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form functions whereby he had the safety of a hundred
and twenty-five lives and a million dollars worth of
irreplaceable property between his two hands. There
was no time to learn by experience and every M bawling
out" was, I hope, driving an important fact home.
Where else could one of these boys have learned such
valuable lessons and be on a pay-roll at the same time?
Of course they could not understand such methods,
but the system soon separated the sheep from the
goats — the latter remaining at the business end of a
deck swab. Many times the skipper was not as angry
as he appeared. The first lesson was to say " Aye, Aye,
Sir," when told something important instead of trying
to explain. When a young man explains, he is not lis-
tening to the order, but thinking up a reply.

213



THE CORSAIR IN THE WAR ZONE

To the Corsair's company the most interesting
happenings during the long period of convoy duty
were the changes and promotions which shifted
many of the family to other ships and stations and
brought new faces aboard. Commander Kittinger
had been advanced a grade on the Regular Navy
list since joining the Corsair and was in line for
transfer to a larger ship. He was given the stately
armed transport Princess Matoika, formerly the
Princess Alice of the North German Lloyd, and
thereafter carried many thousand American troops
in safety to France. In this ship the roster of officers
was more imposing than in the yacht which served
so faithfully, for Commander Kittinger now gave
orders to two lieutenant commanders, eleven lieu-
tenants, and twenty ensigns. Toward the Corsair
he felt affection and loyalty and was glad that his
war record had included a year with her, crossing
with the first American troops and battering about
in the Bay of Biscay. Drilled in the exacting school
of the regular service, he had only praise for the
spirit, intelligence, and devotion of the Reserves,
officers and men, who had fitted themselves to
circumstances and played the game to the hilt.

After the war Commander Kittinger was sent to
the Fore River Ship Building Company as Naval
Inspector of Ordnance. While there he received the
following letter:



214



UNCLE SAM'S BRIDGE OF SHIPS

July 23, 1919
From: Director of Naval Intelligence,
To: Chief of the Bureau of Navigation:

Subject: Award of the Legion of Honor.

The Bureau is informed that by a decree of the
President of the French Republic the award of Mem-
ber of the Legion of Honor with the rank of Chevalier
has been made to Commander Theodore A. Kittinger,
U.S.N. , with the following citation:

Commander Kittinger, in command of the yacht Corsair,
escorted the 0. V.H.N, convoys, etc.

It is requested that a copy of this letter be filed with
this officer's record.

Lieutenant Commander Porter became the com-
mander of the Corsair on May 31st, and held the
position until the yacht returned home one year
later. It gratified him, of course, to have his own
ship, and in the opinion of his officers and crew the
honor was well deserved. It was a distinction also,
and without precedent in a combatant ship, for a
Reserve officer to be given a vessel of the size and
class of the Corsair. He was later advanced to the
naval rank of commander and finished his service
as a three-striper.

Lieutenant Commander Tod was detached to
join the organization of Admiral Wilson at Brest
as Port Officer and was afterwards appointed
Director of Public Works. Both positions were
important and involved varied and arduous re-
sponsibilities. He was later promoted to the rank

215



THE CORSAIR IN THE WAR ZONE

of Commander. At a dinner given by the American
naval officers of the club in Brest, this rousing song
of the Breton Patrol was rolled out with a vigor
that rattled the windows:

1. Oh we sing of a squadron patrolling the coast

From Cre-Ach to old Saint-Nazaire.
On the job for a year, we still say with a cheer,
Nous resterons pendant la guerre.

Chorus:

Though the bar's consigne and we Ve clumbed up to stay

At the very tip- top of the pole,
Still our drinks, short or tall, will be "Wilson, that's
all,"
The Chief of the Breton Patrol.

2. It's a squadron that's doing its best over here

Towards keeping command of the seas;
For by day or by night, standing by for a fight,
It's the Breton Patrol of H. B. 1

3. To the Point of Penmarch it is not very far;

Some forty-five miles of blue sea, —
That 's where some day poor Fritz will be blown into bits
By the Breton Patrol of H. B.

4. If we sail on request of the CD. P. Brest,

With a convoy that 's bound for its goal ;
If it's rain, hail, or snow, the convoy must go,
That's the job of the Breton Patrol.

5. If a depth charge turns over and falls in the sea,

And next moment your stern is no more,
There 's just one thing to do, — Frenez vite le you-you,
And pull for the Brittany shore.

