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COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS, HOUSE OF REPRE
Monday, December 7, 1908.
The committee met at 10.30 o'clock &. m., Hon. George Edmund Foss (chairman), presiding.
STATEMENT OF REAR - ADMIRAL J. E. PILLSBURY, CHIEF OF
THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION.
The CHAIRMAN. The first is, Pay of the Navy. “Pay and allowances prescribed by law of officers on sea duty and other duty," and so forth. I find that there is one new item here, "one clerk” to pay officer in charge of deserters' rolls." Admiral, what does that mean?
Admiral PILLSBURY. A deserter is still a part of the personnel of the navy as long as he is liable to apprehension or in case he returns voluntarily to the service.
The CHAIRMAN. And their rolls are kept in charge of a paymaster of the Navy Department who has no clerk?
Admiral PILLSBURY. He has not a clerk except one given him by the Paymaster-General from the civil force. Really, these rolls are very numerous indeed. The live rolls, or those retained by the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts for a period of six months before being sent to the auditor for final adjustment, contain from 3,000 to 5,000 accounts. Those on the dead rolls which are liable to be transferred to the live rolls number about 35,000.
The CHAIRMAN. The real purpose of this is to give a new clerk on a
Admiral PILLSBURY. To give him the clerk which he would be entitled to if he was stationed at a navy-yard or on board a ship. He is entitled to have a clerk on board ship if the men number more than 175; and here there are more than that number of men's accounts, and it is a military necessity, just the same as if he was stationed at a navy-yard or on board ship.
The CHAIRMAN. He has a clerk now?
Admiral PILLSBURY. He has a clerk, by the good will of the Paymaster-General, assigned from the civilian force of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Mr. PadGETT. This same item was submitted last year,
if I remember correctly?
Admiral "PILLSBURY. Yes; but Commander Winslow, who was before you at that time, was not familiar with it, and it went by default.
Mr. ROBERTS. The idea is to give a clerk to this paymaster, just the same as the other paymaster's clerk?
Admiral PILLSBURY. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROBERTS. Is not that really contrary to the civil-service law? Admiral PillSBURY. To detail à clerk for this purpose ?
Mr. ROBERTS. Yes. You know the civil-service law prevents the detailing of clerks from one branch of the government service to another
Mr. CALLAHAN. This clerk is in the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, of which the Pavmaster-General is the chief.
Admiral PILLSBURY. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. We will pass on to page 3. That seems to be the same as last year. There is no change there?
Admiral PILLSBURY. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. On page 4 we have “pay of the Nurse Corps.” That is a corps established by law last year, as I understand?
Admiral PiLLSBURY. Yes; and the pay of the corps was to come out of appropriation pay of the navy, as well as the rent of quarters for these nurses.
Mr. Hobson. Before we pass away from this, may I ask the Admiral for information whether this additional work is largely clerical or not, or whether some clerical assistance that is given him now will be continued ?
· Admiral PILLSBURY. No, sir; a paymaster, when he is entitled to a clerk, makes a nomination which is submitted to the Secretary, who approves or disapproves, as he may desire. He may or may not nominate the clerk who is doing the duty now. He would probably nominate some one else who is perfectly familiar with the pay rolls of the enlisted force.
Mr. Hobson. I understand, then, that the clerk who is now doing the work would not be an additional clerk; that the clerk proposed would do the work of the clerk who is now assigned to that paymaster?
Admiral PILLSBURY. He would be additional, because that clerk whom the paymaster has now is one allowed to the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts.
Mr. Hobson. Would he be retained at this work?
Admiral PILLSBURY. Possibly until the pay officer was detached and ordered to other duty.
Mr. Hobson. It then becomes equivalent to having a pay clerk instead of an ordinary clerk at that work?
Admiral PILLSBURY. Yes, sir.
Admiral PILLSBURY. He might nominate this man, and he might not. He might nominate some one else; but it would be in addition to this clerk who is regularly borne on the rolls of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts.
