Chapter VII
Bureau of Naval Personnel


From the frigate under sail to the submarine powered by nuclear energy, and from the smooth-bore cannon to the guided missile, technological advances have in no way altered the fact that the heart of the Navy is the trained sailor; officer and enlisted man. However, the Bureau system, adopted in 1842 as the basis for the organization of the Navy Department, was singularly lacking in any specific provision for providing trained sailors for the Navy. At that time it was still the practice for the captain of the ship to recruit the crew locally and usually for only the forthcoming cruise. It was the responsibility of the Secretary of the Navy himself to handle the appointment, assignment to duty, and promotion of officers. With the outbreak of the Civil War, the task of providing personnel, both officer and enlisted, became much more complicated than it had been before.

Immediately after he took office in 1861, the new Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells, drawing on his experience as the Chief of the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing from 1844 to 1849, set up under his personal supervision an Office of Detail for handling officer personnel. This office also looked after the appointment and instruction of the many volunteer officers who had to be brought into the Navy for the war, and to their assignment to duty.

The next year, in 1862, the recruitment of enlisted personnel was placed under a newly created Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting. Recruiting was coupled with equipment because providing the crews for ships was in a way allied to equipping them.

The Bureau of Navigation was another of the new bureaus established in 1862. It was intended to be a purely scientific bureau and at first had no personnel functions. Under its cognizance were placed the Naval Observatory, Hydrographic Office, Nautical Almanac Office, the Naval Academy, and other similar activities. At the end of the Civil War, when


Fig. 13--Organization of Bureau of Navigation (1 May 1941)
Fig. 13--Organization of Bureau of Navigation (1 May 1941)


Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs
Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs (later Vice Admiral)

Chief of Bureau of Naval Personnel, Dec. 1941-Sept. 1945.

the task arose of demobilizing the volunteer officers, Secretary Welles transferred the functions of the Detail Office and the handling of all officer personnel matters to that Bureau. In 1889, Secretary of the Navy Tracy reassigned many of the duties of the bureaus, particularly those of the Bureaus of Navigation and of Equipment, one reassignment being the transfer of enlisted personnel from the Bureau of Equipment to the Bureau of Navigation, thus bringing all naval personnel matters under that Bureau.

The Bureau system was lacking in any specific provision for administering the organization, training, and operation of the forces afloat, so the Bureau of Navigation,due to its control of personnel, gradually acquired


these functions and exercised them until the Naval Aide system in 1909 and finally the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in 1915 took over these important duties. After that the Bureau's personnel activities became paramount and its technical activities were one by one transferred elsewhere. When World War II broke out, the Bureau had become an agency devoting practically its entire attention to personnel administration, although the Naval Observatory and the Hydrographic Office still came under its cognizance. Shortly thereafter, these were placed under CNO. In 1942 the name of the Bureau was changed to the Bureau of Naval Personnel.1

The pre-Pearl Harbor organization of the Bureau of Navigation is shown on Figure 13, dated 1 May 1941.

Administrative Responsibilities and Organization

Five primary elements composed its administrative responsibilities; (a) procurement, (b) training, (c) distribution, (d) performance, and (e) welfare of naval personnel. The first three of these elements were concerned with all the necessary activities required to place the officer or enlisted man where he could best serve as a productive unit in the Navy's operating mechanism. The last two were concerned with matters having a bearing on his effectiveness once he had been assigned to duty. Supporting the activities represented by these five elements of personnel administration and serving all five of them were the planning and control of the Bureau's activities, the maintenance of adequate records, the development of necessary statistics, the preparation of required reports, provision for the necessary housekeeping services, and the coordination of contacts both inside and outside the Bureau.

These responsibilities and their implementation had long been recognized as fundamental to the Bureau's operation, but the organization to carry them out was not as clear-cut and well integrated as was considered necessary. A survey by a firm of management engineers that had been employed by Secretary Knox, as mentioned earlier in this work, resulted in a reorganization which is shown on Figure 14 dated October 1942.2 Basically, this remained the organization throughout the war,although there were changes in details and emphasis as reflected on Figure 15 for 15 July 1945.

As in all bureaus, the executive positions were held largely by officers,


Fig. 14--Organization of Bureau of Naval Personnel (October 1942)
Fig. 14--Organization of Bureau of Naval Personnel (October 1942)


Fig. 15--Organization of Bureau of Naval Personnel (15 July 1945)
Fig. 15--Organization of Bureau of Naval Personnel (15 July 1945)


although many key positions where continuity was of prime importance were filled by highly competent civilians. These officers, until World War II, were exclusively career officers of the line with a few line reserve officers for handling Naval Reserve matters. This meant that they were men who had been educated at the Naval Academy as there was practically no other source of supply for career line officers up to that time. Early in the war the Bureau had to depend exclusively, also, on such officers to provide the guidance and set the standards for the procurement, training, and indoctrination of the great numbers of inexperienced civilians that were being brought into the Navy.

The Bureau got off to a slow start in carrying out its wartime mission because its prewar planners did not visualize even approximately the magnitude of personnel expansion with which the Navy Department would be faced in a global war. As late as January 1941 the Bureau estimated that 10,000 additional Reserve officers of the line would be adequate to meet the needs of an expanded fleet. Even under the impact of actual war the plans early in 1942 called for a total of only 39,368 officers: line, staff, and specialists.3 Actually, between 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1944,4 some 286,251 officers were commissioned in the Navy in all categories. It must be said in extenuation of such unimaginative planning that arriving at the figures for the personnel strength of the Navy was not a matter that was in the hands of the Bureau of Naval Personnel exclusively. Such figures were often fixed more or less arbitrarily by the President himself, and in peacetimes depended in the last analysis on the funds appropriated by Congress for personnel.

Prewar planning also left much to be desired in that it made no provision for bringing into the Bureau's organization from civilian life specialists of all kinds capable of doing constructive thinking and planning in such fields as the education of naval personnel, the gathering and the use of statistics, the writing of manuals and instructions under competent guidance, the handling of welfare work and public relations, and for work in other fields. Once this source of help was tapped, the Bureau's work moved much faster.

In writing the wartime administrative history of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the plan will be followed of dealing with procurement, training, distribution, performance, and welfare of the combined personnel instead of carrying each group such as officers, enlisted men, WAVES, Staff Corps, and specialists separately through each of these phases of administration. This, because these elements of administrative responsibility were, in principle, much the same for all categories of personnel. Certain subjects


will, however, require separate treatment. An overall picture of the pattern followed is provided by the Table of Contents of this chapter.


Career Officers. The ability of the Navy to carry out its mission depends, in the last analysis, on the success of the Navy Department in manning it with line officers competent to perform its command functions. This is not said because of any lack of appreciation of the crucial importance of the support and logistic functions that must be performed by its staff officers and civilian employees.

Line officers for the Continental Navy were obtained directly from the merchant marine and needed no special training and indoctrination to fit them for duty in the Navy, as all seamen during that period,and for sometime thereafter, were certain to have had some experience in fighting from ships. In this way it came about that, until after the War of 1812, the merchant service furnished most of the line officers for the Navy.

The practice of appointing boys or young men in their teens or early twenties as midshipmen, and educating and training them on board ship to become line officers was also followed and became the principal source of officer supply for many years after the War of 1812. This method was however, highly unsatisfactory as their theoretical education was hit and miss and often completely lacking. Various attempts were made to educate midshipmen at schools, at navy yards, and at the Naval Asylum for Aged Seamen in Philadelphia, but these were makeshift arrangements and proved unsatisfactory.

Every Secretary of the Navy following the War of 1812 had urged Congress to establish an academy for training naval officers similar to the military academy at West Point for training Army officers, but without success until George Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy from 1845 to 1846, hit upon the solution for bringing this about. Congress had some years before authorized the Secretary of the Navy to send midshipmen to forts and Army posts along the coast while awaiting employment on ships. The Secretary had authority to order seagoing Navy schoolmasters, of whom there were quite a number, to these posts to instruct the midshipmen.

At that time it was the practice, also, for the Secretary of the Navy to take over the duties of the Secretary of War during the absence of the latter from Washington. It so happened that all through the summer of 1845 the Secretary of War was away leaving Bancroft in charge of the War Department. In that capacity he transferred Fort Severn at Annapolis, Maryland, to the Navy. At the same time, he ordered a number of midshipmen and instructors to Fort Severn and detailed Commander Franklin


Buchanan, USN, as the superintendent of the new school.  Thus, when Congress convened that fall, the establishment of a Naval Academy was an accomplished fact and Congress reluctantly made appropriations for its support.

The Naval Academy was able to fill all of the needs of the Navy for line officers, and even provided some officers for the Marine Corps and the Staff Corps during the various peace periods from then on. During the Civil War a large number of volunteer officers were appointed, many of whom remained in the Regular Navy after the war. Following that war, until the Spanish-American War, the graduating classes, because of general naval stagnation, were often larger than necessary to fill the officer vacancies in the Navy.

The Naval Academy was enlarged after the Spanish-American War and was then again able to supply the Navy's line officer needs and even most of its technical officers after giving them postgraduate instruction at other schools. World War I made it necessary to supplement the supply of officers by commissioning civilians in the Naval Reserve. During the peace period between World War I and World War II, the Naval Academy was again able to fill all line officer needs, except naval aviators who had to be obtained in considerable numbers through the Aviation Cadet branch of the Naval Reserve system. With an eye to future needs, the opportunity was given to students at certain colleges to enroll in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps for study and training in naval science. Career line officers, that is, Naval Academy graduates, served as instructors of naval science in the NROTC units.

During World War II the graduates of the Naval Academy numbered about 1,000 midshipmen each year. It will be seen from Figure 16, "Wartime Sources of the Navy's Officers," that this was only a small part of the total number of officers commissioned during the war. There were, however, when the war came, enough career line officers in the Navy, active and retired, most of them Naval Academy graduates, to fill throughout the war the upper and secondary command billets afloat and ashore. Experienced career line officers were also needed, especially in the beginning, in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the line bureaus, and in the field, for training and indoctrinating the great numbers of civilians who had to be brought into the Navy as officers and enlisted men.

For the last mentioned duty the services of graduates of the NROTC Units proved particularly valuable. Those of the early graduates who had continued their connection with the Navy had largely acquired the point of view, qualifications, and characteristics of career naval officers. They augmented the limited supply of career naval officers and made it possible


Fig. 16--Wartime Sources of the Navy's Officers
Fig. 16--Wartime Sources of the Navy's Officers


for the Bureau of Personnel to step up the tempo of naval personnel procurement in all of its phases.

The Naval Reserve. A brief description of the origin and evolution of the Naval reserve system is in order as it was through this channel that most of the expansion in the officer strength of the Navy was brought about during World War II. Naval Reserve officers, whether line or staff, displayed an amazing aptitude for naval duty; they were quick to learn and ready to take on responsibility with only limited experience. They took to the discipline and the hardships of seagoing life and combat duty like veterans. The rank in which specialists of all kinds were commissioned in the Naval reserve was always one or two grades lower than was customary for corresponding duty in the Army, nevertheless, the Navy Department had no great difficulty in filling its needs with outstandingly competent men.

Because of the high cost of maintaining regular navies, all the leading naval powers adopted the policy during the last decade of the 19th century of training civilian volunteers in time of peace to provide a quickly available pool of reserve personnel to augment the professional Navy in times of national emergency. In the case of the United States, this took the form, at first, of state Naval Militias.

The first of such units was established by Massachusetts in March 1890 as a branch of her organized National Guard. Other seacoast states and the State of Michigan on the Great Lakes, shortly thereafter followed this example. The movement received its early impetus from yachtsmen and sea power enthusiasts in civilian life rather than from the Federal and State governments. Small ships were loaned to the States by the Navy Department for training purposes, but the States had to bear the operating costs of the Naval Militia. In 1891, Congress began making small appropriations to provide certain equipment to Naval Militia units.

