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more and more evident that the intermediate ratings between hospital apprentice, first class, and hospital steward are urgently needed.
The number of hospital apprentices first class has increased during the past year, due in part to the promotion of men subsequent to instruction at the Hospital Corps Training School, Newport, R. I. The reenlistments in this rating are very few, and should be encouraged by offering something in the way of increased ratings subsequent to reenlistment.
It is felt that a great advance has been made in the training of hospital apprentices by the establishment last year of a training school for the Hospital Corps at Newport, and at San Francisco early in February of this year. Newly enlisted hospital apprentices are sent to these schools after a few weeks in the apprentice seamen's brigade and are immediately placed under a period of six months' instruction. Following this instruction they are sent to hospitals for practical bedside instruction and later are assigned to seagoing ships. Thero were on June 30, 1915, under instruction 159 men.
Because of the increasing demand for trained men, and retention of those already trained by the service, the need for additional hospital corpsmen properly to man the stations of the service, the need for encouragement and advancement which must be offered these men to retain them, I feel it one of my duties to urge that means be taken to obtain the establishment of the two intermediate ratings of first and second class petty officers in order to obtain greater proficiency of men in the lower ratings, and in the rating of hospital steward, thereby increasing the general efficiency of the Hospital Corps and indirectly the Medical Department; that the total number of hospital corpsmen be increased to man properly the service stations for the care of the sick, which include the enlisted personnel and officers of the Navy and the personnel and officers of the Marine Corps, and to meet the demand made by the work in connection with the civilian employees at navy yards and stations; and that legislation be obtained increasing the number of chief pharmacists and pharmacists to at least 50.
NURSE CORPS.—During the year 40 nurses have been appointed and 27 have left the corps. of this number, 12 received honorable discharges, having completed the period for which they were appointed. The majority of those who have been honorably discharged are carried on the reserve nurse list” and are available for service should they be needed.
Seven nurses have successfully passed the required examination for promotion to the grade of chief nurse and have had their names placed on the eligible list for promotion.
The various duties assigned to the nurses have continued along the lines designated by the bureau when the corps was established in 1908. Results have proved that the nurses have made earnest and successful efforts to incorporate in their field of work the high standard of efficiency desired for the entire service.
The work in Guam continues to increase and additional nurses hare been required for the various activities in the nursing work. The instruction given to the native women includes other teaching than the actual care of the sick, and the two years of training means two years additional schooling in all the elementary branches.
The training school for native women in Samoa, although a comparatively recent venture, has been encouragingly successful. The
pupils have increased, and additional nurses have been sent to the station to meet this demand.
W. C. BRAISTED. The SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.
REPORT OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL.
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
Washington, October 13, 1915.
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
The department has for several years had in operation a “detention” system whereby men convicted of purely military offenses could, by their own efforts, avoid the stigma of imprisonment and dishonorable discharge and procure their restoration to duty in an honorable status, provided their terms of enlistment permitted.
During the fiscal year just closed another method was put into operation as a measure of economy, discipline, and humanitarianism, namely, men sentenced to imprisonment but the facts in whose cases warranted clemency were placed on probation in the service at large on reduced pay without serving any period of imprisonment or detention; while men guilty of certain offenses which demonstrate unfitness for the service, but which are not of a nature to render imprisonment essential for the maintenance of discipline, were summarily discharged instead of being imprisoned. This system, which is probably the most radical disciplinary measure that has ever been placed in operation in the Navy, is embodied in article 4893 of the Naval Instructions and General Order No. 110. Briefly stated, it combines the principles of an indeterminate and suspended sentence so far as compatible with a military organization. It was based upon the theory, first, that discipline would be improved if men guilty of the most common offenses should be punished by reduction of pay for varying periods rather than by imprisonment, with the added prospect of recovering full pay by exemplary conduct; and, second, that discipline would be improved by summarily removing from the service men guilty of deliberate and serious infractions of discipline, and that such summary dismissal from the service for many offenses would be quite as effective, more humane, and more economical than imprisonment.
