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This figure does not include the 20 to 40 foot ground between the west end of the dike and the main fleet anchorage beginning at San Pablo Point, totaling some 15 square miles.)
Mr. BRITTEN (temporarily presiding). Do any of you other gentlemen desire to ask any questions of Commander Cox? Do you, Mr. Padgett?
Mr. PADGETT. No.
Mr. CURRY. I will ask Constructor Gleason, who is here, to address the committee. Capt. Gleason has been with the Mare Island Navy Yard for about 10 years, and is the constructor and builder of the California. He resigned a few weeks ago to accept private employment in the East. When he told me he was going to sever his connection with the Navy, I regretted very much he was going to leave the yard, but, of course, was glad that he was bettering his condition. At that time I asked Mr. Gleason if he would not appear before the committee when they were at Mare Island, and he said he would, if he could, and if he could not come here, if he was requested to by the committee, he would appear before them in Washington. But Mr. Gleason is here now, and I would like to have him appear at this time, if the committee will hear him. He is not employed by the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce or by the city of Vallejo, and is not receiving any compensation whatever for being here. He is simply here as a good citizen, a patriotic man, to say what he thinks is the best location for a naval base for the Pacific coast, and his experience, I think, is worth considering.
Mr. BRITTEN. We will be glad to hear from Commander Gleason.
Commander H. M. GLEASON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, first of all, I want to preface my remarks by saying that I will make them very brief. I had intended to make a statement similar to what Capt. Beach and Commander Cox have already made, but as they have covered the ground so thoroughly, I feel that it would be an imposition on you gentlemen to repeat, practically duplicating, what they have said.
I thoroughly agree with what Capt. Beach has said and with what Commander Cox has said, and I congratulate them on the way in which they have presented the information. It is very complete and is matter of record, so that it can be easily referred to.
Pardon me if I say just a few words in regard to myself, to explain my connection with this occasion. Having been on duty at this yard for almost the past ten years, and concerned with the construction of vessels and with the problems that we have had here, I feel that I have arrived at the conclusion which I have through experience and through a conviction which I can not change.
Now, I would like to say that I have no material interest in Vallejo or in California. I own not a dollar's worth of property, and am not interested in it except as an ex-officer of the service, who has had experience here and who is vitally interested as a private citizen paying taxes. I am associated with a firm with which Capt. Harry George is also associated, the former commandant of this yard. For business reasons he could not be here. But he authorized me to say for him what his opinion is in reference to Mare Island, and I will quote his own words
Capt. George, I might say, was our war commandant here, a man of great activity and great ability, and the work the yard did during the war was in great measure due to his administration. I am very proud, indeed, to have been one of his staff here during the war. Čapt. George says, and I will quote his words: "I have always been entirely in favor of the development of Mare Island and the concentration of all naval activity at that point." Those words are quoted from words he gave me.
As I say, I am not going to go into a lengthy statement after the very excellent presentation that has been made here by Capt. Beach and Commander Cox, but there are a few things that I would like to say, based on the experience I have had here.
The question of navigation has been brought up. I do not pose as an expert on navigation, and I am not. But we see the results of navigation here at the yard, and have in the past ten years, in the bringing up of ships for dockings. During the time I have been here I think we have docked something like 1,500 ships of various sizes, large and small, and during that time there has been not one single serious delay in getting a ship to the dry dock, through all kinds of weather, fog included. That speaks for the navigation of ships. Also, while I am on the same subject, no material interference with the docking schedule owing to weather conditions. I believe you will agree that that is a very good record for ten years, and involving something over 15 years, during which there has been no serious interference with the docking of vessels on account of navigation or weather conditions.
The criticism has also been made regarding berthing space. There is of course no berthing space here, because no material improvement has been made in berthing facilities at Mare Island, as the record will show, since the days of wooden ships, and it is quite natural that the berthing facilities are wanting at the present time for ships of the present-day type.
The efficiency of labor here at this yard I feel that I have the right to express an opinion upon, and I believe that the Government gets more for its dollar expended at Mare Island than at any other navy yard. The records of the Navy Department demonstrate that, and I am firmly convinced, in my own mind, that the Government does get, and will continue to get, through the excellent spirit that prevails here, owing to the local conditions, better value than they would or do at any other station.