Mr. LOUDENSLAGER. How much of this item is for pay of nurses ?
The CHAIRMAN. On page 9 you will see it is itemized-$58,000; and rent of quarters for members of the Nurse Corps is $13,000. Have you not quarters now for the nurses around at the hospitals?
Admiral PILLSBURY. Some of them may live in the hospitals when they are on duty. I think those who are off duty have to have some place outside where they can go, the same as nurses at a general hospital in a city. Of course I am not familiar with these details, as it belongs to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the estimates only coming under the Bureau of Navigation; but the Surgeon-General has told me about these arrangements in a general way.
The CHAIRMAN. The next is "prizes to be awarded to the engineer divisions of the ships in commission for general efficiency and for economy in coal consumption under such rules as the Secretary of the Navy may formulate."
Admiral PillsBURY. That recommendation, if you recollect, sir, was sent to the committee last year after Admiral Evans had inaugurated the competition. This was done while steaming from Hampton Roads to Rio Janeiro, and upon the rate of consumption of coal then he established certain rules. The competition went on and resulted in a saving of about 1,500 tons of coal before Magdalena Bay was reached. He then recommended that there should be certain prizes given to the engineer force of the ships. These prizes are the same as those given for gunnery and marksmanship. There ought to be something for the engineer force in the way of prizes, to be awarded in competition, for economy in coal consumption, keeping up the efficiency of the machinery, and running without calling for outside help for repairs.
The next competition Admiral Evans had was on the run from Rio to Magdalena Bay. Admiral Sperry based his estimate of the coal necessary to come home on that run, and when he got down to Australia he telegraphed that he wanted the coal that was to be delivered to him on the passage home from Manila reduced by 8,000 tons. That is, the competition from San Francisco down to Sydney had shown a still greater saving, which would result in a saving of 8,000 tons on his estimate for the coal needed coming from the Philippines home. You see, that is saving thousands of dollars for the Government, and it is done by creating this friendly rivalry among the men.
Mr. Loud. Probably in the future there will be less opportunities for such competition.
Admiral PiLLSBURY. These competitions will occur whenever the ships are making a passage together. It is proposed that these prizes shall be given to the Pacific Fleet and the Atlantic Fleet and the torpedo flotillas. The amount is only $5,000 in all, and many thousands have been saved by these competitions already.
Mr. Loud. This cruise has been exceptional in its opportunities for competition, has it not?
Admiral PILLSBURY. Yes, sir.
Mr. Thomas. Is the competition between the ships or between the crews on the same ships?
Admiral PILLSBURY. It is between the different ships. The consumption of a ship is taken for 5,000 miles, we will say, and they compare the consumption of coal for every one of these ships for the distance. This ship burns 97 tons a day and another ship burns 87 tons, and so on. Now, the ratio of what they finally do burn to what they burned in the first place is taken. Ninety-seven tons comes down to 90 tons, and the 87 tons comes down perhaps to 70 tons.
Mr. THOMAS. I was thinking that you could not very well put vessels up against each other.
Mr. LOUDENSLAGER. Not on the actual consumption.
Admiral PILLSBURY. As an actual fact, one of the vessels brought her consumption down from somewhere near 120 tons per day to between 90 and 100 tons per day. This was done by strict economy and gaining in skill. The Pacific Fleet is now bound down on a cruise
from Magdalena Bay to Chili, making her longest run—3,000 miles and more. The same competition has been inaugurated among the vessels of this fleet.
Mr. OLCOTT. Of course they ought to do it, but practically this will help them to do it.
Admiral PILLSBURY. This induces them to do it.
Admiral PILLSBURY. No, sir; I think it did not go in at all.
Mr. PILLSBURY. No; you were favorable to it, I remember, but it was not introduced.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought it was tacked onto one of the appropriation bills. If I remember right we tried to put it in?
