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the small one-company recruit depots as at larger depots, and as soon as sufficient data can be obtained on which to base an accurate decision it is the intention to combine the two recruit depots on the Pacific coast into one.
Officers specially qualified for the instruction of recruits have been assigned to duty at these depots, and have themselves been given particular instructions as to handling recruits. Prior to the establishment of these depots recruits were habitually sent to the barracks nearest to their respective places of enlistment, and it often developed that because of shortage of men at a given navy yard it was necessary to detail recruits for regular duty before they were properly qualified therefor. It is believed that the system just inaugurated will result in a much more satisfactory performance of duty by men in the early stage of their enlistments, and, by affording them an opportunity to acquire necessary information as to their duties and to become accustomed to service routine, will considerably decrease the number of desertions, thus adding materially to the efficiency of the service and eliminating a great part of the expense incident to enlisting, outfitting, and rationing recruits who, soon after their entrance into the service, might otherwise desert.
When this recruiting system has been in operation for three months it is estimated that there will be approximately 900 men in training at the recruit depots, and these men will not be available for the necessary ordinary garrison duties.
Two officers and six noncommissioned officers have taken a course in physical training at the Naval Academy, under the supervision of Surg. Joseph A. Murphy, United States Navy, who, at the request of these headquarters, and by authority of the Surgeon General of the Navy, has formulated a course in physical training for recruits of the Marine Corps. Upon the completion of this course of instruction, one officer and two noncommissioned officers were sent to the recruit depots at Philadelphia and Port Royal, and one noncommissioned officer to each of the smaller depots at Mare Island and Puget Sound.
In order that the training of men may be better carried out, that the men may be more carefully looked after, and may be better prepared for expeditionary service, the larger posts of the corps have been divided into two parts—one known as the barracks detachment and composed of men whose duties are such that they are not ordinarily available for expeditionary or sea service, men joining for discharge, sick, etc.; the other part being formed into companies of 2 officers and 100 enlisted men each, the number of companies depending upon the size of the post. This organization of permanent companies will
, it is believed, add considerably to the efficiency of the service by insuring the systematic instruction of officers, noncommissioned officers, and men in all the details of organization that must necessarily be adopted in the field, and will obviate much of the confusion incident to the formation of companies when the corps is called upon to furnish detachments for expeditionary service.
INCREASE IN CORPS.
The Marine Corps is so intimately associated with the Navy that it is believed that the best results will follow from a settled policy in regard to increasing the corps, and it is recommended that whenever there is an increase in the enlisted personnel of the Navy that an increase of the enlisted personnel of the Marine Corps equal to at least 20 percent. of the Navy increase should be made, and, as efficiency in expeditionary service requires the organization of companies, battalions, and regiments, it is believed that with each increase of enlisted men there should be authorized an increase in the number of officers corresponding to the enlisted increase.
TRAINING FOR SEA SERVICE.
The plan of having detachments for duty on board ship assemble, under their officers, for two or three months' training prior to going on board ship was inaugurated at Port Royal, where the detachments for the Florida and Utah were trained.
It is intended to use the marine barracks, Naval Academy, Annapolis, as a training place for two ships' detachments, and, so far as practicable, to fill occasional vacancies in ships' detachments from that post. Three officers due for sea service have been ordered there; one company has been organized, and as soon as men and ordnancé and other matériel are available a second company will be formed.
During the past year the money appropriated by Congress for the maintenance of the Marine Corps has been judiciously expended. The appropriation “Repair of barracks” has been utilized in making such minor repairs and alterations as were necessary to keep the barracks in proper condition for habitation. A great drain has been made on this appropriation because of the condition and requirements of many of the older barracks.
The report of the officer in charge of the quartermaster's department of the corps shows that minor repairs and improvements have been made during the past year at all the stations.
ADVANCED BASE SCHOOL.
In June the Advanced Base School, formerly at New London, was moved to Philadelphia. The officers attached to the school are thus rendered available for duty with the battalion at the latter post, and in place of a course made up largely of theoretical instruction, both officers and men can have a large amount of practical instruction and work with the matériel that would be used in case of hostilities.
The department has been requested to assemble at this station all the advanced base matériel at the naval stations on the Atlantic coast so that the matériel may be overhauled and the useless or obsolete eliminated. The storage facilities for this matériel are limited, and as soon as practicable additional space should be allotted.
In order that the work at this school may be carried on successfully it will be necessary that the officers be relieved, as far as is practicable, from courts and boards incident to naval administration.
MARINE CORPS RIFLE RANGE, WINTHROP, MD. At this post a dormitory for enlisted men was erected, a toilet and bathroom has been provided, the surface drainage improved, grounds graded, two range houses for the protection of markers constructed, mess hall completed, earthen mounds for target butts constructed, and various other minor improvements made, and it is gradually becoming a model rifle range.
On May 30, 1911, under an appropriation provided in the naval appropriation act approved June 24, 1910, a contract was executed for the construction of one double set of junior officers' quarters for two married officers and one house for bachelor quarters for eight officers at this post, at a total cost of $42,902.50, the buildings to be completed on or before April 14, 1912.
CHARLESTON, 8. C.
