Navy Yard Organization in the Inter-War Years
The Navy Department
The Civil Service
Getting a Job in the Navy Yard:  Basic Requirements Legal and Otherwise
Getting a Job in the Navy Yard: The Process
Other Influences, Formal and Informal
The Role of Navy Yards

Secretaries of the Navy: 1924 - 1947
Assistant Secretaries of the Navy: 1929-1945
UnderSecretaries of the Navy: 1940-1945
Commandants, Brooklyn Navy Yard: 1921-1945
African-American Employees in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as of 31 January 1934

All civilian navy yard employees were enmeshed within a complicated administrative and political structure.  They were subject to:
- the regulations laid down by the Navy Department;
- and as government workers, to the rules of the Civil Service Commission.
- In turn, both bodies' policies were fundamentally determined by the President and Congress, and to a lesser degree by the Attorney-General and Comptroller-General.
- In their own fashion, labor unions influenced the employees' working lives,
- and as political institutions as well as military ones, those among the general public who thought that their personal or organizational interests coincided or conflicted with those of the navy yards rarely proved shy in voicing their opinions.

The Navy Department
For administrative purposes the Navy Department was structured both vertically and horizontally.  The line of command for military matters began with the Secretary of the Navy, and passed through the Chief of Naval Operations.  The CNO established the schedule as to the priority of repairs, overhauls, and the fitting out of warships.  From there, orders flowed to the offices of the sixteen administrative districts into which the department divided the United States.  The Brooklyn Navy Yard was part of the Third Naval District, which covered Connecticut, New Jersey, and southern New York, and had its headquarters in lower Manhattan.  The District Commandant's jurisdiction included the naval base in New London, an Ordnance plant on Long Island, and ammunition depots in New Jersey. [United States Navy Regulations, 1920, reprinted 1941 (Washington: G.P.O., 1941), and Article 1480; Letter, Chief of Yards and Docks, to Commandants of all Naval Districts, February 1934;  RG181; NA-NY. Naval districts were established in 1903. Black, Charlestown Navy Yard, 1890-1973; (Boston: Boston National Historical Park, 1988).]

In its managerial structure, the Navy was divided into bureaus, each headed by an officer of command rank, which had near fief-like control, called cognizance, over its assigned responsibilities.  At the beginning of this period the bureaus most important for the navy yards were:
Bureau of Duties
Construction and Repair (BuCaR)* “General design, the structural strength, and seaworthiness of all ships of the Navy, except airships,” including “designing, building, fitting out and repairing of hulls, . . . and the install[ing] of all permanent fittings.”
Engineering (BuEng)* “All propelling machinery, together with its auxiliaries,” as well as “exterior and interior communication systems, electric wiring and cable, and auxiliary machinery.”
Yards and Docks (BuDocks) “The design, construction, alteration, and inspection of the public works and public utilities of the shore establishments of the Navy, and except as otherwise prescribed, their repair and upkeep and administrative supervision of operation.” 
Other Navy Bureaus
Ordnance (BuOrd) Built weaponry and ammunition.
Supplies and Accounts (BuSandA) Contracted for and bought all materials and supplies for stations, ships, and personnel; the accounting arm of the Department.
Medicine (BuMed) Provided medical services for Department military and civilian personnel.
Aeronautics (BuAer) Constructed naval airplanes.
Navigation (BuNav) By this time, had developed into the personnel office for military members of the Department.  Responsible for stocking ships with crew supplies.

Source: Navy Regulations, Article 393;  “Changes in US Navy Regulations, 1920,” Memo, from the Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson, to All Ships and Stations, 2 May 1934; RG181; NA-NY.

*Combined in 1940 to form the Bureau of Ships (BuShips).

Within this grid of power lay the navy yards and other shore establishments, reporting through a third line of command.  They fell under the direct purview of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, who was charged with the general administrative control of the material and personnel activities of all naval shore establishments, as well as supervising the preparation of departmental estimates for the navy's Budget Officer, which in turn the Secretary of the Navy submitted to the Bureau of the Budget. [“Changes in U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920,” memo, from Secretary of the Navy Claude Swanson, to All Ships and Stations, 2 May 1934; NA-NY.]

