A ships later. This same directive provided that troop transports having two or more 3"/50 guns could have two Armed Guard officers.46

    With the Navy personnel situation improving and practices and procedures in the Armed Guard slowly but surely being standardized, a move came from the president of the National Maritime Union of America, Mr. Joseph Curran, in February 1943, to reduce Armed Guards on merchant ships. There should be one officer on each ship and a gunner's mate second class for each gun. He proposed that merchant seamen be trained in gunnery and awarded certificates of efficiency. The Armed Guard should be


    reduced sufficiently to allow for the addition of 9 merchant seamen in training to each ship. These men were to be capable of standing gun watches and also of performing duties as merchant seamen.47 The memory of the earlier failure of plans to reduce Naval Armed Guards by six on certain experimental ships because of opposition from the union was fresh in everybody's mind when a conference between representatives of the Navy and the War Shipping Administration was held on April 29. The wise decision was reached that Armed Guards on merchant ships sailing in Area 1-A could not be reduced below 24. Even then from 29 to 32 merchant seamen would be needed to complete the gun crews and to pass ammunition. The disinclination of merchant seamen to assist in manning the guns and their tendency to abandon ship without orders were considerations which weighed strongly against the proposal of the National Maritime Union. The most logical solution of the need to place men on ships for training was to place these men on ships on the Great Lakes and in Area 2. While shipboard training of merchant seamen in gunnery was successful on about 75 per cent of the ships, little was accomplished on land, not even after the establishment of the Armed Guard Gunnery School at New York.48

    The decision to install Mark 29 mines on certain merchant ships created an additional training problem, for the Armed Guard officer and 25 percent of his men had to be trained in streaming, recovery,


    and maintenance of the gear. Navy personnel at first received training on the American Mariner at New York and later were sent to the Naval Mine Warfare School at Yorktown. On 25 September 1943 VCNO requested BuPers to stop the transfer to other duty of men who had been so trained. BuPers countered with the suggestion that such officers have six months of service afloat with the Armed Guard after completing their training at Yorktown before transfer could be effected. The position of the Bureau was that it was more important to supply DE's with experienced personnel than to have experienced men on the escorted ships.49

    Training did not meet demands of the Armed Guard service prior to 1 May 1943, for between 1 December 1942 and 1 May 1943, 4,652 untrained personnel were made available to the centers for Armed Guard duty. This meant that almost 10 per cent of the enlisted gunners were not adequately trained by the middle of 1943.50

    The Armed Guard, because of its military discipline, achieved excellence in fire fighting aboard merchant ships, although this was not one of its responsibilities. Op-23L opened the question of training Armed Guard at Navy Fire Fighting schools and CominCh suggested in June, 1943 that fire fighting be included in the curriculum of the Armed Guard schools. Op-23L in turn suggested that training for one or two days be arranged while men were at the Centers.51 On 28 June


    BuPers was requested to arrange for the Armed Guard officers and 10 per cent of each Armed Guard crew to have fire fighting training while at the Centers.52 In the Seattle area six Armed Guard officers a week were assigned to the Fire Fighting School at Manchester, Washington.53

    As we assumed the offensive in every theater of operations the demands for Armed Guard officers on troop ships greatly increased. By 11 August 1943 two officers had been supplied to 96 ships armed to carry troops and demands for the balance of 1943 and the year 1944 were expected to reach 1,448 officers for 690 troop ships.54

    But the pressure of the demands for personnel was greatly relaxed by the decision in August to transfer some 213 new construction merchant ships to the British. This meant that the personnel requirements for the remainder of 1943 could be reduced by 22 officers and 528 enlisted men a month. For the period of January through May, 1944 requirements were reduced by 21 officers and 504 men a month.55 If there were errors in planning for enough Armed Guards prior to the outbreak of hostilities there was a similar error in 1943 on the part of BuPers in item 80 of the Operating Force Plan which estimated Armed Guard requirements by 30 June 1945 at 167,307. Op-23L, whose estimates of the requirements were as accurate as possible in a situation which had many intangibles, was not advised of this projected estimate prior to its inclusion. It was far too high. Op-23L advised the Bureau that the shipbuilding


    program of the Maritime Commission for 1945 had not been determined and that new construction figures for the last half of 1944 might be used for guidance in determining requirements for the first half of 1945.56 But the BuPers estimate was far in excess of these requirements. In similar fashion, the Operating Force Plan for the fiscal year 1944 estimated requirements at 127,464 and was not referred to Op-23L for Checking.57 Actually there were only 99,377 Armed Guards and communications personnel on merchant ships on 30 June 1944,58 and only 95,986 on merchant ships on 30 June 1945.59

    It must be said that planning for Armed Guard requirements was a complicated matter because of constant shifts in other plans which in turn affected Armed Guard needs. The transfer of 213 ships to Britain is but one example of how estimated needs could become incorrect by several thousand overnight. Of more serious influence on long range plans were the rather sudden decisions by the Navy to take over merchant ships and convert them to naval vessels and the reduction in output of merchant ships by converting building yards to construction of Navy ships. A good example of this was the large scale production of LST's at the expense of merchant ship construction. Changes in operating areas likewise had some effect on personnel requirements, but these came largely after the end of the war with


    Germany. The truth of the matter was that the course of the war was running too rapidly to enable anything like completely accurate estimates of personnel requirements to be made 18 months or more in advance.

    Whenever Armed Guards were trained in excess of requirements they could be assigned to the Fleet, where they were most welcome. In August, 1943 BuPers had plans to transfer from 90 to 115 officers a month to DE's. This was possible because officers were being trained at the rate of 260 a month and the requirements for new construction were only about 145 per month. Op-23L raised no objection to this procedure but requested that men who had been under attack be kept in the Armed Guard for at least two months in order to provide experienced officers for troop transports and other important ships.60

    We have seen that BuPers consistently opposed the creation of a new rate which would correspond to the duties performed by Armed Guards. Instead a flexible policy of promotions to petty officer rating had been adopted. This system was based on the recommendation of the Armed Guard commanding officer. The primary consideration was the ability of a man to perform the duties of a petty officer in the Armed Guard. When the Commandant of the Navy Yard at Washington informed BuPers that many Armed Guard gunners were not qualified for their third class rating, BuPers took steps to prevent any promotions


    at the New York and New Orleans Centers until the men were in every way qualified and had completed the training course prescribed. Op-23L informed BuPers by telephone that this directive was impossible of execution. It would tie up the whole supply of gunner's mates third class.61 Nevertheless there was greater emphasis on the formal examination and the successful completion of the prescribed course.

    It would appear that the principle need of the Armed Guard service at this time was not for more highly qualified personnel, but rather for officers who were mature enough to avoid differences and bickering with merchant personnel. The situation was indeed a difficult one, for it was hard for the average enlisted man to understand why his pay was only one fourth or one fifth that of the merchant seamen when he was performing comparable service under discipline with identical risk. Young enlisted men were naturally influenced by the lack of discipline among merchant seamen. But serious trouble between merchant seamen and naval personnel was generally avoided if there was a mature Armed Guard officer aboard.62

    By the end of October, 1943 officers were being trained at the rate of 320 a month; enlisted men at 5,005 a month, for a total of 5, 325 men a month.63 Op-23L estimated that total needs from 10 November 1943 through December 1944 would reach 136,022. This estimate included an allowance of 15 per cent for contingencies such as training, travel, leave, transfer to other duty, and awaiting assignment.64 Three days


    later, on 13 November, this estimate was reduced to 124,20765 men and on 6 December to 108,007.66 These reductions were made possible in part by the conversion of merchant ships to Navy amphibious or auxiliary vessels and in part by the reduction in merchant ship construction in order to produce more amphibious vessels.67

    The first all around surplus of Armed Guards developed toward the end of September, 1943 and conditions at the Armed Guard Center at New York became so crowded in November that it became necessary to transfer several hundred men to duty in the Navy. Op-23L wanted some 720 men who had never received Armed Guard training sent to Shelton, and this was done by BuPers. The situation indicated that there should be a reduction in the output of the Armed Guard schools as soon as possible.68 On 8 December a tentative decision was reached to reduce output of officers to 290 per month and to reduce the output of men to 1,000 a week.69 It actually became necessary to cut input of enlisted men to 700 a week for about a month at the beginning of 1944 in order to provide men for the amphibious forces, a move which threatened a shortage of Armed Guards. But temporary shortages were met by stopping all leave and discontinuing all transfers until such time as sufficient men were available.70 It was also possible to assign classes from the Armed Guard Schools to the Center whose immediate personnel needs were greatest.


    To the end of 1943, 96,232 men and 5,845 officers had been detailed to Armed Guard duty, or a total of 102,077. Of this number 13,098 had been transferred to other duty leaving the net Armed Guard personnel at 4,103 officers and 84,877 men, for a total of 88,980.71

    The requirements for officers and gunners for the first half of 1945 were estimated on 22 January 1944 to be 459 officers and 11,016 men and BuPers was requested to modify its estimate in the Operating Force Plan accordingly. Op-23L's estimate did not include a 15 per cent allowance for contingencies, nor did it include requirements for communications personnel.72 Whereas the total estimate of Op-23L was for 119,482 officers and men by the middle of 1945, the BuPers estimate for the Operating Force Plan was for 138,987 enlisted men alone, including 18,335 radiomen and signalmen. The BuPers estimate was that 17,462 gunners would be needed in the first half of 1945.73

    At a conference between Op-23L and BuPers representatives on 21 January 1944, Op-23L recommended that there be no reduction the crews for Area 1-A ships. The BuPers suggestion that the Armed Guard crew on Area 2 ships be reduced to an officer and three men was rejected on the ground that submarines were still operating in the Gulf, Central American, and Caribbean areas. The record showed that 4.7 vessels a month had been attacked during 1943 in Area 2 and that eight vessels sailing independently had been sunk during November and December. Op-23L also advocated the continuation of around the clock


    radio watches on all troop transports and merchant ships.74 Nevertheless, on 2 February 1944 BuPers recommended to CominCh that gun crews on all Area 2 ships be reduced from an officer and nine men to an officer and three men. BuPers also recommended that the requirements for three radiomen on merchant ships be reviewed.75 Op-23 informed VCNO that the BuPers proposal to reduce the Armed Guard would render 570 ships impotent to defend themselves. With any lower number the battery might as well be removed.76 The BuPers recommendation was not approved.

    The decision to make 2,000 spaces at Shelton available for amphibious personnel by 1 March77 caused considerable readjustment in the Armed Guard training program and placed a burden on the school at Gulfport far too heavy for its facilities. On 22 February the decision was made to assign 105 officers to Shelton, 125 to Gulfport, and 60 to San Diego for training.78 The original intention was to continue to train 700 enlisted men a week, 240 at Shelton, 290 at Gulfport, and 170 at San Diego.79 But the BuPers decision on 28 March to increase enlisted training to 900 a week finally caused Gulfport to receive 460 men a week, while Shelton received 240 and San Diego received 200.80 While every effort was made to make the curriculum at Gulfport and


    San Diego the same as at Shelton,81 little could be done to improve the facilities at Gulfport on such short notice. One expedient was to assign 200 men to the center at Treasure Island to relieve the shortage which was anticipated by 10 April.82 An officer from Shelton reported that Gulfport could handle only 240 men a week instead of 460. It appears that 330 men were placed in a barracks built to quarter 220. Men had fainted in classes because of the heat and the overcrowded conditions.83 The logical solution was to make 500 of the spaces available at Shelton available to Armed Guards84 or for BuPers to stop transferring Armed Guards to other duty.85

    Not until August, 1944 were 500 spaces released at Shelton for Armed Guard training.86 This made it possible to increase the enlisted training at Shelton to 365 a week and to reduce the load at Gulfport to 335 a week.87 Meanwhile, BuPers had been advised in July that maintenance men for the 5"/38 guns should be trained at the rate of 143 a month; 51 at Shelton, 60 at the center at Treasure Island, and 32 at the center at New Orleans.88 BuPers


    was likewise requested to direct the centers not to transfer maintenance men out of the Armed Guard for a period of six months after they received their maintenance training.89

    On April 29, 1944 BuPers has established a policy that Armed Guard personnel should be returned to the United States for rotation leave and reassignment after a period of 12 months of pool or shuttle duty in distant areas.90 With transfers being carried out and training temporarily modified by the location of the amphibious personnel at Shelton constant adjustments were necessary in order that all ships be properly manned. At the end of May BuPers was advised to assign six petty officers to each 24 man crew for a time until a shortage of seamen at the centers was remedied.91 This would have the advantage of keeping the trained petty officers in the Armed Guard services. On 5 June BuPers made 400 seamen available for training at Treasure Island in exchange for 400 petty officers.92

    Beginning 1 September 1944 the training of officers was reduced from 290 a month to 215 a month.93 In November training of enlisted men was reduced from 3600 to 2800 a month after CominCh had directed that full training be restored at Shelton and that the present class at Gulfport be the last, and after the revision in Armed Guard Areas as of 15 November. This reduction of 800 men plus an estimated recovery


    of 1200 men a month made possible a saving of about 2000 men a month. It did not meet BuPers expectations that 30,000 men would be recovered in the next seven months.94

    BuPers informed CominCh on 22 November that action would be taken to discontinue Armed Guard enlisted training about 31 December, to meet Armed Guard requirements for the first half of 1945 from personnel already in the Armed Guard, and to meet Armed Guard requirements after that date by detailing general service personnel. This unusual action was taken, according to BuPers, in the absence of information requested by a BuPers letter of 15 September. In this earlier letter BuPers had requested that CNO furnish information on the armament of each vessel in operation by hull number, the armament for each merchant vessel to be constructed by hull number, the area category planned for each merchant vessel to be constructed by hull number, and monthly changes in merchant vessels in commission or planned by hull number as to area assignments, sinkings, transfers, and conversions affecting numbers of personnel required for the Armed Guard. Since it was so obviously impossible to meet such a request and since a representative of BuPers had been so informed even before the letter was written, no formal reply had been sent to BuPers. The BuPers request would have required a large clerical force, much duplication of effort, and would have caused months of work in Op-23L. It was not necessary for BuPers to have the information requested. That Bureau was given


    all of the information it needed in the remarkably accurate estimates of personnel requirements which were prepared in Op-23L. Much of the information could not be supplied in view of the fact that hull numbers did not appear in the records of over 60 per cent of the merchant ships in operation. CNO formally disapproved the request on 27 November.95 CominCh approved the BuPers personnel plan of 22 November except that the school at Shelton was to be kept in operation to train officers, to train 5"/38 maintenance personnel, to provide refresher training for personnel in the Armed Guard, and to house Armed Guards from the time they were removed from ships by planned reductions and the time they were required for new construction. The schools at San Diego and Gulfport were to be closed about 31 December.96 It is interesting to note that in October a suggestion had come from the Naval Inspector General's Office that facilities at Shelton be moved to Gulfport and San Diego and that Shelton be made available for aviators in the Norfolk area. Op-23L opposed such a suggestion on the ground that Shelton was the best of the three schools and proposed that Gulfport be made available for the aviators and Shelton restored fully to the Armed Guard.97

    In the last two years of the war, with the operational picture constantly changing, Op-32L made constant revisions of estimates for personnel, based on the latest information from the Maritime Commission on ship construction and the operational use of merchant ships. It is


    hardly worthwhile to give these figures here, but some of the important estimates are worth mentioning. On 21 July 1944 the requirements to the middle of 1945 were estimated at 5291 officers and 114,862 men, an estimate which was forwarded to BuPers on August 1. This estimate did not include radiomen or signalmen.98 By 24 October the number of ships to be constructed in the first half of 1945 had been revised downward and the personnel requirements had been modified accordingly. Personnel requirements for the first half of 1945 were placed at 740 officers and 16,443 gunners.99 By 8 December the estimated requirements for the Armed Guard to the middle of 1945 were placed at 7,497 officers and 90,795 men.100 While the new construction ships would require only 123 officers a month, directions were given that officers were to be trained at the rate of 180 a month so that they would be available for replacement, but this figure was quickly reduced to 170 by BuPers. It was also directed that on 15 December that transfer of gunners to other services be suspended.101 The enlargement of Area 2 in February, 1945 made it possible to reduce personnel estimates to the middle of 1945 to 4,715 officers and 80,742 men. Estimates to 30 June 1946 were now placed at 5,143 officers and 90,273 men.102 BuPers decided on March 1 to cease the input of 100 seamen


    into centers each week and to reduce Armed Guard personnel to 80,742 as soon as possible. On 24 February 1945 BuPers policy was to transfer chief boatswain's mates and chief gunner's mates as they became chiefs and to transfer first class petty officers after nine months in the Armed Guard.103

    Since only 76 officers a month were to be made available for training at Shelton to the end of 1945, it was necessary to freeze officers in the Armed Guard in March.104 CNO in May approved the assignment of 200 recruits a week to the Armed Guard Center at Treasure Island for four weeks to provide gun crews for new construction on the West Coast, but BuPers transferred trained men from New York instead.105

    Although Op-23L estimated that about 690 officers and 17,120 men would no longer be needed in the Armed Guard three months after V-E day,106 it was difficult, if not impossible, to give an accurate estimate of the monthly rate of recovery because of the lack of firm assignment of ships to areas. Port Directors reduced the crews whenever ships were taken out of the dangerous areas and BuPers transferred these men as they became available.107 BuPers was advised that


    gunner's mates should be 20 per cent of the total enlisted personnel exclusive of signalmen and radiomen.108 Events had moved so rapidly by June, 1945 that the Armed Guard requirements to the end of the year were now estimated at 3,676 officers and 50,061 men.109 In July BuPers established a ceiling of 4,000 officers for Armed Guard purposes. This figure included gunnery and communications liaison officers.110 On the same date, Op-23L reduced its estimated requirements to the end of the year to 48,500 gunners.111 On 25 August 1945 BuPers was instructed to use a straight line reduction spread over a period of six months for estimating the requirements for the Armed Guard to the end of the program. On 1 September 1945, BuPers adopted a program to reduce the Armed Guard by 11,106 personnel a month for six months. This would have meant the complete demobilization of the Armed Guard by 1 March 1946.112 At the end of October arrangements were made for each center to retain at least 50 gunner's mates to act as reliefs and replacements for maintenance gunner's mates on ships pending their ultimate disarming.113 Actually it became possible to reduce the Armed Guard more rapidly than had been anticipated, thus making additional men available for general detail and for ultimate discharge. By 1 January 1946 the actual reduction of the Armed Guard had exceeded the estimated reduction by 9,170 men.114 Nevertheless, the Armed Guard was not completely


    demobilized by March as had been planned. Strikes on the west coast delayed disarmament. It was often difficult to get the owners of ships to make them available for disarmament. Until such time as the guns were removed, it was necessary to keep two maintenance men on board to care for about $170,000 worth of Navy equipment. Late in April, 1946 about 1300 enlisted men remained in the Armed Guard. Practically all the officers had been transferred or separated from the service by this time.115


    Communication Personnel

    The primary responsibility of the Armed Guard Commanding Officer was for the defense of the ship from enemy attack, but when a communication liaison officer was not supplied he was given the additional duty to assist the master in handling wartime communications of the ship. This assignment was a recognition of the fact that successful handling of vital communications could be as important in the defense of the ship as manning guns. The arrangement was never an ideal one, for the responsibilities of the Armed Guard Commanding Officer were large enough in defending the ship from enemy attack, without encumbering him with communication duties. Nevertheless, it was a working arrangement that brought results.

    In discussing the involvement of the Navy in merchant ship communications, a responsibility which by law rested with the master of the ship, the following facts should be remembered. There were not enough commercial radio operators available to conduct the necessary radio watches under wartime conditions on an expanding merchant marine. The merchant crews were not trained and organized to handle the vast amount of visual communications involved in voyages in convoy. Receiving or sending signals in wartime cannot be delayed until claims for overtime are approved. Since the escorts were naval vessels, it was desirable to have naval signalmen on merchant ships to conduct visual communications. For a time, at least, the Navy suspected


    the loyalty of many commercial operators and desired to replace them almost entirely with naval personnel. For a large part of the war the demand of the Fleet for commissioned communications officers was so great that a communication liaison officer could not be assigned to each merchant ship, but only to the most important ships.