1 H. B. Wilson.

216




CHIEF QUARTERMASTER FARR STANDS WITH FOLDED ARMS AND
INDICATES THAT HE HAS HIS SEA-LEGS WITH HIM




COMMANDER KITTINGER SAYS GOOD-BYE TO LIEUTENANT COM-
MANDER PORTER AS THE LATTER TAKES OVER THE COMMAND



UNCLE SAM'S BRIDGE OF SHIPS

6. If the ship is trop fort, and you need a corps-mort,

Just to keep her quite safe in the bay,
You have only to go to brave Captain Loiseaux,
II nous faut le chameau, s'il vous plait.

7. When they 're coming too strong, and you find you 're in

wrong,
In trouble at sea or on land,
There's just one man to see and his name's F. T. E., 1
To clear out the gear box of sand.

8. There's a gallant French sailor who's with us to-night,

He 's bound for a trip 'cross the sea ;
So here 's Merci beaucoup, bon voyage. Admiral Grout,
From the Breton Patrol of H. B.

9. There are brave men in plenty and well known to all,

Who have come over here for the war,
But the best known of all is the one that we call
Old Robert E. Tod — Commodore.

10. If you want a good man, just to unload a van,
Or to anchor a ship in the Rade,
Or to work night and day, you have only to say,
"Where in hell is old Robert E. Tod?"

Lieutenant McGuire was made executive officer
of the Corsair when Captain Porter took over the
command. In time of peace Lieutenant McGuire
had been first officer of the yacht, so he was really
stepping into his old berth. Ensign Schanze, the
efficient gunnery officer, had been commissioned a
lieutenant in December. In May he was transferred
from the Corsair to the staff of Rear Admiral
McCully, the District Commander at Rochefort.

1 Commander Frank T. Evans, U.S.N.
217



THE CORSAIR IN THE WAR ZONE

For some time he acted as liaison officer on board
of the French station ship Marthe Solange, and his
scientific training was later employed in experi-
menting with and testing listening devices for de-
tecting enemy submarines.

Ensign Gray, the communications officer who
had helped to make the radio service of the Corsair
notable throughout the fleet, was anxious to have a
whirl at the destroyer game, like any proper-minded
young Navy man, and on May 28th he was trans-
ferred to the Monaghan of the Brest flotilla.
Assistant Surgeon Laub was sent to the Moccasin
in April and Assistant Surgeon R. H. Hunt ex-
changed billets with him for a short time, shifting
from the Corsair to the destroyer Nicholson. Chief
Engineer Hutchison stood by the ship until Sep-
tember, although his health was poor and he had
been compelled to seek hospital treatment ashore.
After leave at home he regained his strength and
sailed in the big transport Agamemnon. His posi-
tion in the Corsair was filled by Lieutenant J. J.
Patterson as engineer officer. Assistant Engineer
Mason received an appointment as ensign in May
and went ashore for staff duty at Bordeaux in the
autumn. His partner in the engine-room, Assistant
Engineer Hawthorn, left the Corsair in June and
was assigned to the naval auxiliary service as a
senior engineer officer. Boatswain Budani, who had
polished off the aspiring bluejackets and taught
them to be regular, sea-going gobs, was summoned

218



UNCLE SAM'S BRIDGE OF SHIPS

to the Naval Aviation Headquarters at Paris and
later sent to Italy.

At the ward-room table were new officers to be
welcomed into the briny brotherhood of the Corsair,
Ensign A. H. Acorn, Jr., Lieutenant Gerald Nolan,
Ensign J. W. McCoy, Ensign P. F. Wangerin,
Ensign C. R. Smith, Ensign S. K. Hall, Ensign R.
V. Dolan, several of whom were promoted to be
lieutenants, junior grade. After the armistice and
while the Corsair was in the North Sea and at
Queenstown, there were other changes which will
be noted later.

Through the winter and spring the task of study-
ing for commissions which had bred so many head-
aches in the bunk-rooms below was getting on
famously. There were gloomy moments when, as
has been said, one candidate felt sure that the cap-
tain would recommend him for nothing else than
a firing squad, or another had believed that a
" bawling out" had utterly wrecked his prospects,
but such dark forebodings were mostly unfounded.
Examining boards of officers were duly convened,
or recommendations made for the intensive course
at Annapolis, and the Corsair was like a college
grinding out diplomas at Commencement time,
excepting that the Navy course was far stiffer than
the requirements of the campus. There were no
" snap courses" in the Bay of Biscay and no bluffing
the faculty.