Each navy yard was headed by a Commandant, almost always a Rear Admiral (and most likely his last posting before retirement), who held authority over his yard's production facilities and its military functions.  The Brooklyn Navy Yard's Commandant also oversaw the Brooklyn Naval Hospital, located on the eastern side of Wallabout Bay; the Material and Chemical Laboratories, both on-site; and Clothing and Supply Depots located elsewhere in the borough.  The Commandant held a complicated position, having to answer to the Assistant Secretary, the District Commandant (sometimes in New York these two positions were held by the same person), the CNO, as well as having to follow each bureau's design and repair instructions. [The duties of a commandant are listed in Navy Regulations, Articles 1488-1515; also see: “Regulations of the Navy Yard, New York, 15 April 1934”; RG181; NA-NY.  The official name of the navy yard at this time was U.S. Navy Yard, New York, and the Navy referred to it in correspondence as the New York Navy Yard.  The yard's unofficial "Brooklyn" name was not used by the Navy Department.]

Power passed down from the Commandant to two senior officers, generally both of captain rank.  One was the Captain of the Yard, who was responsible for military, police, and fire-fighting functions, and the other was the Manager, the officer in charge of production. Other officers ruled the major facilities, such as the Hull Division, Machinery Division, Accounting, Supply, and the Public Works Department.  This latter department represented BuDocks in the navy yard and it consisted of two principal divisions: one, under the Commandant that directed private, contract work done on the premises; and the second, that under the Manager helped build, maintain, repair, and run the yards' properties. ["Navy Regulations, chapter 11; Memo, fPublic Works Officer, to Commandant, March 1933; RG181; NA-NY. Bureau of Construction and Repair, History of the Construction Corps of the United States Navy (Washington: GPO, 1937).]

This structure had emerged in the years after World War I.  Before that, navy yards' administrations had not been uniform.  Over the preceding century each yard had developed in part according to the managerial idiosyncracies of their respective command staff, so that different navy yards had different organizational hierarchies, and to a lesser degree, in accord with local trades workers' practices.  In addition, there had been a long-running debate as to the role of the ASN, and as to whether the yards needed a Manager, or should have the Commandant oversee production directly.  In the years just before the Great War the Department had even gone so far as to abolish the post of Manager.

In 1921, in response to administrative difficulties brought out by war production, navy yard Commandants convened in Washington to discuss remedies.  As a result, the Navy Department assigned the ASN full charge of the administration, direction, organization and management of navy yards, including their civilian labor, and revived the position of Manager.  The yards' Disbursing, Supply, Accounting, and Public Works divisions, previously lacking a common hierarchical structure, were assigned ones, the first office being allotted to the Captain of the Yard, and the rest to the Manager.  But bureaucratic inertia being what it was, by 1928 only the yard in Philadelphia had instituted all the changes, forcing the Secretary of the Navy to issue a directive to complete the process. [Letter, Secretary of the Navy, to All Bureaus and Offices Concerned, Commandants of Navy Yards and Naval Stations, September 1921; “Navy Yards and Stations”; Letter, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, to Commandant(s, all Navy Yards), November 1928; “Conference of Commandants and Managers,” RG80; NA-DC; Black, Charlestown Navy Yard; West, “Short History”; Dorwart, with Wolf, The Philadelphia Navy Yard: From the Birth of the U.S. Navy to the Nuclear Age (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania Press, 2001); Furer, Administration of the Navy Department in World War II (Washington, 1959).]