    It could also be pointed out that communication personnel and duties came generally under the cognizance of the Communications Division in Naval Operations and not under the Arming Merchant Ships Section, which exercised control over all other matters connected with the Armed Guard. Where there was consultation between the two divisions substantial agreement was reached on most matters, but at times the Communications Division did not consult Op-23L before issuing directives. The first directive from the Chief of Naval Operations concerning Communications Liaison Groups on United States flag merchant ships and Army transports, dated January 8, 1942, provided that a commissioned communication officer should be furnished to all Army and Navy transports under all conditions of charter. Normally one radioman and two signalmen should be furnished to United States flag merchant vessels in convoy. On Navy owned or bareboat chartered vessels operated by civilian crews and on Navy indefinite time chartered vessels there should be a special Communication Liaison Group consisting generally of two radiomen and two signalmen. But these numbers could be increased to three on vessels carrying more than 200 troops. Where possible


    the services of commercial radio operators should be dispensed with, unless they were in the Naval Reserve or Army Signal Corps, but it might be necessary to keep operators of unquestioned loyalty on board because of the shortage of Navy radiomen. In any event, there might be one Navy radiomen on board all transports, all indefinite time chartered vessels, and all Navy owned or bareboat chartered vessels operated by civilian crews.116

    This directive was quickly changed on January 24 to provide for three signalmen in addition to a Communication Officer on all Army and Navy transports. It was also provided that commercial radio operators were not to be displaced except when unfit to serve by reason of evidence of subversive activities. Port Directors were to allocate radiomen and signalmen to meet conditions in each specific case where such personnel were not available in sufficient numbers. Like the earlier directive, this letter stated that accommodations for communication personnel should be provided by using commercial radio operators' quarters as far as possible and by providing suitable spaces near the radio room and bridge.117

    The early directives assigned no communications duties to Armed Guard officers, but the Navy signalmen and radiomen would naturally be under his jurisdiction when he was the only naval officer on board.


    They would, however, be responsible to the master for communications. Because of the shortage of officer personnel, CominCh recommended in May, 1942 that Armed Guard officers should be given a short course in communications and that they should be given additional duty as Communications Liaison Officers. At the same time there should be a long range procurement plan which would provide eventually for detailing a separate liaison officer to merchantmen.118 By July 1 definite instructions had been given to Armed Guard officers to assume communication liaison duties when no commissioned communication officer was on board.119

    The Communications Division began to take over the responsibilities with regard to communications on merchant ships in the first year of war and by early 1943 had complete cognizance over radiomen and signalmen on merchant ships,120 although these men were assigned to the Armed Guard Centers in the same way as gunners. In the coming months the Communications Division in Naval Operations issued several complicated directives concerning the assignment of communication personnel which the Port Directors had difficulty in interpreting. Perhaps the principal difficulty lay in the fact that categories were established in part on the basis of whether ships were to operate in convoy or independently. On many occasions ships thus supplied with communication


    personnel for independent routing would find themselves proceeding for at least part of their voyage in convoy, with the resulting need for increased personnel. The principal directives as regards communication personnel were issued on 30 March, 5 July, 29 October 1943 and on 28 February and 6 May 1944. These directives will be described in considerable detail in the following paragraphs since they illustrate some of the problems the Port Directors faced in making certain that the proper personnel was assigned to merchant ships.

    The directive of 30 March established five definite categories of ships of over 1000 gross tons and a complement for each category. Navy radiomen and signalmen were to be assigned as necessary to complete the established complements, but Army Signal Corps personnel and loyal commercial operators were not to be replaced. (1) Independently routed vessels employed in trans-oceanic service which maintained radio guard as prescribed under the BAMS system and also maintained radio guard on naval schedules by special arrangement were to be supplied with one commissioned communication liaison officer, nine radio operators, and three signalmen. At least six of the radio operators must be naval personnel. (2) Independently routed vessels employed in trans-oceanic service, other than other operating in the Pacific, were to be supplied with three radio operators. (3) Vessels proceeding in North Atlantic convoys were to have three radio operators and two signalmen. (4) Other independently routed vessels should have three radio operators. (5) Other vessels in convoy should have three


    radio operators and two signalmen. When no commissioned communication liaison officer was assigned, the communication personnel should be under the orders of the Armed Guard Commander as provided in General Instructions for Communications Officers of Naval Armed Guards. Port Directors were to assign available communication personnel with priority in the order listed above.121

    The directive described above was canceled by a new directive, dated 5 July, which established a new complement to be completed as necessary by the assignment of naval personnel. (1) United States Navy Convoy Commodores and Vice Commodores should have a communication staff consisting of one communication liaison officer, two signalmen, and one radioman, with additional personnel assigned for specific trips as necessary to bring the complement on the flag ship up to four signalmen and three radiomen. (2) Independently routed vessels employed in trans-oceanic service which maintained the radio guard prescribed in the BAMS system and also maintained guard on naval schedules by special arrangement were to have a commissioned communication liaison officer, nine radio operators, and three signalmen. (3) Vessels carrying over 2,000 troops and proceeding independently, other than those in category two should have a liaison officer, three radio operators, and one signalman. (4) Vessels carrying over 250 troops and proceeding in convoy should have a liaison officer, three radio operators, and three signalmen. (5) Vessels proceeding in


    Atlantic trans-oceanic convoy other than those carrying over 250 troops should have three radio operators and two signalmen. (6) Independently routed vessels employed in trans-oceanic service other than those guarding naval schedules or carrying more than 2,000 troops should have three radio operators. This complement was increased on 15 October to provide for one signalman on the suggestion of Op-23L. (7) Vessels proceeding in trans-oceanic convoys other than in the Atlantic and not carrying over 250 troops should have three radiomen and two signalmen. (8) Independently routed coastwise vessels traveling outside of inland waterways for more than 24 hours should have three radio operators (9) Vessels in coastal convoys traveling outside of inland waterways for more than 24 hours other than those carrying more than 250 troops should have three radio operators and two signalmen. (10) Vessels routed independently or in convoy which were outside the inland waterways for less than 24 hours should have one radio operator. Port Directors should supply personnel to ships with priority in the order listed above. Port Directors or Routing Officers were empowered to assign one signalman to foreign ships when it was deemed necessary. Additional communication personnel could be assigned to specific ships with the approval or by the direction of the VCNO. Every United States vessel of over 1,000 gross tons and equipped with radio must have at least one radio operator. When a commercial operator was not on board, a Navy radioman should be placed on board regardless of the precedence established above for the assignment of scarce


    communication personnel.122 It would be interesting to know how many grey hairs were added to the heads of Port Directors who attempted to execute this directive.

    A directive of 29 October 1943 made certain changes in communication complement. United States Commodores and Vice Commodores should have one liaison officer, one radioman, and four signalmen, but additional radiomen should be assigned as necessary to bring the complement of the flag ship up to four. A new category was added. Vessels carrying between 250 and 2,000 troops and proceeding independently, but not guarding Navy schedules, should have three radiomen and one signalman.123

    The shortage of Navy radiomen was so serious by early 1944 that the War Shipping Administration agreed to replace naval operators with commercial operators as rapidly as possible. The War Shipping Administration agreed to assign three commercial operators to ships with a declared speed of 13.5 knots or over, to vessels operating in trans-Atlantic service, including vessels sailing for Iceland, the Azores, and Ascension Island, but excluding Greenland, and to vessels employed in trans-Pacific service which proceeded in the area west of 160° W. and south of 42° N. Priority in assigning commercial operators should go to vessels operating in the Atlantic. United States merchant vessels were to include Panamanian and Honduran flag shipping


    owned, controlled or operated by the United States or citizens thereof and Army transports were considered as merchant vessels for communications purposes. After 6 March 1944, the effective date of this directive, Navy radiomen were to be removed from merchant vessels, except for transports carrying 250 or more troops, when the ships arrived in continental United States ports. Navy radiomen would still be assigned to United States managed foreign ships other than Panamanian and Honduran in order that these ships would have three radiomen if they were of over 13.5 knots speed, or operating in trans-Atlantic service or in the western Pacific. Port Directors or Routing Officers still had the authority to assign one signalman to foreign vessels when this was deemed necessary. It was now possible to establish a communication liaison complement distinct from the total communication complement for merchant ships. (1) United States convoy Commodores were still to receive one liaison officer, one Navy radioman, and four signalmen. (2) The figure for independently routed trans-oceanic ships guarding both BAMS and Navy schedules was one liaison officer, six radiomen, and three signalmen, but a total of nine radiomen must be carried on these ships. (3) Vessels carrying over 2,000 troops and sailing independently should have a liaison officer, a signalman, and should be supplied with radiomen as necessary to bring the total to three operators. (4) Vessels carrying over 250 troops but proceeding in convoy should have a liaison officer,


    three signalmen, and Navy radiomen as necessary to bring the total to three. (5) Independently routed vessels in trans-oceanic service other than those carrying over 2,000 troops or those guarding Navy schedules should have a signalman and Navy radiomen as necessary to bring the total of radio operators to three. (6) Vessels proceeding in convoy but not carrying over 250 troops were allowed two signalmen.124

    This directive was in turn cancelled and superseded by that of 6 May 1944. By this time as agreement had been reached between the War Department, the Navy Department, and the War Shipping Administration whereby at least three radio operators would be assigned not only to ships of over 13.5 knots declared speed, ships in the trans-Atlantic service, and ships operating in the western Pacific, but also to all vessels designed to transport 250 or more troops. The Army and the Navy would furnish all the radiomen to ships designed to carry over 250 troops and no commercial operators were to be assigned to ships in this category. Army and Navy personnel should not be assigned to the same vessel at the same time. Qualified commercial operators were to be assigned to cargo vessels chartered or space allocated to the War Department, and Navy Department, or to commercial interests. Vessels manned or operated by the War Department were to have Army radio technicians. It was intended that Navy radiomen would ultimately be replaced entirely on cargo vessels by commercial operators. But it was recognized that Navy radiomen would still be required for some


    cargo vessels until such time as commercial operators became available. In no case should a vessel of over 13.5 knots declared speed sail with less than three operators. Vessels operating in the western Pacific and in trans-Atlantic service should never have less than two operators aboard. Navy radiomen would also be assigned as necessary to United States managed foreign flag ships to bring the total operators up to three if the ships were in the categories outlined at the beginning of this paragraph. Port Directors and Routing Officers still had the authority to place a signalman on board foreign vessels when necessary. Additional communication personnel could be assigned with the approval or by the direction of the Chief of Naval Operations.

    The complement for Navy communications personnel as established by this directive was as follows: (1) United States Convoy Commodores and Vice Commodores still received one liaison officer, one radioman, and four signalmen, but they could be assigned additional radiomen to bring the complement aboard ship to four. (2) Independently routed ships guarding both the BAMS system and Navy schedules would have a total of one liaison officer, nine radiomen, and three signalmen. (3) Vessels carrying over 2,000 troops and proceeding independently, but not guarding Navy schedules should have one liaison officer, three radiomen or Army technicians, and one signalman. (4) Vessels carrying over 250 troops and proceeding in convoy should have one liaison officer, three radiomen or Army technicians, and three signalmen. (5) Other independently


    routed vessels should have one signalman and would only be supplied with radiomen on request from the local War Shipping Administration representatives. (6) Other vessels proceeding in convoy should have two signalmen, but should be supplied with radiomen on request from the local War Shipping Administration representatives. Ships carrying Navy radiomen should have one chief radioman or radioman first class.125

    From the outbreak of war to 11 September 1945 the Navy supplied 803 communication liaison officers to merchant ships and transports. It furnished 15,769 radiomen and signalmen in the same period.126

    The most troublesome question was the role of the Armed Guard officer in communications. The Bureau of Naval Personnel directed that all Armed Guard officers should receive training in communications, beginning on or before 1 September 1943.127 But on 20 December the Arming Merchant Ships Section requested the Communication Division to modify Change 3 to Communication Instructions for Merchant Ships so that the Armed Guard officer would be relieved of responsibility for communications when the communication liaison officer was absent. Communications, it was asserted, were the responsibility of the master of the ship. Recent experience in the Mediterranean, where merchant vessels had been subject to almost constant attack, had indicated that it was essential for the Armed Guard officer to devote his entire attention to the defense of the ship. It was further requested that


    all directives concerning assignment of additional duties to Armed Guard officers be cleared through the Arming Merchant Vessels Section of the Fleet Maintenance Division. Clarification of the matter was desired before the new Wartime Instructions for Merchant Ships appeared.128 Op-20 denied issuing directives affecting Armed Guard officers without reference to Op-23 and opposed relieving Armed Guard officers of present communication duties. This step would, it asserted, make it necessary to place an additional naval officer aboard Merchant Ships or have Navy radiomen receive orders from one of the ships officers.129

    When the galley proof of WIMS 1 and 3 was received by Op-23L for comment in February, the Arming Merchant Vessels Section proposed changes which would have relieved the Armed Guard officer of the responsibilities and duties of a communication officer. According to this section, it was neither reasonable nor practicable to hold the Armed Guard officer responsible for the proper maintenance of all radio equipment and the efficient operation of the radio office, or for the supervision and instruction of all radio officers on board. The master should be entirely responsible for communications. The third mate should be in charge of visual communications and the radio officer in charge of radio communications. It was unreasonable to interpose the Armed Guard officer between master and the radio officer, who was a union man not subject to military discipline. The Armed Guard officer should serve only in an advisory capacity to assist and inform the


    master regarding the latest procedure in communications. Op-23L intended to modify the General Instructions for Commanding Officers of Naval Armed Guards on Merchant Ships to make the communication duties of Armed Guard officers advisory. Op-23L desired that the changes in this sense be incorporated in the original printing of WIMS rather than in a subsequent change.130 This limitation of the responsibilities of the Armed Guard officers became even more desirable when it was decided by February that three commercial operators would be supplied [to] armed cargo and tank ships.131

    Op-23L also made certain suggestions for changes in WIMS regarding communication equipment and navigational lights to the Director, Convoy and Routing Division. These changes based on directives in force were readily accepted by CominCh, except that the matter of an emergency antenna was referred to the Communications Division.132

    The Communications Division opposed delaying the initial printing of WIMS pending a review of questions at issue regarding the responsibilities of Armed Guard officers, and proposed that a change be issued after agreement had been reached.133 But on 23 February Op-23L again proposed that the changes suggested on 5 February be made in the publication before it was issued to the service. The replacement of Navy radiomen with commercial operators made this step all the more desirable. The Armed Guard officer was not considered sufficiently


    experienced nor technically equipped to take charge of one of the departments of a merchant ship, a department which should be under the direct supervision of the master.134

    The Communication Division strongly opposed the proposed reduction of the Armed Guard officer's responsibility in communications to that of an advisor to the master, and Sub-Chief of Naval Operations concurred in this view. There would be no responsibility for the maintenance of equipment and it was expected that the instruction of radio operating personnel in wartime merchant ship communications would be kept to a minimum. The Armed Guard officer would be responsible for assuring that operating personnel could send and receive necessary traffic. WIMS 3 would limit this responsibility to wartime merchant ship communications.135 Here matters appear to have rested. It is interesting to note that Op-23L was not furnished a revised chapter covering Armed Guard officers nor asked to approve such a copy prior to promulgation.136

    Instructions still in effect at the close of the war made the communication liaison officer or, in his absence, the Armed Guard officer responsible to the master for the efficient conduct of communications, except for the maintenance of equipment. Communication personnel were to be under the officer's immediate supervision as to watches, operations, and performance of their duties in all matters


    relative to wartime merchant ship communications. On convoy flag ships communications should be under the immediate supervision of the communication officer attached to the Commodore or Vice Commodore. However, the senior radio officer should be responsible to the master for the maintenance of all radio equipment. On Army transports not having a Convoy Commodore or Vice Commodore on board the Navy communication officer should be in charge and responsible to the master for all communications unless Army radio technicians were on board. In this event the Navy communications officer should be responsible to the master for visual communications and should act as advisor to the Army Commanding Officer of Troops. The Commanding Officer of Troops should be responsible to the master for the maintenance of equipment and the operation of the radio office. Thus, the master of the ship was responsible for communications and all personnel performing communications duties were responsible to him, but the Armed Guard officer assumed military command over all Navy communication personnel on board a merchant ship. If a naval communication liaison officer was on board the Armed Guard officer had no further communication duties. If no communication officer was supplied the Armed Guard officer assumed the Communication responsibilities of the liaison officer and was accountable to the master for the performance of such responsibilities. Among these responsibilities were the following: (1) Setting communication and radar watches (2) Efficient performance


    of personnel while on watch (3) Proper log-keeping (4) Preservation of radio silence (5) Aiding the master with transmitting details (6) Supervising the delivery of incoming messages to personnel concerned (7) Attending pre-sailing routing or convoy conferences on communications; but only if this conference did not interfere with his attendance at the convoy conference (8) Prevent unauthorized persons from entering the radio room (9) Make nonapproved private broadcast receivers inoperative while at sea (10) supervise upkeep of visual signaling gear (11) Arrange for emergency disposal of all classified matter (12) Assure that identification signals are available on the bridge of ships ailing independently (13) Assure that the radio room receives publications and information necessary for efficient and proper operation (14) Assure that communication and radar personnel are familiar with publications, current voyage instructions (communications), call signs, effective BAMS and numbered messages, security messages, proper message form, distress procedure, changes to procedures or standard organization, and changes to publications (15) See that radar personnel make necessary reports as due.137

    Throughout the Arming Merchant Vessels Section attempted to keep the Armed Guard officer as free as possible from duties and responsibilities which would interfere with his mission -- the defense of the ship. In


    the matter of communications this effort was not entirely successful, but all communications maintenance responsibilities, except for visual signaling equipment, were kept from the shoulders of the Armed Guard officers. This section opposed efforts to increase the communication training of Armed Guard officers. In April 1944 Com 8 proposed that this training be increased from 30 to 95 hours. This proposal received a firm negative, with the comment that it was not intended to make accomplished signalmen of Armed Guard officers.138

    By the middle of 1945 such questions as communications personnel for transports operating in noncombat areas and the relationship between communication liaison officers and maintenance personnel required settlement. It was decided that liaison officers should still be supplied to ships capable of carrying 250 or more troops regardless of operating area. As regards radiomen, the directive of 6 May, discussed above, remained in effect. Three signalmen should be assigned to each of four Monster class transports, two signalmen to each Army and WSA vessel designed to carry 2,000 or more troops, and one signalman to other vessels of 1,000 or more gross tons operating in noncombat areas except for vessels exclusively in the coastwise trade.139 When guns were placed in a maintenance status but a communication liaison officer was still aboard this officer would be responsible for discipline and administrative control of Navy communication and


    maintenance personnel and for all Title B communication equipment. He would not be responsible for the maintenance or armament nor for Title B gunnery equipment, for those matters were the responsibility of the Maintenance Petty Officer.140 Not until 11 September 1945 was the order given to remove all communication personnel from merchant ships. This was to be done at the first continental United States port which the ship touched.141


