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TO PROVIDE FOR AN ASSISTANT CHIEF OF NAVAL

OPERATIONS

JANUARY 25, 1930.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the

state of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. MILLER, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, submitted the

following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 7933]

The Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 7933) to provide for an Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, having had the same under consideration, report favorably thereon with the following amendment, and with the recommendation that the bill do pass:

Amend the title by inserting the words “to the" after the word "Assistant".

Amend the bill on line 4, by inserting the words to the" after the word “Assistant”.

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to provide that an officer of the active list of the Navy may be detailed as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, such officer to receive the highest pay of his rank, and in case of the death, resignation, absence, or sickness of the Chief of Naval Operations, shall, until otherwise directed by the President, as provided by section 179 of the Revised Statutes, perform the duties of such chief until his successor is appointed or such absence or sickness shall cease.

Existing statutes provide for an assistant to each chief of bureau of the Navy Department and to the Judge Advocate General, who shall act in the place of the chief of bureau during the latter's absence and who shall receive the highest pay of his rank while so serving.

The act of August 29, 1916 (39 Stat. 558; U. S. C., Title 5, sec. 426), provides for not less than 15 officers to assist the Chief of Naval Operations in the duties of his office. There is no specific provision of law for an assistant chief empowered to act for the Chief of Naval Operations during the latter's absence. The proposed legislation is

intended to perfect the organization of the office of the Chief of Naval Operations by providing specifically for such an assistant chief.

The cost to the Government of the proposed legislation, if enacted, is indeterminate, because dependent upon the rank of the officer to be detailed as assistant chief. The additional cost involved in the case of the present incumbent would be $2,200 per annum.

The bill meets with the approval of the Navy Department, as shown by the following letter from the Secretary of the Navy addressed to the chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, and which is hereby made a part of this report:

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,

Washington, December 20, 1929. The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. SPEAKER: I have the honor to transmit herewith a draft of bill “To provide for an Assistant Chief of Naval Operations."

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to provide that an officer of the active list of the Navy may be detailed as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, such officer to receive the highest pay of his rank, and in case of the death, resignation, absence, or sickness of the Chief of Naval Operations, shall, until otherwise directed by the President, as provided by section 179 of the Revised Statutes, perform the duties of such chief until his successor is appointed or such absence or sickness shall cease.

Existing statutes provide for an assistant to each chief of bureau of the Navy Department and to the Judge Advocate General, who shall act in the place of the chief of bureau during the latter's absence and who shall receive the highest pay of his rank while so serving.

The act of August 29, 1916 (39 Stat. 558; U. S. C., title 5, sec. 426), provides for not less than 15 officers to assist the Chief of Naval Operations in the duties of his office. There is no specific provision of law for an assistant chief empowered to act for the Chief of Naval Operations during the latter's absence. The proposed legislation is intended to perfect the organization of the office of the Chief of Naval Operations by providing specifically for such an assistant chief.

The cost to the Government of the proposed legislation, if enacted, is indeterminate, because dependent upon the rank of the officer to be detailed as assistant chief. The additional cost involved in the case of the present incumbent would be $2,200 per annum.

The proposed legislation was referred to the Bureau of the Budget with the above information as to cost and a statement that the Navy Department contemplated recommending its enactment. Under date of December 20, 1929, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget advised the Navy Department that, in so far as the financial program of the President is concerned, there is no objection to submitting this proposed legislation to the Congress for its consideration.

In view of the above, the Navy Department recommends that the proposed legislation be enacted. Sincerely yours,

C. F. Adams, Secretary of the Navy.

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SANITARY FIREPROOF HOSPITAL AT TOGUS, ME.

JANUARY 25, 1930.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the

state of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. WAINWRIGHT, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted

the following

REPORT

(To accompany H. R. 6338]

The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 6338) authorizing the erection of a sanitary fireproof hospital at the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Togus, Me., introduced by Mr. Nelson of Maine, having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.

UNANIMOUS REPORT ON CONDITIONS CONSTITUTING A MENACE AND AN

EMERGENCY

This measure to authorize the erection of a sanitary, fireproof hospital of a capacity of 250 beds at the Eastern Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Togus, Me., has the unanimous indorsement of the subcommittee which first considered it and of the full committee which now favorably reports it to this House. The evidence adduced at the hearings on this proposed legislation is conclusively to the effect that conditions existing at this Eastern Branch of the National Home constitute a most serious menace to the lives of the veterans of three wars now hospitalized at this institution, and create an emergency that should be met by immediate remedial legislation.