The following enlisted men, with one warrant

219



THE CORSAIR IN THE WAR ZONE

officer, were examined, qualified, and given com-
missions with the rank of ensign:

Enlisted as
W. F. Evans, Jr. Seaman
David Tibbott Seaman
R. G. Seger
E. B. Prindle
E. L. Houtz
C. N. Ashby
W. J. Rahill
H. F. Breckel
A. C. Smith, Jr
C. S. Bayne
A. L. Copeland
J. T. Heme
A. J. Marsh
A. V. Mason



Sent to Annapolis



Seaman "

Q.M. 2c.

Seaman, 2c. "

Seaman, 2c. "

Seaman "

Elec. ic. Radio Commissioned Overseas

Q.M. 2c.

Seaman

Seaman

Seaman

Seaman

Machinist



Chief Quartermaster F. S. Fair and Chief Com-
missary Steward H. A. Barry passed the exami-
nations successfully, but failed on the tests for
eyesight and were thereby disqualified for com-
missions, a misfortune which keenly disappointed
them and their shipmates. Commander Kittinger
volunteered this high opinion of them: "Two of
the best men we had, I regret to say, received no
rewards and it was a loss to the service. Fair and
Barry get ioo per cent from me in every depart-
ment. If they were physically fit to be bluejackets
it might seem as though they were physically fit
to be officers, but such were the regulations. "

Ensign Carroll Bayne stayed in the Corsair for a
little while as an officer and was then transferred



220




FROM THE LEFT, LIEUT. SCHANZE, ENSIGN GRAY, LIEUT.

COMMANDER PORTER, CHIEF ENGINEER HUTCHISON,

COMMANDER KITTINGER, AND LIEUT. McGUIRE



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1 1



AT ROSYTH. BACK ROW, FROM RIGHT, XIEUT. NOLAN, DR. AGNEW,

COMMANDER PORTER. LIEUT. McGUIRE, ENSIGN ACORN

FRONT ROW, LIEUT. PATTERSON, ENSIGN WANGERIN,

PAYMASTER ERICKSON



UNCLE SAM'S BRIDGE OF SHIPS

to staff duty at Brest, assisting Lieutenant Com-
mander Tod who was Port Officer at the time. In his
diary Bayne indicated what his duties were, and
they suggest that the Naval Reserve officer was
expected to turn his hand to almost everything,
and at very short notice:

Mr. Tod took me around to-day to call on all the
French admirals, etc., and they were very courteous.
I got an awful call down from an American three-
striper for not saluting him. I started to, but he did
not see me, so I knocked off. However, he came back
and gave me particular fits. . . . The Leviathan came in
to-day with ten thousand troops. She is the most enor-
mous thing I ever saw. It took three hours to moor her.
She bumped a tanker coming in, almost sank the Bur-
rows destroyer, and ended by sinking a French tug. The
soldiers began coming ashore before she was moored.
That packet needs considerable elbow-room. I went
aboard the Leviathan at 6 a.m. and almost got lost in
her. In fact, I did. Her bridge is much higher than the
Corsair's fore top. Weather beastly and we spent most
of the day getting coal barges to and from her. . . .

June 25th. The Leviathan sailed for the States. I was
out there until she left, helping to unshackle her and
get her under way. I have the night trick, so will have
to sleep in the office. This is some job. . . . The Great
Northern and Northern Pacific came in with troops and
will leave to-morrow night. They are certainly making
speed back and forth these days. . . . July 1st. Started
out at 6 a.m. and boarded fifteen ships. One had run
aground on a rock and her bow was smashed and the
fore-peak full of water. I made arrangements to dock
her to-morrow.

221



THE CORSAIR IN THE WAR ZONE

July 4th. Big parade to-day, but I saw none of it.
Twenty-three American transports came in and I had
to board them all, a four-hour job. We are expecting
more troop-ships to-morrow. It is up to me to get them
coaled, watered, and ready to turn around. . . . July
nth. The Von Steuben left to-night in a heavy storm.
Commander Tod, Major O'Neil, and I went out to
meet a convoy of thirteen ships, all carrying troops.
The Major got very sick in the rough sea. We had the
devil of a time, and no other word applies. Got back at
3 a.m. and had to anchor and then board all these ships
in total darkness. Another one of those ships from
the Great Lakes broke down and that means work
for me to-morrow. This is the fourth one of the kind
that has gone to pot here. I wish they could be left
at home.

July 18th. Roughest day yet, seas very high. I went
over to assist in getting the Leviathan under way. She
started off at seventeen knots and her back-wash came
within an ace of upsetting us. Had a tough time mak-
ing landings on this batch of troop-ships. When I got
alongside the Westerdyke a huge wave slammed my
boat against her, carrying away all my superstructure
and chewing things up generally. We managed to get
clear and stay afloat.