    One other mater with regard to merchant ship communications deserves mention -- the training of Navy and merchant personnel by the Navy. This program appears to have commenced in July, 1943, when the Bureau of Naval Personnel order[ed] the establishment of schools to give training to merchant and Navy personnel in merchant ship communications and convoy procedures in the 5th, 8th, 12th, and 13th Naval Districts. The minimum time of instruction was 30 hours but by March 1944, 60 hours was to be given if possible at Armed Guard Centers and War Merchant Ship Communications Schools which were established primarily to increase the efficiency of the Master and Mates in communications. In the same month two officers were ordered to the Maritime Commission for duty as instructors in convoy procedure and merchant ship communications.142 Among places offering instruction to merchant seamen in communications by March, 1944, were New York, Seattle, New Orleans, Norfolk, and San Francisco. After it became established policy that increasing numbers of commercial operators would be employed on merchant ships, the Communications Division in Naval Operations suggested to the Bureau of Naval Personnel the desirability of establishing "brush-up" schools at Baltimore and Los Angeles in connection with the plan to issue certificates of proficiency in wartime merchant ship communications to masters, mates, and radio operators.143 In April BuPers ordered a similar school


    established at Boston.144

    By 1 January 1945 all United States merchant marine deck officers were required to obtain a certificate of proficiency in Wartime Merchant Ship Instructions, including communications, of face the prospect of being beached until they did. This involved about 20,000 merchant marine officers. The certificates were issued on the basis of tests designed to show whether the applicant had a practical working knowledge of Wartime Instructions for Merchant Ships. Applications for certificates could be made at Wartime Merchant Ship Communications Schools at Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, Newport News, New York, Norfolk, San Francisco, San Pedro, and Seattle, and at Navy Routing Offices in 52 ports located in the United States and overseas. The "brush-up" courses at the schools lasted on an average 5 days, but a merchant marine officer needed only take what he felt was necessary in order to qualify for the certificate. Merchant marine deck officers of any of the United Nations might also attend the schools. Commercial radio operators were invited to qualify for a similar certificate, but this was not mandatory.145


    Facilities for Training Merchant Seamen

    By March, 1942, facilities for the training of merchant crews of United States and allied vessels had been established at the following places:

          Boston ----------  Naval Training School
    United States Naval Drydock
    Building No. 21
      New York ------  Receiving Station
    51st St. and 1st Avenue
    South Brooklyn
      Philadelphia -----  Naval Reserve Armory
    Camden, New Jersey
      Norfolk ---------  Armed Guard School
    Little Creek, Virginia
      Baltimore -------  Assistant Port Director's Office
      Charleston ------  Section Base
      Savannah -------  Section Base
      New Orleans ---  Naval Reserve Armory
    829 Camp Street
      San Diego ------  Armed Guard School
    United States Receiving Station
    Destroyer Base
      San Francisco --  Armed Guard Center
    Treasure Island
      Seattle ----------  Anti-Aircraft Training Center
    Port Angeles, Washington

    Instructions consisted of care, operation, upkeep of guns and ammunition, bore-sighting and checking of sights by use of horizon and bench marks, loading drill, pointing, spotting, identifying aircraft


    and submarine, elementary fire-control, and first aid.146

    The Navy took steps in May, 1942 to establish facilities for night lookout training at the three Armed Guard Centers, at Boston, and Key West. It also recommended that instruction of this type be developed at Philadelphia, Seattle, Norfolk, and San Pedro in conjunction with other existing instructional facilities for merchant seamen.147

    The Navy also directed that instruction in the 20mm gun be readily available for Armed Guards and merchant seamen. Not only was this instruction to be available at the Schools and Centers, but also at Boston, Baltimore, San Pedro, Galveston, Seattle, on Mobile Units 1 and 2 at New York, and at 827 Camp Street, New Orleans.148

    In an effort to give instruction to more merchant seamen the Navy established mobile units. Mobile Units 1 and 2 in the New York area gave instruction to 50,674 men from 2,954 ships in the period from their establishment in the spring of 1942 to their discontinuance in September, 1944. These units were for a time under the supervision of the Armed Guard Center (Atlantic), but were transferred to the Port Director at New York in October, 1943. Efforts to establish mobile units at other ports were not as successful. In October, 1942, arrangements were made to have two buses fitted out by Com 3 for assignment to the Port Directors at Baltimore and San Francisco respectively. Mobile unit No. 3 at Baltimore gave instruction to 285 men from 30 ships between 14 January and 11 June


    1943. It was then transferred to Com 3, but soon assigned for local transportation purposes. This unit was of little use at Baltimore because of its poor mechanical condition and because new crews did not sign on for voyages until just before the departure of ships. Not until 1 August 1943 did Mobile Unit No. 4, still not equipped with machine guns, arrive at San Francisco. The Commandant of the 12th Naval District found the bus unsuited for training merchant seamen in gunnery because of its type and age. On October 2 the bus was transferred to the Bureau of Yards and Docks for local transportation purposes. After training was discontinued at New York, Mobile Units 1 and 2 were turned over to the Armed Guard Center for use in Transporting personnel.

    The outstanding fact about attempts to train American merchant seamen ashore is that it failed. The merchant seamen refused to attend in any great numbers. Even after the establishment of the Armed Guard Gunnery School at New York, a place of many wonderful devices, which should have entertained any man for a day or so, it was impossible to get the merchant men to attend. It became evident by 1943 that training on the beach had failed insofar as the merchant seamen were concerned. Efforts were shifted to ship board training under the direction of the Armed Guard officer and this type of training was somewhat more successful.

    If our own seamen refused to take advantage of the finest synthetic training devices in the world and some of the best firing ranges, the same was not true of the seamen of allied nations. They attended whenever the opportunity presented itself. This training was taken by Russian,


    British, Chinese, Norwegian, and other allied nationals.149 It is perhaps true that in the early stages of the war our merchant seamen established a fairly good record for attending DEMS schools. By the end of 1942 a large number of facilities were available to seamen of allied nations who visited the United States. In addition to the centers at Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Treasure Island, and the schools at Little Creek, Gulfport, and San Diego, training was available at the AATC's at Dam Neck, Virginia; Price's Neck, Rhode Island; Shell Beach, Louisiana; Point Montara, California; Pacific Beach, Washington; Pacific Beach (San Diego), California; Guantanamo, Cuba; NOB, Bermuda; and at the instruction centers for merchant seamen from allied nations. In the Seattle area instruction was given aboard a trailer truck.


    Training of Armed Guards

    Much of the success of the Armed Guard in World War II must be attributed to the good training which officers and men alike received. The primary goal of all this training was to teach men to shoot accurately and rapidly with 5", 3", and 20mm guns at air and surface targets. In order to accomplish this basic purpose a vast training program was inaugurated. There were three basic Armed Guard Schools. These were located at Little Creek, (later moved to Shelton) Virginia; Gulfport, Mississippi; and San Diego, California. For several months in 1942 a basic school existed at Chicago. But weather conditions on the Great Lakes were not suited to year round firing from surface ships and this school was closed as soon as Gulfport training facilities were ready. Of these schools the Virginia school was recognized as the best. It was also the largest. Its training methods were adopted by the other schools.

    Each of the basic schools had an Anti-aircraft Training Center nearby, and also sent its men out on firing ships for anti-aircraft and surface firing. Men from the schools could thus supplement their training by actual firing before they completed the Armed Guard course. Men from Gulfport fired at Shell Beach either before or after they reported to the Armed Guard Center at New Orleans. Dam Neck supplied firing facilities for the men from Little Creek (later Shelton). Men from the San Diego school fired at Pacific Beach, California.

    Before the war had ended four well equipped Armed Guard


    Gunnery Schools had been established. These were located at New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle. Their basic mission was to give refresher training to Armed Guards by the use of a wide variety of ingenious synthetic gunnery devices. Refresher training was also available at the British D.E.M.S. schools, and these schools were of great help to American Armed Guards early in the war. But British schools became crowded and our own instruction facilities had improved to such a degree that instructions were given to Armed Guard officers on 26 October 1943 that they should request instruction for their crews at D.E.M.S. schools only when no refresher training had been received in four months or when they were to go on special missions for the British War Transport.150

    Armed Guards used five ranges for refresher firing practice, in addition to the D.E.M.S. ranges. These were located at Lido Beach, New York; Dam Neck, Virginia; Point Montara, California; Pacific Beach, Washington; and Shell Beach, Louisiana.

    In addition to the above mentioned training facilities, the Centers gave some training to Armed Guards. The most ambitious and the best training program developed at the Centers was that at New Orleans. But the primary mission of the Centers, as we shall see, was not to train men but rather to handle the assignment of men to sea duty, outfitting, including all preparations for sea, housing while in port, arranging


    leave, handling records and pay accounts, and transmitting latest approved instructions.

    Such was the machinery for training Armed Guards. We shall now describe briefly the history of the principal schools and, using Shelton, the Armed Guard Gunnery School at New York, and the Armed Guard Center at New Orleans as examples, we shall describe the training of Armed Guards.


    Armed Guard School, Little Creek (Shelton)

    On 15 October 1941 BuNav established an Armed Guard School at the Section Base, Little Creek, Virginia under the command of the Commander of the Inshore Patrol. Not until 15 November 1942 did the officer-in-charge of the school become a commanding officer. The school had very modest beginnings. The original staff consisted of four retired chief gunner's mates, but the staff expanded rapidly. The first class, consisting of 23 officers and 184 men, reported to the Armed Guard Center (Atlantic) just as the Neutrality Act was being repealed.151

    Training was constantly being improved. In fact, the school played a major part in producing the very fine curriculum which finally emerged by the later part of 1943. In the early days of the Armed Guard much emphasis was placed on ship board training. Students spent one week out of the four allowed for training on board a training ship. With the expansion of training, this period was reduced to three days, and finally to about 36 hours. The original training ships were the U.S.S. Dubugue and the U.S.S. Paducah and for a time the U.S.S. Eagle 19. The U.S.C.G. Monomoy and the U.S.C.G. Menemsha and briefly the U.S.C.G. Marita were later assigned. These ships were fitted with guns currently being installed on merchant vessels and students were given actual experience in firing the weapons which they would later use aboard merchant


    ships. For a brief period the operating area was outside the Virginia Capes, but a firing area was soon provided inside Chesapeake Bay near Tangier Island. For a long time the old San Marcos wreck was used as a target for surface firing until it was too badly shot up. Eventually target practice at towed sleeves and towed surface targets was provided.152

    The history of the school is one of constant expansion. By the end of 1942 the physical limitations of the Section Base had been reached and the Little Creek school began to overflow into the Naval Training School, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk. By the end of 1942 the quest for a suitable site on which to build a new school to accommodate about 4,000 men was underway. Not until 10 March 1943 did VCNO formally approve the Shelton site. The new school was located southeast of Lake Bradford with Camp Bradford to the westward. Actual construction of the new plant did not begin until May. The school was ready for opening on 1 September, but building continued after that date. By the end of the war the school consisted of over 90 buildings occupying 120 acres. The concrete drill field alone occupied almost seven acres. The visual training hall had a capacity of 1,500, while the mess halls could feed 4,000 men at one time. Recreation facilities were excellent. In short, the Navy had built a small modern city out of the forest and filled it with Armed



    With the discontinuation of preliminary Armed Guard training at the Inshore Patrol School at South Boston on 1 July 1943 and at Treasure Island about 15 July, future Armed Guard officers received their preliminary training from July to September, 1943, at the Local Defense School at South Boston. After this date the officers were received at the Armed Guard Schools direct from indoctrination schools and were given two months of Armed Guard training instead of one.154 Some of the officers from the Boston school eventually joined the staff at Shelton.155 Latest battle experience was utilized at Shelton, as at other Armed Guard schools, by the policy of sending all instructors who were physically qualified to sea and bringing in men who had two or more voyages or one voyage of more than six month's duration. The same policy was followed with regard to petty officers assigned to the schools. Officers and men who had been under attack were preferred for duty as instructors.156

    After 1 September 1943 the Armed Guard officer received one month of basic Armed Guard training. During his second month he was in charge of enlisted men who were receiving their basic Armed Guard training and he received further instruction himself at the same time. At Shelton an


    important course for petty officers was the 5"/38 maintenance course. Many of the best petty officers were brought back for this training either at Shelton, New Orleans, or Treasure Island. If these men were sent to Shelton, they generally trained a second month as petty officers in charge of the enlisted men who were receiving their first month of basic Armed Guard training. By 1 January 1945 men who had sea experience in the Atlantic or Mediterranean theater were being returned to Shelton for a month of refresher training at Shelton. It was important to keep the battle tried enlisted men of the Atlantic in the Armed Guard because no further recruits were being sent to Shelton. It was also important to give these men additional training and a period of rest before sending them to Armed Guard duty in the Pacific. These veterans of the Atlantic were counted upon heavily in the tough fighting which was anticipated in the final invasion of Japan. The Navy was anxious to keep them in the Armed Guard and that transfers, where necessary, should be from men who had been on Armed Guard duty in the Pacific, where little or no battle experience had been gained.157 It was decided in April, 1945, that 30 men a week were to be given a week of training in aircraft recognition beyond their month of refresher training at Shelton. One of these men was to be assigned to each Area 1-A ship carrying a 24 man gun crew for the purpose of instructing


    the rest of the gun crew in aircraft recognition.158

    Of far reaching importance were the moves to standardize Armed Guard training and doctrine. Shelton played an important role in this effort, since its training was accepted as the standard which the other schools should adopt. Bu August, 1943, BuPers was attempting to standardize the Armed Guard curriculum. Op-23L wisely suggested that the teaching first be made uniform for officers before proceeding with the standardization of enlisted training.159 At about the same time VCNO (Op-23L) began issuing Armed Guard Bulletins to all Armed Guard officers. This enabled the spread of doctrine and instructions to the entire service quickly. The Bulletins were distributed through the Armed Guard Centers and through the Port Director's Offices.160 Perhaps even more important from the standpoint of uniformity in the service was the CNO directive of 3 July 1944 that all books, pamphlets, or instructions concerning fire control procedure be submitted to CNO for approval before printing and issue.161 This move was essential because there had not always been agreement at the various schools on gunnery doctrine. It can be safely said that the school at Shelton and the gunnery school at New York played a major part in the development of gunnery doctrine and procedures for the entire Armed Guard.

    Since the course at Shelton became the standard for the entire Armed basic training program some description of the curriculum


    seems in order. It should be noted that the officers who came to Shelton generally had been through indoctrination school, but some officers were sent there for training from shore billets in the United States and had never received the Navy indoctrination course. As indicated above, the basic course at Shelton lasted four weeks after which the officer learned to handle and instruct his crew and received additional training in gunnery. The officer studied the following subjects in his first four week period at Shelton:

    (1) Aircraft Recognition. The officer was shown slides and films which acquainted him with the characteristics. Silhouettes, and performance of enemy and friendly planes. This instruction required eight hours.

    (2) General Instructions. The officers had 14 hours of instruction on the many problems which the Armed Guard officer would encounter. These included reports, administration, discipline, relations with the merchant marine, security, censorship, general defense policies, regulations, advancement of enlisted men, medical treatment, welfare and morale. At the end of this course the officer had the answers to the most common problems he would face when he first went to sea. The instructors were generally officers who had recently been at sea.

    (3) Ordnance. This course was intended to give the officer a thorough acquaintance with the heavy weapons used by the Armed Guard. The course began with a lecture on the performance of the guns. The officer became familiar with the standard nomenclature for all parts of the gun. He actually broke down the breach, firing mechanism, and


    generally all dismountable parts. Problems of maintenance, lubrication, and casualties were stressed. The entire course lasted 19 hours; seven hours for the 3"/50AA gun, 4 hours on the 4"/50, 2 hours on the 5"/51, and 6 hours on the 5"/38.

    (4) Fire Control. In 17 hours of intensive training the officer studied the problems of when and how to open fire, the type of fire which was most effective, gun crew training, fuse setting and ready box arrangement, all approved doctrines of fire control. This instruction was based on the latest actual experience in fighting the enemy, for the instructors were men who had only recently been in combat. Three hours were devoted to the spotting tank.

    (5) Communications. The officer was given sufficient training to enable him to gain some understanding of the general problems of communications. He received some training in sending and receiving blinker, semaphore, and radio code. He was trained in wartime merchant ship communications, communication reports, international code flags, convoy procedure, coding and decoding, operation of the TBY, sound powered telephones, and care of confidential publications. Only 24 hours was devoted to communications training, enough time to acquaint the officer with some of the basic problems and procedures.

    (6) Synthetic Training. The officer spent 24 hours with a number of mechanical training devices which would also be used in training enlisted men during his second month at school. It must be said that the finest mechanical equipment was located at New York Gunnery School, which had an important part in the development of synthetic training


    devices. But Shelton and the other basic schools also had much fine equipment. Shelton gave instruction with seven synthetic gunnery devices. These were: (a) Stationary Target Eyeshooting Teacher, a geometrical device to illustrate the mathematical basis for doctrine of fire control of short range AA guns; (b) Portable Aiming Teacher, a simple device for teaching the principles and practice of the use of the Mark IV sight; (c) Multiple Trainer, mounted miniature planes and Mark IV sights operated in banks of five to teach approach angle, apparent length and proper aim off with scoring system to evaluate ability and progress; (d) Panoramic Trainer Mark IV (3A-11), a film projector mounted on a 20mm gun with counter registering hits on planes approaching as dive bombers or torpedo attackers; (e) AA Battery Trainer Mark III, Mod. 1 (3A-2), crews with battery officers fired at planes on a screen with both 3"/50 and 20mm guns; (f) Deflection Trainer Mark VI (3B-6), gave training in judgment of approach angles of miniature planes controlled by instructors, involving firing at planes and registering hits and misses by use of photo-electric cells; (g) Polaroid Trainer Mark I, film, screen, and 50 cal. Machine gun with sound device to give sound effect of actual firing. The vibration of the guns was mechanically controlled and hits were recorded by a photo-electric cell. Tracer effect was provided on firing. Late in the war this trainer was adapted to a 20mm gun. Officers were given instruction in short range fire control before receiving training in the synthetic devices.

    (7) Small Boats. This four hour training included instruction in


    handling boats, commands, lowering away, emergency navigation, abandon ship drill, survival, and provisioning of life boats. It was essential that the officers have sufficient knowledge of navigation to be able to take charge of a life boat and bring it safely to land in the event his ship was sunk.

    (8) 20mm Instruction. An intensive 7 hour course in the construction, care, maintenance, nomenclature of the gun included actual breakdown and assembly. The officer also learned what to do in case of casualty and how to keep the gun well lubricated.

    (9) Bore Sighting. One hour was devoted to the use of the bore sight telescope and muzzle disc for bore sighting broadside guns. Simplified methods of bore sighting and short cuts were considered.

    (10) Maintenance, Ammunition, and Magazines. Nine hours were devoted to maintenance of guns, ammunition, and magazines. Instruction was given in fuses, powder, safety regulations, powder decomposition and testing, sprinkler systems, magazine temperature control, detonators, projectile markings and other problems. The officer was instructed in making reports and keeping the ammunition log.

    (11) Degaussing. The officer learned of his relation to the master in regard to degaussing, the theory of degaussing, and the reading of area charts for settings. This instruction lasted only one hour.

    (12) Gas protection. In two hours the officer learned handling and care of gas masks, proper method for donning the mask, testing and replacement of cartridge, types of gases, countermeasures, and gas



    (13) Seamanship. This instruction consisted of only three hours with attention to the practical problems as related to the Armed Guard.

    (14) Binoculars. In one hour the care and proper technique in using binoculars were explained to the officer. This was correlated with spotting targets from the boat dock.

    (15) Pointer, Trainer, Sightsetting Course. This lasted for three hours. Actual firing practice on the 3"/50 and 4"/50 guns was given by firing a 22 cal. gun, which was rigged up to the large gun, at movable targets.

    (16) AA Sight Setting Drill. This one hour drill stressed deflection and sight angles.

    (17) Loading Drills. The officer received 22 hours of training in loading, climaxed by a night battle practice in a blacked out room (gun shed). Live primers were fired in the 5"/51 gun. Seven hours were devoted to loading drill on the 3"/50, six hours to the 5"/38, four hours to the 4"/50, and four hours plus the night battle practice to the 5"/51.

    (18) Tracking 3"/50 and 5"/38. For one hour moving targets were tracked with simulated loading and use of customary commands.

    (19) 20mm Tracking. This training lasted for one hour.

    (20) 20mm Bore Sighting. This was a one hour period of instruction in sight adjustment on the 20mm gun.

