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world war 1 military records of caost and geodetic survey personnel


Gardiner Luce, Lieutenant, U.S.N.R.F.,

On September 24, 1917, by Executive Order 2707, he was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Previous to his transfer he was a commissioned Hydrographic and Geodetic Engineer in the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Effective September 24, 1917, he was enrolled as Lieutenant (j.g.) in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force, and on November 17, 1917, he was ordered to report to the Supervisor, U.S. Naval Reserve Headquarters at New York.

On December 14, 1917, he was assigned as Navigating Officer to the U.S.S. CHESTNUT HILL, a 5000-ton oil tanker, then nearing completion at the Pennsylvania Ship Yard at Gloucester, N.J. On March 5, 1918, the vessel sailed for Bermuda to join the fleet as “Mother Ship” for the fleet of submarine chasers, tugs and converted yachts, on their trip overseas, fueling them at sea with gasoline or fuel oil, as well as fueling destroyers in the Azores and in other foreign waters. The localities of operations later included practically the entire coast of the United States and the West Indies and involved considerable overseas duty.

On December 15, 1919, he was detached from U.S.S. CHESTNUT HILL at his own request and after ten day’s leave of absence he was assigned for duty under the District Supervisor of Naval Overseas Transportation Service at Norfolk, Va., where he served as Inspector and Surveyor of materials and as a member of Navy Courts for all Naval Overseas Transportation Service vessels entering Hampton Roads.

On March 11, 1919, he was relieved from active duty in the U.S. Navy and on March 14, 1919, he returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey.


Robert F. Luce, Lieutenant Commander, U.S.N.R.F,

On September 24, 1917, by Executive Order 2707, he was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Previous to his transfer he was a commissioned Hydrographic and Geodetic Engineer in the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Effective September 24, 1917, he was enrolled as Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force and on October 17, in accordance with orders, he reported to the Commandant, U.S. Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., where he was assigned to the Public Works Department for duty of inspection and various duties in connection with the erection of a large number of new buildings and other engineering projects at the yard.

On November 3, 1917, he was detached from duty at the Washington Navy Yard, transferred to the Naval Auxiliary Reserve (Class 3), and ordered to report for duty on the U.S.S. MADAWASKA. On November 8, 1917, he was assigned to duty as Watch Officer and Junior Division Officer of the 3rd (Deck) Division of the U.S.S. MADAWASKA for instruction to prepare himself to take charge of that division, by relieving the Ordnance Officer then in charge.

The MADAWASKA was formerly the “Koening Wilhelm II” of the Hamburg American Line and was of 9,049 gross tonnage with a length of 490 feet, depth of 291/2 feet and a maximum speed of 15 knots. She had an average complement of 39 officers and 550 men and a carrying capacity of 2400 troops. On November 12, 1917, she sailed on her first trip abroad with troops and on this voyage Lieutenant Luce was assigned to the duty of Assistant Navigator, he was later assigned as Navigator, Senior Member of the Hull Board of the Vessel and Chief Censor of the Vessel.

On February 14, 1918, upon the recommendation of his Commanding Officer, Captain Edward Watson, U.S.N., he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander U.S.N.R.F.

He remained attached to the U.S.S. MADAWASKA until February 25, 1919, when he was relieved from active duty with the U.S. Navy and on February 27, 1919, he returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey.


Richard R. Lukens, Lieutenant Commander, U.S.N.R.F.,

On Sept. 24, 1917, by Executive Order 2707, he was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Previous to his transfer he was a Commissioned Hydrographic and Geodetic Engineer in the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Effective, Sept. 24, 1917, he was enrolled as Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force, and on Nov. 25, 1917 he was assigned for duty as navigating Officer to the U.S.S. HELENA, then on patrol duty in Manila Bay, Philippine Islands. In addition to his regular routine duties on board of the HELENA he assisted in boarding and examination of merchant vessels and during target practice he did the spotting for the entire practice and fired one string of shots with the four inch gun, making three hits out of four.

On March 22, 1918, he was a member of a party that took over the Dutch Steamship TJISONDARI, a magnificent freight vessel of 8039 gross tons and he was put in charge of getting the vessel in condition to be commissioned in the naval service, which was accomplished on April 1, when he was assigned to the vessel as Executive Officer and Navigator. Soon thereafter the vessel sailed via San Francisco to New York, and upon arrival entered the Naval Overseas Transportation Service. On November 8, 1918, after having made two round trips with the vessel between the United States and France, he was detached.