I hope the other stations will develop the efficiency that Mare Island has developed, for the sake of getting more return for the money invested in a Naval Establishment. Now, the question of the docking station to the main repair station. The docking of ships, such as is proposed at the docking station, is a function which requires the coming and going of large ships, their supply, and the minor repairs. It is of distinct advantage to have a docking station that is not absolutely tied up with your industrial center, so that the ships may come and go in their docking and quick overhaul work, at a station which is all under the same administrative control and under the same supervisory control that the main plant is. In docking in that way, you will not interfere with the other work in progress, the major overhaul work or construction work, or work of that kind. So I consider it of distinct advantage to have a docking
station conveniently located as this is proposed to be, and not be interfering with your activities at your main repair plant.
There is another point that I would like to bring up, and that is the question of dollars and cents. That is an all-important point in business, as I am finding out, and it is the all-important point in connection with the Covernment business. It will be more so from now on, as I take it from the various things I hear in the conduct of life, that the expenditure of money by the Covernment has got to be curtailed, and therefore it is up to the people, their representatives, and all of us, to do what we can to conserve the moneys expended in the various activities of the Covernment. So I say the question of money is of first importance, outweighting all others, and, in comparing the proposed layout here with any other docking station, such as at Alameda or at Hunters Point, Commander Cox has very succinctly and very clearly placed it before you, and I would like to emphasize only one or two points that he has made. First, assuming that $60,000,000 is the cost of a new plant at Alameda or Hunters Point, and I think that is a very conservative estimate, and before you get through with a project of that kind you will probably spend $80,000,000 or more in it and its development as time goes on, assuming that, remember what you have got to do to operate a separate plant. Just the minute you establish a separate plant and establishment, you obligate yourself to the operating expenses which, in a commercial business, is of first consideration. What is it going to cost you to
. run it ?
Now, a conservative estimate of the overhead expense of running a separate establishment down the bay, away from Mare Island, would be about $2,000,000. That I think a very conservative figure. If you capitalize $2,000,000 at 4 per cent, you have a capital investment of $50,000,000, or at 5 per cent, of $40,000,000. Therefore, as a business proposition, you have got to include that figure. Now, when you add that $40,000,000, and I will take it at 5 per cent, I will say you have to borrow money at 5 per cent to make it as unfavorable as possible--$40,000,000 represents your capitalized investment on operating expenses, and with $60,000,000 as your first cost added to it, it amounts to $100,000,000, in round numbers. You balance against that what you have to expend at Mare Island to get the same thing. At Mare Island you have your repair plant, which, with slight modifications, can be made to meet the situation, and you have an estimated cost which commander Cox has given you of, I think, he said $30,000,000, in round numbers.
Mr. CURRY. $27,000,000.
Commander GLEASON. Well, I will say $30,000,000. That is a direct expenditure which goes against this expenditure of $60,000,000 down below.
Now, of course, in handling these added appliances, the .docking station, etc., that would necessarily mean an increase in the operating expenses of Mare Island as a unit, combined with the Carquinez Straits station; it would naturally increase the operating expenses. I have made a conservative estimate of $500,000, and I capitalize that at the same borrowing rate as representing an investment of $10,000,000. Add that to your $30,000,000 and you have $40,000,000 as the amount represented in the business sense in the Mare Island and Carquinez Straits proposition. Put that against your $100,000,000, and yoụ have a difference of $60,000,000. That, in plain horse sense, business sense, is what another project down the bay amounts to. It amounts to a criminal expenditure of the people's money of $60,000,000. That, to my mind, is the controlling factor in the whole situation.
And I would like to add, in conclusion, that in my service here at Mare Island, I feel proud of the fact that I have been connected with the organization, and I don't think I would have been where I am to-day, at the prime of life, if I had not been connected with such an efficient organization.
Senator BALL. Are there any questions?
Mr. BRITTEN. Yes; I would like to ask the commander a question or two. Commander, you are not a military man, are you? You are a civil engineer?
Commander GLEASON. I was eductaed in the Naval Academy as a naval man, and then in construction work. I am an engineer of naval architecture.
Mr. BRITTEN. I was rather surprised to hear you say that the one controlling factor, the predominant issue, in this matter, is the expenditure of money. Do you really mean that literally—that that is really more important than the desirable military advantages?