Most of these organizations got into the Spanish-American War and rendered good service, but the Navy Department felt that the Naval Reserve possibilities had not been fully explored. It was considered necessary especially, to provide incentives for keeping former naval officers and ex-enlisted men interested in the Navy, and to make the Naval Reserve a Federal instead of a State responsibility.

After many years of discussion and some preliminary legislation, Congress passed the Act of March 3, 1915 creating a Federal Naval Reserve. This Act was amended the following year. Under it a Naval Reserve force was built up and was operated as part of the Navy during World War I. By the end of that war, some 30,000 officers and 305,500 enlisted men had been commissioned or enlisted in the Navy through Naval Reserve channels and had rendered invaluable service in the transportation of the


American Expeditionary Force to Europe, in overseas escort and antisubmarine duty, and in providing naval personnel for the expansion of the Navy Department and its shore establishments. After World War I the laws and procedures governing Naval Reserves were overhauled and broadened a number of times culminating in the Naval Reserve Act of 1939.

Direct Procurement of Naval Reserve Officers. Up to and during the early part of World War II, the first step for obtaining a commission in the Naval Reserve consisted of an application made by the candidate to the commandant of the district in which the candidate resided. The basic educational requirement for a commission was a college degree. This was eased somewhat later in the war, particularly for those with highly specialized qualifications and experience. The application with the commandant's recommendation thereon, was forwarded to the Bureau, but the Bureau organization was at first not geared up to processing the large numbers that were received after the national emergency was declared by the President in September 1939. Reviewing the applications in the Bureau was the worst bottleneck; at one time applications were stacked in the corridors of the Bureau by the thousands.

Whether or not to issue a commission, aside from the candidate's qualification, was at first based on a rigid blueprint of specific billets. Each reserve officer was assigned to a billet which theoretically he would fill if ordered to active duty. No commission was issued unless there was an existing billet for him, with the result that before Pearl Harbor many valuable men were turned away because there were no billets for them.

No procedure existed by which the various offices and bureaus of the Navy Department furnished BuPers their current and estimated future officer needs, and there was no catalogue of the various technical and specialist skills that would be required by an expanding Navy. BuPers even lacked a personnel accounting system to provide up-to-the-minute statistics as to the number of officers already procured. An analysis in September 1942 showed that about 20,000 more officers had been commissioned than indicated by the records.

To expedite and improve the field procedures, Offices of Naval Officer Procurement (ONOP) were, by a Directive in February, 1942, set up as part of the district commandant organizations. These Offices were usually not located in the headquarters of the commandant. They eventually consisted of eleven main offices with thirty-one branch offices. The heads of the offices reported to a division in the commandants organization. The Bureau exercised administrative control over them largely through the training of their personnel and standardization of the policies, procedures, and forms of communication that they were required to follow. The


Bureau reviewed the applications of candidates and freely exercised the prerogative of rejecting any that did not come up to the Bureau's standards.The Bureau advised the ONOP office of the reason for disapproval.

Reserve Naval Aviator Procurement. Naval aviation developed tremendously after World War I, with the result that the Naval Academy was unable to meet all Navy and Marine Corps needs for aviators. A Naval Aviation Cadet Training Program was, therefore, established as part of the Naval Reserve system for training naval aviators at government expense. Aviation cadets received active duty pay while undergoing training just as did midshipmen at the Naval Academy. A revised Naval Aviation Reserve Act was passed 13 June 1939 and became of crucial importance in taking care of naval aviator needs during World War II.5 In 1941 Naval Aviation Cadet Selection Boards were set up for the purpose indicated by the name. These Boards at first reported directly to BuPers and functioned as separate organizations until the need for aviation cadets eased at the end of 1943 when the Boards were made a part of the ONOP system.

Staff Corps and Specialist Officers Procurement Through the Naval Reserve. In the foregoing paragraphs the normal procedure for obtaining, direct from civil life, reserve officers for the line and for aviation, was briefly described. The Bureau very wisely continued, during the war, its long time policy of leaving to the technical bureaus and other offices of the Navy Department, the main responsibility for procuring officers for the Medical, Construction, Supply, and Civil Engineer Corps, and for filling the needs for scientists, engineers, and experts in other fields. Practically all such officers were, during the war period, obtained through Naval Reserve channels. BuPers cooperated so far as possible in furnishing other bureaus the names of reserve officers that had been enrolled as line officers, but had qualifications that might fit them for the positions to be filled in categories other than the line. However, the description of the qualifications of reserve officers were usually neither complete nor always reliable, and the system for finding in the files the names of individuals having the desired qualifications was at first even more unsatisfactory. Usually the bureaus or offices concerned found it more satisfactory to locate for themselves qualified individuals to fill their needs; then they turned the individuals over to BuPers for processing.

The practice of BuPers in giving the bureaus a free hand in solving their officer procurement problems mitigated to some extent the chief criticism made of BuPers during the war, and for that matter during


peacetime, that the Bureau did not pay sufficient attention to placing officers in the job they were best qualified to fill, and that the Bureau made no attempt to correct errors in placement after an officer had reported for duty in a billet. The practices of the Bureau and offices, with respect to filling their personnel needs will be covered in more detail under the history of these activities.

Reserve Midshipmen Schools. By the methods described above the Navy Department was successful in meeting its additional officer needs during the period of the national emergency before Pearl Harbor. The method was, in fact, continued throughout the war and some 129,795 naval officers were commissioned direct from civil life during the period from 7 December 1941 to 31 December 1944, as shown in Figure 16. But, there were certain gaps and shortcomings in the system as follows, which had to be corrected: (a) the system was well adapted for obtaining college graduates with some years of practical experience in the many different professions needed by the Navy, but this source of supply began to dry up when the industrial mobilization of the country for war began to gain momentum; (b) with the exception of the limited number of NROTC students being turned out by the colleges and a small number of civilians with seagoing experience, such as merchant marine officers, yachtsmen, and those in other maritime vocations, there was no large group of civilians form which line officers could be recruited; (c) Reserve Midshipmen Schools for educating and training student age young men for the junior grades in the line of the Navy to augment the supply from the Naval Academy were started in 1940, but when, in the spring of 1942, the draft age was lowered to 18 years, it was realized that this source of junior line officers would be largely shut off because there would be few college students to feed into these schools.

It was not expected that Reserve Midshipmen Schools could be made a complete substitute for the Naval Academy as neither time nor facilities were available to make that possible, but such schools could do much to provide a large and steady flow into the Navy of urgently needed junior line officers with adequate training to start them on the road to the performance of the command functions of the Navy. The problem was to insure a steady input of students with a background of college education to permit them to concentrate on naval science and indoctrination subjects in the Reserve Midshipmen Schools. This problem was not a new one. Selective Service had also interfered in World War I with the college education of young officer material.

Various methods to keep enough students out of Selective Service to permit of their preliminary training for the line were tried. One of these was the so-called V-7 Program, which was inaugurated in June 1940. The


program was revised shortly after Pearl Harbor by providing for the voluntary enlistment of college juniors and seniors as apprentice seamen, placing them on inactive duty, and after graduation from college, feeding them into the Reserve Midshipmen Schools. A similar plan was adopted for the V-5 Naval Aviation Program. These programs do not appear to have had sufficient merit to attract students in such numbers as to meet the object of insuring a basic college education, followed by a short course in the Reserve Midshipmen Schools, for the tens of thousands of young officers who were by that time visualized as necessary to fill the Navy's needs. The plan adopted to solve the problem was the V-12 College Program.

V-12 Program. The V-12 Program had its roots in a combination of Navy needs and college needs; the Navy needed large numbers of educated young men to feed into the Reserve Midshipmen Schools and many of the colleges needed students in order to survive, as the draft was making heavy inroads on their normal source of supply. Three groups were vitally concerned in the establishment of the program: the armed services, the institutions of higher learning as represented by the American Counsel on Education (ACE), and the War Manpower Commission (WMC). Their points of view were not identical, although all had in mind the maximum utilization of the educational facilities of the United States in furthering the war effort. The position taken throughout by the Navy Department was that the V-12 Program existed for one purpose only: to provide the Navy with a steady flow of adequately educated officer material for enrollment in the Reserve Midshipmen Schools, and incidentally, into certain other schools; that the rescuing of the colleges from the difficulties brought on by the war was a national responsibility that could not properly be placed on the armed services.

Many details had to be worked out in setting up the V-12 Program such as the selection of appropriate colleges for its implementation, the making of equitable contracts with the colleges, and the control of the V-12 curriculums to satisfy the Navy Department's requirements. The WMC and ACE were, in addition, vitally concerned in safeguarding civilian educational needs. The Bureau of Naval Personnel represented the Navy Department in the negotiations and in administering the program for the Navy. The program proved highly attractive to young men as they were placed on active duty as apprentice seamen, drawing pay as such. The government also paid all of their college expenses. They were not subject to Selective Service so long as they retained their enlisted status and kept up with their academic work. It should be mentioned that enlisted personnel already in the service were just as eligible for enrollment in the program as civilians, and that many came from that source.


The program provided a steady flow of students into the Reserve Midshipmen Medical, Dental, and Theological Schools, but it came too late in the war to be of maximum help. Some 84,016 officer trainees from civil life were commissioned in the Navy from 7 December 1941 to 31 December 1944, as shown [in] Figure 16, most of whom had participated in the V-12 Program. Some further details covering the operation of the V-12 Program will be found under the heading of "Training."

Officer Procurement From Warrant and Enlisted Ranks. The Navy Department had followed no consistent policy over the years in commissioning officers from the warrant and petty officer ranks. At times, this practice was completely suspended, especially during peace periods when the Navy was shrinking instead of expanding. An Act of Congress, after the Spanish-American War, provided for the promotion to ensign of a limited number of warrant officers each year after determining their professional qualifications and physical fitness for promotion. At the outbreak of World War I certain warrant officer groups, such as carpenters, machinists, and boatswains were commissioned en masse without having to pass professional examinations, but they had to pass physical examinations.

The first step along these lines during World War II was ALNAV #41 of 13 February 1942 directing commanding officers to submit the names of warrant officers, chief petty officers, and petty officers under their command whom they considered qualified to perform the duties of officers, accompanied by a complete report on their fitness. These reports were reviewed by the Officer Procurement Division of the Bureau and then went to a bureau board for the selection of the best qualified nominees. A quota was set up by the board of the numbers of officers to be taken from this source. No provision was made for holding nominees, in excess of the quota, over for future consideration, but the names of those not commissioned could be resubmitted by the commanding officer. In January 1943, the policy was established authorizing commanding officers to recommend qualified warrant and petty officers for commissions at any time. All avenues open to civilians for obtaining commissions were also open to qualified personnel in these categories already on active duty in the Navy. It will be noted from Figure 16 that some 60,662 officers were commissioned from the ranks during the period from 7 December 1941 to 31 December 1944.

Procurement of Enlisted Personnel. At the outbreak of World War II, the procurement of enlisted personnel was following lines that had become traditional in the recruiting of men for the Navy. Recruiting stations were located in the principal seaports and other large cities of the United States; usually in post office buildings. A commissioned officer of the line was generally in charge of each large recruiting office and reported to the


commandant of the naval district, but dealt in most matters directly with the Bureau of Navigation. The key personality in these stations and often in charge of smaller stations was a chief petty officer of wide experience in dealing with young men seeking to join the Navy. The Bureau of Navigation kept in close touch with the recruiting offices and during the depression years in the 30's frequently set quotas that were not to be exceeded by the respective offices. The requirements as to education and experience of applicants were also prescribed by the Bureau. During the Depression the Bureau was able to obtain all of the men needed by accepting only those who had had at least a high school, or equivalent, education.