In general terms, this system provides that a majority of offenses which were formerly punishable by imprisonment shall be punished by forfeiture of pay and discharge from the service, execution of the discharge, however, being held in abeyance in proper cases during a probationary period and unconditionally remitted where the offender's conduct warrants such clemency; otherwise it may be executed at any time during the probationary period at the discretion of the commanding officer. The forfeiture of pay is likewise conditional and is executed as follows: One-half of the offender's pay is deducted and withheld each month until the total amount of the forfeiture has been accumulated. If the offender completes his enlistment in such manner as to earn an honorable discharge, the total amount of pay so deducted and withheld is giveïì him when discharged.
If his conduct during the remainder of his enlistment does not earn for him an honorable discharge, but entitles him to an ordinary discharge, he is given when discharged one-half of the pay deducted and withheld, while if he does not earn even an ordinary discharge the total amount of pay deducted and withheld becomes an absolute forfeiture and is not given to him either in whole or in part. The withholding of one-half of his pay each month, even though temporary, is in itself no slight punishment and serves to impress on the offender the consequences of his misconduct, while at the same time the hope of eventually having this money paid him is an incentive to good behavior.
General Order No. 110 was directed particularly against the most common offenses occurring in the administration of naval discipline, namely, unauthorized absence in its various forms and drunkenness on shore. With reference to these classes of cases, the purpose of the order was in the first place to rid the service absolutely of chronic offenders and, secondly, to provide an effectual system of punishment for those who were not habitual offenders, while at the same time offering them an opportunity for improvement if they were so disposed.
The immediate effect of General Order No. 110 was to rid the service summarily of an accumulation of its chronic liberty breakers and persistent offenders. Thus the total number of men actually discharged from the service pursuant to sentences of summary courtsmartial during the fiscal year was 3,080, or 1,278 greater than the average for the previous three years. This increase in the number of discharges was not excessive nor more than was anticipated from the radical nature of this order.
The reforms instituted have resulted in a reduction of prisoners and detentioners from 1,835 on about April 1, 1914, to 740 on this date. The naval prison, Boston, Mass., has been abandoned as such and the naval disciplinary barracks, Port Royal, S. C., have been turned over to the Marine Corps as a recruit depot. On the west coast all prison activities will center at Mare Island, only about 25 prisoners being retained at Puget Sound to perform work of certain nature around the station. The detention system on the U. S. S. Philadelphia at Puget Sound has been abandoned on account of the small number of men undergoing detention.
The effect which this new system of discipline has had in reducing the number of offenders and prisoners can be seen by examining the comparative tables published on pages 22 and 32 of this report. In this connection it should be borne in mind that during the fiscal year 1914 fewer trials or disciplinary measures were necessary, owing to the presence of the fleet in Mexican waters during a great part of that year, at which time little opportunity was afforded for misbehavior.
In carrying out the radical changes above set forth, an effort has been made to conform to recommendations from the majority of seagoing officers, as it is realized that any system to be successful must meet the approval of those charged with the efficiency of the cruising ships. Accordingly, all recommendations made before the promulgation of General Order No. 110, were carefully studied and embodied when practicable in that ordor.
On June 8th last, the Secretary of the Navy addressed a confidential letter to flag officers, commanding officers of vessels and marine
brigades and barracks, asking for a frank statement of their opinion as to the effect of the order, together with a recommendation as to desirable changes in the event of its revision. In this letter commanding officers were also asked their opinion, first as to the desirability of continuing the offer of reward for deserters; and second, as as to whether or not the presence on board ship of probationers under sentence of dishonorable or bad conduct discharge was objectionable.
This letter elicited profound interest, and to date more than 100 replies have been received from officers of the Navy and about 20 replies from commanding officers of marines. These letters cover all branches and activities of the service, all types of ships and barracks, and most of the letters enter at length into the general subject of discipline and the effect of this order thereon.