With a large building program under way and a geometric increase in employment commencing in 1939, the Navy finally had to pay attention to an old administrative problem.  The continued existence of the two major construction bureaus, Construction & Repair, and Engineering had become a hindrance to efficient production.  Both established in an era when ships were built mostly of wood, there had been a low-level agitation in the Department for consolidation of the two ever since the former switched from lumber to steel plates and beams as its primary building material. In May 1932 navy yards had been ordered to consolidate their Hull and Machinery Divisions into one Production Division, but at the Department level the two groups maintained separate identities.  On 14 September 1939, the Department consolidated the duties of the two bureaus under a Coordinator of Shipbuilding for the Naval Establishment, and on 20 June 1940 abolished the two bureaus  outright, replacing them with the Bureau of Ships.  Finally, all details as to “design, construction, conversion, fitting out, maintaining hulls, main propelling machinery and auxiliaries, exterior and interior communications systems, electric wiring and cable,” and other assorted items were lodged in one bureau. [Letter, ASN (NYD), to Commandant, BNY, June 1932; “Annual Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Ships for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1940"; Letter, Bureau of Engineering, Bureau of Construction and Repair, to Naval Forces Afloat and Ashore, November 1939; Letter, Ingersoll, Acting CNO, to All Ships and Stations, October 1940. All in: RG181; NA-NY.  With this move the Department also abolished the separate Construction Corps, mostly land-based, engineering-trained officers, and transferred them into the line ranks, though designated for engineering duty.  “Abolishment of Construction Corps of U.S. Navy,” Commandant's Instructions No. 32-40 (C.H. Woodward), to All Concerned, 1 July 1940; RG181; NA-NY.  Dorwart, with Wolf, The Philadelphia Navy Yard: From the Birth of the U.S. Navy to the Nuclear Age (Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2001); Black, Charlestown [Boston] Navy Yard, 1890-1973 (National Park Service: Boston, 1988).]

By 1940 naval shipbuilding had increased to such an extent that Congress created a new position in the Navy Department, the Under Secretary of the Navy, and confirmed James Forrestal as the first person to hold the post.  This office coordinated all building and procurement programs for the Navy, both private and public.  With this position in place the duties of the ASN fell more to overseeing personnel matters among the Department's civilian employees. [Furer, Administration of the Navy Department in World War II (Washington: G.P.O., 1959). Also, see the Annual Reports of the Secretary of the Navy for the years 1937-1941 for the various dates of accession, deaths, and retirement of the relevant officials.]

By the early years of the twentieth century the Navy Department recognized the need for central control of civilian personnel and in 1911 created the office of Director of Navy Yards, under the Assistant Secretary.   In 1921, the Department renamed it the Navy Yard Division, and in 1934 redesignated it the Shore Establishments Division.  On 24 June 1938, President Roosevelt issued executive order 7916 which among other items in a reorganization of the executive administrative structure established personnel departments in every cabinet office.  Although it created something of a dual structure for handling its civilian employees, the Navy complied and set up the Division of Personnel Supervision and Management within the Assistant Secretary’s office. [Robert G. Albion, "A Brief History of Civilian Personnel in the U.S. Navy Department." Navy Dept., 1943*; Circular letter, (Acting) Secretary of the Navy, to AN&MCAC, March 1939; RG181; NA-NY. Black, Charlestown [Boston] Navy Yard; Furer, Administration of the Navy Department.]


The Civil Service
The history of the civil service in the navy yards can be found in the early sections of these pages: (1), for the trades workers; (2), for everyone else, administrative and professional. Also, see the page on efficiency ratings, the primary means by which all civilian employees' job performance was judged.  So, this section will focus on how civilians obtained jobs in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Getting a Job in the Navy Yard:  Basic Requirements Legal and Otherwise
Like any other employer, the BNY and/or the New York Civil Service office periodically advertised or otherwise announced openings for positions.  The process for applying depended on what kind of job you were looking for.  Trade jobs, in Grades I, II, III, and IVa, were offered through the Labor Board--the hiring office--at the Yard itself.  Men [and except for the Sewing Loft all trade jobs in the BNY were segregated by sex in this period, the Civil Service Commission allowing agencies to make the restriction if they thought it appropriate, and so the Navy Department did] could wait for a posting and go down to the Board's office or at any other time they could go there to hand in an application to be kept on file.  Navy yards made an exception for disabled veterans, whose applications would be considered open whether or not there was an announced opening.  The minimum age for Grades I and II was 18; for Grade III it was 20, and for the lower-level IVa positions, 25.  Apprentices, who followed the IVb route for hiring, to be explained below, had to be between 16 and 21.  At the start of this period there was no age limit for applying except for the statutory age of retirement, 65 for the trades, and 70 for office positions. [U.S. Navy Regulations, Art. 1569; U.S.C.S.C., Regulations Governing Employment, 16. Labor Boards were established in 1891.]

