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71ST CONGRESS 2d Session




REPORT No. 499


APRIL 21 (calendar day, APRIL 22), 1930.—Ordered to be printed

Mr. BROCK, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following


[To accompany S. 465]

The Committee on Military Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 465), to give war-time rank to retired officers and former officers of the United States Army, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that it do pass with the following amendments:

Page 2, line 6, before the word "retired" at the beginning of the line insert the words "active or".

Page 2, lines 8 and 9, strike out the words "held temporary commissions as officers of" and insert in lieu thereof the following: "have served honorably in".

Page 2, lines 9, 10, 11 and 12, strike out the following: "the World War, and who have been or may be hereafter honorably discharged from such commissions and from the military service,", and insert in lieu thereof the word "war".

Page 2, line 12, after the word "shall" insert a comma and the following: "when not in the active military service of the United States,".

Page 2, line 14, after the word "them" strike out the remainder of section 2, and insert in lieu thereof the following: "during their war service."

The purpose of this bill is to grant to persons who have served in our armed forces during war suitable recognition of their services. The following is a brief history of this legislation.

The late Senator Tyson first introduced his bill to give war-time rank to retired officers in the Sixty-ninth Congress as S. 3878, and it passed the Senate July 1, 1926, but no action was taken on it by the House.

Senator Tyson reintroduced the bill as S. 2258 in the Seventieth Congress, and, after passing the Senate a second time on March 2, 1928, it again failed of action in the House.

The bill was incorporated as section 8 in the Army promotion bill (S. 3269) as it passed the Senate at the last session of the Seventieth Congress. It is also incorporated as section 10 in the Army promotion bill (S. 4, 71st Cong.) which passed the Senate on May 15, 1929, and is now pending in the House.

The Senate has thus on four separate occasions registered its approval of the proposal to give war-time rank to retired officers.

Being deeply interested in the matter, and realizing that some change in the wording or provisions of his original bill was necessary to obtain favorable action in the House, Senator Tyson made a study of the hearings before the House Committee on Military Affairs. From these he learned that the principal objections to the bill were: First, that it required the officers to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate before promotion on the retired list to their war-time grade; second, that a too strict construction by the War Department of the word "creditable" might deprive some officers of long service, extending through three or four wars, and with excellent records of the advancement provided by the bill; and third, that no provision was made for former officers with World War service.

Senator Tyson then revised his bill to remove these objections, and reintroduced it on April 23, 1929, as S. 465, Seventy-first Congress. Under the new wording Regular Army officers will be advanced automatically to the higher grades on the retired list on the date of approval of this act by the President, or upon retirement in case of those still on the active list, and no officer can be deprived of his World War rank on the retired list, unless placed in class B, because of inefficiency. Under a new section (sec. 2) former World War officers are "entitled to bear the official title and upon occasions of ceremony, to wear the uniform of the highest grade held by them during that war." The wording of this section follows that of the act of July 28, 1866, and section 34 of the act of February 2, 1901, relating to officers who served in the Volunteers during the Civil War and Spanish-American War, respectively.

To provide a measure of comfort for the families of those officers who have died since the war, some of whom rendered distinguished service in command of brigades and divisions in France, Senator Tyson added a proviso to section 1 authorizing the posthumous advancement in rank of deceased officers to the highest grade held by them during the World War.

The Secretary of War in letter of May 23, 1929, recommended and urged the enactment of the revised bill (S. 465) with certain changes which have been made by committee amendments. as follows:


This letter reads

Washington, D. C., May 23, 1929.

Chairman Committee on Military Affairs,

United States Senate.

DEAR SENATOR REED: I am pleased to comply with your request of April 27, 1929, for a report on S. 465.

The subject of the proposed legislation is a bill to give war-time rank to retired officers and former officers of the United States Army.

The provisions of existing law directly applicable to this bill are:

(1) Revised Statutes 1254, which requires that officers be retired upon the actual rank held by them at the date of retirement.

(2) 45 Statutes 735, emergency officers' retirement act, which authorizes certain disabled former officers of the Army of the United States to be placed upon a retired list with the rank held by them upon discharge from military service.

(3) Section 125, national defense act, which authorizes persons who served in time of war, if honorably discharged, to wear, upon occasions of ceremony, the uniform of the highest grade held.

(4) Section 37, national defense act, which permits all persons who served as officers during the World War, or who served in the Regular Army at any time, to be appointed in the Officers' Reserve Corps in the highest grade held.

I am constrained to bring to your attention also certain proposed legislation now pending before the Congress, which is of such a nature as to justify considerstion by you in connection with this bill, to wit:

S. 414, which provides for nomination and appointment, subject to confirmation, of retired officers, except those retired under section 24b, national defense act, to their highest war-time rank, provided their war service was creditable. Section 8 of S. 4, which is similar to S. 414, except that officers retired under section 24b, national defense act, are not specifically included.