The new barracks building recently constructed under contract was accepted on November 9, 1910, but plumbing and lighting fixtures are necessary; also kitchen equipment. The new officer's quarters were completed and accepted on August 11, 1910, and two small frame buildings have been moved from old sites and fitted up as additional quarters for officers, making four houses in all.
Owing to the necessity of moving the recruit depot from the Marine Officers School, Port Royal, S. C., one company of recruits was transferred to this post. In view of the lack of plumbing facilities in the new barracks it is necessary to quarter this company in tents.
MARINE OFFICERS' SCHOOL.
The course of instruction at this school has been very thorough, and the results achieved have been extremely satisfactory and gratifying.
On December 17, 1910, 16 of the recently appointed second lieutenants of the corps were graduated from this school, and another class of 5, which is now undergoing instruction, will be graduated in December, 1911. The 6 newly commissioned second lieutenants started the course of instruction on August 1, 1911.
Late in November 1910, a systematic method of handling and training recruits was started at this post, with most satisfactory results. Owing to the demand for men by the organization of a brigade for expeditionary service, this recruit depot had to be abandoned until June 1, 1911, when recruits were again sent to the post.
Owing to this station being designated as the United States Naval Disciplinary Barracks it was necessary to transfer the Marine Officers' School to Norfolk, Va.; at the same time the headquarters of the recruit depot, with two companies of recruits-in all about 250 men—were tranferred to the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard,
Norfolk, Va., and one company, about 100 men, to the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Charleston, S. C. At neither of these two posts are there sufficient accommodations for the number of men that have to be stationed there. There are no quarters for the student officers nor for the instructing officers; the former are living in tents in a camp which has been erected on the parade ground, and the latter are living outside of the station. As it will be necessary eventually to handle between three and four hundred recruits at this station it is intended to erect two temporary barracks sufficient in size to accommodate about 260 men with the necessary messing facilities, and a gymnasium and drill hall combined.
PUGET SOUND, WASH.
The new officers' quarters provided for in the act of March 3, 1909, were completed and accepted on July 18, 1911, under contract executed November 5, 1910. The quarters consist of one commanding officer's and three junior officers', and the contract price for the entire work is $51,250.
In the same act provision was made for a new barracks building and contract was executed for the construction of such a building on May 29, 1911, at the contract price of $135,428. Under the terms of this contract this building should be completed on October 14, 1912.
The marine battalion stationed on the Isthmus of Panama consists of 14 officers and 415 enlisted men. Reports received show that the health of the command has been excellent during the past year.
Attention is invited to the fact that the site occupied by the marine camp at Bas Obispo will soon become an island, as on completion of the Gatun Dam the adjacent territory will be flooded and become unfit for use as a camp site.
It is the opinion of this office that a body of troops subject to the control of the Navy Department, which can be utilized either in detachments or up to the limit of the command stationed there, and which can be dispatched with the greatest celerity and without undue attention being brought to the move, would be of the greatest value both to the State and Navy Departments. It is therefore suggested that the necessary steps be taken to secure the allotment of a site within the limits of the Canal Zone for the use of the advanced base and expeditionary forces of the Marine Corps.
At present the marine command at Honolulu consists of 6 officers and 183 enlisted men. This force will be considerably augmented when the new barracks are completed.
On August 25, 1910, bids were opened for the construction of barracks and officers' quarters at this station, for which Congress, in the naval appropriation act approved March 3, 1909, appropriated the following sums: $135,000 for barracks and $50,000 for officers' quarters. All of the bids received were considerably in excess of the amount appropriated, and the plans and specifications were modified and new bids requested; these bids will be opened on December 4, 1911.
The marine command at Guam consists of 3 officers and 100 enlisted men, and from reports on file at these headquarters it appears that the health of the command has been excellent during the past year. The barracks accommodations are not sufficient for the number
. of men at the post.
During the past year the marine brigade in the Philippines has been maintained, as far as practicable, at a strength of 1,200 enlisted men. On June 30, 1911, the strength of the brigade was 39 officers
. and 1,129 enlisted men.
Improvements have been made at the posts in Cavite and Olongapo, so far as money available for the purpose permitted, but the accommodations, both for officers and enlisted men, are far short of what they should be in order to insure the health and comfort of the commands.
PEKING, The legation guard at Peking is being maintained at the same strength and under the same conditions as in the past. Reports received show that the condition of affairs in this command is most satisfactory.
TARGET PRACTICE AND RANGES.
In view of the fact that the Marine Corps maintained a large expeditionary force in Cuba during the early part of the present year, the regular season's work in target practice was somewhat delayed. Nevertheless the number of qualifications during the present year will compare favorably with those of any similar period in past years, this being mainly due to the experience and ability of the officers in charge of the two largest ranges used by the corps in the United States—that at Winthrop, Md., and the range of the Bay State Military Rifle Association at Wakefield, Mass., which latter is leased by the Marine Corps until October 15, 1911. The presence at these ranges of a large number of enlisted men, who by reason of previous training and of their ability as instructors, were selected for duty, as coaches, also contributed to the expeditious handling of detachments sent to the range for practice.
Following are the qualifications for the year:
Following is the approximate number of men who are drawing increased compensation by reason of qualification: Expert riflemen
455 Sharpshooters. Markamen..
1, 715 1,000