Executive Order Number 8245 of 8 September 1939, declaring a limited national emergency, provided for an increase in the enlisted strength of the Navy to 145,000 men, and authorized the Secretary of the Navy to call retired personnel to active duty. In June 1940, the Burke-Wadsworth Bill, providing for the creation of a Selective Service system, was introduced in the Senate. In hearings on the bill both Secretary Knox and Rear Admiral Nimitz, the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, testified favorably on the bill provided it did not interfere with the Navy Department's policy of voluntary enlistments. The bill became law on 16 September 1940. On the same day a memorandum prepared in BuNav and signed by the Acting Secretary of the Navy requested authority from the President to refuse "Selectees" under the Act for the reason that it would be impossible to man ships in full-commission with one-year trainees; a stand approved by the President.

In the spring of 1941 with the "Two-Ocean" Navy program gathering momentum, recruiting began to fall behind requirements. In November 1941, the Secretary of the Navy requested standby approval for the Navy to induct selectees since the prospects for further expansion by wholly voluntary enlistments were not bright. By that time there were approximately 290,000 enlisted men in the naval service. However, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 resulted in a mighty flood of enlistments which led the Navy once again to affirm its traditional attitude toward Selective Service.

Brigadier General Hershey, Selective Service Director, and Secretary of War Stimson opposed unrestricted naval recruiting on the grounds that it took no account of the needs of vital war industries. BuNav countered that the Navy took relatively small numbers of men; a majority of whom were less than 20 years of age. Other arguments were set forth: duties of naval personnel required higher physical and educational standards than those of other services; volunteer recruits were more receptive to training and assimilation into the naval service, as they were on the average,


younger than inductees; a service exclusively volunteer was a major factor in high morale; Selective Service made no provision for obtaining the special skills needed by the Navy.

In a memorandum to Secretary of War Stimson dated 24 February 1942, the President approved the Navy's stand "at this time." It would seem that the President's decision to keep the Navy outside of the Selective Service system at the time was not based on nationwide manpower plans, or on an accurate study of the military performance of selectees, but rather on the traditional view as to what it takes to make a man-of-war's man.

The post-Pearl Harbor rush of naval recruits was short-lived. The Navy, having just won its argument to remain outside of the Selective Service procedures, was soon compelled to redouble recruiting efforts. Recruiting stations were expanded, officers and men with a salesman background were assigned to recruiting duties, and a large scale advertising campaign was opened.

General Hershey lashed out at what he characterized as "ruthless competition" and "high pressured recruiting campaigns."6 Early in 1942, Selective Service headquarters terminated its agreement to furnish the Navy with lists of men recently classified 1-A by local draft boards.

By mid-summer 1942 it was quite evident to BuPers that the numbers of men required could not be obtained by even the most energetic recruiting measures alone and that the Navy would have to depend, at least to a limited extent, on Selective Service. On 4 September 1942, the Office of Navy Liaison, Selective Service, was established in BuPers to facilitate contacts with the Selective Service field organization, and to present the case for deferment of the Navy's civilian employees.

Executive Order Number 9279 dated 5 December 1942 called a halt on the enlistment of men through Navy recruiting between the ages of 18 and 37 inclusive. The blanket restriction was unquestionably in large measure an outgrowth of Army and Selective Service opposition, coupled with protests from Chairman Paul McNutt of the War Manpower Commission. Young men 17 years old were excluded from the order, thus permitting naval recruiting in that age group.

Following the President's order, a "Memorandum of Agreement of the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy" was prepared to provide a permanent basis for the operation of Army and Navy induction. Within BuPers the Recruiting Division was redesignated the Recruiting and Induction Division. In the field, the five "Recruiting Divisions" were abolished and replaced by nine "Recruiting and Induction Areas" coextensive


with the nine Army Service Commands. Control of recruiting and induction activities by BuPers was subject to the authority of the Joint Army and Naval Personnel Board.7

During the calendar years 1943 and 1944, the actual number of men received through Selective Service was below what was expected from that source. The Navy Department compensated for the deficiency by direct recruitment of 17 year olds and men over 37. No doubt there was also a certain amount of "padding" of the estimated needs submitted to Selective Service.8

The Chairman of the War Manpower Commission in April 1943 observed that sixty-five percent of all Selective registrants were rejected for physical reasons, and that to meet Army and Navy demands the rejection rate should not have exceeded forty percent. He urged the necessity of a "realistic common physical standard" for both services. A conference among representatives of WMC and the military, held the following month, resulted in reduction of physical standards and other qualifications for naval inductees. The Navy began to accept illiterates [as] of 1 June 1943. BuMed consistently opposed these steps which were dictated to BuPers by the pressures of wartime manpower shortages. In general, the Navy's World War II experience with physical standards indicated that such standards could be lowered from formerly accepted standards without apparent adverse effect.

Selective Service was not geared to grade men according to their skills. Therefore, the Navy's participation in the system did not do away with the need for certain procurement projects that had special angles, such as Construction Battalions,Ship Repair Units, Radio Technicians, Combat Air Crewmen, Physical Instructors, etc. Success of these programs depended largely on promotional publicity and upon a rather free-handed issuance of ratings. This was particularly true in the Seabee rates where scores of trades were needed.. The recruiting service was not entirely on high ground in promising ratings upon enlistment because promises by recruiters were often impossible of fulfillment due to the exigencies of the service. There was also the morale factor of passing over lower-rated men already in the service who might have been as well or better qualified than the recruit. In the Seabees especially, promotion lines were often clogged by direct procurement of rated men.

Selective Service inductions did not at any time during the war stop naval recruiting completely. The combined recruiting and induction service


in the field required a staff of over 6,000 officers and men at the peak in December 1942. The administrative personnel of the Recruiting and Induction Division in BuPers never exceeded thirteen officers, eight enlisted men, and forty-three civilians because the work had been so completely decentralized to the field. The field activities were completely overhauled in the spring of 1943 when Selective Service began to consume more time than enlistments. Toward the end of the war the activities of the Recruiting and Induction Division of BuPers turned from procurement to persuading men to remain in the Navy after the war.

In July 1944 the President authorized a naval strength of 3,389,000 to be reached by 30 June 1945. On 21 January 1945, the figure stood at 3,242,000. In April, the Navy Department announced that its call on Selective Service for the next month would be half that of April. The drive for enlisted personnel was then nearing its end.9

WAVE Procurement. Admission to the United States Naval Reserve Force under the act of August 29, 1916 was open to "citizens of the United States" and the word "male" was not included in the definition of eligible persons. Thus, this act provided the legislative basis for taking women into the Naval Reserve to do clerical and similar work during World War I. In subsequent Naval Reserve Acts (1925 and 1938) membership was limited to "male citizens of the United States."

Earlier creation of a Woman's Auxiliary Army Corps led to the approval, July 30, 1942, of an amendment to the 1938 Naval Reserve Act providing for a Woman's Reserve as a branch of the Naval Reserve, "to expedite the war effort by releasing officers and men for duty at sea and their replacement by women in the shore establishment of the Navy."10

A separate office of Woman's Reserve headed by a Director was set up in BuPers to formulate policy and coordinate the work of the operating Divisions of the Bureau in connection with the Woman's Reserve.11

Procurement of members of the Woman's Reserve differed from existing naval procedures insofar as both officer and enlisted personnel were procured through the Offices of Naval Officer Procurement. Recruiting Stations acted as servicing and promotional agencies for the ONOP's in the case of Woman's Reserve. In localities where no ONOP existed, Recruiting Stations were made responsible for a preliminary survey of applications but had no authority to accept or reject.

The minimum age for acceptance in the WAVES was set by statute at 20 years. The Bureau placed further restrictions on eligibility: no woman


with a child under 18 was accepted, nor was a woman married to a man serving in the armed services. This latter ruling was gradually modified until it applied only to an applicant who was the wife of a naval officer. Educational requirements for enlisted personnel were graduation from a high school or business school, or the possession of technical training or experience appropriate to the rating. Officers were required to be college graduates or to have had two years of college and two years of professional or business experience. The Bureau infrequently granted a waiver of the educational requirements for otherwise highly qualified officer candidates. As a practical matter, physical requirements for women were somewhat reduced from the male standards. Enlisted WAVES rendered particularly valuable service on classified clerical work as they were subject to military discipline and were not governed as to working hours by the regulations for civilian employees. Naval service opinion was not unanimous as to the wisdom of officer status for WAVES.

WAVE Distribution. The organic act creating the Woman's Reserve restricted assignment of women to shore duty within the continental United States. From the beginning the Woman's Reserve worked toward the removal of this restriction. The Navy did not press for a change, and Congress remained adamant on the issue. Nevertheless, the campaign continued and finally in September 1944 Congress amended the basic law to permit WAVES, who requested the duty, to serve in the defined American area (certain parts of the Western Hemisphere), and in the Territories of Hawaii and Alaska.12


After a civilian has been accepted for naval service he enters the training stage designed to effect his metamorphosis into a sailor. Training is a continuing process throughout a Navy man's career, but this chapter is concerned primarily with institutional types of training and more specifically with the role played by BuPers in training World War II manpower for the Navy.

A Training Division charged with administering the educational, recreational, and morale programs of naval personnel made its appearance in the Bureau of Navigation in 1923. This Division shared training responsibilities with the Officer Personnel and the Naval Reserve Divisions. This arrangement led to overlapping functions and an imprecise definition of responsibilities. The reorganization of the Bureau in 1942 gave the Training Division exclusive cognizance of training and relieved it of its former responsibilities for morale and recreation. Subject to the


approval of the Planning and Control Division it expanded existing schools and training centers and established new ones. New sites for training activities were purchased or leased, but in some instances the new facilities, including newly developed equipment, did not become fully available until late in the war. Most of the schools had to have special equipment coming under the cognizance of the various technical bureaus. It was the business of the Training Division to obtain such equipment from other bureaus. It laid out the curriculums for the schools and developed their training methods in collaboration with the technical bureaus.

Practically all phases of routine training, whether of officers or enlisted men, called for instructors with naval experience, but there was a great shortage of such personnel. Recalling retired officers and chief petty officers to active duty relieved the shortage to some extent, but as might have been expected many of these men had neither aptitude nor interest in teaching. Graduates of the NROTC program were of great help as instructors. Top students in the various classes were often retained as instructors, but this was not altogether satisfactory because most of them had had no shipboard experience and usually wanted to get into more active service themselves.

The situation improved in the summer of 1943 when the Bureau established Instructor Training Schools and assigned to them as students many men with recent fleet experience. Graduates of these schools were ordered to training centers, naval district headquarters, and operational training activities as instructors and training consultants.

One phase of the training of personnel for the duties they are called on to perform on ships and at advanced bases is designated as Operational Training. An example of Operational Training is the training of a ship's company for the performance of its duties as a team in anticipation of placing a new ship in commission as distinguished from the training of the individuals of the team. In the prewar period, manning a new ship was comparatively simple. Crews were composed largely of seasoned officers and men and most operational training was of the in-service afloat variety. The great influx of inexperienced personnel and the rate at which new ships had to be commissioned made it necessary to do more operational training of this kind ashore.The magnitude of this phase of training comes into focus when it is stated that the Navy had to man eleven new ships a day on the average, during the fiscal year ending 30 June 1944.13

Examples of team training that could be undertaken ashore in order to start crews on the road to proficiency on board ship were fire fighting,


armed guard instruction, underwater sound training, recognition training, etc. Schools ashore to inculcate at least the rudiments of knowledge in these fields were started by the various bureaus in the absence of thoroughly integrated programs and were sometimes referred to as wildcat training activities. The training imparted in these wildcat schools could not be allowed to wait for more perfect arrangements, but these schools could have done a better job with competent centralized planning, coordination, and control.