On Nov. 26, 1918, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander U.S.N.R.F., and was ordered to the command of the U.S.S. Polar Bear, a new cargo vessel of 4200 tons then fitting out at Baltimore.

Lieutenant Commander Lukens made one trip to France as Commanding officer of the U.S.S. Polar Bear. On the return trip with 100 tons of white phosphorus on deck and 700 tons of shrapnel as ballast, when 450 miles east of Bermuda in the teeth of a gale, the steering gear broke, leaving the ship helpless in the trough of the sea when she rolled 45 degrees with the vessel pounding and the phosphorus deck load shifting. The U.S.S. President Grant answered distress calls and arrived on the scene 24 hours later, but the heavy seas prevented the vessel being taken into tow. The President Grant stood by for 36 hours until the repairs had been completed and the weather had moderated. The voyage was then continued, the vessel reaching New York after having been 26 days from Bordeaux. Lieutenant Commander Lukens was retired from active duty with the U.S. Navy on March 4, 1919 and returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on March 8, 1919.


Herald N. McComb, Corporal U.S. Army; Lieutenant (j.g.) U.S.N.R.F.,

On July 30, 1918, he resigned his position as a Magnetic Observer in the Coast and Geodetic Survey and enlisted in the U.S. National Army (Selective Service). In accordance with orders from the War Department he proceeded to Lincoln Nebraska, when on Aug. 4, 1918 he was sworn in as Private in National Army, on the same date he proceeded to Camp Dodge, Iowa, when on Aug. 16, he was assigned as Instructor in the Army Schools.

On Sept. 1, 1918 he was promoted to Corporal. On Sept. 5, 1918, he was honorably discharged at the request of the Navy Department and upon the same date he was Commissioned Lieutenant (j.g.) in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force.

He was assigned to the U.S. Naval Observatory at Washington D.C., under Rear Admiral T.B. Howard, U.S.N. (Retired), on duty at the Naval Observatory and Assistant Inspector of Navigational Material from Sept. 16, 1918 to Dec, 9, 1918, and from Dec. 9, 1918 to Oct. 8, 1919 as Inspector of Navigational Material for the First Naval District.

A letter from Rear Admiral T. B. Howard, U.S.N. (Retired), dated March 4, 1919, refers to the valuable services of Lieutenant (j.g.) McComb and eight other officers of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

He was retired from active service in the U.S. Navy on Oct. 8, 1919 and was reinstated in the Coast and Geodetic Survey Oct. 11, 1919.


William B. McFarland, Second Lieutenant, E.O.R.C., U.S. Army,

On Sept. 24, 1917, by Executive Order 2707, he was transferred to the Service and jurisdiction of the War Department. Previous to his transfer he was a computer in the Division of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

He was assigned to active duty as Second Lieutenant with the Engineer Officers Reserve Corps U.S. Army. Effective Sept. 24, 1917, but before performing any active Service, on Nov. 6, 1917, he was honorably discharged for physical disability.

He returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on Nov. 7, 1917, in accordance with Executive Order 2782, dated Jan. 9, 1918.


James W. McGuire, Captain, Engineer Corps. U.S. Army,

On Sept. 24, 1917, by Executive Order 2707, he was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the War Department. Previous to his transfer he was a draftsman in the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

He passed the required original physical examination, and on Sept. 27, 1917, was assigned to active duty as Captain with the Engineer Officers Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army, effective Sept. 24, 1917. Soon after being assigned to duty his health became rapidly undermined by accidental reinfections and successive inoculations. From Oct. 5 to 16, he was treated at Walter Reed Hospital. Owing to congested conditions there, he was transferred to Camp Belvoir, Va., and afterward to the American University, for continuance of treatment and for military training. His physical condition became so grave that, on Jan. 30 1917, he decided to surrender his commission, in order to accept an office from the Engineer Corps at Large, for immediate service abroad. His resignation was effective, Nov. 14, 1917, previous to which the War Department abandoned the plans for the expedition for which he had offered his service.

On November 15, 1917, by Executive Order No. 2782 he was returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Soon thereafter his services were caught as expert cartographer for important war work in connection with the inquiry, operating under the direction of Colonel E. M. House by authority of the President. For detailed information regarding this work of Captain McGuire to which he was assigned in Dec. 1917, See Part II of this report.


