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FOREIGN TRANSPORT & MERCANTILE CORPORATION

FOREIGN TRANSPORT & MERCANTILE CORPORATION

ROYING OUR FIRST-LINE DEFENSE

HOW many of us know our Navy? We meet the man in uniform and say he is an Admiral, a Captain, a Commander, a Lieutenant or a sailor, and then what? Do we realize that these men have saved our country? They worked day and night in all sorts of weather to destroy the. Submarines that claimed 600,000 tons of shipping a month. If that toll had been increased, our land forces would have suffered from lack of both food and munitions.

Now in our usual fashion we forget as if we did not need these officers and men until the next war. But let us take warning, for this Navy of which we boast is losing both its officers and men, and that big Navy of which we were so proud is becoming a bluff, as already our ships are not properly manned. Every naval power knows that not one ship in the Atlantic Fleet has its full complement of officers and men. During the past few weeks I have seen dozens of our ships riding at anchor with scarcely an anchor watch aboard. All the ships on the Pacific Coast will lose parts of their crews which were rushed aboard to make that trip.

Don't kill the glorious tradition and spirit that made our Navy what it is. It is every American's duty to make that service the most attractive of all services, for without it we are not a power. Stop and reason with the facts. Our naval officer :s a red-blooded man, with an education equal to any and superior to most; a gentleman of honor, patriotic, with a sense of duty unsurpassed, who makes sacrifices unknown to the civilian. It is his spirit that keeps us a first-class power. He rives his entire life to his country for no other reason than love of country.

The enlisted men, the men who man our ships n every branch, are prompted by a fine spirit and have proven themselves equal to any in the world, ievoted to duty, and under their officers learn the ::ggest thing in life—unselfishness. To a man they volunteer for any hazardous or daring task.

They are the backbone of the Navy and as impor-tant as the officer.

We pay any price to build the finest ships and then underpay the men who operate them. V e cannot get results from dissatisfied minds, and we have created that dissatisfaction through our nig-gardly pay to our Navy. Navy pay has not increased since 1908, though the cost of living has increased over 100 per cent. Civilian machinists and laborers under the Government often receive greater pay than the officers who superintend their work and occupy responsible positions.

Officers have wives, families and homes they cannot visit for lack of funds. Many of those homes are actually in want. These men have given the best that is in them, and yet many an officer cannot buy a uniform beyond the one he stands in. We cannot hurriedly train a navy personnel as we do an army. The sea is a calling which is mastered only through years of experience, and the Navy requires expertness in Navigation, Steam Engineering, Electricity, Ordnance, Gunnery, Construction, Organization, Seamanship, Diplomacy, Languages, etc.

To help the cause, both officers and men of the Navy bought Liberty Bonds on the installment plan, and have been compelled to sell them at a sacrifice to provide for those dear to them. They are only human and naturally feel this injustice. The truth is that if we do not come to the rescue of this organization, which makes us a world power, we can scrap the League of Nations and our treaties, as we would become impotent and useless to any country, cause or ourselves.

It is up to us as American citizens to demand that the officers and men of the United States Navy receive more pay, a just compensation for their life-work and devotion. This is as great and vital an issue as any that confronts us today, as the question is one that appeals to the American spirit.—Hats off to the American Navy, and drop something in besides a cheer.

W. B. SHEARER.

 
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