    (21) Pistols 38 and 45 cal. The officer spent two and one-half hours breaking down the pistols and one-half hour of firing.


    (22) 30 cal. Rifle. One hour was spent on the breakdown of this gun. No actual firing was given.

    (23) Military Drill. For three hours the officer was drilled in military formations, the manual of arms, and the like. Normally officers had received drill at indoctrination schools, but some officers were assigned to Armed Guard schools from shore bases and had never received the Navy indoctrination course.

    (24) Physical Education. The officer received a half-hour of exercise on each of the six working days of the week. This consisted of calisthenics or of such organized games as volley ball.

    (25) Range Estimation. One hour was spent in estimating range using the BuAer 5-C-4 Range Estimator.

    (26) First Aid. Normally two hours were devoted to this subject. The training consisted of movies and a lecture by a Doctor at the school.

    (27) AA Range Preparation. One hour of instruction was given to the officers just before they went to the firing range at Dam Neck. This period was used to acquaint them with what they were expected to do at Dam Neck.

    (28) Firing Ship Preparation. One hour of instruction was given to the officers before they went aboard the firing ship. They learned of the ship's routine and of their assignments to the various gun crews on the firing ship.

    (29) Liberty Ship. The officer spent four hours on board an Armed Guard manned merchant ship in Norfolk harbor.


    (30) Dam Neck. The officers spent one day firing 20mm, 3"/50, and 5"/38 guns at the anti-aircraft range. They were organized into gun crews and rotated positions at the guns.

    (31) Firing Ship. On a one day trip the officer fired at surface and air targets.162

    After this month of intensive training the officer was ready to take charge of the enlisted men who were entering the school for their month of basic Armed Guard training. After working with these men for a month he was prepared to command the Armed Guard at sea. Few problems would be entirely strange to him. He would have acquired skills and knowledge which would have required a much longer period of training under peace time conditions. He had the confidence and self-assurance which could come from a thorough knowledge of what his duties and responsibilities were. Additional training at Armed Guard Centers improved his efficiency as an Armed Guard commanding officer.

    During the second month at the Armed Guard School the officers were in charge of small groups of enlisted men. The enlisted men received the following training at Shelton, and the course was likewise copied at Gulfport and San Diego:


    (1) Synthetic Training. This training was essentially the same as for officers with increased skill as the objective. The enlisted man received 27 hours of this training.

    (2) Aircraft Recognition. While only eight hours of training in this important subject were given at Shelton, the special course for selected petty officers late in the war meant that on each ship there would be a man capable of giving additional instruction to other members of the gun crew.

    (3) Loading Drills. The men spent 17 hours in loading drills, six on the 5"/38, six on the 3"/50, three on the 4"/50, and two on the 5"/51.

    (4) Instructional Movies. This program involved five hours of movies. Movies were used to teach proper firing methods. Movies on the Armed Guard, Eye Shooting, and Barrage Fire Control were produced by BuAer from technical information supplied by the Armed Guard Service. The Armed Guard Gunnery School at New York played a leading role in the development of these films. In the early part of the war British eye shooting films were shown.

    (5) Night Lookout Trainer. Four hours were spent in this training.

    (6) 20mm Gun Breakdown, casualties and care, 6 hours.

    (7) Tracking Targets. In 9 hours the student learned how to track targets. Six hours were pent tracking with the 20mm, one hour with the 3"/50, and two hours with the 5"/38.

    (8) Pointer, Trainer, Setter Drills. Crews were trained prior to going to the firing range or to the firing ship by using dotters rigged


    with .22 caliber guns attached to firing keys and firing at a moving mechanical target. Lectures and dry runs prepared the men for actual firing.

    (9) Pistol Range and Rifle Breakdown. In four hours the men received essentially the same instruction as the officers. They had actual experience in firing and expert instruction in handling small arms.

    (10) Physical Activity. In 18 hours of planned exercise the men built up their physical strength. They ran the obstacle source, learned self-defense, engaged in calisthenics and sports.

    (11) Military Drill. Since the men had already received military training during their boot training period, they were given only two additional hours. One hour was devoted to basic formation and precision drills. The second hour was on the manual of arms for rifle fire.

    (12) Dam Neck. All men were sent to Dam Neck for actual experience in firing 20mm, 3"/50, 5"/38 guns.

    (13) Firing Ship. Two days were spent aboard the firing ship in Chesapeake Bay. Actual firing at surface and air targets aboard ship completed their training. They were then ready to report to the Centers for further assignment.

    (14) Other Miscellaneous Instructions. (One hour classes each)
                   (a) Attack films
      (b) Small Stores
      (c) Lecture by Battery Officer
      (d) Range Estimator
      (e) Dam Neck Preparation
      (f) Dam Neck Review
      (g) Bag Inspection163


    Shelton also developed a very fine four weeks course for the 5"/38 maintenance men. Carefully selected petty officers were selected from the Center at New York. In the early days at Little Creek only one week of instruction was given, but at Shelton the course was expanded to four weeks. In the first week the 5"/38 was studied intensively. The student learned to breakdown the gun, to assemble it, how to service the gun, and studied adjustment of the hydro-pneumatic recoil system, bore sighting, rammer system, maintenance and operation, routine checks, lubrication, test or practice firing, cleaning, and painting. Special attention was given to the quick repair of material casualties and to methods of prevention. On the basis of an examination the class was then divided into two parts. The better half spent two weeks studying the hydraulic drive and the rammer system; the other half was given a more general course of instruction, including a day at fire fighting school and another day of observation at the Norfolk Navy Yard. The entire class was brought together for the final week and studied lubrication and ammunition. The petty officers then became leaders of gun crews who were beginning their four weeks of basic training. The basic curriculum for the maintenance course was written by BuPers, but methods and training aids were developed by the instructors at


    Shelton.164 Before a course was set up at New Orleans an officer from the Center visited Shelton with instructions to observe the course there and to set up a similar course upon his return to New Orleans.165

    An important contribution of Shelton to the war effort was the housing and feeding of some 2,000 persons in amphibious training during much of 1944. Fleet and Army personnel at times received gunnery training at Shelton, as did British, Netherland, Norwegian and French gun crews.166 In fact, the training of personnel other than Armed Guards was an important contribution of the entire Armed Guard training program. More than 1,000 Army personnel received gunnery instruction from the Armed Guard schools during the war.

    In early 1945 the input of recruits for Armed Guard training ceased. Thereafter, all enlisted training at Shelton was for the maintenance course or refresher training. In seven months Shelton gave refresher training to 12,807 men in 28 classes. The curriculum, as established by BuPers in June, 1945, provided that 135 hours of refresher training should be given. The objectives were: (1) To review and bring up to date the student's knowledge of guns used in the Armed Guard service; (2) To develop skill in anti-aircraft gunnery; (3) To develop facility and accuracy in identifying aircraft; (4) To develop team efficiency in


    loading and firing guns; (5) To develop a high level of physical fitness. The student spent 11 hours on ordinance, 24 hours on gunnery, 28 hours on gun drill, 9 hours at the range, 14 hours on a firing ship, 19 hours in lookout-recognition, 11 hours in general instruction, including small boats, abandon ship, rescue equipment, and first aid, 19 hours in physical training.167

    The Armed Guard School at Little Creek (later Shelton) trained 533 classes of officers and men for a grand total of 72,278. These figures included 164 classes of enlisted men in basic training for a total of 52,331, 154 classes in 5"/38 maintenance for a total of 2,945 gunner's mates, 187 classes of officers for a total of 4,195, and 28 classes of enlisted refresher training for a total of 12,807. When training ended on 11 August 1945 and the school was converted into a separation center, 2,045 enlisted men and 186 officers in addition to those mentioned as completely trained were under instruction.168 When one considers that training programs and procedures had to be developed from scratch, the record at Shelton and the other schools is indeed an impressive one.


    Armed Guard School, Chicago

    BuNav directed the establishment of the Armed Guard School at Chicago on 10 March 1942. The School was located in the Naval Reserve Armory. It provided facilities for 100 officers and 800 enlisted men. The first assignment of 200 men and 25 officers was received late in March. 169 The four week's training was the same as that followed at Little Creek and San Diego. The U.S.S. Wilmette and the U.S.S. Dover were assigned as firing ships. The school continued to function and to receive the above mentioned quotas until Gulfport was finished. The school at Chicago was closed in October, 1942. The winter weather on the Great Lakes was not suited to firing practice aboard ship. Nevertheless, the Chicago school played an important part in filling the personnel needs of the Armed Guard during a period when men were desperately needed and facilities for training were not yet available elsewhere.


    Armed Guard School, Gulfport

    Plans to establish an Armed Guard school at Gulfport were being developed as early as March, 1942. The school was completed about 1 September 1942.170 The U.S.S. Dover and the U.S.S. Lash were originally assigned as firing ships.171 The U.S.S. Monomoy and the U.S.C.G. Marita also served as firing ships.172

    The school appears to have functioned smoothly and effectively. Its curriculum was standardized with that of Shelton in the Spring of 1944.173 The most serious tax on facilities of Gulfport came when training at Shelton was reduced in 1944 to accommodate some 2,000 amphibious personnel. For a time, as we have seen, conditions were very crowded at Gulfport. There had been a similar period in the summer of 1943, just prior to the completion of Shelton.174

    Between the opening of the school in October, 1942, and the closing of training on 14 December 1944, Gulfport trained 2,005 officers and 32,401 enlisted men.175


    Armed Guard School, San Diego

    The Armed Guard School at San Diego was established prior to the outbreak of hostilities and even before the repeal of the Neutrality Act. It was a part of the Destroyer Base and was somewhat limited as to space and facilities. It had little part in the development of new devices and courses. In fact, two officers from the Armed Guard School at Shelton visited the school for 12 days in May, 1944, and outlined the instruction which should be given to bring training up to Shelton standards.176 The school was disestablished on 27 January 1945.177 It trained 1,273 officers and 16,931 men.178 Most of the men trained were assigned to merchant ships through Armed Guard Center at Treasure Island. Training ships were generally destroyers which were available briefly for such duty, but eventually the U.S.S. Sacramento was assigned as a training ship. Late in 1944 arrangements were made to assign the U.S.S. Dover to San Diego, but this ship was shifted to Treasure Island when the school at San Diego closed soon thereafter.179


    Armed Guard Gunnery School, New York

    The primary purpose of the gunnery schools which were established at New York, New Orleans, Seattle, and Treasure Island was to provide brief periods of refresher training in the most essential duties of Armed Guards afloat. The special emphasis of these schools was on defense of merchant ships from air attack.

    The first gunnery school established was located in the South Ferry Terminal Building, owned by the City of New York. This was the best of the four gunnery schools and the most completely equipped. In addition to training Armed Guards by the use of synthetic devices, the school played a prominent part in developing new training devices and in the formulation of anti-aircraft gunnery doctrine. The officers at Shelton worked closely with the officers at the New York school in the development of anti-aircraft defense doctrine.

    Prior to the establishment of the gunnery school at New York the officer-in-charge visited a dozen training activities and later sent other officers to some of these activities for more extended visits. The school was thus able to take advantage of the latest training procedures known to the Navy.

    Arrangements were made to feed the men at the Seaman's Church Institute. Men were brought to the school by ferry, subway, and other public transportation. The Navy furnished transportation tickets to men scheduled for training.

    The school was formally authorized by BuPers on 25 January 1943 and


    training actually commenced on 6 May 1943 when the first training group of 25 men reported for a one day drill. Prior to the formal opening of the school three officers had spent 10 days at the D.E.M.S. school at Halifax. The officer-in-charge, later promoted to Commanding Officer, had already begun visits to the Bureau of Aeronautics Special Devices Section in Washington which were to be so fruitful in the development of new training devices and which finally converted the school into a kind of wonderland for the Navy gunner. A wise policy had also been adopted that instructors should be brought to the school fresh from duty afloat. Officers were carefully selected by personal interview on the basis of general qualifications, experience afloat, and their interest in training. These officers in turn suggested outstanding enlisted men who had served under them. By the early fall of 1943 the school was training about 1,150 men a week.

    In the spring of 1943 the first edition of Anti-aircraft Defense of Merchant Ships appeared. The fourth edition was adopted by CNO as an official text for all Armed Guard training and 17,000 copies were printed. Many copies went to other Navy activities and the Coast Guard. Numerous Fleet and amphibious units were supplied with the publication. The publication remains one of the best manuals on anti-aircraft gunnery by simple local control methods.

    Largely through the efforts of the officer-in-charge of the school an anti-aircraft range for 20mm firing was established at Lido Beach


    and ready for firing in September, 1943. This was a separate activity but established primarily for Armed guard training of officers and men who attended the school at South Ferry. The caliber of guns used was naturally restricted by the location of the range.

    From May, 1943, to July, 1945, the Armed Guard Gunnery School at South Ferry trained 90,296 men and 3,716 officers in local control firing, using the cartwheel sight.  All officers and 20,102 men received special training in fire control for the 3"/50 and 5"/38 guns. Inexperienced officers and those newly assigned to the Armed Guard found the course especially valuable. Great emphasis was placed on fire control, enemy tactics, and the best means of meeting enemy attack. The instruction was entirely practical and not theoretical. In addition, an officer and a gunner's mate were sent aboard merchant ships in transit and those with a rapid turnabout. They brought recognition material and portable training equipment. The most important item was a multiple trainer which used only two planes mounted on a portable frame, arranged to vary the approach angle of the planes in unison. The dual purpose gun and one or more machine guns could be brought to bear on the planes. The officer from the school explained the use of training material to the Armed Guard officer and laid out a plan of instruction to be followed while at sea. The gunner's mate held a short practice session with the Armed Guard crew, and instructed them in the use of the multiple trainer. From the beginning of 1944 to the middle of 1945 this service was given to 490 ships. A total of 498 officers and 10,391 men thus received


    training on board their ships while in the port of New York.

    The school also extended its facilities to the Coast Guard, the Army and to Navy personnel other than Armed Guards. A number of Army enlisted men assigned to harbor defense received the training afforded by the school. Merchant seamen from British, Norwegian, Dutch, French, Polish, Russian, and Greek ships received the training in large numbers. It was, however, almost impossible to get American merchant seamen to attend the school. In all cases where foreigners attended there were officers and men attached to the school who were able to speak the language and thus contribute to the efficiency of the instruction.

    In addition to a course in the actual breech breakdown of the 20mm and 3"/50 guns, the school used 16 ingenious synthetic training devices to teach gunnery. These devices made the school the best equipped of all the Armed Guard schools and one of the best equipped training activities in the entire Naval Service. Many were developed by the Special Devices Section of BuAer, in collaboration with the Armed Guard School at New York and the Fleet Maintenance Division of CNO, especially for the training of Armed Guards. The following devices were in use at the school when the war with Germany ended and refresher training of Armed Guards at New York virtually came to an end:

    (1) Night Vision Training Stage. This stage consisted of a hemispherical dome with the horizon at eye level. The men received instruction in night vision, watch standing, and relative bearings for 30 minutes while being dark adapted by wearing red goggles.


    (2) Recognition Projector. This device flashed recognition silhouettes on a screen for exposures as short as 1/100th of a second and was used to supplement the instructor's lecture on aircraft recognition.

    (3) Multiple Trainer. This device consisted of five Mark IV Cartwheel Sights mounted on a wooden frame. These sights could be moved in any direction to bear upon a number of plane models set in a frame a distance of about 20 feet and above the level of the sights. The direction of flight and approach angle of the planes could be altered. The student applied the proper amount and direction of lead and the instructor checked each sight as set to see that it was properly set.

    (4) Machine Gun Trainer Mark III. (Special Device 3A2) A dual 16mm projector flashed a film of synthetic attacks by model planes on a screen. The gunner used a 20mm mount equipped with a ring sight. His aim could be corrected by the instructor who could project a spot on the screen to show the proper point of aim.

    (5) Machine Gun Trainer Mark I (Polaroid Trainer). This device was designed primarily to teach aiming of machine guns by tracer control. Mounting a sight on the gun so that errors in aim by tracer observation could be corrected, increased the effectiveness of the device.

    (6) Machine Gun Trainer Mark II (Waller Trainer). This was one of the finest training devices developed during the war. A British Vice Admiral who visited the Armed Guard Gunnery School was so fascinated with this device that it was difficult to get him away from it. The British requested and were given one of the ten Waller Trainers which


    were built. Three of the trainers were installed at the South Ferry Building, but they were vast improvements over the original Waller Trainer as developed by the Waller people. These improvements were the work of the New York Gunnery School. Among improvements were the hooking up of four guns instead of one, the enlargement of the screen and increases in the number of projectors, the development of means for recording the number of rounds and bursts fired and the number of hits scored, the fitting of all guns with cartwheel sights, and the fitting of guns with compressed air hammers to simulate the vibration of a gun actually being fired. Four gunners could track and fire at planes as the four projectors threw a panoramic composite picture on the large spherical section of the screen. Pin points of light on the screen indicated where the shell bursts were taking place with regard to the plane. It was all very realistic, almost as real as the actual firing of a 20mm at a real plane. The recording devices scored the number of shots fired by each gun and the number of hits.

    (7) Tracking Range. Model planes were suspended by an endless steel cable about 30 feet above the deck. The cable passed over idlers and a large electrically driven pulley. The students tracked with 20mm guns from tubs equipped with firing steps as the planes approached. The instructors used check sights to help the students apply the correct lead.

    (8) Tracking Dome. Single and multiple attacks were simulated by means of a 16mm projector and a spherical-section screen of smaller


    arc than that used with the Waller Trainer. Four 20mm gunners and one or more 3"/50 gun crews could train simultaneously in tracking. The instructor controlled the fire by issuing directions over sound powered battle telephones.

    (9) Machine Gun Range. Two metal planes, affixed to cables, were used as targets for air operated machine guns, firing BB shot. One plane approached as a level bomber, the other as a dive bomber. Six guns using modified cartwheel sights were fired one at a time by the students. The speed of the planes was so scaled that proper lead must be applied.

    (10) Machine Gun Trainer Mark IV (Panoramic Trainer). A 35mm continuous film projector was mounted directly on a 20mm gun. The gunner must elevate, depress, and train his gun as he would do under actual attack. The number of rounds fired and the number of hits scored were automatically recorded. The school installed this device on a small number of troop transports.

    (11) Machine Gun Trainer Mark VI (Night Attack Trainer). This device was equipped with a Mark IV Cartwheel Sight and operated under lighting conditions which required fast and accurate estimation of the direction of flight and approach angle of planes.

    (12) Range Estimator (BuAer 5-C-4). This electrically operated device consisted of a tunnel in which scale model enemy planes could be moved forward or awat from the observer and could be stopped at any relative distance by the instructor. The observer looked at the planes


    through a lens which made them appear at normal size. A dial showed the scale distance from the observer, who wrote down his estimate and then checked it with the dial. Eight men could be trained at the same time on each machine. Two were in operation at the school.

    (13) Anti-aircraft Spotting Trainer. This device was developed by the school. It gave practice in estimating barrage firing, giving of commands by the gun captains and officers, and spotting corrections of fire by observation of bursts. Model planes traveled on wires. Wands bearing flashing lamps at their ends were actuated by a combination of tracking motion and aim off and timing devices. They produced flashes at intervals corresponding to the firing rate and time in flight of 3" and 5" gunfire. The student gave the orders to commence firing, for correcting aim, and for handling a 3"/50 or 5"/38 gun. The instructor operated the machine in accordance with the orders received. The bursts appeared in relation to the plane as they would if a real gun was fired at a real plane. The sound of gunfire was also produced by this trainer.