COMINCH took note of the lack of coordination in operational training in a letter of 11 September 1942 in which he directed that all service schools for naval personnel, except those established and directly administered by the forces afloat, be administered by BuPers, but the letter acknowledged that BuPers was not at that time prepared to assume this responsibility in full.14 The transfer to BuPers of the control of training activities organized by other bureaus and offices was a slow process. Such bureaus felt that if the schools were operated by BuPers the professional and technical aspects of training would be subordinated to military and administrative considerations. On these grounds BuMed and BuAer never did turn over complete control of their training programs to BuPers.

Creation by COMINCH in January 1943 of fleet operational training commands in the Atlantic and the Pacific introduced an element of divided authority into the situation. In response to questions from BuPers a series of clarifying directives were issued which established the principle that the operational training commands were to have control of training itself, and BuPers of the necessary logistic support for the activities. The responsibility for training personnel in ship operating duties would rest with BuPers until the personnel reported at a pre-commissioning school, or at a navy yard, or shipbuilding plant as part of the crew for fitting out a specific ship. At that point training responsibility passed to the operational training command.

Within BuPers, fulfillment of training responsibilities depended on the closest cooperation between the Training Division and other divisions. The Planning and Control Division set trainee quotas as well as instructor and school administration personnel quotas, advised the Training Division on the kind of instruction needed, and controlled issuance of equipment and funds to operate training facilities. The Officer and Enlisted Personnel Divisions selected trainees for the various schools, and planned future student input and distribution of school graduates. Commencing in the spring of 1943, a Bureau Committee on Procurement-Training Responsibilities met at least once a month to iron out difficulties


and common problems. Unsolved differences were referred to the Assistant Chief of Bureau who, together with the heads of interested divisions, reviewed all Committee recommendations and decisions.

Aviation training followed its own unique pattern. In theory, aviation training was a BuPers responsibility with BuAer acting in an advisory capacity. This tenuous alliance operated none too satisfactorily through an informal BuAer-BuPers committee. On 30 October 1941, the Chief of BuAer requested the Secretary of the Navy to assign his Bureau complete control of aviation training.  BuPers opposed this move as did the Chief of Naval Operations who proposed instead that BuAer name a Director of Aviation Training to work more closely with CNO and BuPers in administering aviation training. In spite of this initial success in retaining aviation training, BuPers, as in the case of operational training, was not able to administer the rapidly growing aviation training program effectively. Thus by default, aviation training began to pass from BuPers to BuAer until 15 October 1943 when all aviation training and instruction was placed under the newly created Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air).15 BuPers was reduced to rendering logistic assistance to the program.

Officers. As has already been mentioned, the Navy's principal peacetime source of line officers was the Naval Academy. Post graduate and specialized instruction were offered at the General Line School, the Naval War College, the Army Industrial College, and various civilian educational institutions throughout the country.

As a supplement to the output of regular line officers, the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps was created in 1925 to give instruction in naval science to a limited number of undergraduates at colleges. Six universities were selected to start the program with the fall semester of 1926. To each school was assigned a complement of six regular line officers headed by a captain designated as "Professor of Naval Science and Tactics." The program was gradually expanded so that in 1940 there were nine NROTC units turning out about two hundred Reserve ensigns a year. At the end of 1945, there were fifty-two such units whose annual output numbered about 2,000 Reserve officers and which operated under a completely standardized system of instruction.16 Administratively the NROTC was, during the war, temporarily absorbed by the V-12 Program, but was allowed to retain its identity in order to facilitate carrying on after the war. Graduates of the NROTC units were an extremely valuable source of supply of instructors for other training activities during the period of national emergency before Pearl Harbor.


The origin of the V-12 College Training Program has already been briefly described. The program went into operation on 1 July 1943 and embodied the lessons learned from the predecessor "V" programs which had not proven entirely satisfactory. V-12 trainees were selected from inactive Reservists (students enrolled in earlier "V" programs), active duty enlisted men (by mid-1944, two-thirds of the V-12 students were drawn from this source), and from civilian applicants who preferred this method of getting into the Navy to the Selective Service route. Commanding officers of V-12 units were mostly Reserve officers with teaching and school administration backgrounds. They reported to their naval district commandants for military control and logistic support. All educational and curricular matters were subject to direct BuPers control. Trainees under the V-12 Program were guaranteed a minimum of four college terms of education and an even larger number of terms in the areas of specialization, such as engineering, medicine, dentistry, theology, and a few others. Most of the trainees passed into the Reserve Midshipmen Schools, where they were educated and trained for the duties of junior line officers in the Navy. During the last two war years about 50,000 men passed through the V-12 Program.17

In addition to the educational and training system described above, thirteen indoctrination schools were established which gave newly appointed officers from civil life a short course of instruction in naval regulations, naval customs, naval discipline, and other matters that would help the civilian to orient himself in the naval service. Some 60,000 individuals passed through these indoctrination schools. In addition to the training programs described above, there were arrangements for giving postgraduate instruction to officers at various educational institutions and at the Naval Academy Postgraduate School in such subjects as naval construction, marine engineering, ordnance, communications, chemical warfare, business administration, oriental languages, and many others. Postgraduate education of this kind was designed more to meet the needs of the regular Navy than the needs of the temporary wartime Navy. The courses of instruction to be covered and the administration of the details was worked out by BuPers in collaboration with the bureaus and offices having cognizance of the subjects involved.

Enlisted Personnel. Very little attention was given to the training of the men before the mast in the days of sail. A landsman learned to be a sailor by doing. He was shown the ropes by the old hands and, for the rest, had to pick up any further knowledge of the sailoring business as best he could. For many years up even to the end of the 19th century,


the enlisted men in the United States Navy were largely foreigners as American citizenship was not a requirement for enlisting until after the Spanish-American War.18

The suggestion was made as early as 1835 to enlist boys in the United States Navy as apprentices and to train them in the duties of seamen. An attempt was made to put the idea into effect several years later, but it languished and no serious effort to establish an apprentice training system was again made until 1881. Then a Naval Apprentice Training Station was started at Newport in Narragansett Bay, but the station was of slow growth. After its establishment, however, training ships for apprentices were also provided. The USS Hartford, Admiral Farragut's flagship at the battle of Mobile Bay, served until well into the 20th century, as a training ship for apprentices.

During the early part of the 20th century, other naval training stations were established so that at the beginning of World War II there were four naval training stations: Newport, Great Lakes, Norfolk, and San Diego. These were greatly enlarged and three additional recruit training stations were established shortly thereafter. Some 75,000 recruits were given basic training at these four stations during the fiscal year ending 30 June 1941. The number passing through these seven stations rose to over one million men in the next three years. The principal aim of these stations was to inculcate in the recruits some idea of naval discipline, how to take care of himself and his clothes, to give him some instruction in boat handling, tactical drills and similar exercises, and to put him through a course of physical exercise and training. Upon completion of the initial training he was either ordered directly to a billet afloat or ashore, or was selected on the basis of classification tests, interviews, and performance for some type of specialized training.

Following the BuPers reorganization of 1942, the Bureau's training division took a firmer hold on the operation, administration, and coordination of the enlisted training programs. The request for a particular type of training often came from outside BuPers, particularly from the technical bureaus. Once the need for a new school was agreed upon, it became the duty of the Enlisted Training Section to coordinate the work of a great number of offices and activities. After a school was functioning, the Enlisted Training Section became the source of all directives and instructions for its operation, and was charged with the responsibility of making certain that the kind of training needed was provided.


A variant of the wartime BuPers training projects was the off-duty educational instruction and guidance program administered by the Educational Services Section. Its purpose was to provide voluntary educational opportunities for enlisted men in their leisure hours. Classes and correspondence courses in a broad area of vocational and academic subjects were offered afloat and ashore. The men were interested in such studies for a number of reasons: to increase their knowledge of their own naval ratings, to provide greater opportunities for rehabilitation of sick and crippled men, to assist them in obtaining postwar jobs, and to build up high school or college credits. Accreditation by civilian schools for work completed under the Educational Services program allowed numbers of men to complete their high school education while in uniform. The program was very popular.

The Navy also participated in the United States Armed Forces Institute (USAFI) to the extent that 35 percent of all those in USAFI correspondence courses and approximately 50 percent in college and university extension courses were naval personnel.

Although BuPers did not have complete control of training during World War II, it did administer or otherwise direct the major share of it. To the Bureau must go credit for carrying out the staggering assignment of imparting to millions of men from all walks of life the essential naval skills and knowledge necessary to fight the war. It is true that this training was not always as timely nor as thorough as it might have been. While perhaps none could have foreseen a three million-man Navy, much essential groundwork could have been done in the prewar period, such as making an inventory of essential training facilities, earmarking instructors, establishing basic policies with BuShips and BuOrd for the assignment of equipment, and preparing standard curriculums at least in some fields. These, and similar preliminary steps, would unquestionably have eased the training problems.


Officers. Distribution simply and theoretically expressed, is getting the right man to the right place at the right time. In actual practice this was often not an easy undertaking. The sheer size of the wartime Navy made the task difficult. For example, in 1945 more officers were needed to fill billets as commanding officers of ships than there were officers in all categories on active duty in the Navy at the time of Pearl Harbor.

Basic to actual distribution of personnel was the establishment of complements and allowances of officers and enlisted men for the ships, advanced bases, and shore establishments of the Navy. The complement of an activity (ship, advanced base, shore station, etc.) is defined by Navy


Regulations as the number of officers by corps and grade, and of enlisted men by rating groups and pay grades indicated as necessary to carry out effectively the mission of the activity in time of war. An allowance is an approach step toward the fixing of a complement. Both are primarily intended to serve as guides for personnel planning, procurement, training, and distribution. The establishment of complements and allowances was a specific responsibility of the Distribution Division of BuPers working in collaboration with the Planning and Control Division.

Once complements and allowances had been established for the various types of ships, this facet of distribution did not make heavy demands on the time of the Division. The billets constituting the complements and allowances of ships could be pretty well standardized, even though there was an almost continuous call for additional billets as new equipment and more weapons were installed on ships. The complements and billets for the shore establishment did not lend themselves so readily to standardization. Nevertheless, once billets had been authorized, whether afloat or ashore, the principal task of the Distribution Division consisted of the actual detailing of qualified and available individuals to fill them.

This brings up one of the toughest administrative problems that the Navy has always had to face, and for which no satisfactory solution has ever been found. It frequently happens that an officer in billet "A," for example, is wanted elsewhere for a more important job; one he desires and is well qualified to fill.  He requests to be transferred, but no matter how much his commanding officer may appreciate the merits of the situation, he is bound to make his approval of the request for transfer contingent on the reporting of a relief.

BuPers is usually not able to furnish a relief on short notice, but the job for which the officer is wanted cannot remain unfilled very long. Leaving billet "A" unfilled temporarily is the answer, and the commanding officer may be perfectly willing and able to accept this solution, but he does not dare to say so officially for fear the billet will be abolished altogether. Therefore, nothing happens and the result is a frustrated officer whose talents are not being fully used. The fear of jeopardizing billets is one of the stumbling blocks to greater efficiency in government. It should be made easy instead of difficult for commanding officers to admit that they can get along temporarily with unfilled billets. The result would be better utilization of manpower and improvement in organization.

The officer detailing methods underwent frequent changes. Originally, detailing was based on rank: one desk handled captains, another commanders, etc. Other desks drafted orders for aviators, submariners, warrant officers, and officers of the Staff Corps. The great inrush of green junior officers after 7 December 1941, and the acceleration in promotion that


took place made detailing by rank alone unworkable. In April 1942, a "sea desk" and a "shore desk" were set up, and soon thereafter every major type of vessel was represented by a desk, with the result that, for all but the highest rank, detailing by type of duty replaced detailing by rank. One long standing practice, the issuing of individual orders to officers, was not changed during the war.

Policies with respect to shore establishment detailing lagged behind sea detailing. Technical bureaus and similar activities, in the absence of a single competent and fully-staffed personnel organization during the hectic first year of the war, decided on the officer qualifications and complements needed for their own activities. Therefore, in distribution, as in procurement and training, there was some duplication of jurisdiction. The Bureau experienced partial success in recentralizing shore distribution authority by setting up special desks for naval constructors, engineers, radar specialists, ordnance specialists, etc. Each desk was held down by an officer who was expected to keep himself informed of the desires of the technical bureaus, to estimate their needs, and to make the required officers available.