As a final summary of these letters received to date, it may be stated that every reply from commanding officers of marines expressed the opinion that the order had had a beneficial effect upon discipline, or that it had reduced the offenses of unauthorized absence and drunkenness, several officers furnishing statistics of their commands as a basis for their opinion. Of more than 100 replies from flag officers and commanding officers of vessels only four expressed themselves adversely, while the remainder varied from noncommittal replies in the cases of two or three, through various stages from slight commendation to unqualified praise of its beneficial effect. Fully 90 per cent of the letters from commanding officers of vessels contained statements such as, "effect good," "most excellent in every respect,” absence over leave reduced to practically nothing,
most excellent; will go a long way toward stopping absence over leave," "effect very desirable," "excellent," and has done much good.” It is fair to state that the younger commanding officers appear most enthusiastic, while from the captains of battleships three adverse and three noncommittal replies were received.
Many of these officers consider the order satisfactory as it is, and recommend no changes whatever; while the majority suggest certain minor changes and modifications. Identical recommendations for certain changes appear in some of the letters, thereby strongly indicating the desirability therefor; other lotters from commanding officers of sister ships suggest changes directly in conflict with each other; in such cases it would seem undesirable to make any change at present. The entire file of letters should be carefully digested and studied by at least three experienced officers representing the Bureau of Navigation, the Marine Corps, and this office, with a view to determining what changes, if any, should be made in the order.
In my opinion the order has passed its most trying test. As numerous letters point out, the first operation was at once to rid the service of numerous men whose discharges would have been distributed through the next four years. With this clearing operation passed, the data obtained during the present fiscal year should give accurato information concerning the effect of the system, and any slight modifications in accordance with the consensus of opinion expressed in the letters received will not affect the final result.
There has been almost a unanimity of opinion in the reports received by the department that probationers, if not too large a percentage of the crew, are not harmful on board ship, some command
ing officers even claiming that after being placed on probation the men become steadier and bear themselves with a greater feeling of responsibility.
Of the entire number of reports received by the department (about 125), only 13 officers expressed the opinion that the reward for the return of deserters could be safely dispensed with; 66 voted that a discontinuance of the reward would be harmful, and some made strong remarks in support of this belief. I am constrained to join the large majority on this point, in believing that rewards for deserters should not be discontinued. On the contrary, I believe that every effort should be made to apprehend every man who violates his oath and deserts the colors. If possible to do so, the ideal would be obtained if every deserter were certain he would be caught. Desertion would then cease. As it is, during the past fiscal year men numbering practically 50 per cent of the total absentees were either apprehended or surrendered.
From the foregoing it would clearly appear that both from a humanitarian and from a disciplinary viewpoint the system of discipline embodied in General Order No. 110, and article 4893 of the Naval Instructions has been a distinct success.
GENERAL ORDER NO. 110, VERSUS DETENTION.
In order to ascertain the results obtained from the operation of the various detention systems in the Navy, I caused to be traced the subsequent history of every man who has passed through the detention systems from the date that such systems were established until June 30, 1915. In some cases the record of a man for a period of about four years was covered, including the time spent in detention and in active service after restoration to duty. The detailed results of this investigation are shown in the table published on page 27 of this report, which may be taken as a permanent record of the workings of the detention systems.
In general terms, this investigation disclosed that the percentage of those reclaimed after serving a period of detention is approximately 33}. On the other hand, the results obtained from the operation of the probationary system established by General Order No. 110, show that more than 50 per cent of the men involved were reclaimed during the year. Due consideration must of course be given to the fact that General Order No. 110 has not yet been in effect a full year, and this percentage of men reclaimed thereunder may be lowered, as a number of the men concerned will undoubtedly receive premature discharges in other than an honorable manner. Nevertheless, it is confidently believed that the ultimate result will show that more than 33} per cent of the men placed on probation under General Order No. 110 will make good.
About May 1, 1914, in order to increase the number of men available for duty in Mexican waters, 249 Navy detentioners were restored to duty either unconditionally or on probation and transferred to the U.S. S. Washington. My investigation disclosed that on June 30, 1915, approximately 60 per cent of these men had made good (see p. 28). Practically all of those who were unsuccessful committed offenses and were discharged from the Navy within nine months after their transfer to a seagoing vessel. The rosults obtained from this