It needs to be noted that while it was never a part of the written job description, as civil service jobs were legally open to all qualified persons--although with the ability of an employing agency to segregate by sex--that during this era for all but the Group I laborers' positions, it was almost imperative to be white.  While navy yards certainly had the ability to train non-white tradesmen, they like most private employers adhered to the social and racist norms of the day, although in their case not overtly.  As few black men could not get union trade cards on the outside they were effectively shut out of all but a handful of skilled jobs in the navy yard.  Click here for more information.

Getting a Job in the Navy Yard: The Process
The Labor Board itself was composed of a naval officer, a Recorder, and a group of workers of different ratings who tested candidates.  In May 1934, e.g., the Board included 3 master mechanics, 1 quarterman machinist, 1 quarterman electrician, and 1 helper shipfitter from the Industrial Department, plus other personnel.  The office was in a large room staffed by clerical employees who processed the paperwork.  On his application a prospective worker listed his experience and provided five references.  He could apply for more than one trade if he had the ability. The staff then evaluated the written job history and contacted the people the applicant had listed.  Depending on the number of openings the Board collected names until a sufficient pool was established.  Then, each applicant for a particular opening(s) was rated on a scale of 100 and placed on a roster, from which they were offered positions according to their ranking.  Veterans and their families received extra consideration in applying for federal jobs.  A law passed on 11 July 1919 granted them, their widows, and the wives of disabled veterans a credit of five points on their applications.  An Executive Order of 3 March 1923 increased the bonus for disabled veterans to ten points.
[Letter, Manager Dungan, to Manager, Second U.S. C.S.D., September 1933; Letter, Commandant, to Manager, 2nd CSD, May 1934; RG181; NA-NY. U.S.C.S.C., Regulations Governing the Employment; U.S.C.S.C., Annual Report for the Fiscal Year 1929, U.S.C.S.C., General Information.]

The hiring process was exhaustive.  In addition to showing a knowledge of the trade a potential employee had to show that he was “industrious and of good character,” physically able to do the work, and knew English well enough to understand verbal and written directions.  If it was felt necessary, the Board would put an applicant through a preliminary skills test to demonstrate ability and aptitude.  A person could not apply for a job if he had been dismissed for cause from a federal job within the previous year, was physically or mentally “unfit,” a criminal, was “dishonest, [or] immoral,” or whose conduct was “notoriously disgraceful,” or who partook “habitually or excessively” of “intoxicants or deleterious drugs.” [U.S.C.S.C., Regulations Governing the Employment.]

In addition, new employees had to complete other steps before beginning work.  As of 1924 they needed to pass a medical examination and as of 1929 Congress legislated that all new and reinstated federal employees be fingerprinted.   To increase navy yard security all workers had their pictures taken for ID badges, and as a final rite they had to swear a oath as to the veracity of their application and their willingness to abide by all civil service regulations. [“Labor Board,” U.S. Navy Regulations, Art. 1570; Letter, Commandant, Third Naval District, to All Medical Officers in the Third Naval District, March 1932; On fingerprinting: U.S.C.S.C., Annual Report for the Fiscal Year 1929; “Procedure For Fingerprinting Appointees to Positions in the Federal Service,” Pamphlet, U.S.C.S.C., May 1932. On badges, see: “Notice,” from the Manager, September 1932; Letter, Commandant, Naval Gun Factory [Washington Navy Yard], to Commandant, New York Navy Yard,  November 1934; RG181; NA-NY. U.S.C.S.C., Regulations Governing the Employment, 1912.]