A step was taken toward correcting intra-Bureau rivalry between the various "desks" for available personnel by establishing a Distribution Control Section of the Distribution Division early in 1944 for the dual purpose of improving the records systems and coordinating officer placement. On paper this was a sound move, but optimum results were not achieved for many months largely because detail officers by-passed the Control Section to do business as before because it could be done more quickly that way.

Even the best conceived distribution system staffed by talented personnel could not perform its mission without accurate records. The card system of 1942, one card on each officer, was inadequate and frequently incomplete. There was no provision for regular submission of rosters for shore stations, and ships rosters were often out of date if not lacking entirely. The length of time an officer had been on board could not be readily determined by the detail officers. It was the third quarters of 1943 before "IBM" tabulated records came into general use providing concise information on rank, duty station, date of orders, etc. Shore as well as sea activities were requested to submit monthly rosters beginning in October 1943. Reassignments within activities were then made known to the Bureau, and detail officers were kept informed regarding the actual location of their personnel.

Still another very important type of record was the classification of an officer with reference to his qualifications. This was needed in addition to the information contained in his fitness report jacket. In the pre-World


War II Navy, it was generally held that all line officers must be qualified to perform any and all command functions that might fall to their lot; this placed the accent on versatility rather than on expertness in any one field. However, with the influx of large numbers of Reserve officers, the need developed for detailed records concerning their individual qualifications and specialties. As a means to more efficient assignment, BuPers established a Qualifications Unit in the spring of 1942. A numbered code system was devised which would, by running cards through business machines, sort out officers having any desired special education, skill, language facility, previous duty. etc.

By June 1943, about one hundred thousand officers had been coded, taking much of the guesswork out of detailing them to duty and making it theoretically possible to pick out an officer for the billet he was best qualified to fill. Codes were subject to revision as officers acquired new skills. A Qualification Record Jacket was adopted in October 1944, and like the health record and pay account, was carried from station to station by the officer. However, it continued to be the opinion of the Navy at large that BuPers had not solved the problem of getting round pegs into round holes.

The Bureau assigned interviewing officers at Midshipman and Indoctrination Schools to provide the detail desks with duty recommendations for graduates. In addition to personally interviewing and evaluating each individual student, the interviewing officer administered qualification tests and lectured to each class on probable billets. Although it was not always possible to follow recommendations when writing orders, the interviewing system proved of great value in getting some round pegs into round holes. In the spring of 1945, the interview system for preference of duty was extended to officers returning from sea and overseas duty, but most officers felt that little attention was paid to their preference for duty.

A knowledge of an officer's qualifications is of little value in placing him unless the requirements of the job are also known. While the demands for many naval assignments, especially at sea, were well understood, it was soon evident that the World War II Navy embraced many new activities. A comprehensive program of "billet analysis" was therefore undertaken by the Bureau in the fall of 1943. The job analysis was so vast that it was far from finished when the war ended. In numerous cases, of course, a definitive analysis of a billet was not possible, but a system of billet titles was devised, enabling an activity seeking an officer to submit the billet description with at least some expectation that a qualified individual would be supplied. While starting too late to be of maximum value, billet analysis contributed to the Bureau's efforts toward smoothly working distribution.


Throughout the war, BuPers, with but few exceptions, kept distribution to sea billets tightly under its own control. This was based on the premise that since all records were in Washington, only there could overall naval needs be considered. Some of the sea desks, such as those handling amphibious craft and destroyers, attempted to delegate the authority to make assignments, but it proved unworkable. Detailing to submarines, long semi-autonomous, continued to be handled successfully by distributing submarine officers through its three force commanders, Atlantic, Pacific, and Seventh Fleet. The possibility of creating a general personnel office under ComServPac for [the] entire Pacific received careful consideration in 1944, but was not adopted. Lack of knowledge in the Bureau about local operating conditions and even the location of ships was responsible for many of the Bureau's distribution difficulties and shortcomings.

In a Navy comprised of almost 85 percent Reserve officers, the Bureau adopted the realistic policy of filling major command billets afloat with the comparatively small number of Regular officers available. BuPers followed this policy because only Regular officers possessed the broad experience demanded by the major commands, and it was furthermore desirable to train career officers, the core of the peacetime Navy, for duty in the larger types of ships and groups of ships. This was a logical policy and had it been made known to Reserve officers by the Bureau, it would have avoided much criticism. Reserves commanded some of the older destroyers, escort vessels, auxiliaries, and amphibious craft, and on the whole did a fine job.

In the summer of 1944, the Bureau discontinued the practice of controlling in detail the coming and going of officers ordered overseas. Officers were, instead, ordered to an area command without designation of the billets they were to fill. The specific assignment was then made by the area commander. The new practice proved satisfactory as area commanders were usually in better position to take this final step than the Bureau. A weak link in the procedure was the delay in keeping the Bureau's records up-to-date as to the actual assignment of officers.

It was not possible during the war to work out a satisfactory system for the rotation of officers. No official rotation policy was ever announced, but by March 1944 the Bureau unofficially let it be known that eighteen months in a combat zone was considered a tour of duty. However, practical considerations prevented a regular program of ship-shore rotation, except for submarines and aviators who were rotated on a regular schedule. Officer rotation at advanced bases was not so difficult and was accepted with less complaint than was rotation by commanders afloat, as it caused only minor disruption to the routine of the activity. In 1944 and 1945


a normal overseas tour (eighteen months) was fairly closely adhered to for rotation purposes; this was not the case for shipboard duty where the problem of standardizing the length of a tour of duty was never solved.

Enlisted Personnel. The distribution of enlisted personnel was in some respects more difficult than the distribution of officers because the numbers were greater, but the clerical work in the Bureau was less because the movement of enlisted men was usually accomplished in drafts and did not require the writing of orders for each individual. Eventually the distribution of such personnel was further simplified by the Navy Classification Code system. Under this system a code number was assigned to every enlisted man in the Navy which stood for his background of vital statistics and education, rating, and skill; this code number, in effect, described the man and his qualifications.

Each billet in the Navy also had a code number describing the skills and special qualifications needed by an individual to fill it satisfactorily. Bringing the code number of the individual and of the billet description together resulted in locating the man qualified to fill the billet. This work was accomplished in the Bureau by the use of punched cards and tabulating machines, and removed the process from the realm of excessive detailed clerical work. Many men had more than one code number, although at first an effort was made to restrict each individual to a single code number describing his education, training, experience, and skills. It took a long time to code all of the enlisted men already in the service, but once this had been done it was not too difficult to keep the system up-to-date. The most important matter, thereafter, as the individual acquired more skill and experience, was to keep his code number in step with his progress in the Navy. Commanding officers were charged with the responsibility of maintaining navy job classification titles and codes on an accurate and current basis for all enlisted personnel within their commands. Errors in code numbers and the failure of the individual to remember his number or numbers presented some difficulties in the operation of the system.

After the system went into effect commanding officers made requisitions for enlisted personnel by code numbers. The Bureau then put the numbers through the business machines, screening out the men with the qualifications called for. The next step was deciding on the eligibles most readily available to fill the requisition. Then followed the actual preparation of the correspondence needed to get the man to his destination.

The transportation of enlisted personnel was usually made in groups known as drafts. Orders were issued to individuals on the rare occasions when some highly qualified specialist was needed in an emergency to fill a specific billet. The drafts were normally distributed to ships through the organizations of the service commands or through receiving stations. At


times a sudden requisition for a large draft made heavy demands on the distribution service of BuPers.

A typical example was a call for 4,000 small boat personnel, received from the Commander Amphibious Forces, Pacific, late in 1944. This need had not been anticipated by the Bureau's planners and by the Distribution Division. On receipt of the request and its confirmation by COMINCH and VCNO, inquiries went to the Atlantic and Pacific amphibious training activities, and their satellite training bases at Coronado, Oceanside, Moro Bay, Fort Pierce, and Little Creek to ascertain the portions of the requisition that they could fill. Enough men to fill the requisition were located and then the problem had to be met of obtaining transportation and subsistence for the large contingents that were involved. This was handled through existing liaison with the Office of Defense Transportation in Washington and as to some of its aspects by dealing directly with the railroads serving the training activities. On arrival at the service command destination, further distribution was handled locally. Only a few days were needed to get the entire movement underway.

A major problem of enlisted personnel distribution during World War II was relieving men who had served long periods at sea and in combat areas. A rotation program based on eighteen months service and a plan to replace monthly about 51/2 percent of the complements of ships and of advanced bases, was announced in the summer of 1943. The policy represented a sincere effort by BuPers to meet a serious morale problem and was given considerable publicity, but it turned out to be unworkable, because the Bureau lacked complete data on complements and on future personnel requirements to carry out the plan. The Bureau lacked also, the power to compel fleet and forward area commanders to relieve men who, under the plan, were due for return to the United States. The premature announcement of the policy probably did more harm to morale than if no effort had been made to correct the situation.

A more flexible and more successful arrangement was the interchange program which gave authority and encouragement for fleet and continental United States administrative commands to trade enlisted personnel in certain ratings without complying with rigid eligibility rules. This scheme met, however, with some resistance from fleet commanders and shore establishments who put forth the overworked terms of "military necessity" and "exigencies of the service" to keep valuable men in their commands.

Release from active duty may be considered a final step in the distribution process. The Discipline Section in BuPers handled requests from officers for release for hardship reasons, until July 1944 when the volume of requests necessitated the formation of a special Release Section. In September 1944, the Secretary of the Navy indicated that certain billets


were being eliminated and the occupants could be released if not needed elsewhere. Although the Secretary proclaimed that the Navy's needs and not the individual's desires were the criteria, there was an immediate avalanche of applications from officers who thought they could be spared. After Germany's surrender, the Navy announced that there would be no demobilization until the defeat of Japan. Nevertheless, the number of requests for release increased, so that it became necessary in July 1945 to promulgate a definite "53-point" formula, based primarily on length of service and age, which eliminated the uncertain and unpredictable discretion exercised by the Distribution Division and the individual detail desks. When the war ended, administration of the point system was taken over by the Demobilization Division, while the Distribution Division limited itself to consideration of hardship cases.


The final measure of the effectiveness of procurement, training, and distribution is the proficiency achieved by the personnel in the performance of duty. As shown on organization Chart, Figure 14 of October 1942, a Performance Division under the Director of Officer Personnel and a similar one under the Director of Enlisted Personnel handled such matters for the Bureau. The duties of these Divisions were essentially of three types: (a) those involving changes in status of the men in the Navy such as their promotion, their transfer from class to class, their discharge, and their retirement; (b) those involving recognition of outstanding services justifying the award of medals, citations, and commendatory letters; (c) those involving disciplinary action of one kind or another. The main divisions were divided into subdivisions for handling these and associated matters. Some modifications were made in the organization during the war to meet changing conditions and new problems, but, in general, the above remained the organizational pattern throughout the war.

Officer Promotion. The promotion of career naval officers until after the Spanish-American War was based strictly on seniority. Officers were required to pass professional as well as physical examinations, before being promoted, but failures to pass the somewhat perfunctory professional examinations were rare. The result was a Navy composed in the upper grades of old men, many of whom were incompetent and incapable of performing all the duties of their grades. This was particularly true of many of the flag officers. By the time an officer reached flag rank he had only a very short time left to serve before arriving at retiring age.

To correct certain of the personnel difficulties and deficiencies that were brought to the fore by the Spanish-American War, Congress passed the


Act of March 3, 1899. The act increased the number of captains and commanders in the Navy and accelerated the promotion of officers to those grades.19

The same act provided that when there were less than 40 yearly vacancies above lieutenant, 20 of which had to be above lieutenant commander and 13 above commander, a board of naval officers would create the necessary additional vacancies by selecting officers for transfer to the retired list. The recommendations of the boards were subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Navy and the President.