Mr. HOBSON. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. A point of order was made against it. You believe this would result in some saving?
Admiral PILLSBURY. I do, sir.
Admiral PILLSBURY. No, sir; the reason being this. In spite of the fact that we will require something like 2,000 men to replace the marines on board cruising ships, we have no new ships coming on until the Michigan and her mate are ready, which will be about a year from now. The vessels that will go in reserve that is, the Kentucky, the Kearsarge, the Minois, and the Maine--will give a surplus of men to put into these new ships, so that there will be enough men to replace the marines and provide for the new ships that will go into service for next fiscal year.
Mr. PADGETT. What is the total force now?
Admiral PILLSBURY. 44,500. We are now about 1,500 short of the full complement. We have replaced the marines on 12 ships now.
Mr. Loud. That is about as close as you expect to get, 1,500 men?
Admiral PILLSBURY. No, sir; we are enlisting them steadily, and there are nearly a thousand, or about a thousand, prisoners whose places may be filled; so that really we are about 2,500 short.
Mr. PADGETT. Taking the marines off the ships will ultimately result in a demand on Congress for an increased enlistment in the seaman's force, will it not?
Admiral Pili SBURY. Probably.
Mr. ROBERTS. Why do you need about a million and a half more for this pay roll than you did last year, with no increase in the number of enlisted men!
Admiral PiLLSBURY. In the first place, we have increased the number over last year. The 42,000 petty officers and seamen of the current fiscal year have an average pay of $35.17 per month per man. This result has been obtained by taking the pay per month for each rating, as shown by special reports called for by the bureau from ships and stations, and thus getting the actual pay of the different ratings on board every ship of every enlisted man in the service. There are 1,200 enlisted men in prison. It is estimated there will probably be this number during the coming year. Their pay is reduced below
this average of $35.17 because they are disrated when they are sent to prison, so that it brings down their average of pay to $26 per man per month.
Mr. Loud. What is the average term in prison?
Admiral PILLSBURY. The average sentence probably is a year
Mr. Roberts. I thought the Judge-Advocate told me the other day that it was about that.
Mr. Loud. The average term?
Admiral PILLSBURY. No, sir; because they get a considerable portion remitted for good conduct, and a great many of them are pardoned out within that time.
Mr. ROBERTS. The Judge-Advocate-General tells me they have to let them out to make room for the new ones, the accommodations are so limited
Admiral PILLSBURY. Yes, sir.
Mr. PADGETT. What consideration of the public service in the Navy Department, or of public policy, necessitates the removal of the marines from the navy and putting them into the army?
Admiral PILLSBURY. I think that it will be a very great mistake to put them in the army. We want them in the navy. We do not want them on board ship.
Mr. PADGETT. They are to be put into the army, though, are they not?
Admiral PILLSBURY. I have not heard so, sir. I have only seen some newspaper reports. The Navy Department has made no such recommendation. We believe that they should not be a part of the . complement of the ship, because they man certain guns, and if they are called upon to go on shore, then those guns are not manned. They possess no virtue that is not possessed by the seaman branch, and consequently every duty that they are called upon to do on board ship may be done by the seaman branch. The recommendation that has been urged is that they shall be kept in the navy but organized in companies and battalions, embarked or ready to embark on board a suitable vessel when needed, and that each commander in chief shall have a body of these men ready for any service that they may be called upon to do. In the Philippines now there is a force somewhere about 700 or 800 men, under the command of the commander in chief, ready in case of danger or trouble to be sent where required. It is also believed that a battalion or more should be on this coast, another force on the Pacific coast, and one at Honolulu or at Pearl Harbor.
Mr. PADGETT. I do not know whether it is authentic or not, but I have seen the statement in the press that it was contemplated to transfer them entirely from the navy into the army.
Admiral PILLSBURY. The navy does not want that.
Mr. LOUD. No such recommendation has been made by the President, has it?