I got in wrong with the Army who claimed I stole a
ship from them. A collier came in, and as the Navy
was badly in need of coal, I refused to look at her mani-
fest and sent her over to our repair ship Panther and
began to coal her. The Army got wise and put up a
yell, but it was too late and I got away with it. They
say that if the trick is done again they will report it
to Pershing. Let 'em go to it, as long as the Navy gets
the coal when it needs it.



222



UNCLE SAM'S BRIDGE OP SHIPS

While the Corsair was driving through the blus-
tering winds and seas of March, there came bright
days now and then which were a harbinger of
spring-time in Brittany. In a letter written on
Palm Sunday, Chief Quartermaster Farr depicted
the following contrast with the grim routine of the
war by sea and land :

I have had a delightful day. In the first place, the
weather is like June and now it is moonlight and a
dead calm is resting on the bay and I feel the joy of
life and the beauty of Nature. This morning I went
ashore to the Catholic church, and the entire popula-
tion of the little Breton fishing town must have been
there. Of course I could n't understand what was going
on, but it was restful and soothing to say your prayers
and think a little and listen to the organ. A Frenchman
with a good voice sang "Hosanna, Glory to God," and
I prayed hard for the English armies in the great battle
which is now raging. Their losses are heavy and I think
of the terrible anxiety in England for their boys. Not
that there is any doubt of the outcome, but so many
brave men are dying, and when you read of the Ninth
Division, say, as particularly distinguishing itself,
you can imagine the feelings of the mothers of those
men.

This afternoon several of us walked out to a little
chateau built in the time of Louis XVI which was very
interesting. The old French people were extremely hos-
pitable, gave us tea, and showed us everything. They
had a beautiful little garden with lots of vegetables
growing, peach and cherry blossoms, wonderful haw-
thorn hedges, spring flowers everywhere, the birds sing-
ing, and the whole landscape peaceful and happy. It

223



THE CORSAIR IN THE WAR ZONE

was hard to realize that the greatest battle of the war
is raging in the north.

We walked back to the Y.M.C.A. where we each
had four fried eggs with some of the Army engineer
troops. They come from California and Oregon, and
are the best and huskiest-looking soldiers I've seen
yet. A darky was in the party, a Navy cook, and he was
as good as a minstrel show. He ordered six eggs, and
as soon as they came on the table he ordered another
half-dozen. He said he was honin' and pinin' for to get
to Dunkirk, and would probably get killed by a bomb
if he did, but "befo' the Lawd, boss, I jes' itches to go
anyhow. It's mah destination, she sure is."

I am mighty glad to have had this service in the
ranks. I would n't have missed it for anything. It is
the only way to know the real Army and Navy.



CHAPTER X
THE CORSAIR STANDS BY

THIS business gets more interesting every day and
is by far the most fascinating industry I have ever
undertaken [declared Lieutenant Schanze, in letters
written during the autumn and winter]. Of course it is
extremely strenuous, the long sea voyages into an eter-
nally rough ocean, the cold, wet days and nights, and
the everlasting vigil that must be kept despite wind,
rain, fog, and storm. It gets to the nerves of the boys
and a few of them show signs of weakening at times,
but on the whole, and in my humble opinion, the
Corsair has the most pugnacious and indefatigable
bunch of fighters in the whole Navy:

You see, the Corsair and the Aphrodite were the
first American war vessels to patrol the Bay of Biscay;
consequently we are old-timers here and are looked up
to by the others as being well versed in this game.
The hard service is the best thing that could have hap-
pened to us. Being in a war without actually serving on
the firing line would drive me looney, but as things have
turned out I have the most wonderful opportunity to
exercise all my mechanical ingenuity and experience
and they have more than stood me in good stead.

This war work agrees with me better than anything
I have engaged in. I am growing stouter and more
vigorous and enjoying every minute of it. . . . If we
bean a submarine and crow about it, everybody ashore
gives us the horse laugh because we did not have the
propellers or conning tower to show for it ; and if some
misguided sub takes a shot at us and the torpedo hap-

225



THE CORSAIR IN THE WAR ZONE

pens to miss and biffs one of the empty buckets we are
escorting over the horizon, the Admiral roars until we
dare not show our faces ashore. I recently heard the
anti-submarine campaign assailed on the ground that
the submarines are still at large and going strong. They
are. But the submarine campaign of Germany is away
past its zenith. It was passed several months ago and
the lid is now being nailed down on its coffin.