    (14) Surface Spotting Trainer. This trainer was also developed by the school and applied much the same principle to surface gunnery. The object was to teach estimation of range and deflection, and to give practice in issuing orders and in correcting errors by observation of splashes. The student viewed six targets, each of which represented a ship in motion. The angle, speed of winds, and motion of the ship on which the student was supposed to be located were all indicated on the face of the training device. The student estimated range by observing


    the small angle between the waterline of the target and the horizon, as well as the apparent size of the ship. He estimated deflection by the ballistic data in "Shirtcuff Range Tables", a publication of the school. A sight setter applied these estimates to the sight wheel. The splash was produced by a time delay electric circuit and was determined by the controls. Two officers or gun captains would fire at identical problems at the same time, thus introducing competition.

    (15) Pointer-Trainer Machine. This device was designed to teach perfect coordination between pointer and trainer. A cartwheel sight was suspended behind a muslin screen and behind this sight was a model plane. A light beyond the plane threw the shadow of the plane and sight sharply upon the screen. The pointer and trainer on the left and right of the machine respectively went through the same movements of the machine they would employ in using a real gun. The instructor could change the approach angle and direction of flight.

    (16) Pneumatic Training Gun. This device originated at the school. A 20mm gun was made to vibrate in a way similar to that of a firing gun and there was even some resemblance to the sound of a 20mm gun firing.

    The Armed Guard Gunnery School at New York also played as important part in the development of ordnance equipment. The development of a cartwheel sight for the 3"/50 and 5"/38 guns was perhaps the major contribution. In addition it developed a 3"/50 Breech Dismounting Tool, a 3"/50 Salvo Latch Securing Tool, a 3"/50 Extractor Tripping


    Tool, a 3"/50 Recocking Tool, and a 20mm Securing Tool.

    It should be pointed out that the school, along with Shelton, played an important part in developing a method of anti-aircraft fire control with telescope sights when BuOrd failed to produce the cartwheel sight brackets needed to mount that type sight on all 5"/38 guns.180

    The school at New York and the center at Treasure Island distributed portable spotting boards to Area 1-A ships for training purposes.181

    The school was ordered disestablished on 1 November 1945. All specially constructed training equipments developed and used in the school were blueprinted for future reference before being dismantled. BuOrd training devices were packed and stored for future use.

    The general improvement in Armed Guard anti-aircraft gunnery and in the defense of their ships is largely due to refresher training at the Armed Guard Gunnery Schools. This training amply paid for all costs in saved money, time, and effort.


    Armed Guard Gunnery School, New Orleans

    Greater opportunities for training of Armed Guards awaiting assignment to ships existed at New Orleans than at any other Armed Guard Center. Officers and men were frequently at New Orleans for considerable periods of time, whereas their stay at the Brooklyn Center, for example, was often very brief. Although an Armed Guard Gunnery School, New Orleans, was established by BuPers as a Naval Training School until 12 December 1944, gunnery training had been started as early as June, 1942. At New Orleans was developed a most diverse program of instruction for Armed Guards who had already been trained at the basic schools. Real excellence was achieved in this training program. The training was a credit to the Center and later to the officer-in-charge and staff of the Gunnery School who came under the commanding officer of the Center.

    The original impetus for training at the Armed Guard Center at New Orleans came from a knowledge that personnel reporting for duty afloat had been hurriedly trained in gunnery, watch standing, and aircraft recognition. Additional instruction appeared desirable during the period when Armed Guards were waiting to be assigned to ships. The original training equipment consisted of a 4"/50, a 3"/50AA, a 20mm, a .50 cal., and two .30 cal. Machine guns. The early instructors were experienced officers who were awaiting assignment to ships. Two 5"/38 D.P. guns were later added to the training equipment.

    The original instruction consisted only of gunnery theory and practice. But the program was quickly expanded to include seamanship,


    night lookout, aircraft recognition, and communications. The 5"/38 maintenance training of gunner's mates, based on the Shelton curriculum, became an important course. Training was given in the maintenance and operation of gasoline and diesel generators for 5"/38 power. Officers were given courses in navigation and in convoy procedure. A course was even developed before the end of the war for the maintenance crews which were to be left on ships.

    Officers and enlisted men were given refresher training on the mechanics, maintenance, and preservation of all types of naval ordnance found on merchant ships. They were taught to function effectively as a coordinated gun crew and were given the latest defense tactics. Conditions at sea were simulated as much as possible. At the Gun Dock the operation, breakdown, and maintenance of machine guns was stressed. Enlisted personnel, working in small groups became quite proficient in taking these guns apart and putting them together again. The correct application of proper oils and greases for different climatic conditions was emphasized. Every effort was made to show the student all parts of guns either by placing them on display tables or by substituting glass covers for metal plates.

    Every effort was made to give Armed Guards additional training in correct loading procedure, sight-setting, pointing, training, and the duties of a gun captain. It was considered that each Armed Guard should know the duties of every member of the gun crew. Great emphasis was placed upon safety precautions, including the operation and testing


    of magazine sprinkler systems and surveillance tests for ammunition. Every effort was made to adapt training to new and changing tactics of the enemy. Synthetic devices were used at the school, as at all Armed Guard schools, and much credit must be given the officers for ingenuity in making modifications and in developing new ideas. A dual trainer was developed at the school, but this was not adopted elsewhere. The school also developed a frame for the gunnery cards which were used in training at about the same time BuAer was developing a similar frame.

    Men were sent to Shell Beach for actual firing at towed sleeves. Their speed of firing was greatly increased by training at the school. The men became so adept at identifying aircraft that they could make proper identification by seeing the plane for 1/100 of a second.

    Lookout training, especially night lookout duty, was given in a special building with a stage which could be made to appear as the horizon, moonlight at sea, a burning vessel, distant gun fire, or lightening. Miniature ship models were moved across the stage. The men wore battle telephones and simulated actual watch standing at sea.

    A large number of men received training in visual and radio communications. Three signal bridges were erected at the school. Convoy procedure was emphasized.

    Officers received a very fine course in celestial navigation which stressed procedures for locating positions at sea and plotting the course of a ship. The course gave practical training without detailed explanations of how the data was arrived at.


    Enlisted men received very good training in handling boats and in abandon ship procedures. A fully equipped lifeboat could be lowered and hoisted from the roof of the training building. The men later engaged in lifeboat drill on Lake Pontchartrain.

    The school was widely attended by men from the Fleet, the Army, the Marines, the Coast Guard, and by naval units from Great Britain, Russia, Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Norway, and Greece. A few merchant marine officers attended. By June, 1945 about 30 percent of the personnel in training were from Fleet and other naval commands. The school was finally disestablished on 4 December 1945.182

    In April, 1945 the following amounts of time were given to courses at the New Orleans school: (1) Problems of Armed Guard Commands - 24 hours; (2) General Gun Maintenance for Officers - 96 hours; (3) 5"/38 Course for Gunnery Officers - 48 hours; (4) Advanced Gunnery for Officers - 23 Hours; (5) Fire Control - 12 hours; (6) 5"/38 Gunner's Mates' Maintenance Course - 240 hours; (7) Gunnery for Signalmen and Radiomen - 11 hours; (8) Elementary Gunnery for Seamen - 70 hours; (9) General Gun Maintenance for Enlisted Personnel - 190 hours; (10) Wartime Instructions for Merchant Ships - 34 hours; (11) Visual Communication - 12 hours; (12) Visual Communication for Signalmen - 60 hours; (13) Preparation for Gunner's Mate


    Third Class Rating - 14 hours; (14) Petty Officer Preparation for Higher Rating - 8 hours; (15) Preparation for Coxswain Rating - 8 hours; (16) Navigation - piloting 12 hours, celestial navigation 42 hours, lifeboat navigation 6 hours; (17) Lifeboat Handling - 9 hours; (18) Lookout Training and Aircraft Recognition - 24 hours; (19) Military Training - 10 hours; (20) Physical Training and Athletics - 18 hours. Normally about 2,000 officers and enlisted men were available for instruction while awaiting assignment to merchant ships.

    While total figures for men trained at New Orleans are not available, the figures which are at hand indicate that from the middle of 1943 to the end of September, 1945, more than 3,000 officers and more than 42,000 men received refresher courses in anti-aircraft gunnery.183

    The list of training publications produced at the School and Center at New Orleans is impressive. They were: Five Inch Thirty-Eight Manual (revised ed., 1945); Armed Guard Commanding Officer's Ordnance Ledger; Ordnance Inspection; Ordnance Lubrication Manual; Safety Precautions; Spare Parts, Tools, and Accessories for Armed Guard Merchant Ships; Understanding Celestial Navigation; Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill for the Naval Armed Guard Afloat; Training Syllabus; Training Review; Course Outline for Ships Maintenance Crew; Course Outline of Armed Guard Inspection Service.


    Armed Guard Gunnery School, Seattle

    While training for Armed Guards under the direction of the Port Director was started very early in the war in the Seattle area, the Armed Guard Gunnery School under an officer-in-charge who would be under the command of the Port Director was not established as a Naval Training School until 21 June 1944.184 Not until the congestion in the port of San Francisco indicated the trend of expansion toward Seattle was an attempt made to standardize the synthetic training with that of other schools.

    By the fall of 1943 the USAT TEAPA was being regularly employed as a firing ship. This ship, while engaged in training pilots for coastwise waters, gave firing practice in both the 20mm gun, as well as examinations for advancement in rate, was given at the Training Center in the Exchange Building. In this building was located the Convoy and Merchant Ship Communication School which gave training to Armed Guard officers, signalmen, and radiomen. Some of the students were commercial radiomen and masters and mates from merchant ships. Another training center for Armed Guards was located at the Harbor Island Receiving Station. Training here included general indoctrination, loading drills on 3", 4", and 5" guns, night lookout training, breakdown of the 3", 4", and 20mm guns, and seamanship. A few Armed Guards were sent to


    Manchester, Washington fire fighting school. Swimming classes were given at the YMCA. Another training center for Armed Guards was located at Portland, Oregon, Receiving Barracks. Early in 1944 this training center was giving loading drills on the 3"/50 and breakdown of this gun and the 20mm machine gun. It also gave night lookout training.

    By February, 1944, instruction on the Mark I trainer was being given at Harbor Island Training Center at Seattle and soon a recognition course was added. Audio-visual training films and training with the .38 cal. Pistol and the .30 cal. Rifle were also added to the training program at the Exchange Building. The Training Center at Portland rapidly increased its training program. It used audio-visual films, the 3A2 trainer, and gave instruction on such subjects as general Armed Guard duties, safety precautions, ordnance and gunnery instructions, and breakdown and safety precautions for the .38 cal. Pistol and the .30 cal. Rifle. A large number of Russians received training at Seattle and Portland.

    By the middle of 1944 a tug was operating in Puget Sound to tow a surface target for the Teapa and ships departing the area to fire at. A plane was also provided to tow a sleeve for anti-aircraft firing practice.

    In an effort to standardize training, in August, 1944, BuPers ordered an officer from the school at Seattle to visit Washington, New York, and Shelton to observe and discuss Armed Guard training methods.185


    In the spring of 1945 the synthetic training officer at Shelton visited the Armed Guard Gunnery School at Seattle and made a number of recommendations. His mission was primarily for the purpose of bringing uniformity in instruction in fire control of the 5"/38 guns which did not have ring sights and were forced to use telescopic sights, and to make suggestions concerning refresher training, including target practice at towed sleeves. Op-23L was especially anxious that as many officers and men as possible be sent to the AA training center for actual firing.186 The officer from Shelton was at Seattle from April 8 to 15. He found 10 items of synthetic training equipment. There were two Mark 3 Trainers, one utilized two 20mm guns and the other used a 3"/50 mount. There were four Mark 4 Trainers, two Mark I Trainers, and two Mark 6 Trainers. In addition equipment was available for maintenance, breakdown, and loading instruction. Two weaknesses appeared in the training. There was no fixed program for anti-aircraft gunnery training. The Armed Guard officer selected the type of training to be given to his men. Another weakness was that no provision was made for sending officers and men to the anti-aircraft firing range at Pacific Beach, Washington. The weather was inclement about 60 per cent of the time and the trip to the range from Seattle required five hours each way.


    No firing ship was available since the Teapa had been required by the Army for other duty since July. Merchant ships fired at surface targets and a towed sleeve if such a sleeve was present when they passed through the firing area on their outbound trips. But this coincidence was very infrequent.

    The officer from Shelton suggested 10 changes in the refresher training program: (1) More emphasis on gunnery and fire control; (2) A definite two day course for officers and men using a drill manual from Shelton and an instructor's manual from the New York gunnery school and such equipment as was available at Seattle; (3) The program should be based on a six period day; (4) Construction of one or more multiple trainers; (5) Plastic sights of a reduced size and a reticle projector were installed on the guns of the Mark 3 trainers; (6) Arrangements were made for the installation of sighting steps for 20mm guns on synthetic training devices; (7) Each new Mark 3 trainer installed should be set up so as to consist of a battery of one 3" mount and two 20mm guns; (8) Plans were set up for teaching anti-aircraft fire of the 5"/38 using telescopic sights; (9) A miniature target plane would be installed for tracking purposes; (10) A program of training for 60 enlisted men and 10 officers a day during a two day training course was planned.187


    A forward step had come already on 1 February 1945 when all Armed Guard training was consolidated at Building 98, Receiving Barracks. The U.S.S. Discoverer (ARS 3) and the U.S.S. ATR-69, or in their absence any available YMS, were operated during alternate weeks for towing a surface target for merchant ship firing.188

    The larger training program anticipated for the Seattle school was cut short by the end of the war. The school was decommissioned on 20 August 1945 and personnel were transferred to the Naval Training School at Lake Union.189 Official figures of the Arming Merchant Ships Section in the Fleet Maintenance Division of Operations reveal that from 1 July 1943 to the end of training, 284 officers and 9,219 men received anti-aircraft gunnery training at Seattle.190


    Armed Guard Gunnery School, San Francisco (Treasure Island)

    An excellent program of refresher and continuation training was developed at the Armed Guard Center at Treasure Island. This training was designed to supplement the basic instruction received at San Diego; to turn men who had not received basic training into accomplished Armed Guards, and to keep men who had been at sea abreast of the latest gunnery developments.

    By March, 1942, a training program was underway at the Center in earnest. Com 12 on 11 January 1942 had directed the establishment of an Armed Guard School and a Signal School at the Center. The Armed Guard School was to include gunnery drills, small arms instruction, loading drill, pointing and training, sight setting, spotting, and machine gun instruction for all Armed Guards. In addition they were to receive as much communication instruction as possible. The Signal School was to make signalmen in the communication pool thoroughly familiar with their duties prior to their assignment to ships.191

    The training program had very modest beginnings with a .30 cal. Machine gun loaned by the Section Base, but equipment was added rapidly. Even before Com 12 directed the establishment of a school two 4"/50 loading machines had been obtained. By early 1945 the school was well equipped with all weapons used by the Armed Guard and with sufficient


    synthetic training devices to accommodate about 200 men per hour. The gun shed covered 15,000 square feet of space.

    Early instructors were officers awaiting assignment to ships. Some of the reserve officers who had been trained at Annapolis and other midshipmen schools served in a dual capacity as students and instructors while at the Center. In the fall of 1942 the training program was reorganized by the officer who had formerly served as the first Operations Officer at the Center while waiting assignment to a ship. The entire program appears to have been rather flexible. There were programs for recruits trained by the Center, others for veteran seamen undergoing refresher training, for seamen striking for petty officer rates, for petty officers undergoing refresher training, for the merchant marine, continuation training for the officers, and refresher training for officers. Again in the fall of 1943 the training was reorganized to place more emphasis on defense against aircraft. Officers and men were sent to Point Montara for firing practice, beginning in April, 1942. A Field Instruction Unit was formed to furnish the latest information to Armed Guards on ships in the stream which were not able to send crews in for refresher training because of quick turn around or transportation limitations. BuPers formalized the training program at Treasure Island on 12 December 1944 by establishing the Naval Training School (Armed Guard Gunnery) with an officer-in-charge who reported to the commanding


    officer of the Armed Guard Center.192

    The Armed Guard Center at Treasure Island had been designated as one of the three schools to give the 5"/38 maintenance course for petty officers. By the end of 1944 more men were being trained in this course at Treasure Island than at any other school. This training followed the Shelton pattern, with instruction not only in the 5"/38 but also in the operation and upkeep of the gasoline or diesel generators which were frequently necessary to furnish power for the operation of the gun. The monthly quota for the 5"/38 maintenance course was set at 60 on 24 July 1944. In addition, 40 gunner's mates were given a general gun maintenance course each month and 10 a week were sent to San Diego to act as leading petty officers until each had completed a month in training two gun crews. These petty officers were then returned to the Center for further duty afloat.193

    Near the end of 1944 the U.S.S. Dover was ordered to report to Com 12 for operation as a firing ship for the Armed Guard Center at Treasure Island. Firing from this ship was at surface targets. Anti-aircraft firing continued to be conducted at Point Montara.194 The


    official records of Op-414-D3 indicate that 84 officers and 3,370 enlisted men were given refresher training in surface firing aboard the Dover in the San Francisco area.195

    In an effort to standardize instruction in fire control, the use of telescopic sights on 5"/38 guns for antiaircraft defense, and the whole program of refresher training for officers and men,196 an officer from Shelton visited Treasure Island from 16 to 20 April, 1945. This officer found the training excellent. The synthetic devices were adequate for training needs. The method of controlling anti-aircraft fire of the 5"/38 equipped with telescopic sights was thoroughly discussed and arrangements were made to include this instruction in the training program. At Point Montara sighting steps were provided for Armed Guards firing the 20mm guns.197

    The Visual Signal School trained strikers for signal duty and gave additional training to personnel from the communication school at Los Angeles. The practice began of sending strikers to sea for training as signalmen. In May, 1943 refresher training for radiomen was started. Additional radio refresher courses and training in equipment maintenance were added in the summer of 1944. All communications officers and Armed Guard officers were required to attend the Wartime Merchant Ship Communication School at San Francisco for a two day course every six months.198


    Classes were held in a variety of subjects in addition to gunnery. They included watch standing (night lookout training), reporting, log keeping, hygiene, first aid, safety precautions, ammunition stowage (special attention was devoted to this problem in the latter part of the war), fuse setting, care and maintenance of binoculars and goggles, seamanship, naval regulations, customs and ethics of the service, and recognition. Practical training was given in small boat handling and the receipt of supplies while anchored in the stream. Some men were given fire fighting training and chemical warfare instruction.199 It is not definitely known how many men received some form of training at Treasure Island. Up to 30 June 1944 practically every officer and man had received continuation training and this practice seems to have continued until the end of the war. By the middle of 1944 about 2,200 officers and 43,000 men had received continuation training. Definite figures for refresher training in anti-aircraft gunnery indicate that 4,045 officers and 49,565 men received this training from the middle of 1943 to the end of the war.200

    Hundreds of foreign seamen and petty officers were given training at the Center. These foreigners were mainly Russian, Norwegian, and Dutch. Two gunners who spoke Russian served as interpreters for the


    Russians and translated the instruction booklets into Russian.201 Chinese Navy gunners were also trained with the aid of an interpreter and a special manual written in Chinese.202

    It is interesting to note that in the spring of 1943 ConServPac complained of the poor showing of Armed Guards in target practice in the Hawaiian area, but that by the fall of 1943 a decided improvement in target practice had been observed. No doubt the improved training at the Center was in part responsible.203


    The Functions of the Armed Guard Center

    Histories have been written by the three Armed Guard Centers established during World War II. While these histories are not uniform in quality, two of them are acceptable documents written with something of the historical point of view. By all odds the least satisfactory of the histories prepared by the Centers is that of the Armed Guard Center (Pacific). It is written in a spirit of criticism of the Navy Department and from a biased viewpoint which hardly does justice to the rather excellent record of the Center at Treasure Island. However, in view of what has already been written about the Centers, it seems fitting that only the barest outline of the important developments and a broad discussion of their functions should be attempted here.