The board was sworn to make its selections solely on the basis of the relative fitness of officers and "the efficiency of the naval service." This method for ridding the active list of the least fit and insuring a flow of promotions became known as the "plucking" system. It worked quite well so long as there were on the active list notoriously unfit officers available for selection-out, but after about ten years that type of officer had been pretty well eliminated and officers had to be plucked who had passable, even good, service records and reputations. The system then became so unpopular in the Navy and also in Congress, that it was changed in 1916 to the selection-up system.

Selection-up was recognition of the principle of advancement through merit. The authors of the new policy did not, however, look upon it as a reward for past service well performed, but only as a means for bringing into the next higher grade those best fitted to perform the duties of the higher grade. Selection-up was at first applied only to the promotion of lieutenant commanders, commanders and captains. In the mid-30's it was extended to include all ranks above lieutenant junior grade. Selection boards were convened periodically by the Secretary of the Navy, normally once a year, for the selection of line officers, with separate boards consisting of senior officers in the Staff Corps for making selections in those corps. Staff officers became eligible for selection when their running mates in the line had reached that point. The recommendations of selection boards were subject to the approval of the Secretary and the President.

In effect, the process consisted of substituting for the upper part of the list in each grade a list of officers that had been selected as best fitted for promotion. From this new seniority list, vacancies were filled as they occurred and in the order of the standing of the selectees on the new list. An officer might be selected for promotion more than a year before a vacancy occurred for him. While waiting for a vacancy he might become ineligible because of physical disability or because he had become involved in some matter which the Secretary of the Navy or the President considered as


rendering him ineligible for advancement. The Senate could take the same action when requested to confirm his appointment. Normally, however, the recommendations of selection boards were followed. Nevertheless, Secretaries have from time to time removed the names of individuals from the list or have found the recommendations of boards unacceptable because they failed to select some officer considered by them especially qualified for promotion. A new board was then appointed. In the last analysis, the promotion of officers is completely under the control of the upper level civilian authorities: the Secretary of the Navy, the President, and the Senate. The handling of all details connected with the promotion of officers, such as the data to be entered on their fitness reports, the procedures prescribed for the preparation and the submission of fitness reports, and of making them available to selection boards, are administrative responsibilities of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

The foregoing promotion routine applied only to officers of the regular Navy. The prewar Naval Reserve officers numbering about 4,000 had their own system whereunder any officer who performed active duty for training and met certain minimum correspondence course requirements was promoted every five years until he reached the rank of lieutenant commander. After that the selection board process applied.

It became apparent when the large increase in naval personnel got underway that the system in force would be too slow and cumbersome to fit the requirements of a national emergency. Congress accordingly, at the request of the Navy Department, passed a law under date of July 24, 1941 which provided for the temporary promotion of officers to all grades without reference to authorized permanent quotas. The Act also provided for commissioning warrant officers and petty officers if found qualified. The law suspended permanent promotions until a year after the end of the war, but the selection principle was retained so far as possible under the temporary promotion system.

The wartime procedure for selecting flag officers represented the greatest departure from the peacetime practice. From time to time, lists of captains eligible by length of service in that grade for promotion to flag rank, and who had at least six months duty in command of battleships, cruisers, or aircraft carriers, although this requirement was not strictly adhered to, were prepared in the Bureau of Naval Personnel and sent to anywhere from nine to fifteen flag officers who, each at his duty station, voted for those he considered fitted for promotion. In order to appraise their qualifications these flag officers had to depend on their personal acquaintance with the captains on the list and on their service reputations, as fitness reports were not available to the flag officers for consultation. This made unfairness possible as no flag officer was likely to know personally all of the captains


on such a list, thus he might omit some of the best men from his recommendations because he did not happen to know them.

When all replies from those consulted had been received they were opened in the office of the Secretary of the Navy by a board consisting of the Secretary, the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet, his Chief of Staff, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of BuPers, and usually the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics. Approval by at least three-fourths of this panel was required for a captain to be placed on the promotion list for rear admiral. The Secretary of the Navy then took the list to the White House where the President usually approved it as submitted.

For the promotion of lieutenant commanders and commanders to the next higher grade the Secretary of the Navy, on the recommendation of the Chief of BuPers, named a panel of eleven officers on duty in Washington or the vicinity, consisting of some flag officers and some senior captains, including aviators. Each member of the panel made a recommendation to the Secretary listing the names of those officers having the requisite length of service in grade whom he considered fitted for temporary promotion to the rank of commander and captain, respectively. These lists were then summarized in the Secretary's office who submitted them to a Board of Review for final recommendation. This Board of Review consisted of the Secretary, the Commander in Chief of the Fleet, his Chief of Staff, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of BuPers, the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, and the Assistant Chiefs of both of these Bureaus. The fitness reports and other papers in the files of the officers under consideration were made available to the Board of Review for examination. Each member of the Board then made a list of the lieutenant commanders and commanders he considered best fitted for promotion. These lists were then summarized and all of those who received at least six votes were entered on the respective promotion lists, which upon approval by the President became the promotion lists form which commanders and captains were commissioned as necessary to fill the needs of the service. Promotions in the lower grades were made in blocks. Professional examinations were suspended during the war.

Spot promotions. Some promotions, known as spot promotions, were made without regard to seniority or the selection process. They were made whenever it was thought necessary to vest a particular job with additional rank because of its importance or to carry out a specific policy. For example, in 1943, all destroyer escort commanding officers were spotted to lieutenant commanders if not already holding that rank. A spot promotion was temporary as were all other promotions during the war, but the individual serving under such a promotion reverted automatically to his former rank on being detached from the assignment. In actual practice this seldom happened because by the time he was due for a change in


duty, rank had usually caught up with him, or he was transferred to some other equally important job.

Spot promotions were made, also, to correct flagrant errors or injustices in the rank given to Reserve officers on original commissioning, to give officers transferred from the merchant service rank commensurate with their duties in the Navy, and to give to missing officers when found, or to ex-prisoners-of-war the rank they would have had if they had been on duty continuously.

There was much dissatisfaction with the practice as a whole, especially by those who never benefitted by it. Career officers were certain that Reserve officers were unduly favored and Reserve officers felt the other way around. All officers on sea duty, whether Regulars or Reserve, were certain that an officer in a shore billet had a better chance for a spot promotion than an officer on sea duty. An analysis made in December 1944 lent some color to this belief as out of some 2,100 officers serving under spots, about 1,200 were in shore billets. Of these, 200 were Reserve officers of the staff category, about 120 were Regulars on the retired list, about 250 were originally enlisted men, and the rest were line officers about equally divided between Regulars and Reserves. Of the approximately 900 at sea, about 300 were Regulars and about 30 were Reserve officers.20

The belief was strong, also, that officers "near the throne" in Washington had a better chance for spot promotions than those farther away. The greatest dissatisfaction was voiced over the promotion to flag rank of Reserve officers close to the Secretary who had had little or no naval experience prior to World War II, and whose duties were largely of a civilian administrative nature. It was felt that if a professional naval officer was not available or competent to fill the position, then the position should have been left in the civilian category.

The Bureau of Naval Personnel never favored the spot promotion practice because it was difficult to administer equitably. The merit of the procedure lay in its flexibility.

The grounds upon which the practice was based were no doubt valid. The Secretary of the Navy, in time of great national emergency, must be permitted greater latitude in the promotion of officers, than in time of peace, particularly in the choice and promotion of those who constitute his immediate official family. Actually, there was little abuse of the spot promotion practice. At no time during the war were more than about one percent of the officers on active duty serving under spot promotions.

Enlisted Promotions. The skills of enlisted men are indicated by their ratings and within ratings by their pay grades. Ratings are subdivided further under the jobs described in the Navy Job Classification system for enlisted personnel. By the end of the war some 1,100 different jobs comprised


this classification system. In most cases the jobs were grouped under the various ratings. Ratings may be conveniently defined as job families. Before World War II, between sixty and seventy general service ratings or job families had been recognized by the Navy. These families or career fields had to be expanded to approximately 200 emergency service ratings during the war. Emergency service ratings were narrower and more specialized than the prewar general service ratings. For example, during the war the general service rating of Boatswain's Mate was divided into the emergency service ratings of Shipboard Boatswain's Mate, C.B. Boatswain's Mate, Canvasman, Rigger, and Stevedore.21

While the classification of the job held by an individual identified his skill, it carried with it no implication that it was his only skill nor that he was incapable of acquiring greater or additional skills. Under no circumstances was an assigned classification considered to be restrictive with respect to the duties that could be assigned to the individual, his performance of the assigned duties, or his further training.

In peacetime,promotion of an enlisted man was based on a number of factors: the length of time the man had served in a pay grade, his conduct and the progress he had made as indicated by his rating marks, his standing in competitive examinations, his satisfactory completion of training courses, and the availability of a billet to which he could be promoted. Commanding officers in peacetime were required, so far as applicable, to give consideration to all of these factors before making promotions. With the rapid expansion of the Navy, some of these requirements had to be relaxed in order to give commanding officers a freer hand in adjusting their complements to meet wartime conditions. For one thing, the wartime expansion called immediately for more petty officers, which in turn, necessitated some relaxation in the time in grade requirement for promotion. The minimum time in grade of all enlisted personnel was reduced early in the war, and by June 1943 authority had been granted to all commanding officers to waive half of the former requirements. Men could also be promoted without competitive examinations. The assignment of advanced ratings upon enlistment was permitted for some types of jobs and unit commanders were authorized to fill vacancies anywhere within their total complements.

In July 1944 a slow cutback was started. The number of promotions open to unlimited advancement was reduced, and it was announced that all enlisted promotions thenceforth would be temporary. As the Navy approached its personnel ceiling limit, the rules were progressively tightened. Early in 1945, permission to waive any part of time in grade was withdrawn, but the next logical step, to increase the minimum time, was never taken, for it was thought that the jolt to morale would be too great.


Decorations. The granting of medals and decorations is a means of rewarding outstanding performance. Contrary to popular belief, medals do not go very far back in American military history. Until 1861, when Congress authorized the Medal of Honor at the suggestion of the Navy Department, the United States issued no medals except those specially created for particular occasions. Enlisted men only were eligible for the Medal of Honor, and it was not until 1915 that officers could receive the decoration.

In 1941, only four decorations were available to naval personnel.22 Determination of awards, rested with the Secretary of the Navy assisted by a board. Early in 1942, a permanent Board of Awards, soon redesignated Board of Decorations and Medals, was set up to relieve the Secretary of this burden. An informal arrangement was set up between the Board and BuPers whereby the latter recorded award data and sent out the letters of transmittal. For awards which were largely automatic such as area ribbons, battle stars, and the Purple Heart, eligibility was determined by the Bureau without reference to the Board.

During the war, authority was delegated to CominCh, CinCLant, CinCPac,and certain fleet commanders to award decorations below the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Medal. Decentralization of authority and the absence of clearly defined, precedent-supported rules made the maintenance of proper standards very difficult for the Board of Decorations and Medals. In the first months of the war the highest decorations were too freely distributed. This had a cheapening effect which was partially corrected by conferring awards of lesser degree. Still there persisted a notable tendency by some commanding officers to confuse an assigned mission well done with heroism or performance above and beyond the call of duty. For morale purposes, the Navy reluctantly accepted the Army Air Corps "count system" for awarding the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, rather than for outstanding non-routine performance.