Clarence E. McMillin, U.S.N.R.F. (rank unknown),

On May 16, 1918, by Executive Order 2861, he was transferred with the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer Explorer to the Service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Previous to his transfer, he served as Quartermaster, Second Class on the Explorer.

There is no information available regarding whether or not he was enrolled in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force.


Robert McMinn, U.S. Army (rank unknown),

Served as a hand in one of the field parties operated under the Division of Geodesy of the Coast and Geodetic Survey until Sept. 24, 1917, when he separated from this party and enlisted in the U.S. Army.


William Mackenzie, Second Lieutenant, Air Service (Aeronautic) U.S. Army,

Previous to his entering the U.S. Army, he was an engraver in the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

On June 24, 1916, he volunteered his service and enlisted as a private with Machine Gun Co. 3rd District of Columbia Infantry in the service of the United States, at Fort Myer, Va., following the call of the President dated June 18, 1916. After serving about seven months on the Mexican Border, he was demobilized at Fort Myer, Va., on March 12, 1917. He returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on March 16.

On April 1, 1917, he again answered the call of the President as private Machine Gun Co., 3rd District of Columbia Infantry. He made application for the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, Prior to passing the examination was discharged and enlisted as Private, First Class, Aviation Section, Signal Enlisted Reserve Corps, on Sept. 26, 1917, and was ordered to the Princeton School of Military Aeronautics, Princeton, N.J. from which he graduated on Dec. 22, 1917.

On Jan. 4, 1918, he was ordered to Call Field, Wichita Falls, Texas, where he completed the required tests in primary and aerobatic flying and was commissioned Second Lieutenant, Reserve Military Aviator, Aviation Section, Reserve Corps, on May 1, 1918.

He was ordered to Camp Dick, Dallas Texas and assigned to Love Field as a flying instructor. After completing the prescribed course at the United States School for aerial Observers at Langley Field, Hampton, Va., he was graduated as a Corps D’Arme pilot on July 13, 1918. He was then ordered to Taliaferro Field, Hicks, Texas, and assigned to the School for Aerial Gunnery, where he graduated and qualified to act as a gunnery pilot on August 10, 1918, and on Oct. 1, 1918 was ordered to Garden City, New York for overseas duty.

The Armistice prevented his going overseas, and on Jan. 25, 1919 he was honorably discharged at Garden City, N.Y. He returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on July 17, 1919.


G. E. Madder, U.S.N.R.F. (rank unknown),

On May 16, 1918, by Executive Order 2861, he was transferred with the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer Explorer to the Service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Previous to his transfer he was Quartermaster, Second Class on the Explorer.

There is no information available at this office regarding whether or not he was enrolled in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force.


Thomas J. Maher, Lieutenant, U.S.N.R.F.,

On Sept. 24, 1917, by Executive Order 2707, he was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Previous to his transfer he was a commissioned Hydrographic and Geodetic Engineer in the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Effective Sept. 24, 1917, he was commissioned Lieutenant U.S. Naval Reserve Force. In accordance with orders from the Commandant, Thirteenth Naval District, he remained in command of the Coast and Geodetic Steamer Explorer, at Seattle, Wash., until Feb. 16, 1918, when he was ordered by the Bureau of Navigation, Washington, D.C., to proceed to San Francisco, Cal., and report to the Commandant of the Twelfth Naval District for duty as Inspector of Navigational Material at the works of the A. Lists Co., San Francisco, California. On Feb. 23, 1918, he reported as directed and assumed his duties as Inspector of Navigational Material at San Francisco on the same day, and upon which he continued until relieved on March 31, 1919.

After several months, duty at this place, Lieutenant Maher in a personal interview with the Acting Chief of the Bureau requested an assignment to sea duty, but was refused with the statement that his contracts would first have to be completed. During the period of his service he was under the command of Rear Admiral T.B. Howard, U.S.N. (Retired) and Commander J. S. Doddridge, U.S.N.

A recommendation for his promotion to Lieutenant Commander was forwarded by his commanding officer to the Bureau of Navigation, from which place it was sent to the Supervisor, Naval Auxiliary Reserve, New York City, where it was kept on file without action as the service records were at San Francisco, which fact was apparently unknown at the office of the Supervisor at New York. The termination of the war stopped further action in the matter.

A letter from Admiral T. B. Howard, U.S.N. (Retired), dated March 4, 1919 refers to the valuable service of Lieutenant Maher and eight other officers of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

He was released from active duty in the U.S. Navy on March 31, 1919, and returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on the following day.


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