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(No. 167]

FOR THE RELIEF OF CHARLES MYERS (H. R. 3694). Mr. FORAND

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

Washington, December 31, 1943. Hon. CARL VINSON, Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The bill (H. R. 3694) for the relief of Charles Myers, was referred by your committee to the Navy Department with request for views and recommendation.

The purpose of the bill is to authorize and direct the Secretary of the Navy to alter the service record of Charles Myers, formerly chief commissary steward, United States Navy, so that such record will show that he was honorably discharged from the United States Navy on October 10, 1942, and to grant to him an honorable discharge certificate showing that he was honorably discharged on that date

The records of the Navy Department show that Charles Myers was born on November 13, 1899, and that his naval service was as follows:

December 3, 1917: Enlisted in United States Navy to serve for 4 years.
August 22, 1919: Honorable discharge effected this date.
August 23, 1919: Reenlisted in United States Navy to serve for 2 years.
June 20, 1921: Honorable discharge effected this date.
December 18, 1922: Reenlisted in United States Navy to serve for 4 years.
December 17, 1926: Honorable discharge effected this date.
December 21, 1926: Reenlisted in United States Navy to serve for 4 years.
December 20, 1930: Honorable discharge effected this date.
December 21, 1930: Reenlisted in United States Navy to serve for 4 years.
October 15, 1934: Honorable discharge effected this date.
October 16, 1934: Reenlisted in United States Navy to serve for 4 years.
October 14, 1938: Honorable discharge effected this date.
October 15, 1938: Reenlisted in United States Navy to serve for 4 years.

May 4, 1942: Tried by general court martial and found guilty of "Violation of lawful regulation” (receiving gratuities indirectly-violation of art. 101, Navy regulations). Sentenced to be reduced to the rating of apprentice seaman, to be confined for 12 months, then, to be dishonorably discharged from the naval service. The Acting Secretary of the Navy approved the proceedings, findings and sentence on September 26, 1942, but remitted the period of confinement and mitigated the dishonorable discharge to a bad-conduct discharge.

October 10, 1942: Bad-conduct discharge effected this date in accordance with sentence of general court martial.

Attention is invited to the fact that Myers' offense was committed while the United States was in an active state of war and was aggravated in view of his long naval service and experience.

The bill H. R. 3694, if enacted into law, would probably result in a cost to the Government in the amount of $142.65, covering cost of Myers' transportation at 5 cents a mile from Norfolk, Va., to San Diego, Calif. There also may be a charge either now or in the future against appropriations under the Veterans' Administration.

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This bill is particularly objectionable because it directs that the records of the Navy Department be changed to show as true that which is false, namely, that Myers was honorably discharged from the United States Navy.

The Navy Department recommends against enactment of the bill H. R. 3694.

If the committee decides to make favorable report on the bill H. R. 3694, notwithstanding the foregoing, it is further recommended that the bill be changed to read as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in the administration of any laws conferring rights, privileges and benefits upon honorably discharged soldiers and sailors Charles Myers, formerly chief commissary steward, United States Navy, shall hereafter be held and considered to have been honorably discharged from the United States Navy on October 10, 1942: Provided, That no compensation, retirement pay, back pay, pension, or other benefit shall be held to have accrued prior to the passage of this act.

Adoption of the above phraseology would not cause an alteration of the records of the Navy Department showing that Myers received a bad-conduot discharge on October 10, 1942.

The Návy Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the submission of this recommendation. Sincerely yours,

JAMES FORRESTAL, Acting.

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(No. 168)

TO AUTHORIZE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO PRESENT A CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR TO JENNINGS JACK BENNETT (H. R. 3505). MR. NORMAN

Navy DEPARTMENT,

Washington, December 31, 1943. Hon. CARL VINSON, Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN. The bill (H. R. 3505) to authorize the President of the United States to present a Congressional Medal of Honor to Jennings Jack Bennett, was referred by your committee to the Navy Department with request for views and recommendation.

The purpose of the bill is to authorize the President, in the name of Congress, to present a medal of honor to Jennings Jack Bennett, coxswain, United States Navy, for his actions on July 16, 1942, while he was in charge of a gun crew aboard a United States merchant vessel and such vessel was attacked and sunk by an enemy raider.

At a meeting of the Navy Department Permanent Board of Awards on October 7, 1943, consideration was given to the case of the armed guard crew of the S. S. William F. Humphrey in an action with an enemy raider on July 16, 1942, and it was recommended that Jennings Jack Bennett, coxswain, United States Navy, be addressed a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for his conduct during that action. This recommendation was approved by the Secretary of the Navy.

The matter was further considered by the Board on February 11, 1943, and it was recommended that Bennett be awarded the Silver Star Medal for having distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity in action with an enemy raider on July 16, 1942. This recommendation was approved and the award has been made. Also Bennett was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received on that occasion.

The Navy Department is of the opinion that the award of the Silver Star Medal and the Purple Heart is sufficient recognition of Bennett's meritorious actions and such award is in keeping with the policy of the Department in making awards. It is felt that the award of the Silver Star is sufficient recognition and were the Medal of Honor awarded, it would serve to lower the high standard set by the Navy Department for that decoration.

Accordingly, the Navy Department recommends against the enactment of the proposed legislation.

The Navy Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the submission of this recommendation. Sincerely yours,

JAMES FORRESTAL, Acting. 9426044

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No. 168

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