In addition to the early free distribution fault, several general criticisms have been leveled at the wartime medal and award policies. It was felt that a disproportionate number of rewards went to career officers; that a junior line officer and enlisted man's opportunity for earning recognition was limited. Over 90 percent of all naval personnel were enlisted, yet roughly only 35 percent of total awards went to enlisted men, but this may not have been too far out of line considering the duties and responsibilities of the two groups.23

Discipline. While promotion and medals serve to reward good performance, disciplinary measures are necessary to deal with unsatisfactory performance. However, the conduct of naval officers rarely presented disciplinary


problems in the usual meaning of the term. The Officer Discipline Section of the Bureau existed principally to make certain that the penalties imposed for offenses were appropriate, and to salvage the services of the offender for future use if possible. It was a function of the Section to interview officers whose conduct was such that it raised the question of their fitness for retention in the Navy. If the officer so desired, or the Discipline Section so recommended, he was ordered to the Bureau for a personal hearing. He was given an opportunity to tell his story informally and from his own point of view. Where facts were in dispute, the case might be brought before a court martial. The policy of BuPers was to keep punishments to the minimum, but to look very carefully into the question of whether an officer should be retained in the service.

Separations under such circumstances were considered as disciplinary, although not necessarily labeled as discreditable. A good many separations resulted from scholastic or training failures. Before the creation of the Navy Aviation Disposition Board, much of the Officer Discipline Section's time was devoted to the orientation of wayward young officers.

The greatest enlisted disciplinary problem was unauthorized absence from duty. From 4 to 5 percent of the Navy's wartime strength was lost in unauthorized absences and accounted for 80 percent of all general courts martial during the war. The Bureau's disciplinary policy for this offense was as follows: if a man was absent from his station for twenty-four hours the Bureau had to be notified. After an absence of thirty days, he was presumed a deserter, his record was so marked and sent to the Bureau, his effects sold, and his pay accounts forwarded to BuSandA. If the man returned to naval jurisdiction, he was not, in general, restored to his ship unless it was known to be in the immediate vicinity, but was held pending instructions from the Bureau, or if that was impracticable, transferred to the nearest naval activity having detention facilities. As a rule, the Bureau would then have the records transferred to that point and discipline administered there, it being both safer and simpler to move the records than the man himself. If a man absented himself from a ship about to sail, the records were put ashore in the custody of the nearest receiving station.

When a man and his record met, the case might be handled in any one of several ways: a deck court or summary court martial would be held for absence not considered desertion; a general court martial for desertion and, by May 1944, for missing ship. Review of such cases was handled by the Discipline Section of BuPers to determine whether sentences were appropriate and in accordance with Bureau policy. The Judge Advocate General passed on the legality of the findings.

Discharges. BuPers continued during the war to process through the Discharge Section all favorable type discharges. About 9 percent of all


enlisted personnel were discharged from the service prior to victory over Germany, and of these almost half were discharged for medical reasons. Among the non-medical cases, unsuitability (23 percent of all) ranked first as a reason for discharge.24

The great majority of requests for discharge alleged some personal ground, such as dependency or other hardship. The fact that each case had to be considered on its merits and could not be handled under some general rule made this the most time consuming group handled by the Discharge Section. All requests were carefully reviewed by at least three officers before final action was taken. The functions of retirement and transfer to the Fleet Reserve were also handled by this Section, as were occasional applications for admission to and discharge from the Naval Home.

Three fields which raised difficult policy questions were: screening out inept recruits; disposition of men who "broke down" in service; and treatment of homosexuals. In April 1942, psychological units and aptitude boards were set up at naval training stations to detect, and to recommend for discharge where necessary, all recruits who seemed disqualified by psychological or neurological handicaps.

During the recruit training phase, the Bureau was compelled by necessity to delegate broad discharge authority to commanding officers. Where the number of discharges at any station appeared excessive, the Bureau would so advise the particular commanding officer. Nevertheless, a remarkable variation among stations in the volume of discharges persisted.

Until January of 1945, the men who broke down under the strain of combat or other causes were discharged as "ineffectives," but the protests of the men and of their Congressmen led the Bureau to change the wording of the discharge to read "for the convenience of the government under honorable conditions."

Homosexuality had been traditionally treated by the Navy as a serious crime, but, in January 1943, the Secretary of the Navy laid down a new policy which made this problem primarily a medical one, and not necessarily a disciplinary problem. Only where the individual sought to impose his unwelcome attentions by force or upon minors was he automatically brought before a court martial, and even then a board including a psychiatrist sat to consider the question of appropriate treatment. An undesirable discharge was always given.

The undesirable discharge was probably the focus of more dissatisfaction and controversy than any other aspect of the discharge system. It stamped the recipient with a designation more offensive in many eyes than bad conduct. It could be given administratively by commanding officers


without the order of any court. In response to a Congressional directive, the Secretary of the Navy created the Board of Review of Discharges and Dismissals in July 1944 to review and change as seen fit any discharge not the result of a general court martial sentence. BuPer's general practice, until the spring of 1945, was not to review the actions of commanding officers in undesirable discharge cases. The Planning and Control activity urged that the Bureau review all undesirable discharges given in the field before they were carried out,and that in no case should a man be so discharged without a statement of cause, as had often been the case in the past. It was pointed out that officers similarly separated for the good of the service were allowed to depart under honorable conditions. In April 1945, the Bureau finally deprived the field of authority to give undesirable discharges and resumed the burden of final review.


Welfare, that is, those factors sometimes intangible, which influences a man's well-being and morale was a major consideration in personnel administration during the war, as welfare had a definite bearing on performance. Planning and coordinating the Navy's welfare functions was a BuPers responsibility, but ultimate success or failure in its effectiveness rested with individual commanding officers.

At the close of World War II, the Bureau's Welfare activity comprised the Special Services Division, the Corrective Services Division, and the Dependents Welfare Division. In addition, the organization included an Informational Services Section which published the entertaining and informative “ALL HANDS” magazine at a rate of nearly 400,000 copies monthly.

The Special Services Division provided a wide variety of off-duty recreational and amusement facilities for naval personnel. This program was supported by direct Congressional appropriations, ships store's profits, and contributions from outside of the Navy.

Recreational radio broadcasts were available through the Army's Armed Forces Radio Service and later the "Navy Reporter" which discussed questions of particular interest to naval personnel. Volunteer entertainers, especially under the auspices of the United Services Organization (USO), provided live shows. Lukewarm acceptance and all too frequent mediocre performers impaired the success of the live entertainment programs. By far, the greatest morale booster was the motion picture, although distribution was at best erratic, films too few, and often too old. From 1941 to 1945 the motion picture industry contributed $38 million worth of films to the Armed Services.

The Special Services Division spent 65 cents per man annually for the


purchase of new books, as the Navy's library system grew from 500 to 5000 libraries. This Division controlled and funneled into welfare funds the millions of dollars profit from ship's service activities and officers' messes ashore.

In July 1944, the Corrective Services Division was formed after BuPers relieved the Judge Advocate General of responsibilities for naval prisons and prisoners. The Division coordinated policies and regulations for naval prisons, brigs, and shore patrol activities. Administrative personnel and shore patrol specialists were trained, and industrial and educational projects for prisoner rehabilitation were supervised.

A third and quite significant division within the Welfare Activity was the Dependents Welfare Division. In December 1941 there was no provision for payment of allowances to dependents, and virtually no precedent for developing and carrying on dependents benefit programs. The Missing Persons Act (PL 490), passed on 7 March 1942, empowered the Secretary of the Navy to act for deceased or missing naval personnel, and served as the basis for the casualty program administration. Congress enacted the Serviceman's Dependent Allowance Act (PL 625) on 23 June 1942 granting benefits to dependents of enlisted men based on the contributory principle, whereby a deduction was made from military pay and a substantial government contribution was added to the monthly amount received by dependents.

As the Navy's agency for carrying out the dependent's welfare program BuPers, through its Dependents Welfare Division, handled benefits payable to dependents of living personnel, survivor benefits, and life insurance. In addition, close relations were maintained with the American Red Cross, the Navy Relief Society, and the Federal Security Agency in matters concerning naval dependents.

Chaplains Corps

Another BuPers activity, the Chaplains Corps, although not administered within the Bureau's Welfare Activity is so closely associated with morale and welfare that it can rightly be treated at this point.

Chaplains have served the spiritual needs of man-of-war's men since the Navy's fist days, and they continued this vital role throughout World War II. As a corollary, chaplains assumed a major responsibility for welfare and recreational services.

Within the Bureau's organization the Chaplains Division was charged with training and distributing chaplains for the naval service as well as formulating plans and policies, and procuring chaplain's equipment. From the two officers who manned the Chaplains Division of BuPers at the outbreak of the war, it grew to a sizable structure including several assistant directors and separate desks dealing with procurement, training, detail, etc.


By law, the Navy was allowed one chaplain for 1,250 active duty personnel. The Chaplains Corps reached a peak strength of about 2,600 (90 percent Reserves) in mid-1945, but this was below the allowed quota. The voluntary nature of a chaplains service was one of the reasons why procurement did not keep pace with naval personnel increases. The approach was through church organization rather than individuals; no direct recruiting was undertaken.

Denominationally, the basic requirement for appointment in the Chaplains Corps was that the individual must be a member of a sect that formally ordains its ministers. In spite of pressure from various groups, educational standards were retained at a high level. A very stringent rank scale was adhered to which allowed no chaplain to enter the naval service with a rank above lieutenant regardless of age or experience. This was deemed necessary to avoid inter-denominational complaints which would have arisen if higher rank had been tendered certain candidates because of experience or distinction as clerics.

The decision to offer a commission to a clergyman rested with the Officer Procurement Division in BuPers. In that Division, a candidate's qualifications were reviewed, and his application sent to the Chaplain Division for recommendations which were almost always accepted. This system seemed to work well because of harmonious working relations between the two Divisions. By the spring of 1945, the Corps was accepting a considerable number of highly recommended men directly from seminaries without previous pastoral experience. over the objections of some minority groups regarding "separation of church and state," pre-theological and theological students were included in the V-12 College Training Program. Actually the number of chaplains obtained from V-12 training before war's end was negligible.

The first chaplains to enter the Navy for World War II duties received only "on the job" training under the Senior Chaplains in the various naval districts. Early in 1942, BuPers established a chaplains indoctrination school initially at the Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, and later moved to Williamsburg,Virginia. The course offered was eight weeks for chaplains with previous experience, and three months for the younger inexperienced men.

Two officers in the Chaplains Division handled the distribution of chaplains throughout the fleet and shore establishment. Ordinarily, when making assignments, rank and length of service were more significant than denomination., In general, at any one time, one-third of the Chaplains Corps was serving afloat, one-third at overseas bases including those with the Marines, and one-third at continental stations.

The Navy did not have a well-defined chapel construction program, but rather left the matter to the discretion of commanding officers. As a


result, it was not infrequent that chapel building was delayed to a point where the need had virtually passed. When it was decided that a chapel was to be built at a given locality, the Chaplains Division acted in an advisory capacity. By agreement in 1944, with the Hull Arrangement Section, BuShips, provisions were made to include a complete set of chaplains equipment in combatant ship allowances.

The Chaplains, enjoying Corps status while administratively a BuPers division, complained of "stepchild" treatment much as the Dental Corps did in the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. There was a feeling within the Corps the BuPers failed to develop fully the chaplains potential, particularly in the areas of morale and training, and further, that faulty liaison among Bureau activities hindered the Chaplain Division's mission. Since chaplains represented a distinctive field of professional knowledge and interest, a strong climate of opinion existed for separation of the Corps from BuPers. However, nothing came of this bid for independence.

Negroes in the Navy

It may be instructive to substitute "persons with darker skin" for "Negroes" in reading the following section.
The unconscious racism expressed is dumbfounding. --HyperWar

Still another side of the World War II military manpower picture which had its ramification through all phases of personnel administration from procurement to welfare, was the acceptance of large numbers of Negroes for naval service. On 30 June 1945, there were more than 165,000 Negro enlisted men in the Navy.25 BuPers' success in administering the sensitive Negro problem deserves mention.