We are over here in this mess up to our ears and we
know what has taken place when the whole ocean seems
to tremble and that sickening, muffled roar, whose
direction defies discovery, comes to our ears. We know
that another torpedo has found its mark. Does it make
us gloomy? It does not. It cheers us up. Why? Because
we can instantly diagnose just how it was done and we
recognize that our enemy is becoming more timid, im-
potent, and desperate. Very soon every successfully ex-
ploded torpedo will cost the life of the sub that sent it.
Instead of being the terror of the seas that they were
last June and July, the U-boats now advertise the fact
that the terror of the seas is the American destroyer.

The war goes booming along on an ever greater
scale, and to those who are given this opportunity of
viewing the panorama, it unfolds itself with a magni-
tude that defies all description. Could I but tell you of
the vast works that America alone has put upon the
landscapes here in France, you would believe my
enthusiasm exaggerated. Details I cannot give, but as
a comparison imagine a contract for the construction
of a series of communities, each one about as large as
Newark was ten years ago, and imagine them equipped
with every modern improvement such as wharfage on a
river-bank formerly barren, manufacturing plants for
the fabrication of everything from wooden legs to steel
ships, and then accept this as a fact already accom-

226



THE CORSAIR STANDS BY

plished and doing business, and you can gather some
idea of the tremendous efforts that have been put forth.

For all this we are indebted, not nearly so much to
the men here at the front as to those whose untiring
efforts at home, in face of all kinds of criticism of the
most venomous kind, have driven this enormous task
to a successful culmination. I have a wonderful respect
for our men at home who have had to stay home and
accomplish things which they could never disclose to
a naturally impatient and clamoring public. Had the
Germans done such things as I have seen here accom-
plished by Americans, I would have taken off my hat
to them and acknowledged the fact that German
efficiency coupled with the advantages of a despotism
was at least worthy of a close look. I dwell upon this
phase of the situation because it has recently come to
my attention, from most reliable sources, that there is
a tendency toward gloom in certain quarters at home.
The constant attacks made by conscientious critics,
aside from the braying of the eternally discontented
and the insidious whispers of the disloyal, are liable to
make even the stoutest hearts falter at times.

I cannot too emphatically contradict every reason
advanced to sustain a gloomy attitude of mind. There
is every reason for the greatest enthusiasm and confi-
dence. In fact, we over here on the firing line have a
spontaneous kind of enthusiasm that comes only to
the victorious. This war is a long and ferocious process
in which each battle must be considered as a single
shot fired only as a part of the ensemble. On land and
sea things look better than they have in a long time.
Every American effort is pure velvet for the Allied
side. I trust our nation will now begin to see that
America is a big and powerful fellow among the nations
of the world and that, with just a little bit of careful

227



THE CORSAIR IN THE WAR ZONE

attention, this European situation can be hammered
into shape. The women of the country are, after all,
pretty much the whole thing, for they can inculcate
the spirit of fight and of happy confidence that nothing
else can put into their boys. If the mother will adopt
the old Spartan admonition of "Come home either
with your shield or on it," the boys will keep surging
into this war with an ardor that no enemy can stop.

. . . My experiences thus far have brought me more
laughs than it has been my pleasure to have in any
other period of time. I must confess, however, that
many of the laughs come when I view some of the situ-
ations in retrospect. At times, especially in the middle
of a ruction, when literally tons of high explosives are
being launched, we are too busily engaged to laugh. On
such occasions we have to think rapidly and work fast.

One incident may be worthy of note. A flock of
troop-ships was under escort through the torpedo zone.
The eagle eye of a trained observer caught the tell-tale
symptoms of a submarine trying to manoeuvre into
striking position. Activities began at once, if not
sooner. Those of us whose job it was to look after the
sub, did it. Those of us whose job it was to screen the
troop-ships, did that. On one of the transports were
many negroes who knew more about shore duties than
seafaring. On the ship they were passengers pro tern.

The process of dealing with a submarine certainly
must send thrills through a spectator who has never
attended any rehearsals. The negroes in question were
all novices and their chief emotion was primitive terror.
The simultaneous explosion of forty or fifty barrels of
dynamite made the whole ocean heave and rumble.
Even those of us who were used to dropping 'em over
and who were braced for the shock, felt considerably
jolted.

228



THE CORSAIR STANDS BY

The darky soldiers thought the end of creation had
sure busted loose in epidemic form. One of them excit-
edly dug down into his pack and fished out a Bible.
Opening it on deck, he knelt upon it, wrung his hands


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