    It should be understood at the outset that the Armed Guard Center was a new development which had few if any precedents in naval history. It should also be recognized that these Centers were established in haste to meet pressing needs of personnel in the Armed Guard Service. The best available facilities were utilized and expanded as necessity demanded. Great responsibility and much room for the exercise of initiative and ingenuity were imposed upon the officers connected with these Centers. If material and equipment were not always readily available in the early days of the war and if the personnel on hand for assignment were not always adequate, the same situation prevailed throughout the Navy. Such situations were not caused by those who were directing the process of arming merchant ships, but were inherent in the critical situation which


    the whole country faced with the outbreak of a two ocean or global war. If any blame attaches to the Navy Department for the trial and tribulations of the Centers in the months after Pearl Harbor, it is for the lack of long range planning and preparation in the months and years before the outbreak of war. But the framework of the Neutrality Act was not conducive to planning and preparation to do the thing which it prohibited.

    The Armed Guard Center was charged with receiving officers and men from Armed Guard training schools and with the assignment of these men on request of the Port Directors to armed merchant ships. The Center was the wartime home of the Armed Guards from completion of training until they went to sea and upon their return from sea. It fed them, supplied them with special clothing, books, and recreational equipment, paid them, gave additional training, furnished recreation, repaired their teeth and gave medical care, and finally placed them aboard a ship. All Armed Guards were attached to a Center as long as they remained in the Armed Guard Service. Their records were carried by the Centers and their pay accounts were handled by the Centers. The Centers had important responsibilities in seeing that latest instructions were in the hands of Armed Guard officers. Matters of Armed Guard discipline and leave were handled by the Centers. Personal and legal problems of the Armed Guards also received attention.

    The responsibility of the Center was not limited to those periods when Armed Guards were not at sea. It performed important functions for


    officers and men when they were at sea. These functions included handling of mail, handling of war ballots, keeping pay accounts, and transmitting important information to the Armed Guard.

    Of all the functions performed by the Centers perhaps none was more important than handling Armed Guard mail. Letters from home were perhaps the most important morale builders the men received as they manned the guns of the merchant ships. Prior to the fall of 1943 the Armed Guard Centers gave complete directory service on every piece of Armed Guard mail, for the only address which the Armed Guard was allowed to use was the Center to which he was attached. Every effort was made to give Armed Guard mail the same prompt service as was given mail for combatant ships of the Navy by use of Fleet Post Officers. In December, 1942, merchant marine mail was given the same handling as for the Armed Guards and personnel of Navy combatant ships. 204 The Navy refused, however, to make the Armed Guard officer in any way responsible for the mail on merchant ships. 205 His only responsibility was to censor the mail of the Armed Guards under his command and to see that it was mailed at the nearest naval activity. In November, 1943, a move was made which greatly improved the mail service for Armed Guards, especially those operating in areas other than the Pacific. Armed Guards were allowed to use the name of the ship on which they were assigned, to


    indicate in the address that they were Armed Guards on that ship, and to designate appropriate Fleet Post Office, New York, New Orleans, or San Francisco, to which the mail should be sent. In the event that there were two or more ships with the same name, the Armed Guards were allowed to designate the steamship company.206 Every effort was made to improve the mail service. Complaints, which had been frequent in the early part of the war, rapidly declined as experience was gained in the most effective means of handling mail for many people who were constantly moving from one part of the world to another. The Centers continued to play an important part in giving directory service when it was needed. Furthermore, Armed Guards at the New York Center, and presumably at other Centers, were assigned to the Fleet Post Office around Christmas in order to keep the mail from piling up.

    Pay accounts of Armed Guard officers and men were carried by the Center to which they were attached, but a simple and effective means was provided for making partial payments to meet personal needs while Armed Guards were on voyages to all parts of the world. Armed Guards were issued partial pay cards which were valid for a year. New cards could be issued when these cards were filled up or had expired. These cards were to be given the same handling as United States Treasury checks or currency. Any Navy, Marine, or Coast Guard disbursing office could make payments to Armed Guards with partial pay cards. Masters of ships or other authorized representatives of steamship companies could pay Armed Guards when 30 days had elapsed since the last payment and it was not practicable for a Navy, Marine, or Coast Guard disbursing officer to make


    payments, provided such procedure was satisfactory to the steamship company. In cases of urgent necessity Army finance officers and State Department representatives outside continental limits of the United States could make payments to Armed Guards. BuSandA did not approve a CNO recommendation that masters be allowed to pay Armed Guards as often as every 15 days.207 With certain exceptions, Armed Guards were able to secure their pay promptly when they needed it. The greatest difficulties appear to have developed in the Gulf area, notably at Houston, but every effort was made to remedy all difficulties which arose. A procedure was even worked out for making payments when partial pay cards had been lost.208

    The centers distributed post cards for the purpose of requesting a ballot to Armed Guard officers and these officers in turn distributed the cards to all eligible naval and merchant marine personnel. Personnel


    were allowed to give the name of their ship as part of their address provided the cards were delivered to the Armed Guard officer, who was directed to deposit them in a Fleet, Army, or United States Post Office wherever possible, or if not possible with a Navy or State Department activity. Not until 22 June 1945 were Armed Guard officers relieved of all responsibility for attesting oaths of merchant seamen who were voting. This step became necessary because Armed Guard officers were being removed from ships in areas where little danger of attack existed. Armed Guard officers still facilitated the exercise of the franchise by naval personnel aboard merchant ships. The War Shipping Administration called the handling of war ballots by Washington, the Centers, and the Armed Guard officers a "splendid job". 209

    Commanding officers from the Centers and other key officers frequently visited other Centers and schools and the Arming Merchant Ship Section in Washington. Efforts were made, for example, to have officers from the San Francisco Center come East every six months. These visits were made in an effort to standardize the Armed Guard Service and to iron out inevitable difficulties concerning procedure.


    Armed Guard Center (Atlantic)

    The Naval Reserve Armory at 52nd Street and 1st Avenue, South Brooklyn, was commissioned on 20 May 1941 as a Navy Receiving Station. It was used to accommodate the crews of British vessels undergoing repairs in local shipyards. On 18 November 1941 the first Armed Guard officers and men arrived from Little Creek, Virginia, for on 10 November the Receiving Station had been designated by BuNav as the Armed Guard Center for the Atlantic Coast.210 The Center was placed under the direct command of the officer assigned to command the Receiving Station and was operated under general direction of Com 3.

    The story of the Armed Guard Center (Atlantic) is one of rapid expansion until it became one of the largest military commands in the Navy. Matters ran on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis, but no ship ever missed a sailing date for lack of an Armed Guard crew. In the early days the Center even trained 500 men who had been sent direct from a recruiting station, giving them three weeks of recruit training and three weeks of Armed Guard training. These men made up 30 per cent of the gun crews on many ships which were sent into dangerous areas. Other recruits received similar training later.

    The Center operated around the clock. Calls for gun crews could come at any time of day or night. Other Navy personnel were for a time


    quartered at the Center in addition to Armed Guards. Some British personnel were at the Center until late in 1942. Not until October, 1942 was the designation Armed Guard Center (Atlantic) given to the station, thus indicating that it should concentrate only on the Armed Guard.

    Figures for March 1944 indicate the enormous activity at the Center. With 47,000 men and 2,800 officers attached, the Disbursing Office paid out over two million dollars a month. Leave papers were written for about 1,000 men a week. Nearly 5,000 men were fed each day. About 1,800 men were advanced in rating each month out of 2,500 taking examinations. Special clothing and small stores issued each month amounted to $750,000 and returned special clothing to $225,000. About 1,000 disciplinary cases were handled each month. The ship's service store served from 6,000 to 8,000 men a day and monthly receipts were more than $130,000, a figure which increased to $266,000 for December, 1944. Over 1,100 personnel ran this mammoth station. New drafts were being received each week from Shelton and Gulfport, running as high as 465 men. Training was given on the 5"/38, the 4"/50, the 3"/50, and on the 20 mm gun, and in first aid, recognition, and boat handling, and signaling. A polaroid trainer, a night vision room, and loading machines were also used in training. Instruction was also given in small arms and on the many duties and responsibilities of Armed Guard officers. But the training program at the Center never became as important as that at the other Centers because of the usually short periods of time at which men were at the Center. Figures for November would be even more


    impressive, except that there had been a marked reduction in administrative personnel to 885. By 1 November 59,062 officers and men were attached to the Center. This represented the peak in the Center's activity. A steady decline set in until only 45,089 officers and men were attached on 1 June 1945. But in the spring of 1945 crews of Navy ships not yet in commission were assigned to the Center for housing and feeding.

    By the middle of 1945 the process of shifting battle tried veterans of the war in the Atlantic and Mediterranean to the Centers at New Orleans and Treasure island was well under way. Plans were developed to use these men in the coming battle of the Pacific. No longer did the Center at New York have to fit out hundreds of ships with full crews of Armed Guards. Merchant ships sailing from Atlantic ports carried a maintenance crew of a gunner's mate and a seamen first class. Pools had been established at various strategic points in the world from which full Armed Guard crews could be drawn if the ships were sent into combat areas. The Armed Guard Center (Atlantic) supplied personnel for the very vital pool at Port Said.

    Some indication of the intimate contact the Center had with the realities of war comes from the losses of personnel attached. To 1 June 1945 some 505 ships carrying Armed Guards from the Center had been sunk. Personnel losses included 76 officers and 1,330 men. Survivors from sinkings numbered 412 officers and 7,679 men.

    What of the physical plant which took care of the needs of such a large number of men? The most important building was, of course, the


    Armory. On the drill deck, called "The Jungle", 1,763 men could sleep after a fashion in triple decked bunks. In July, 1942 the U. S. S. Newton was obtained for use as a barracks for 600 men and it was later used for a time as a brig. Barracks B, completed in the summer of 1943, had a bunk capacity of 3,200. Building A, a three story building, ran across the entire front of the Armory and was used for offices, ship's service, recreational facilities, class rooms, disbursing, sick bay, muster area, and barracks. Additions were made to the Armory itself, including a penthouse atop the west end. A gun shed was built late in 1942 and a Polaroid Trainer Building in late 1943. Other buildings acquired included a garbage disposal building, a storehouse, a warehouse and garage. During emergencies the Receiving Barracks at Flushing Avenue and the Lido Beach Receiving Station were used to accommodate personnel. At times 1,600 men were berthed off the station. Additional barracks space was secured in the fall of 1943 when a car barn on 52d Street between 1st and 2d Avenues was leased. When this barracks was completed, the Central could house more than 6,000 men on station. In November, 1942 the station had come under the Navy Yard, New York for repair and maintenance purposes. Not until 1945 was the Newton taken out of service. It had never been considered absolutely safe. Many officers waiting assignment were quartered at the Henry Hudson Hotel. Transportation facilities included 44 trucks and automobiles and 5 motor boats. The American Women's Voluntary Service was of great help in the transportation problem. The Red Cross and the Army Ambulance Corps


    furnished ambulance service. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission lent the Huntington Estate at Haverstraw for use as a rest camp. After 2 September 1944 men were sent to a rest camp at Delant, Florida and the use of Haverstraw was discontinued because of insurmountable engineering problems, especially the water supply. Recreation facilities also existed on the large drill ground and on the main deck of the Armory. Religious services were held on the main deck each Sunday, and a chapel was used for smaller affairs and confessions. The Center published its own newspaper, "The Pointer", every two weeks. Free tailor, barber, and laundry service was furnished to all hands, except that officers paid for their laundry. 211


    Armed Guard Center (Gulf)

    The Armed Guard Center at New Orleans was established on 2 March 1942 as a separate activity under the Receiving Station at Algiers. Not until 23 September 1944 did it become a subordinate command of the Naval Repair Base with a commanding officer instead of an officer-in-charge. By August, 1943 the Center consisted of an administration building and four barracks capable of housing 1,500 men. When the Center reached the peak of its activity in March, 1945 about 16,000 men were at sea and 4,000 awaiting assignment. Armed Guards were occupying four permanent and thirty temporary barracks.

    The period following the surrender of Germany saw continued activity at the Center as men were assigned to ships bound for the Pacific. There was a decline in the pool of men awaiting assignment.

    By all odds the greatest and most distinctive contribution of the Center to the Armed Guard Service came from its very fine training program which is discussed elsewhere. The Center was a well run activity which handled the problems of the Armed Guards quietly and effectively and in a very military manner. The 38 buildings which formed the Center were kept neat and the grounds were constantly improved.

    Prior to the disestablishment of the Center on 1 April 1946 about 110,000 men were placed on ships from New Orleans. In December, 1944 alone 250 officers and 5,000 enlisted men were assigned or detached. At times the monthly pay roll exceeded $600,000. 212


    Armed Guard Center (Pacific)

    The Armed Guard Center at Treasure Island was established by Com 12 on 19 December 1941 in compliance with a BuNav Directive of 15 November. It was the intention of the Navy Department that the Center should perform the same functions performed by the other Centers, no more and no less. But the District General Order No. 32-41 which created the Center contained mention of services with regard to supplies and equipment which were the source of most of the Center's troubles and which the Center was neither equipped nor intended to handle. The Center was originally placed under an officer-in-charge, who was responsible to the commanding officer of the Section Base. Correspondence also went through Commander Patrol Force before it reached Com 12. In January, 1942 the quarters for the Center were set up in Building N, and on 30 May in its permanent location in Barracks D. On 2 June 1942 the Center was designated as a command with a commanding officer.

    In spite of the many difficulties, misunderstandings, jealousies, rivalries and confusion, including the alleged stupidity of most people in Washington, which the historian of the Center describes so vividly, the Armed Guard Center at Treasure Island does not appear to have had greater difficulties that other Centers with its basic mission to take care of Armed Guard personnel. Nor does the job which the Center did in this regard appear to have been much better or much worse that that done by the other Centers. It is the proud boast of the Center that no ship was ever delayed for lack of a gun crew even though many of the


    early Armed Guards were recruits who had been quickly trained by the Center.

    Like other Centers the Treasure Island command constantly expanded its facilities. During the summer of 1943 the bunk capacity was increased to 1,900. In the summer of 1944 the Center had berthing facilities for 4,875 enlisted men, adequate Wave facilities, and increased office and storage space. By the end of the war the Center could berth 5,671 men in four buildings. The peak figure for personnel attached to the Center was reached on 28 June 1945 when 46,817 officers, men, and Waves were attached, of which 2,111 were officers. The peak for officers was reached on 22 August when 2,339 were attached. On 30 August personnel from the Center were aboard 2,106 vessels for duty in gunnery, communications, and transport administration.

    The Armed Guard Center was never intended to have material functions other than with regard to such items as special protective clothing, recreational equipment, and a few simple shipboard training devices. The material responsibilities rested with the Port Directors. Inspection and repair of defense installations were likewise arranged by the Port Directors and the Assistant Industrial Managers. But at San Francisco the Port Director did not do the job which CNO directives required him to do. Both material and repair functions were shifted over to the Center. It is not surprising that the story is one of constant confusion, frequent misunderstandings, and that the Center performed these various tasks with the greatest of difficulty. Perhaps the fault lies squarely


    on the shoulders of the Port Director or perhaps the Center is equally to blame for assuming diverse functions which it was not equipped to perform. Perhaps the fault lies in the general tendency which appears to have existed on the West Coast to disregard Navy Department directives. It is also true that the Navy Department did not crack the whip to bring the San Francisco set up into line with approved procedures elsewhere. The main interest of the Arming Merchant Ship Section in Operations during the early years of the war was the Atlantic and Mediterranean, for it was here that the Armed Guard was engaged in a life and death struggle with the enemy. Little action was experienced in the Pacific prior to the invasion of the Mariannas, and not until the Philippines invasion did the Armed Guard receive its full baptism by fire in the Pacific. Washington was not neglecting the Pacific area. It sent out very clear directive to the Armed Guard Center (Pacific) -- the same directives which went to other Centers. Unfortunately, many of these directives were not followed. It also brought in officers from the Center for conferences and visits to other activities in an effort to promote uniformity.

    The Center at Treasure Island assumed responsibility for supplying Armed Guards with material. The monthly turnover in general supplies ran as high as $250,000. In addition the Center assumed large responsibilities for inspection and repair of ordnance. In short, the Center appears to have done just about everything except place ammunition on board merchant ships and carry out the initial installation of guns.


    It is not surprising that there was constant friction with the Assistant Industrial Manager that the Center was forced to resort to all kinds of expedients in order to get the job done. After all, supplying spare parts for naval ordnance is a specialized job. To the credit of the Center is the fact that it got the job done. But the Center was certainly doing much more than it was established to do and its extra tasks were probably accomplished in the most difficult manner possible because of lack of experienced and of trained specialists in material and ordnance.

    The Center even took over the repair of all sound powered telephones. There was certainly no lack of initiative. When contractors were unable to supply convoy lights men from the Center were employed to assemble the lights. A repair service was established for diesel generators used in operating the 5"/38 guns.

    On one of the responsibilities which Centers were expected to assume, the Pacific Center was slow to come in line with approved practice elsewhere. This concerned the issue of winter clothing. The procedure finally adopted at Brooklyn and New Orleans was to issue the special clothing to each Armed Guard, accepting the man's chit. Treasure Island stubbornly insisted that the clothing should be issued to the Armed Guard officer. This meant that clothing often did not fit the individual. Men who were transferred to another ship might find themselves in zero weather with no winter clothing. CNO directed the Pacific Center to follow the East Coast system of issue on 31 July 1944 and the


    Center complied in April, 1945.

    During the 46 month period from 1 January 1942 to 1 November 1945 the Center paid $69,468,800 to personnel.

    In addition to its many Armed Guard duties the Center became heavily involved in the Navy Chartered Transport Pool. While the personnel in the pool were eventually turned over to the Training Center at Treasure Island for administration, their pay accounts were carried by the Armed Guard Center and the Center was expected to issue partial pay cards. But according to BuSandA regulations the partial pay cards could only be issued to Armed Guards. The question of authority and responsibilities of the Center with regard to this pool appears to have been the source of endless confusion and bickering, if we may accept the official history of the Center.

    Prior to the establishment of the Armed Guard Inspection Service, inspections were made by the Center, the Port Director's office, and by the Assistant Industrial Manager. It appears that there were too many inspectors during the early part of the war. After the establishment of the Armed Guard Inspection Service early in 1944 the Center discontinued its official inspections, but later established a Field Instruction Unit which gave instruction to Armed Guard on Ships making quick turn arounds and also served as an inspection unit for the Center. Thus inspections passed largely into the hands of the Port Director, but material and repairs remained in the hands of the Center.


    A number of publications were issued by the Center. In fact, there was constant danger that these publications would include doctrines and procedures not sanctioned for the Armed Guard Service. The Manual for Armed Guard Officers was intended to supplement the excellent instruction books issued by the Chief of Naval Operations. Bulletins called Argupacs were issued to Armed Guard officers after the summer of 1943. The Center also issued Hints on Surface Fire Control, Hints on Eyeshooting, AA Defense of Merchant Ships, and Recreation at Sea. Pamphlets were issued on lubricants and sound-powered telephones; also issued were relative bearing and approach angle cards, check off lists for armament lubrication and maintenance, and safety precautions for all guns and magazines. Not until rather late in the war did CNO require submission of all publications on fire control for approval before issue.