The navy yard then placed the worker on a trial period of two weeks so that he could demonstrate his fitness for the position and so that his supervisor could determine his appropriate rating.  If he passed, the worker's folder was sent back to the Labor Board and the position deemed filled.  The new trades worker then entered a six-month probation after which he acquired his initial efficiency rating and obtained permanent status.  In addition to efficiency rating points, employees were granted credit for seniority; a bonus pool of ten points could be built during fifteen years of continuous employment.  Once permanently on the rolls the employee could only be laid off for lack of work or funds in the reverse order of his standing on his shop's efficiency rating list, including the seniority points.  He could, of course, be let go for just cause, such as excessive absenteeism, or insubordination. [U.S.C.S.C., Regulations Governing the Employment, 1930.]

When a person desiring a IVb position saw one posted, he or she followed the standard  civil service procedure by applying at the local civil service office.  For New York City jobs this was the district office on Christopher Street in Manhattan.  At least for the CAF jobs the application process involved taking a skills test that included typing, math, and grammar.  Applicants had to bring their own typewriters.  The test results and the other applicant information [job history and references] were graded on a scale of 100 and a list of candidates drawn up in the order of their scores.  As the navy yard had had no input in the process up to this point, for each opening the CSC sent over the top-rated three people from the register for interviews.  The BNY was required to accept one of them for the job.  Once this was accomplished, the IVb-to-be followed the pattern of the blue-collars, with the exceptions that they went immediately into probation, and were rated annually whereas the trades were graded quarterly. [U.S.C.S.C., Regulations Governing the Employment; U.S. Navy Regulations, Art. 1569.]

Other Influences, Formal and Informal
Other organizations had a say in the running of the navy yards.  Congress, and in particular the Naval Affairs and Appropriation Committees in both Houses held the production and budget strings of the Yard.  The Office of the Budget had to approve all annual budgets before they were submitted to Congress, and if difficult legal or administrative questions arose as to the interpretation of the rules or regulations, the Attorney-General or the Comptroller-General would respectively be called upon for a decision.

Moreover, navy yards had to deal with local municipalities and state governments on everything from harbor traffic control, to sewage, to fire safety. Labor unions lobbied over working conditions, wages, and jobs, in the navy yards, at the Navy Department, and in Congress.  Generally, navy yards recognized their trade jurisdictions over who did what work, but unions had to bow to naval decisions in this regard when the Department's allocation of work duties ran counter to that of the craft bodies.

Virtually everybody outside a navy yard: politicians, businesses, civic organizations, newspapers, veteran organizations, civil rights groups, Chambers of Commerce, all had opinions about their local Yard.  Sometimes they felt that following their advice was crucial for maintaining the national defense, or sometimes they might just plead for maintaining local jobs, but in either case they were not shy about letting the local navy yard, the Department, their Congressional representatives, or the President, know what they thought.  And in a sort of counterpoise to all of this were the private, commercial shipyards, with their set of vocal proponents, who competed and wrangled, often viciously, for a share of the warship construction and repair market.


The Role of Navy Yards
Both commercial and government-owned shipyards constructed warships, and ever since the federal government established the first navy yards in 1801 a fierce rivalry existed between the two groups.   The government maintained its own shipyards for several reasons.  During the first half of the twentieth century the Navy Department stated that they existed primarily to repair and maintain warships.  It also claimed that it needed navy yards in order to keep work on certain sensitive parts of its warships under its own control; to keep a necessary corps of workers and yards ready for immediate growth in case of war; to maintain a standard in quality and price against which to measure private ship production and to forestall price-hiking; and to allow for experimentation in design without worrying about costs.  Unofficially other reasons existed, mostly political.  Some segments of the government, navy, and the public believed it only proper that if the government owned the final product it should also own the means of its creation.  Sentiment also existed in favor of government ownership of yards and arsenals as a way of countering the perceived profit-mongering of private corporations that manufactured military goods.  And perhaps as important was the economic motivation.  Navy yards provided a source of good-paying jobs as well as a commercial boost to their neighborhoods.  The pressure that unions and businesses could bring to bear on Congressional representatives to maintain the navy yards through the first half of the twentieth century was substantial.  The private yards had their own set of arguments defending their right to build the country's warships: the supposed inefficiency of government production and its high wage costs, brought about by the lack of a need to make a profit; and the more political question of whether or not the government should be involved in manufacturing at all.  Eventually, the navy yards lost the argument, but not until the 1960s. [Rear Admiral Crisp, “Comparison of Shipbuilding and Ship-Repairing Procedure - Navy Yards,” in The Shipbuilding Business in the United States of America, vol. 2, ed., F.G. Fassett, jr. (New York: The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, 1948); Extract, from memorandum for the Secretary of the Navy, prepared by Bureaus Construction and Repair and Engineering, 11 March 1927; “Cost of building ships in Navy Yards,” Memorandum, by Van Buren, Navy Department, 25 September 1929; Letter, Smith, President, National Council of American Shipbulders, to Jahncke, ASN, 8 March 1932. All three in RG80; NA-DC; “Hearings before the Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry,” United States Senate, 73rd Congress (Washington: GPO, 1934), commonly known as the Nye Committee Report. The private shipbuilders’ response to this report is: National Council of American Shipbuilders, Commercial Shipyards and the Navy (New York: NCAS, 1937).