There have always been Negroes among the enlisted men in the Navy. During World War I and until 1922, Negroes were recruited for general service, but after that date only the messman branch was open to them. When World War II began, just a handful of Negroes were in the Regular Navy outside of the messman branch. After thorough consideration by committees appointed by the Secretary of the Navy, by the General Board, the Fair Employment Practices Committee, and the White House, an announcement was made on 7 April 1942 that Negroes would be accepted for general service n the Navy effective 1 June 1942. From that date through the remainder of the war, BuPers' policy moved away from segregation toward integration and ever wide general use of Negroes. A unit in the Bureau's Planning and Control Activity administered the Negro program.

The Negro's physical and educational background made for high attrition in the recruit stage and necessitated special training measures. However, since many Negroes saw naval service as an opportunity for personal advancement, their shortcomings were in part offset by good morale and increased effort on their part which made their overall efficiency higher


than had been anticipated. For the entire war period, Negro recruit training remained segregated, and it was not until June 1945 that all-Negro specialist schools were disestablished. Separate recruit training for Negroes and whites seemed a practical decision by BuPers since Negro inductees included large numbers of illiterates. Training had, therefore, to start on a more elementary level than with whites. The Negro training program required careful planning, new methods, proportionately larger staffs, stress on morale building recreation, and constant checking of results.

To forestall a tendency to consider Negro personnel as a labor force regardless of training, and to allow the Negro to use his competence on its own merits, BuPers policy in July 1943 directed all activities to employ Negro personnel in the rates for which trained, and emphasized that they were to be advanced in the same manner as whites.

From the initial position that Negroes should be enlisted only for the messman branch, the basis for distribution and utilization of Negro personnel broadened steadily. Large numbers of Negroes served in construction battalions (some SeaBee battalions were all Negro), shore establishments both in the United States and overseas, and on board harbor and local defense craft. Due to the unavoidable intimacy of shipboard life, BuPers hesitated to use Negroes for general service afloat for fear that racial friction might develop. This policy led to the excessive concentration of Negroes on shore duty. This, in turn, had an injurious effect on the morale of Negroes and whites alike; on the former because of its discriminating nature, and on the latter because the Negro was not being called upon to shoulder his share of combat duty. As an experiment several escort vessels were manned by Negroes exclusively, but the experiment was not pushed.

In February 1944, Negro cooks and bakers were ordered to fill complements of ships under construction when there was a shortage of white ratings. The following months, Sea Frontier Commanders were directed, wherever possible, to replace white enlisted men with Negroes on ships under their jurisdiction. In August 1944, a BuPers directive announced that general service Negro personnel were to be assigned to auxiliary type vessels to the extent of 10 percent of the complement. This produced such satisfactory results that BuPers Circular 48-46 of 27 February 1946 removed all restrictions on Negro assignments except the 10 percent provision.

War experience showed that Negro personnel presented no unique disciplinary problem. The problems that were encountered arose more from the Negro's handicaps in education and early environment, than from his incapacity to accept discipline in the conventional sense of the word. In the opinion of some observers, Negro enlisted men responded more readily to petty officers of their own race than to white petty officers. [An effect, no doubt, even more pronounced for white enlisted men and white petty officers! --HyperWar] By mid-1943, Negro shore patrols were being successfully used in certain areas. An effective


aid for all naval officers was a pamphlet entitled "Guide to Command of Negro Naval Personnel," which was published in February 1944.

In December 1943, the Secretary of the Navy approved the commissioning of twenty-six Negroes (12 line, 10 staff, and 4 warrant officers). Negro students were to be accepted, also, in the V-12 College Training Program on the basis of competence alone, without regard to race. The Bureau received flexible authority from the Secretary in June 1944 to commission Negroes from time to time as required by the needs of the service. By 1 June 1945, thirty-eight Negro officers (including two women) were serving in the Navy. All but a very few had been commissioned from the ranks. At the outset, BuPers insisted that there be no discrimination against Negro officers, and that they receive all the privileges of their rank.

Planning and Control

The Planning and Control Division of BuPers was charged with making personnel plans, general policies, control of finances, and plans for demobilization. Planning and Control was the watchdog group to insure compliance by other divisions with the basic policies of the Bureau. Procurement, training, distribution, etc., were in a large measure, dependent on the wisdom of the Planning and Control Division in performing its functions.

The Booz survey in the spring of 1942 revealed that financial matters were handled in seven different places in the Bureau. Following the Booz recommendation, financial matters including budget-making, allotments, approval of expenditures and accounting were concentrated in the Finance and Material Section of the Planning and Control Division. The only contracts let directly by BuPers, and for which it was responsible, were those with schools and colleges in connection with educational and training programs.

In war as in peace, there must be barracks, classrooms, training devices, etc. to carry out the personnel programs of the Navy. BuPers' thinking during the first year of the war was that BuSandA and BuDocks could adequately represent BuPers in obtaining priority recognition from the Navy's Office of Procurement and Material, and through it from the War Production Board for its materiel needs. However, the ever increasing need for specialized equipment made it necessary for the Finance and Material Division to follow up BuPers materiel requirements.

The greatest obstacle to efficient materiel planning was the lack of continuous, significant, reliable, and early information on the personnel programs, to which materiel requirements were an adjunct. As late as 1943, BuPers had no reliable inventory of existing facilities for the housing, training, welfare, or recreation of personnel at naval activities within the United States. The first census of activities under BuPers cognizance was completed in April 1944.


The kernel of personnel planning was the Operating Force Plan, "a blueprint of the number of men needed by the Navy to perform its mission under foreseeable conditions on given dates." When this number was known the next step was to estimate how many men would be required in the various skills or classification so that procurement and training could be planned.

Formulation of realistic Operating Force Plans by the BuPers Planning and Control Division was dependent on the long range strategic plans of CominCh-CNO and on the personnel requirements of the technical bureaus, to meet logistic needs. It was not until early 1944 that Planning and Control was able to build up sufficient sources of information to keep the Operating Force Plan ahead of the growth of the Navy. By the middle of the year, sources of information had been developed to render possible the making of personnel plans for each naval activity, giving officer and enlisted needs over an advance period of two years. Under temporary additional duty orders a liaison officer was detailed in each bureau or office to work closely with Planning and Control group on the future personnel needs of the activity he represented.

The naval personnel on duty in the shore establishments of the Navy Department varied at different times during the war between 34 and 50 percent of the total active duty strength of the Navy. Early in 1943 the Secretary of the Navy appointed a board headed by Vice Admiral A Andrews to conduct, independently of BuPers, a nationwide survey of the personnel requirements of the Navy for shore duty.  It was found, for one thing, that the terminology used by the Andrews Board in describing and defining shore activities was not the same as that used in BuPers records.

This led, in April 1944, to the formation of a Committee for the Standardization of Terminology for Activities of the Navy (The Norris Board). This Committee was charged with developing an accurate list of naval activities in the continental United States and with making recommendations for the improvement of the nomenclature used in describing shore establishment activities. BuPers worked closely with this Committee which conducted a survey of the naval districts one at a time. In December 1944, the Committee issued a preliminary "Catalog of Activities of the Navy" which in its final official form consisted of some 4,000 shore-based activities located in the United States, arranged by types for all districts, and by activities within the individual districts. Each naval district was required to submit to BuPers on the 15th and last day of the month a report of the personnel and activity changes within the district. New "Catalogs" were issued quarterly and change lists monthly. These catalogs became an effective control device.

The naval personnel of shore-based activities outside of the United


States was even more difficult for the Bureau to control than the personnel in the continental shore establishments. Originally, the Bureau attempted to set complements for each individual activity, but inaccurate reports or none at all, the closing of some and the creation of others without notifying the Bureau, made this difficult. In January 1944, BuPers adopted the policy of establishing overall area allowances for officers and men, and giving area commanders authority to assign the personnel to the various activities. This practice was at first tried only in the Pacific, but was made worldwide in April 1944. Area commanders reported to BuPers monthly on the assignments made. As a result, BuPers estimated that its complement records for the forward areas increased in accuracy from 40 percent to 95 percent.

The control of ship complements presented fewer problems than the allowances for shore establishments. Officers with long sea experience in all types of ships were available in BuPers to handle such work, but technological advances, particularly in electronics, introduced new needs in planning the complements of ships. No regular channel existed during the early part of the war for keeping BuPers speedily and accurately informed of developments in radar and related equipment affecting the personnel requirements of ships. CNO, in January 1944, requested BuShips to explore the personnel needs of the various types of ships resulting from the installation of newly developed electronic equipment. As a result of this study, BuPers established additional schools and improved its selection and training techniques for providing the needed personnel on ships.


The problems of getting round pegs into round holes, and correcting errors in placement when brought to the Bureau's attention were never solved satisfactorily. Admittedly, these were enormous problems when it is remembered that hundreds of thousands of individuals were involved, but it is the general feeling in the Navy that a better job in these respects could have been done than was done.

By and large the Bureau of Naval Personnel carried out successfully its staggering assignment of producing the trained naval manpower needed by the gigantic fleets and shore activities of the Navy in World War II. The challenge of technological advances and of the ever-increasing complexity of naval warfare was met successfully in spite of defects in prewar planning and at times in advance planning even during the war. Important decisions had, therefore, often to be made and action taken under pressure, which militated against the achievement of the best results.


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1. Vice Admiral Randall Jacobs, USN, was Chief of the Bureau throughout World War II from 19 December 1941 to 15 September 1945. He had relieved Rear Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, who was Chief of the Bureau of Navigation from 19 June 1939 to 19 December 1941 when he was ordered to duty as Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.

2. The distribution of duties and the organization of the Bureau as of October 1942 was based on a study made by the firm of management engineers Booz, Fry, Allen and Hamilton, who submitted a report on the subject dated August 20, 1942.

3. BuPers Administrative History, "Officer Personnel," Procurement, p. 3.

4. SecNav Annual Report for 1945.

5. 53 Stat. L. 819.

6. BuPers Administrative History, "Enlisted Personnel," Procurement, p. 31.

7. The Joint Army and Naval Personnel Board was formed in May 1942 to consider common personnel matters and to present a joint viewpoint before the War Manpower Commission. It afforded an authoritative basis for the establishment and enunciation of joint personnel policies.

8. BuPers Administrative History, "Enlisted Personnel," Procurement, p. 57.

9. BuPers Administrative History, "Enlisted Personnel," Procurement, p. 63.

10. PL 689, 77th Congress.

11. President Mildred H. McAfee of Wellesley College was named Director of the Woman's Reserve.

12. PL 441, 78th Congress, approved Sept. 27, 1944.

13. BuPers Administrative History, "Training Activity," Vol. II, p. 294.

14. BuPers Administrative History, "Training Activity," Vol. II, p. 297-299.

15. See Chapter IX, BuAer, for a more complete story of Aviation Personnel.

16. BuPers Administrative History, "Training Activity," Vol. II, p. 152.

17. Full coverage of the V-12 and other college training programs will be found in BuPers Administrative History, "Training Activity," Vol. IV.

18. John D. Long, a former Secretary of the Navy, quotes Admiral D.D. Porter as saying that when the USS Trenton went into commission not more than eighty men in her crew could speak English. The ship was built at the New York Navy Yard, was commissioned in 1877, and carried a crew of 446 men. The New American Navy, John D. Long, Vol. I, p. 90.

19. 30 Stat. 1004.

20. BuPers Administrative History, "Officer Personnel," Performance, "Spot Promotions," pp. 86-91.

21. By 18 Feb. 1958, all emergency service ratings had been disestablished.

22. Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, and Distinguished Flying Cross.

23. BuPers Administrative History, "Officer Personnel," Officer Personnel Performance, p. 48.

24. BuPers Administrative History, "Enlisted Personnel," Enlisted Performance, p. 50.

25 BuPers Admin Hist., “The Negro in the Navy,” p. 9.

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