    In conclusion, it is suggested that the Armed Guard Center (Pacific) did a good job, but its history furnishes one of the best examples of the trials and tribulations which can come when an activity is operating outside the framework laid down by those who are responsible for establishing the broad policies and procedures for the Navy Establishment. Subordinate commands are too often unaware of the careful planning and analysis of all angles of questions which go into directives issued by CNO and the Material Bureaus. Difficulties are often avoided if subordinate commands comply with the letter and spirit of these directives. Confusion and trouble result when these directives are disregarded. In the case of the Armed Guard Center (Pacific), most of


    the confusion and worry came because the Port Director at San Francisco was not complying with CNO directives and the Center was attempting to go far beyond its expected functions. Such situations do not lose wars as long as somebody does the job. But they do lead to grey hairs and unjust recriminations in official histories. 213


    Port Directors and the Armed Guard Program

    The Port Directors played a vital role in the Armed Guard program. They made the arrangements with the Maritime Commission for placing guns and other defense installations on ships and with the Centers for supplying Armed Guards. It was their responsibility to see that all Armed Guard equipment, defensive ammunition, and all spare parts for ordnance were placed on board. They issued winter clothing when the Centers failed to do so and winter clothing was needed. The inspection of the Armed Guards and of defense installations came under the Port Directors and they were responsible for seeing that all repairs to defensive equipment were made by working parties, or by the Industrial Managers of the Maritime Commission. For all practical purposes they served as the personal agents of the Arming Merchant Ship Section in the Fleet Maintenance Division of Operations. They brought unsatisfactory messing conditions to the attention of the master, owner, or operator. They forwarded latest instructions to Armed Guards and could take Armed Guards off ships when they were guilty of serious breeches of discipline. In short, they made all of the necessary arrangements to insure that ships were ready to defend themselves before they left port and that defensive equipment was in good condition upon return of the ships to port. Theirs was a vast responsibility. They were undoubtedly the most important agents in the execution of the


    program.214 With the exception of San Francisco, the Port Directors assumed their responsibilities and did a good job. It has already been indicated that the Center at Treasure Island was burdened with the responsibilities which the Port Director at San Francisco was expected to perform.


    Armed Guard Pools

    While Armed Guards were generally placed aboard ships in continental United States ports, the practice of establishing pools of Armed Guards in various ports of the world began to develop very early in the war. All Armed Guards in pools, remained attached to the Armed Guard Center which had sent them out. The pools were made up mostly of personnel who were survivors or who had been taken off ships returning to the United States, but a few officers and men were sent out from the Centers in special cases. Each pool had an officer-in-charge who came under the command of the Area Commander. Assignments to merchant ships were handled by the Area Commander or his service force, which normally handled personnel for the area. The pools grew to meet the needs of the service. They varied widely in size and were constantly increasing and decreasing as those needs changed.

    The first pool established was that at Londonderry. During the course of the war other pools were established at Antwerp, Oran, Port Said, Melbourne, Fremantle, Sydney, Brisbane, Milne Bay (later moved to Samar), Hollandia (later moved to Manila), Finschaven (later moved to Manus), Subic Bay, Ulithi, Saipan, Pearl Harbor, and Balboa. By all odds the two most important pools were those at Port Said and Balboa. Ships with a maintenance crew or with and Area 2 crew of 9 men could be readily brought up to Area 1-A requirements when they passed through the Panama and Suez canals. Repair parties were attached to the pools at Milne Bay and Hollandia. In addition to foreign pools, the Center at


    Treasure Island kept small pools at San Pedro and Seattle and Brooklyn kept a small pool at Norfolk.

    The pools performed three main functions. They allowed rotation of crews on shuttle runs. They made it easy to add the Area 1-A equipment to ships which had been operating with maintenance or reduced crews. They furnished replacements for crew members removed for hospitalization and disciplinary action.215

    Directions were given on 17 November 1944 to increase the pool at Pearl Harbor by 200 men and to increase the pool at Balboa by 100 men in preparation for increasing Area 2 crews to Area 1-A.216 But by January, 1945 members of the pool at Pearl Harbor were assigned to various activities at the naval base and were assigned to digging ditches and other similar work. The men were collected and arrangements were made to quarter them at the Armed Guard Pool. 217

    The recommendation of the Commanding Officer Armed Guard Center (Pacific) that an officer-in-charge of all pools in the Southwest Pacific be designated with responsibilities for inspection and coordinating these activities was disapproved by Op-23L. 218 Likewise, the proposal to place an officer-in-charge for all Pacific Armed Guard


    Pools was disapproved.219 Approval was given to designate an officer at the Center to serve as Armed Guard Liaison Officer (Pacific) Armed Guard Pools.220


    The Mission of the Armed Guard

    The Armed Guards had only one main mission -- to defend merchant ships and transports from enemy air, surface, and submarine attacks. Their primary duties, therefore, were watch standing and manning guns and maintenance of guns and defensive equipments. They had nothing to do with running the merchant ships although they greatly assisted at times in fighting fires, and in salvage operations, especially when the merchant seamen became panicky or abandoned ship. We shall see in the following chapter that Armed Guards assumed some responsibilities with regard to defense installations other than guns, but such duties were never to interfere with manning the guns. Armed Guards were expected to live up to the highest standards and traditions of the Navy. The officer was a commanding officer of a separate and distinct command and he was entrusted not only with the welfare and safety of his men but with all matters concerning opening fire in defense of the ship, with maintenance of ordnance and ammunition, and with calling attention to necessary repairs.

    Standard doctrine was that Armed Guards should open fire in the direction of an attacking submarine, even if the enemy could not be seen. They were to open fire on any unidentified plane outside the Western Hemisphere which flew within 1,500 yards of the ship or flew directly towards the ship. Armed Guards could only abandon ship when sinking was imminent and gun fire impossible.

    Upon the Armed Guard officer and his petty officers rested the


    heavy responsibility of instructing the merchant seamen in gunnery and with converting his own gun crew and the merchant seamen into an effective combat team. An allowance of 60 rounds of 20 mm ammunition was allowed for target practice every 60 days and 25 target balloons a year were supplied to each ship.221 For 3", 4", and 5" guns an allowance of five rounds was provided every 60 days. Machine guns were tested daily ay dawn by a short burst of fire while in the zone of enemy aircraft operations.222

    Armed Guards stood watches at the heavy guns. Two men were on lookout duty at each gun 3" or larger. A normal 24 man gun crew had 8 men on watch at all times while at sea, two men at the stern gun, two men at the forward gun, and a petty officer and three men stationed in the vicinity of the bridge. The petty officer was in charge of the watch and did not stand lookout duty. The three men in the vicinity of the bridge were to stand by and relieve the lookouts. No more than two hours steady lookout duty for submarines or one hour steady lookout duty for aircraft was allowed before a relief was supplied. Where aircraft attack was possible half the gun crew were on watch. One man was required to be at each machine gun in such cases, but the merchant seamen were supposed to furnish half of the watch at the machine guns. Men were on watch for four hours, but the watch was dogged during the


    evening watch on Saturday. Normally each Armed Guard was on watch for 8 hours of each 24 hour period while at sea, but when attack was suspected half of the gun crew were on watch and half were off watch. All Armed Guards went to general quarters manning all guns for about one hour at dawn and sunset when at sea. Submarine and air attacks were most likely to occur at dawn or dusk. The normal sea watch was maintained while ships were anchored in open roadsteads. In United States ports one third of the Armed Guard crew was required to be aboard at all times and two men were normally on watch while in port in this country. One man performed sentry duty and another man had a roving watch. Both men on watch were protecting naval equipment from sabotage and theft.223 Watch standing in foreign ports was governed by local conditions. Often some of the heaviest action of the war took place while ships were anchored in foreign ports.

    The life of the Armed Guard was a busy one. He had to keep his own quarters and clothing in good shape. He went to general quarters at least twice a day while at sea. His watches ran from eight to 12 hours, depending on conditions. He spent much time cleaning and lubricating guns and performing the many duties necessary to maintain Navy equipment at sea. Training and study for advancement added to his full day. But he had a little time for reading books


    supplied by the Navy and for listening to phonograph records and playing games. When nothing happened and the weather was good his life was not too hard. But when the weather was bad life was not so pleasant and when enemy attacks were pressed for long periods of time he might remain at his guns until completely exhausted and longer. His was the most dangerous job in the United States Navy in certain areas in the early part of the war. But near the end of the war he generally had the best duty afloat. At any rate, he received no overtime. Where necessary he stayed at general quarters around the clock. His was not the privilege of arranging for overtime pay before going to his duty station. He could not even receive extra pay when he performed services in unloading cargo in times of great urgency at advance bases when the authority of the senior naval officer present was given for him to perform this work. He could not receive gifts from his better paid companions in the merchant marine. He fought and did his duty as a Navy man and in this respect his lot was very similar to that of his fellow countrymen on the Navy escort vessels, except that they had more guns and faster ships, and a full complement of naval personnel aboard.

    Every effort was made by Op-23L to prevent the Armed Guard from assuming duties which would interfere with the defense of the ship or which were proper functions of the master and his merchant crew. All attempts to involve Armed Guards in gangway watches so as to act as a police force for merchant seamen were strongly resisted. Discipline


    of the merchant crew was no responsibility of the Armed Guard.224 Op-23L also opposed a requirement of the Naval Transportation Service that Armed Guard officers be required to keep elaborate cargo logs. Op-39 replied that its directive, which had not been cleared with Op-23L, required that the Armed Guard officer only secure the information from the master of the rate of discharge of cargo.225 Armed Guards were not to serve as cargo hold watchmen nor to work in cargo holds. At advance bases they might be used in emergencies to discharge essential cargo, but only when directed by the senior naval officer present. In such cases they could only be used on deck near their guns. 226

    Precautions were taken to ensure that Armed Guard officers on Army ships would have adequate authority to carry out all duties in defending the ship. The Armed Guard officer should be of equal rank or senior in rank to the Commander of Troops and the Communication Liaison officer.227 Navy Chartered Transports sailing from the West Coast presented special problems and led to the creation of Commanding officers of Naval Armed Guards and Troops who had authority over all military personnel and all civilian passengers aboard. Armed Guard


    officers with much duty were spotted in rank for these responsible jobs. The Commanding Officer of Troops executed orders from the Naval Commanding Officer. If senior to the Navy Officer he could appoint a representative to serve during the voyage. 228


    The Armed Guard Inspection Service

    One of the first acts of the newly created Arming Merchant Ships Section in Operations was to institute the inspection of armament on merchant ships on 31 January 1942. The Port Directors were to make the inspections and minor repairs.229 To carry out this directive some 45 O-V(S) officers were eventually assigned to the various Port Directors' offices. Directions were given on 10 February that the inspection service should be a function of the District Material Officers in cooperation with the Port Directors230, but in actual practice the Port Director assumed most of the responsibility.

    On 22 October 1943 CNO directed the assignment of 40 officers with at least a year of Armed Guard sea experience to Port Directors in 23 ports. This service was immediately dubbed "AGIS". These officers were not to displace the O-V(S) officers who acted in the capacity of ordnance specialists. The new inspectors were to inspect personnel as well as defense equipment. It was realized at the time that more of the inspectors would probably be needed and,231 in fact, many more were assigned before the end of the war.

    The duties of the Armed Guard inspectors were carefully outlined in a CNO letter of 14 January 1944. The AGIS officers were


    to board every United States and allied flag merchant vessel and transport and were to inspect all guns, gun foundations, splinter protection, magazines, ammunition hoists, Armed Guard quarters, Armed Guard messing facilities, darkening ship arrangements, and other naval defense equipment. In addition they were to assist the Armed Guard officers with their many problems. One of their functions was to take the new Armed Guard officer aboard outbound merchant ships, to introduce him to the master and the officers, and to acquaint him with all defense equipment on the ship. The AGIS officer also acquainted the Armed Guard officer with all essential information concerning facilities in the port for Armed Guard and their equipment. Among special ordnance problems which received the attention of the AGIS officer in ports where there were no O-V(S) officers to conduct inspections and make repairs were failure of 3"/50 guns to train freely and lack of proper sights. Many 20 mm guns lacked dip pots and spare barrel containers and on a large number the splinter shield had been lowered to clear the vision when the gun was depressed. The trunnion elevating gear on many 20 mm guns required careful checking. The training and elevating gear on a number of old 4" and 5" guns was badly worn and either required adjustment or replacement. Splinter protection on all guns had to be checked to see that there was no danger of firing into the protection and that it was supplied with the required freeing ports. Some 20 mm guns did not have the proper sighting steps. All ready service boxes were inspected to see


    that they had the proper hinges and that the axis of all ammunition was parallel to the fore and aft center line of the ship. Canvas awnings were to be over all ready service boxes to protect them from the direct rays of the sun. The sprinkler system for ammunition magazines received special attention. Armed Guard officers and petty officers were required to conduct an actual test under the observation of the AGIS officer. General Alarm Bells and switches for sounding the general alarm were checked.232 From time to time the duties of AGIS officers were increased by CNO directives. On 6 March 1944 they were directed to inspect all generators supplying current to 5"/38 guns.233 On 4 July spot inspections were ruled out. The Armed Guard officer should be advised of the time of inspection so that he could be on board and ready for the inspection. At this time AGIS officers were directed to check on the failure to install an Ordnance Storeroom and Armory with the view of arranging for the installation where lacking.234 On 3 February 1945 they were directed to examine the hydrogen bottle clamps in view of the fact that some hydrogen bottles had broken adrift in rough weather. 235

    Responsibilities imposed on AGIS officers for inspection of material on ships operating in Area 3 or Area 2-B while in a maintenance


    status became very great. They checked all armament and equipment to see that the ship was in every sense ready in a material way for Area 1-A duty. It was their responsibility to see that all equipment was in proper condition before the Armed Guard officer was detached and to see that the maintenance crew were performing their duties in a satisfactory manner.236 It was necessary to expand the number of officers attached to the AGIS, especially with the assumption of these new responsibilities. It was also necessary to furnish working parties from the Port Director's office to provide security watches over ammunition while vessels were under repair, to assist in the fitting out of new construction armed merchant vessels, the storage of ammunition there on, and the replacement of ammunition on vessels in a maintenance status. These working parties could undertake maintenance work while the vessel was in port and act as reliefs for maintenance personnel on leave. 237 One of the duties of the AGIS officers late in the war was to see that no Armed Guard gear was stowed in the forward part of the ship where there was great danger of damage from sea water, especially in heavy seas.238

    Of great importance were the inspections of Armed Guard establishments by officers from Op-23L. These officers made frequent visits to Schools and Centers in connection with the standardization of training


    and procedures. They also visited the Port Directors in connection with the proper functioning of the Armed Guard program, especially the inspection service. These visits were valuable in standardizing all aspects of the Armed Guard service, in correcting mistakes, and in keeping the Arming Merchant Ship Section informed in detail of what was being done. They formed a valuable supplement to the numerous visits by Center and School officers in other Centers and Schools and to Washington.


    Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)


    1. BuPers ltr., Pers-635-JS, 16 Feb. 1943.

    2. See Appendix I.

    3. See Appendix II.

    4. BuNav rest. Ltr., Nav-61-RS Qs1/P16-1(786), 17 Nov. 1941.

    5. Information concerning the training of Naval Reserves for ordinance and gunnery duties can be found in enclosures to Naval Academy ltr., ser. 235063, 18 Sept. 1945.

    6. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0104122, 25 Sept. 1941.

    7. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0119622, 3 Nov. 1941.

    8. BuNav rest. ltr., Nav-61-RS QS1/P16-1(786), 17 Nov. 1941.

    9. The Armed Guard Pointer, 23 Nov. 1944.

    10. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0145622, 22 Dec. 1941.

    11. CNO conf. disp., 171830, 17 Jan. 1942.

    12. VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 0265523, 11 Aug. 1942.

    13. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 017238, 19 Jan. 1942; JAG conf. ltr., ser. 017238, 28 Jan. 1942.

    14. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 29223, 12 Feb. 1942.

    15. Rest. memo., Op-23 to CNO, 16 Feb. 1942; CNO conf. disp., 162027, 17 Feb. 1942.

    16. Rest. ltr., CNO to BuNav, Ser. 31823, 17 Feb. 1942.

    17. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 38923, 21 Feb. 1942.

    18. VCNO rest. ltr., ser. 147323-M, 19 May 1942; BuPers rest. ltr., Pers-61-JAT P17-2/MM(3877), 29 May 1942.

    19. CNO rest. disp., 271455, 27 Feb. 1942.

    20. Op-23L memo. for File, 7 March 1942.

    21. Op-23L memo. for File, 11 March 1942.

    22. Op-23L memos. for File, 9 and 11 March 1942.

    23. Rest. ltr., VCNO to BuNav, ser. 90423, 6 April 1942.

    24. Rest. memo, Op-23L for Op-23, 14 May 1942.

    25. VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 0161623, 16 May 1942; BuPers rest. ltr., Pers-1411-EW, 18 May 1942; VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 0180123, 1 June 1942; BuPers conf. ltr., Pers-1411-DW P/16-5(C) (986), 14 June 1942.

    26. BuPers conf. ltr., Pers-1411-DW P/16-5(C) (986), 14 June 1942; BuPers rest. ltr., Pers-123dMjj, 13 Jan. 1944.

    27. Rest. ltr., Com 3 (Port Director) to VCNO, P16-5/PD9(2-0) FGR:EBMcK; alk, 25 July 1942; BuPers rest. ltr., Pers 635-owc, 28 July 1942.

    28. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 13 July 1942.

    29. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 29 July 1942, VCNO conf. disp., 241940, 24 Aug. 1942.

    30. Rest. ltr., VCNO to BuPers, ser. 282223, 24 Aug. 1942. Directions were given on 7 November to place officers on Area 2 ships with six or more men in their gun crews, but Area 1 ships were still to have priority. VCNO conf. disp., 071825, 7 Nov. 1942.

    31. CominCh rest. ltr., ser. 3350, 3 Sept. 1942.

    32. CominCh ltr., ser. 3451, 11 Sept. 1942.

    33. BuPers ltr., Pers-1411-DW P16-5(C) (2475), 3 Sept. 1942; BuPers ltr., Pers-635-HW P16-5(C)(2475), 5 Sept. 1942; BuPers ltr., Pers-67-Mt P17-2/MM(3937), 5 Nov. 1942.

    34. VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 0508723, 9 Dec. 1942.

    35. VCNO rest. ltr., ser. 476123, 3 Dec. 1942.

    36. Op-23L rest. memo., 15 Dec. 1942.

    37. Op-23L memo. for File, 7 Jan. 1943; VCNO rest. ltr., ser. 4423, 13 Jan. 1943.

    38. Op-23L memo. for File, 28 Jan. 1943.

    39. Op-23L rest. memo. For File, 5 Feb. 1943.

    40. BuPers memo., P-2423a-mb, 20 Feb. 1943; Op-23L rest. memo. For File, 25 Feb. 1943. Pencil note on Armed Guard Center requirements for March 8, 1943. For a time officers were being trained at the rate of 360 to 390 a month. Conversation with Capt. Cleave, 25 April 1946.

    41. Rest. memo., Op-23 to Assistant CNO, 18 Jan. 1943.

    42. BuPers ltr., Pers-6-LE P16-5(C), 12 March 1943.

    43. BuPers ltr., PERS-3131-VEP, 3 April 1943. Policy had been set for detachment of D-V(G) officers by BuPers ltr., Pers-31-VM NM22/P16-1(160), 20 Oct. 1942.

    44. BuPers ltr., Pers-313-NM, 25 April 1943.

    45. Port Director NTS Tampa conf. ltr., ser. 420, 9 Feb. 1943.

    46. VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 065223, 20 Feb. 1943.

    47. Ltr., Joseph Curran to SecNav, 11 Feb. 1943.

    48. Conf. ltr., SecNav to Admiral Land, Ser. 0195023, 15 May 1943.

    49. VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 0212423, 26 May 1943; VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 0255823, 22 June 1943; VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 0432623, 22 Sept. 1943; VCNO conf. ltr., ser. 0436123, 25 Sept. 1943; BuPers conf. ltr., P16-5(C), 1 Nov. 1943.

    50. BuPers memo., Pers-635-HB, 2 June 1943.

    51. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 15 June 1943.

    52. VCNO rest. ltr., ser. 179723, 28 June 1943.

    53. Port Director NTS 13nd ltr., ser. 673, 3 Dec. 1943.

    54. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 11 Aug. 1943.

    55. Rest. ltr., VCNO to BuPers, ser. 223923, 13 Aug. 1943.

    56. Op-23L rest. memo for File, 16 Aug. 1943; Operating Force Plan for the Fiscal Year 1945, approved by SecNav on 20 Aug. 1943 (conf.)

    57. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 23 July 1943.