The case for navy yards from the Department's point of view was perhaps best put in this report from Secretary of the Navy Charles Adams: "The constructing, maintaining, repair and operation of naval structures ashore is so intimately related to military control and . . . adjunct to successful control and operation of the fleet in time of war, that to attempt to eliminate such work from military control jeopardizes the Navy's successful operation as a whole.”  But many naval officers believed that navy yards should be restricted to repair work alone and that the Navy should not be in the shipbuilding business.  One of Brooklyn's commandants, Yates Stirling (1933-1936), wrote a memoir that has a few, rather dyspeptic pages about his service there, in which he shows his disdain for having to supervise construction work. [Letter, Adams, to The Chairman, Committee on Expenditures on Executive Departments, House of Representatives, 28 January 1932; RG181; NA-NY; Sterling, The Memoirs of a Fighting Admiral (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1939).]

In this era there were two categories of navy yards: those primarily for construction: Puget Sound (Bremerton, Washington), Mare Island (Vallejo, California), Philadelphia, Norfolk (Portsmouth, Virginia), Portsmouth (Kittery, Maine), and New York (Brooklyn); and those operating mostly as repair yards: Boston (Charleston, Massachusetts), Pearl Harbor, and Charleston (South Carolina).  (At one time or another the government had operated three other navy yards. One at New London, it passed on to private interests in the nineteenth century. The other two, at New Orleans and Pensacola had been shut down earlier in the twentieth century, although the latter survived as a naval air base. [Pearce, The U.S. Navy in Pensacola: From Sailing Ships to Naval Aviation, 1825-1930 (Pensacola: University Presses of Florida, 1980)]. There was also the Washington Navy Yard, known officially as the U.S. Naval Gun Factory, which had since 1886 devoted itself solely to producing naval ordnance. [Peck, Round-Shot to Rockets: A History of the Washington Navy Yard and U.S. Naval Gun Factory (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1949).])  Policy toward them was something of a mixed bag. They had to supply direct support to the fleet, while maintaining the capacity to expand rapidly in time of war, to secure the "highest efficiency in work for [the] material readiness of vessels of the fleet for war,” but yet be run as cheaply as possible in peacetime,  Especially important, they also had to maintain their operation in times of peace “so as to have stable labor employment, . . . as nearly as may be.”

Each navy yard had its assigned functions.  In the late 1920s and much of the 1930s the Department ordered the Brooklyn Navy Yard to build cruisers.  The Yard also manufactured submarine diesel engines and spare parts in the 20s, as well as various other sundry items, such as flags.  The yard was also a major East Coast repair base capable of working on every type of vessel, from battleships to the smallest auxiliary craft.  It kept its equipment, shops, and physical plant, per the general policy, “maintained [in] readiness to take up the war workload in the shortest possible time." [These two paragraphs are based on: “Policy for Industrial Navy Yards,” letter, ASN (Ernest Lee Jahncke), to Commandant, Navy Yard, New York, N.Y., et al., October 1930, and an enclosure, “Navy Dept Policy for Navy Yard, New York, N.Y.,” of September 1930. RG181; NA-NY.]