H. R. 2759, which would cause commissioned officers below the grade of brigadier general, and warrant officers, who served in the war with Spain, the Philippine insurrection, the Boxer rebellion, or the war against Germany, to have on the retired list a rank one grade above that held at time of retirement. The effect of the bill, S. 465, if enacted into law, would be as follows:

(1) About 611 officers now on the retired list would be advanced, without increase in retired pay, to the rank of the highest grade held by them during the World War. In the great majority of cases the officer would be advanced one grade and in only eight cases would any officer be advanced more than two grades. Included would be a few officers retired prior to the war but who returned to active duty in higher grades during the war.

(2) A few officers now on the active list would, upon retirement, be similarly advanced in rank. The number can not, of course, be stated. That it would be small is evidenced by the fact that most officers now on the active list have already attained, or should soon attain by promotion, at least the highest grade held by them during the war.

(3) About 26 officers now on the retired list in a grade lower than the highest grade held by them during the World War would be excluded from advancement to their war-time rank. These are officers retired under provisions of section 24b, national defense act, their classification not having been due to neglect, misconduct, or avoidable habits.

4) All persons who held temporary commissions as officers of the Army during the World War who have been or may hereafter be honorably discharged from the military service, would be legally authorized to bear the title of the highest grade held during the war. The existing authorization for such persons to wear the uniform upon occasions of ceremony would be reenacted. Also the existing authorization making such persons eligible for appointment as reserve officers would be reenacted, but with a condition that they be placed upon an inactive list of the Officers' Reserve Corps which would have to be created for this purpose.

(5) Some officers who served with credit during the war under regular commissions, who never held temporary commissions, and who later resigned, would be denied the privileges of bearing the title and wearing the uniform accorded to persons who served under temporary commissions.

In general, I am in full accord with the purposes of this bill, the War Department has repeatedly advocated the enactment of legislation which would accord to persons who have served in our armed forces during war suitable recognition of their service. It is believed the principle might well be applied to enlisted men as well as officers, should your committee see fit to do so.

For Regular Army personnel, it is believed that to insure to them upon retirement from active service the highest rank attained by them during their active service is a well-merited recognition of the service they have rendered and of their professional accomplishments.

Similarly, those former officers and enlisted men whose military service was terminated honorably should, as a recognition of their valued service, and without regard to the kind of commission they held, have conferred upon them the

right to bear the title and upon appropriate occasions, to wear the uniform of the highest grade attained during their war service.

The proposed advancement in the rank of deceased officers would be a source of satisfaction to their families to which they are fully entitled.

My approval of the principle of this bill is based upon a desire for the accomplishment of a recognition for service that has been already too long delayed. It is the result that is desired; the method by which the result is attained is a secondary consideration. Other bills to which I have referred would make advancement upon the retired list contingent upon creditability of service and upon nomination and confirmation. This bill would exclude only class B officers from advancement and would not require nomination and confirmation. While there are advantages and disadvantages to both such methods, it is believed that the number of officers whose service would be considered other than creditable would be so negligible that the practical result under either method would be the same. Either method that Congress sees fit to prescribe will be entirely agreeable to the War Department.

The provisions in lines 14-17, page 2, of S. 465, "and such persons may, upon their own applications, be appointed reserve officers and placed on a list to be known as the inactive list of the Officers' Reserve Corps," I believe should be eliminated from the bill. Congress has wisely provided in the national defense act for an Officers' Reserve Corps to provide "a reserve of officers available for military service when needed." Former officers are now eligible for appointment therein and many thousands have been so appointed and trained. The War Department has endeavored to keep the Reserve Corps the live and virile reserve that Congress intended, and in this it has been fully supported by the reserve officers themselves. To now create an inactive list for the sole purpose of listing persons who would already have been given honorary titles would in reality add nothing to such titles, would be inconsistent with the purposes for which the reserve is maintained, and would, I believe, be objectionable to most of the officers who now constitute the Officers' Reserve Corps.

The bill would be without additional cost to the Government except possibly in those few cases of retired officers performing acting duty under the advanced rank conferred by the bill. As the last proviso of section 1 applies only to increases of retired pay, such officers would not be excluded from receiving the active pay of such rank.

In order that the bill may not be discriminatory by conferring pecuniary benefits upon a few individuals, and in order that it may be without cost, it is recommended that the last proviso of section 1 be so amended as to prescribe that the bill cause no increases of either active or retired pay.

Subject to the conditions hereinbefore stated, I recommend and urge the enactment of this bill, or of any similar bill that will promptly accomplish the purposes in view.

I shall be pleased to furnish any additional information from the War Department that may be desired. Should hearings be held upon the proposed legislation, suitable witnesses will be designated to appear.

Sincerely yours,

JAMES W. GOOD, Secretary of War.


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