EASTERN BRANCH, A PERMANENT INSTITUTION

This Eastern Branch was the first National Soldiers' Home to be established in the United States, and was built shortly after the Civil War. It has facilities for the care of from 1,500 to 2,000 men, On December 31, 1929, there were domiciled at this institution: Civil War veterans..

115 Spanish War veterans.

466 World War veterans.

576

Of late years, in common with all the branches, the population at the Eastern Branch has steadily increased. This branch will be needed for many years to come. Based on the most authoritative estimates, the population of these homes will double in the next

20 years.

THE HOSPITAL

The original hospital unit at this branch was constructed over a half century ago, and has been added to from time to time, the last addition having been made over 25 years ago. It is largely of frame construction, apparently without fire stops of any kind, and so planned and built that a fire originating in any part of the structure would endanger the life of every inmate. Ninety-four per cent of the patient capacity of the hospital is of this frame construction, three wings being three stories high, and a fourth two and a half stories. This frame hospital is surrounded by 20 other large wooden buildings, the nearest of which is but 40 feet distant. Twelve of these wooden buildings are within 100 yards of the hospital, constituting a further and serious fire menace. These buildings are in the country, at a long distance from the nearest city fire protection. This hospital building is unsafe, unsanitary, unsuitable for hospital use, and renders the proper care of the patients difficult, and the preservation of their safety impossible.

The demands upon this hospital have been and are steadily increasing. In 1929 the average members sick at this branch, in the hospital and in quarters, was 353. On November 30 last there were 109 World War veterans alone hospitalized at this institution. Partly because of the many Civil War veterans in this hospital, an average of 25 or 30 per cent of its inmates would come under the category of absolutely bedridden patients who would be utterly helpless in case of fire. To these should be added a large number of mental cases. The conditions existing here show a striking similarity to the intolerable conditions, now remedied, which once existed at the Pacific Branch, at Sawtelle, Calif.

It is apparent that a fire originating during a high wind in this hospital, or in any of the frame buildings surrounding it, would sweep through the various wards with tremendous speed. The results of such a fire to the blind and helpless defenders of this Nation, bedridden, perhaps in a third-floor ward, is disturbing to contemplate. That such a holocaust may never occur is the object of this legislation.

FIRE OF NOVEMBER 29, 1929

On November 29, 1929, at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, a fire broke out in this hospital, and partially destroyed one wing. Because of favorable conditions and the fact that all officers and inmates were available for evacuation purposes, all patients were removed without loss of life. This fire, however, has sounded a warning that can not, in safety and honor, be disregarded by those responsible for the lives and welfare of these veterans. The destruction caused by the fire adds to the emergency then existing.

ADDITIONAL GENERAL HOSPITALIZATION FACILITIES NEEDED IN THIS

AREA

Not only does the safe and proper conduct of this institution require a sanitary and fireproof hospital at Togus, but there is a crying need for further general hospitalization facilities for World War veterans in this section. There is no Veterans' Bureau hospital in Maine, none in New Hampshire, and none in Vermont. Two-thirds of the

, . Maine veterans are hospitalized outside the State, and some 43 mental cases are being cared for at their own expense at various State institutions. The necessary and proper requirements of this large northern area indicate a modern hospital at the Eastern Branch. This in addition to the institutional needs of the branch itself.

The immediate need for this hospital is attested to by Gen. George H. Wood, president of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers; Col. Ben Lear, of the Inspector General's office of the War Department; and Robert M. Tolson, representing Watson B. Miller, chairman of the national rehabilitation committee of the America a Legion.

THIS HOSPITAL NEEDED WHATEVER CONSOLIDATION PROGRAM ADOPTED

Whatever legislation may result from the President's recommendation to Congress that all veterans' agencies be consolidated, and whatever program may be adopted, there is an immediate need for this hospital at the Eastern Branch, and that need will continue unchanged whatever bureau or establishment may ultimately have charge of the institution.

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