But in the eyes of many in the government, there were too many navy yards on the East Coast, and rumors about closing some of them flourished during these years. In 1928 and 1929 the Navy circulated internal memos on the subject.  One discussed closing from one to three from among the yards in Portsmouth, Boston, New York, and Charleston, while the another argued that if the yards were run as if they were privately owned, that because of the expense of maintaining fixed sites for ships, and due to the longer cruising range of modern ships, fewer navy yards on the east coast would be needed.  But during this era the Department did not close any of its navy yards. [“Navy Yards and Stations,” Memorandum for the Secretary, n.a., h/w “1928"; “Atlantic Cost Navy Yards and Naval Stations,” Memorandum, n.a., 1 May 1929; "Navy Yards and Stations." RG80; NA-DC.]

It is hard to tell just how serious the Navy was about undertaking such a proposition even if it was willing to take the heat from the Congressmen in the yards' home states.  In the case of New York, a third internal memo, in 1928, listed the costs of shutting it down: its large repair work load, which in fiscal year 1928 included work on twenty-eight active warships as well as many smaller vessels, would have to be relocated, as would also the diesel manufacturing work; the Pensacola, one-fifth done, would need to be pulled off the ways and found a new home, and the Yard's Research Laboratory would need to be relocated.  Nine million dollars per year in labor and material and $1.45 million worth of supplies would be lost to the region, as well as some 3125 jobs, although the anonymous author thought the metropolitan area capable of absorbing the unemployed workers.  The message was clear: despite professed concerns to the contrary, the Brooklyn yard was just too big and economically important to close. [Memorandum for the Secretary, n.a., h/w “1928”; RG80; NA-DC.]

Secretaries of the Navy: 1924 - 1947
Curtis D. Wilbur 19 March 1924    4 March 1929
Charles Francis Adams   5 March 1929   4 March 1933
Claude A. Swanson   5 March 1933   7 July 1939 (died in office)
Charles Edison   2 January 1940 24 June 1940
Frank Knox 11 July 1940 28 April 1944
James V. Forrestal 19 May 1944 17 September 1947
(Becomes part of Department of Defense after this)

Assistant Secretaries of the Navy: 1929-1945
Ernest Lee Jahncke   1 April 1929 17 March 1933
Henry Latrobe Roosevelt 17 March 1933 22 February 1936 (died in office)
Charles Edison 18 January 1937   1 January 1940
Lewis Compton   9 February 1940 10 January 1941
Ralph A. Bard 24 February 1941 24 June 1944
H. Struve Hensel 30 January   1945   2 September 1945

UnderSecretaries of the Navy: 1940-1945
James V. Forrestal 22 August 1940 18 May 1944
Ralph A. Bard 24 June 1944 1945

Commandants, Brooklyn Navy Yard: 1921-1945
R. Adm. Carl Vogelgesang   1 July 1921 27 November 1922
R. Adm. Charles Plunkett 27 November 1922  16 February 1928
Captain Frank Lyon 16 February 1928   2 July 1928
R. Adm. Louis deSteiguer   2 July 1928 18 March 1931
R. Adm. William Phelps 18 March 1931  30 June 1933
R. Adm. Yates Stirling, Jr. 30 June 1933   9 March 1936
Captain Frederick Oliver    9 March 1936 20 April 1936
R. Adm. Harris Laning 20 April 1936 24 September 1937
R. Adm. Clark Woodward   1 October 1937   1 March 1941
R. Adm. E. J. Marquart    2 June 1941   2 June 1943
R. Adm. Monroe Kelly   2  June 1943    5 December 1944
R. Adm. Freeland Daubin   5 December 1944 25 November 1945

African-American Employees in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as of 31 January 1934

Grade Number %, All Workers
Grade I 119 32.6
Grade II   49   7.7
Grade III   62   3.1
Grade IVa    -     -
Group IVb   17    2.2
Total 247   6.2

Source: Letter, from the Commandant, to the Acting Secretary of the Navy, 27 February 1934; RG181; NA-NY.

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John R Stobo    ©    August 2004; June 2005; September 2005