    58. Op-23L conf. memo. for File (Annual Report fiscal year 1944) 21 July 1944.

    59. Op-23L conf. memo. for File (Annual Report fiscal year 1945) 25 July 1945.

    60. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 19 Aug. 1943.

    61. Commandant Navy yard Washington ltr., NY5/NC17(251), 24 Sept. 1943; BuPers ltr., Pers-423d-rf, 16 Nov. 1943; Op-23L pencil note.

    62. See Naval Liaison Officer, Colombo conf. ltr., ser. 100-43, 3 Oct. 1943.

    63. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 29 Oct. 1943.

    64. Rest. memo., Op-23L for Op-23, ser. 321323, 10 Nov. 1943.

    65. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0549923, 13 Nov. 1943.

    66. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0598623, 6 Dec. 1943. This estimate did not include the 15 per cent allowance for contingencies which should be added to the above figure.

    67. Op-23L conf. memos. for File, 13 Nov. 1943.

    68. Op-23L rest, memos. for File, 1 and 18 Nov. 1943.

    69. Op-23L rest, memo. for File, 8 Dec. 1943.

    70. Op-23L rest. memo. for File 1 Jan. 1944; BuPers rest. ltr. Pers-6333-CC-4, 29 Dec. 1944

    71. BuPers conf. ltr., Pers-10154-ILA P16-5(C), 12 Jan. 1944.

    72. Conf. ltr., CNO to BuPers, ser. 042923, 22 Jan. 1944.

    73. For BuPers estimates, see Op-23L Operating Force Plan File; conf. memo., Op23 to Op-12, ser. 073125, 5 Feb. 1944.

    74. Conf. memo., Op-23L to Capt. Darden, 21 Jan. 1944.

    75. BuPers conf. ltr., Pers-101MN, P16-5(C), 2 Feb. 1944.

    76. Conf. memo., Op-23 to VCNO, ser. 069323, 4 Feb. 1944.

    77. Conf. memo., Op-05 to Op-23 and Op-30, ser. 040605-G, 16 Feb. 1944.

    78. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 22 Feb. 1944.

    79. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, 17 Feb. 1944.

    80. Op-23L rest. memos. for File, 28 and 30 March 1944.

    81. Officers were sent from Shelton to Gulfport to standardize the training. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0104923, 17 Feb. 1944.

    82. Op-23L memo. for File, 30 March 1944.

    83. Memo., Commanding Officer Shelton to Op-23L, 6 May 1944; Op-23L memo. for File , 3 July 1944.

    84. Conf. memo., Op-23 to Op-05, ser. 0466923, 31 July 1944.

    85. In February 500 Seamen were transferred to the amphibious forces and by March there was a surplus of 368 officers to be transferred to other activities. There was also a reduction by 50 of officers in excess in training at Shelton in March, Op-23L memo. for File, 8 Feb. 1944; CNO rest. ltr., ser. 52923, 23 Feb. 1944; Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 13 March 1944.

    86. Conf. memo., CominCh for VCNO, ser. 02935, 24 Aug. 1944; CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0522623, 28 Aug. 1944.

    87. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 23 Aug. 1944; BuPers rest. ltr., Pers-4232-Mjj, Aug. 23, 1944.

    88. Op-23L memo. for File, 13 July, 1944.

    89. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 15 July 1944.

    90. BuPers ltr., Pers-635-HB P16-5(C), 29 April 1944.

    91. Pencil note on BuPers rest. estimate of Armed Guard Requirements as of 12 June, dated 30 May 1944. The note was dated 31 May.

    92. Pencil note on BuPers estimate of Armed Guard Requirements as of 19 June, dated 5 June 1944.

    93. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 11 Aug.1944.

    94. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, 22 Nov. 1944.

    95. BuPers ltr., Pers-1015-ILA P16-5(C), 15 Sept. 1944; BuPers conf. ltr., P16-5(C) Pers-101-MN, 22 Nov. 1944; CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0671223, 27 Nov. 1944.

    96. CominCh conf. ltr., ser. 04094, 11 Dec. 1944.

    97. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 23 Oct. 1944.

    98. Conf. ltr., CNO to BuPers, ser. 0469823, 1 Aug. 1944.

    99. Conf. ltr., CNO to BuPers, ser. 0621323, 24 Oct. 1944.

    100. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, 8 Dec. 1944.

    101. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 12 Dec. 1944; conf. ltr., CNO to BuPers, ser. 0701323, 15 Dec. 1944. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 4 Jan. 1945.

    102. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, 21 Feb. 1945; conf. ltr., CNO to BuPers ser. 097023, 27 Feb. 1945.

    103. BuPers conf. memo., Pers-2113-ILA P16-5(C), 1 March 1945; BuPers ltr., Pers-67-oz P17-2/NM, 24 Feb. 1945.

    104. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 12 March 1945. On 23 April it was decided that the quota of officers at Shelton would be reduced from 170 to 75, beginning 1 June. BuPers conf. memo., Pers-2113-ILA, 23 April 1945; BuPers conf. ltr., Pers-423-rc NC116, 18 May 1945.

    105. End 1, CNO to BuPers, ser. 174323, 30 April 1945 on CO Armed Guard Center (Pacific) ltr., ser. 2618, 25 April 1945; BuPers ltr., Pers-2113-ILA, NM 22/P16-1, 4 June 1945.

    106. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, 18 April 1945.

    107. BuPers conf. ltr., Pers 20 SP P16-5(C), 9 June 1945; CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0260923, 13 June 1945.

    108. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 28 June 1945.

    109. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 29 June 1945.

    110. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 4 July 1945.

    111. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 4 July 1945.

    112. CNO ltr., ser. 359523, 25 Aug. 1945; BuPers memo. Pers-2113-ILA, 1 Sept. 1945.

    113. Op-414 D3 memo. for File, 30 Oct. 1945. This was the new Op number for Op-23L.

    114. BuPers memo. Pers-2111-FBH, 17 Sept. 1945; Op-414-D3 memo. for File, 18 January 1946.

    115. Conversation with Capt. E. C. Cleave, 29 April 1946.

    116. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 390438, 8 Jan. 1942. On 29 November 1941 the Secretary of the Navy had informed the Chairman of the Maritime Commission that some vessels would be furnished a communication liaison group of three petty officers. Rest. ltr., SecNav to Admiral Band, ser. 396423, 29 Nov. 1941.

    117. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 19238, 24 Jan. 1942.

    118. 3d end., CominCh to BuNav, ser. 1181, 13 May 1942 on Com 6 ltr., ser. 00; P16-3/QS1/A6(37Me), 26 April 1942.

    119. General Instructions for Commanding Officers of Armed Guards on Merchant Ships (rest. edition of July 1, 1942), pp. 49-51.

    120. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 8 Feb. 1943.

    121. VCNO rest. ltr., ser. 1719520, 30 March 1943

    122. VCNO rest. ltr., ser. 3007320, 5 July 1943; rest. memo., Op-23 to Op-20, ser. 276923, 2 Oct. 1943; CNO rest. disp., 151404, 15 Oct. 1943.

    123. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 3654320, 29 Oct. 1943.

    124. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 1412920, 28 Feb. 1944.

    125. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 1429020, 6 May 1944.

    126. Op-414-D3 memo. for File, 29 Dec. 1945.

    127. BuPers ltr., P-2423e-jf, 16 July 1943.

    128. Rest. memo., Op-23 to Op-20, ser. 360423, 20 Dec. 1943.

    129. Rest. memo., Op-20 to Op-23, ser. 4135720, 5 Jan. 1944.

    130. Rest. memo., Op-23 to Op-20, ser. 36423, 5 Feb. 1944.

    131. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, 16 Feb. 1944.

    132. Conf. memo., Op-23 to Director, Convoy and Routing, ser. 073623, 5 Feb. 1944; conf. memo., CominCh for Op-23L, ser. 0609, 18 Feb. 1944.

    133. Memo., Op-20 to Op-23, ser. 1411720, 19 Feb. 1944.

    134. Rest. memo., Op-23 to Op-20, ser., 53723, 23 Feb. 1944.

    135. Rest. memo., Op-20 to Op-23, ser. 1415420, 28 Feb. 1944.

    136. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 14 March 1944.

    137. Articles 5401-5407, General Instructions for Commanding Officers of Naval Armed Guards on Merchant Ships (4th ed., 21 March 1944), pp. 85, 86; General Instructions for Naval Communication Liaison Officers (May, 1945) Article 5, WIMS 3. (All Restricted)

    138. End. 3, CNO to BuPers, ser. 97523, 5 April 1944 on Com 8 ltr., ser. 7955 of 30 March 1944.

    139. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 1327620, 7 June 1945.

    140. Op-23L memo, for File, 20 June 1945.

    141. CNO disp., 131224, 11 Sept. 1945.

    142. BuPers ltrs., P-2423e-jf of 16 July 1943, P-2423c-jf of 30 July 1943, Pers-423d-mjj of 6 March 1944; End. 3, BuPers to Com 8, Pers-423d-Mep, 15 April 1944 on Com 8 ltr, ser 7955 of 30 March 1944.

    143. Ltr., CNO to BuPers, ser. 1421120, 30 March 1944; ltr., BuPers to Com 5, Pers-423d-mjj, 5 April 1944 ordered the Boston School.

    144. Ltr., CNO to BuPers, ser. 1426920, 26 April 1944; ltr., BuPers to Com 5, Pers-423d-mjj, 28 April 1944.

    145. United States Navy Press Release, 21 November 1944.

    146. CNO rest. ltr., 78623, 26 March 1942.

    147. VCNO rest. ltr., ser. 124923, 2 May 1942.

    148. VCNO rest. ltr., ser. 131623, 3 May 1942.

    149. Op-23L rest. memo., 8 Feb. 1944; OinC Gun Crew Training Center, San Diego conf. ltr., ser. P11-1(C-4), 2 Feb. 1942.

    150. CNO rest. ltr., ser 304923 (Armed Guard Bulletin 16-43), October 26, 1943.

    151. For many of the facts concerning the history of the Armed Guard School (Eastern) see Commanding Officer Personnel Separation Center Shelton ser. 3671, Dec. 1, 1945. Hereafter cited History AGS Shelton. See also conf. Station History U.S. Naval Armed Guard Center (Atlantic), p. 10. Hereafter cited History AGS Shelton.

    152. History AGS Shelton, pp. 1,2.

    153. History AGS Shelton, pp. 2, 3, 9, 10; Memo. end., Op-23 to Op-30, ser. 502923, Dec. 23, 1942, on Commanding Officer, Section Base, Little Creek ltr., of Dec. 4, 1942; VCNO conf. ltr., ser 0455230, March 10, 1943; Op-23L memo for Admiral Newton, March 28, 1943.

    154. BuPers ltr., NC116 P-2423e-jf, May 4, 1943.

    155. History AGS Shelton, p. 3.

    156. BuPers rest. ltr., Pers-635-HAB P16-5(C) (2762), Dec. 16, 1942.

    157. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0701323, Dec. 15, 1944; Conversation with Capt. E. C. Cleave, May 1, 1946.

    158. Op-23L memo. for File, April 3, 1945.

    159. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, Aug. 9, 1945.

    160. VCNO rest. ltr., ser 237423, Aug. 26, 1943.

    161. CNO ltr., ser. 205723, July 3, 1944.

    162. Much of this course is listed in History AGS Shelton. Information concerning the training has been supplied also by Lt. Comdr. L. J. Snyder, USNR, who was a member of the teaching staff at Shelton. It will be seen that the course at Shelton differed somewhat from the curriculum prepared by BuPers in August, 1943, (NAVPERS-16208, restricted). These differences were minor.

    163. History AGS Shelton, pp. 8, 9; BuPers curriculum for Enlisted Training, March, 1944, (NavPers 16280), restricted.

    164. History AGS Shelton, p.9; BuPers Curriculum June, 1944, (NavPers 16269) rest. The BuPers curriculum made no provision for dividing the class into two parts.

    165. Rest. ltr., BuPers to OinC Armed Guard Center (Gulf), Pers-423d-mjj, Jan. 18, 1944.

    166. History AGS Shelton, p.4.

    167. BuPers curriculum, June, 1945, (NavPers 16437 rest.).

    168. History AGS Shelton, pp. 4,5.

    169. Ltr., BuNav to Com.9, Nav-141-AC NC116/106, March 10, 1942.

    170. Ltr., BuPers to VCNO, Pers-1411-DW NC116/304, July 15, 1942.

    171. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, Aug. 14, 1942; CominCh conf. airmailgram, 151844, Aug. 15, 1942.

    172. Op-414-D3 memo. for File, Dec. 29, 1945.

    173. Ltr., Lt. A. J. Sellers and Lt. G. W. McCleskey (Officers from Shelton ordered to Gulfport) to BuPers, ser. 1009, April 5, 1944. These officers were at Gulfport from early March to March 23 in connection with training in anti-aircraft gunnery.

    174. BuPers ltr., P-2423e-jf NC116/P16-1, July 6, 1943.

    175. Figures were supplied by BuPers.

    176. Ltr., Lt. A. J. Sellers, USNR, and Lt. G. W. McCleskey, USNR, June 14, 1944.

    177. Op-23L memo. for File, July 23, 1945.

    178. Figures supplied by BuPers, May 6, 1946.

    179. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, Markch 28, 1944; Op-23L conf. memo. for File, Dec. 7, 1944.

    180. Most of the information given above comes from History of United States Naval Training School (Armed Guard Gunnery), written by the New York School. Information on the development of anti-aircraft fire control with telescopic sights may be found in the files of Op-414-D3 (formerly Op-23L).

    181. Memo., Op-23L to training Aids Section, BuPers, May 3, 1945.

    182. This account is based almost entirely on the Final Report of the Armed Center, New Orleans (1 April 1946), pp. 2, 16-18 and Commanding Officer Armed Guard Center (Gulf) ltr., ser. 5946, 16 April 1945.

    183. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, July 21, 1944; Op-414-D3 conf. memo. for File, October 19, 1945.

    184. SecNav ltr., ser. 184513, June 21, 1944.

    185. BuPers ltr., Pers-4232-mjj, August 3, 1944.

    186. Rest. memo. Op-23L to Port Director 13 Naval District, attention OinC Armed Guard Gunnery School, Seattle, April 3, 1945.

    187. Lt. G. W. McCleskey's ltr., ser. 138077, May 8, 1945.

    188. Port Director, N.T.S., 13ND ltr., ser. 27, March 2, 1945.

    189. Port Director, N.T.S., 13ND ltr., ser.AG 10407, October 16, 1945.

    190. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, July 21, 1944; Op-414-D3 conf. memo. for File, October 19, 1945.

    191. History of the Armed Guard Center (Pacific), p. 115.

    192. For training see History of the Armed Guard Center (Pacific), pp. 114-124; BuPers ltr., Pers-423a-rf, Dec. 12, 1944; Outline of Training and Instruction Conducted for Armed Guard and Communication Liaison Personnel (Naval Training School Armed Guard Gunnery), January, 1945.

    193. BuPers ltr., Pers-4232-mjj, July 24, 1944; Op-23L rest. memo. for File, November 15, 1944.

    194. Rest. memo. Op-23L to Op-23F, 20 Dec. 1944; Op-23L conf. memo. for File, Dec. 22, 1944; Op-23L rest. memo., January 5, 1945.

    195. Op-414-D3 conf. memo., for File, October 19, 1945.

    196. Op-23L rest. memo., April 3, 1945.

    197. Lt. G. W. McCleskey's ltr., ser. 138077, May 8, 1945.

    198. History of the Armed Guard Center (Pacific), pp. 117-119, 122.

    199. Ibid., pp. 123, 124.

    200. Commanding Officer Armed Guard Center ltr., ser. 8634, July 10, 1944; Op-23L conf. memo. for File, July 21, 1944; Op-414-D3 conf. memo. for File, October 19, 1945.

    201. History of the Armed Guard Center (Pacific), pp. 116, 117.

    202. See Foreign Merchant Vessels, Chinese File in Op-414-D3 (formerly Op-23L).

    203. ComServPac conf. ltr., ser. 0152, March 11, 1943; ComServPac conf. ltr., ser. 0519, September 9, 1943.

    204. SecNav ltr., ser. 1642120, December 23, 1942.

    205. Memo., Op-23 to Op-20, March 1, 1943.

    206. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 315723 (Armed Guard Bulletin 19-43), November 4, 1943; CNO ltr., ser. 3465020, November 10, 1943.

    207 . End. 1, CNO to BuSandA, ser. 59323, Feb. 29, 1944 on OinC Armed Guard Center (Gulf) ltr., ser. 2568, Feb. 22, 1944; End. 2 BuSandA to CNO, P16-5 (2) (OBX), March 15, 1944 on the same ltr. See General Instructions for Commanding Officers of Naval Armed Guards on Merchant Ships (rest., 4th ed., 1944) pp.73, 74 for list of disbursing offices all over the world.

    208. ibid., p.66.

    209. For correspondence concerning war ballots see War Ballots File, Op-414-D3.

    210. BuNav ltr., Nav-164-AD NM7/P16-1(1143), November 10, 1941.

    211. Facts about the Armed Guard Center (Atlantic) are taken from its conf. Station History.

    212. For facts about the Center see Final Report, 1 April 1946.

    213. Most of the facts presented above are taken from History of the Armed Guard Center (Pacific), which does not contain useful information in spite of the spirit in which it is written and the complete misunderstanding of the careful planning and direction of the Armed Guard program by the Arming Merchant Ship Section in Operations, which did so much to make the Armed Guard Service succeed.

    214. For a good example of the work of the Port Directors in the Armed Guard program see Historical Narrative of Port Director -- New York, Third Naval District 15 October 1939 to 14 August 1945, Chapter V (confidential).

    215. Op-23L conf. memo. for File, 22 May 1945; Op-414=D3 memo. for File, 29 December 1945; History of the Armed Guard Center (Pacific), pp.171-175. A special pool set up for the Normandy operation was not needed because of low losses.

    216. CNO conf. ltr., ser. 0658923, 17 Nov. 1944.

    217. Op-23L rest. memo. for File, 15 March 1945.

    218. Armed Guard Center (Pacific) conf. memo. 28 Feb. 1945; Op-23L rest. memo., 6 March 1945.

    219. Op-23L rest. memo. 5 May 1945.

    220. Armed Guard Center (Pacific) rest. ltr., ser. C-78, 16 July 1945; End 2, CNO to BuPers, ser. 314423, 27 July 1945.

    221. CNO rest. ltr., ser 309823 (Armed Guard Bulletin 18043), 30 Oct. 1943.

    222. Rest. Ordnance and Gunnery Instructions, pp. 41, 42.

    223. General Instructions (rest. 4th ed.) pp. 31, 32, 36, 39.

    224. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 307523 (Armed Guard Bulletin 17-43), 28 Oct. 1943.

    225. Rest. memo. Op-23 to Op-39, ser. 327123, 17 Nov. 1943; Op-39 memo., ser. 96339, 22 Nov. 1943.

    226. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 295823 (Armed Guard Bulletin 50-44), 11 Sept. 1944; General Instructions (4th ed., rest.), p. 115

    227. Conf ltr., VCNO to BuPers, ser. 0338223, 9 Aug. 1943; Army Regulation No. 55-3301-2.

    228. CNO ltr., ser. 3939, 14 Feb. 1944.

    229. CNO rest. disp., 311600, 31 Jan. 1942.

    230. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 23723, 10 Feb. 1942.

    231. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 300823, 22 Oct. 1943.

    232. CNO rest. ltrs., sers. 9323 and 9423, 14 Jan. 1944.

    233. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 64623, 6 March, 1944.

    234. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 207423, 4 July 1944.

    235. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 42923, 3 Feb. 1945.

    236. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 229623, 9 June 1945.

    237. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 286623, 11 July 1945.

    238. CNO rest. ltr., ser. 322623 (Armed Guard Bulletin 36-45), 1 Aug. 1945.

    Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Rick Pitz for the HyperWar Foundation.