Commander GLEASON. That is, assuming that you could get all the requirements of a naval base at Mare Island.
Mr. BRITTEN. You didn't say that. All the military advantages being equal, then?
Commander GLEASON. Not equal; no.
Mr. BRITTEN. Of course, the expenditure would be the controlling feature if all the military advantage were equal. But you didn't say that. I just wanted to get your opinion. Then, supposing there were some military advantages in any one of the other sites. How would you weigh that as against the expenditure of money?
Commander GLEASON. Well, I would say that it would have to have considerable weight to counterbalance $60,000,000. That is a pretty heavy consideration. Senator BALL. Mr. Padgett, have you any questions? Mr. PADGETT. No, sir, I believe not.
Mr. CURRY, Mr. Chairman, we have with us Mr. Howard C. Holmes, who is one of the best civil engineers we have in private practice here in the State. As I stated before, he was the engineer for the State harbor commission for a number of years and built the Hunters Point dry dock. Mr. Holmes has no financial interest in Vallejo. He has not been employed by any interest in Vallejo. He is not receiving any compensation either from the citizens of Vallejo or from the city of Vallejo or from its chamber of commerce.
He has kindly consented to come here to tell you what he thinks, from his years of experience as an engineer on and around San Francisco Bay and it contiguous waters, as to where the proper location for a naval base should be.
Mr. HOWARD C. HOLMES. Mr. President, Mr. Curry puts it a little strong when he says I come to give my opinion as to what I think. I am merely here to state facts as to conditions both at Hunters Point, Mare Island, and Alameda. My experience in Alameda first was in 1884. At that time I built the trestle and mole for what was then known as the South Pacific Coast Railroad. In fact, even earlier
than that, some time in 1880, I designed the original ferry slip for that company. Since that time I have built the Western Pacific mole on the other side. My experience at Hunters Point has been in the designing and constructing of both the present dry docks at that point, and in 1913, I think, I made some soundings and some observations and a report on the south end of Mare Island for additional dry docks. As I said before, I won't attempt to comment on that. Since that time I have been employed by the contractors as engineer for making the borings and soundings both at Hunters Point and, at Alameda, and I will state to you merely what I have found.
First, in regard to Alameda, I am satisfied that the only dock that could be practically built at the Helms board site at Alameda would be a gravity dock resting on a pile foundation. At the time of the hearing in September, 1919, at Mare Island, the writer testified before the Admiral McKean board, at which Secretary of Navy Daniels was present, to this same effect. Since that time I have had charge of the soundings taken there and am satisfied, as I stated above, that the only type of dock would be a gravity dock, constructed in a similar manner to that of the Pearl Harbor. This would involve the driving of some 10,500 piles, the excavation of between 750,000 and 1,000,000 cubic yards of material, the placing of about 160,000 cubic yards of mass concrete. While the dredging may seem excessive, I am satisfied that it would require fully this amount, for the reason that the strata of the subsoils is such that it would not stand at a slope of less than one in five to one in six,
Without going more into details, based on the present conditions of the material and labor markets, I am satisfied this dock could not be constructed for less than between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000.
Now, as to Hunters Point: From my investigations of the locality proposed for the three dry docks by the Helm naval board, I am satisfied that a dock in this locality would have to be of a combination type; that is, a portion would be a gravity dock, resting on a pile foundation; the middle section of the dock would consist of a gravity dock, resting on a rock bottom, and the balance might be of what is known as a veneer dock, similar to docks 2 and 3 of the Union Iron Works at Hunters Point proper.
The placing of these docks at the Helm's site would involve the moving of between one and a half and two million cubic yards of material, varying from green serpentine to quartzite. If there were no fault lines struck in the land portion of the dock, this dock would probably cost in the neighborhood of between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000. Of course, you understand that the cream of locations at this site are the present docks of the Union Iron Works, and any dock that might be built in the near future would cost from 100 to 200 per cent more than the above said docks.
The construction of a dock as above described-that is, a dock resting partly on piles and partly on a solid rock foundation-is at the best poor practice, but I doubt if it would stand in the Bay of San Francisco, for the reason of the danger of earthquake disturbances. I am satisfied that an earthquake, even of the milder type, would rupture any dock of this character, for the reason that the material in which the piles are driven is more susceptible to earthquake waves than would be the land portion, theoretically to the extent of seven to one.