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Gentlemen, I have in this statement attempted to outline, as briefly as I possibly could, that you might listen to it, and in a very general manner, the project that I supposed. I am now prepared to answer, to the best of my ability, any questions you may put to me, and go into all engineering and cross features, with such detail as you may desire. I have neither the funds nor the authority for the construction of designs or drawings, but I believe I may be able give you such preliminary data as may be reasonably expected.
Senator BALL. Before any questions are asked, you will have copies prepared, or have you copies prepared, for each of the committee?
Commander Cox. I will have copies prepared and forwarded to your reporter.
Senator Ball. I think it is very important that each member of the committee have a copy of that very able paper.
Mr. BRITTEN. As a part of the record, it will be in the final printed report, of course.
Senator BALL. Now, Commander Cox, if there are any questions the committee desires to ask, I understand you are ready to answer them?
Mr. BRITTEN. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the commander a question? Commander Cox, you suggested a while ago that if a great naval base were established some place in San Francisco Bay, othes than in Carquinez Straits, it would mean that the Mare Island yard either would be abandoned or would be used as a base adjunct. What do you mean by a “base adjunct”?
Commander Cox. I mean its continued operation in reduced commission as an adjunct to a main base somewhere else. I probably could have made it simpler, as I said, “either abandoned or continued in operation.' Of course, the idea, as I understand it, from the recommendations of the McKean Board and of the Helm Board, was that the Mare Island Yard should be retained for certain work. I have assumed that that meant the construction of ships, if Congress intends the construction of ships here; or the care and upkeep of smaller craft; and possibly as a subbase.
Mr. BRITTEN. Because of the known efficiency of the Mare Island Navy Yard, I do not know of an individual who would for one moment think of abandoning the yard. It will always be a great construction yard, it will always be a great repairing yard, irrespective of whether activity may be developed in the bay, and I was just a little in doubt as to what you meant by the abandonment of the yard or it being a base adjunct.
Commander Cox. I think I have now explained that, Mr. Britten. Mr. BRITTEN. Yes; that is all right.
Commander Cox. But if you want my opinion, I could give one, if you wish.
Mr. BRITTEN. What would be your opinion?
Commander Cox. My opinion is, and I think the opinion is shared by most of the people with whom I have talked, that sooner or later appropriations would fail for this place, as they have failed for certain other yards, while it was thought they could be retained in use, although their usefulness had ceased in certain lines. I feel that sooner or later its continuance in operation would become such a burden, the two administrations, the cost of two establishments,
that it would be found far cheaper and far better in the end to replace such facilities as the other base would not have, and we would have. It would be so obviously dictated by good business procedure, that I am morally certain that ultimately this yard would be abandoned.
Mr. BRITTEN. In other words, the expense of duplication, administration, the two yards within 30 miles of each other, that one would absorb the other?
Commander Cox. Yes; and it would be something that good policy could not justify.
Mr. BRITTEN. Then at that point, may I ask, Commander–I realize that, in the true sense of the word, you are not a military man.
Commander Cox. No; not at all. I would not make that statement.
Mr. BRITTEN. You are an engineer.
Commander Cox. I wish you would ask me questions on that, because I could refer you to authority much superior.
Mr. BRITTEN. No; I will not. But, recalling what you yourself said a while ago, if you had this ground planned for the development of a great naval base, somewhere in San Francisco Bay, if you had that plan before you and no money had been expended at either one of these three sites, would you prefer the Mare Island or Carquinez Straits base to the other two under consideration at this time?
Commander Cox. You are making me, Mr. Britten, express' an opinion on military matters. I am willing to express it, if you desire.
Mr. BRITTEN. No; I am not--not at all, military viewpoint.
Commander Cox. I want to be perfectly frank about it. Engineering construction is perfectly practicable up here, and it is perfectly possible down there. You can build as cheaply there as here. While I think that the sandstone here is a little better than the serpentine at Hunters Point, still I am not weighing on’e site against the other when it comes to that. We simply save an actual, existing investment if we adopt the Mare Island-Carquinez Straits base.
Mr. BRITTEN. I realize all that, but you have not answered my question. I would like to have your personal opinion, not from a military standpoint, but as a civil engineer, which of the three sites that we are considering, if no money had been expended on either one of them, would you prefer—Mare Island and Carquinez Straits or one of the other two-in other words, would you prefer the Mare Island site to either one of the others ?
Commander Cox. I can answer that question, too, if you will allow me to step into the military side. Assuming that nothing had been done here, that there were no Pinole channel and no community with its labor and railroad service, there are other sites which I would select.
Mr. BRITTEN. As an engineer, would you select the Mare Island site in preference to either one of the other sites?
Commander Cox. As an engineer?
Commander Cox. I have just answered that. It is just as cheap to construct one as the other.
Mr. PADGETT. Except you get the qualifications that the rock conditions here are a little better than the others?
Commander Cox. Yes. That is my estimate of it.
Commander Cox. No; none at all there. That is a very hazardous proposition. I was thinking of Hunters Point.
Mr. PADGETT. And you say the rock conditions here are better than at Hunters Point
Commander Cox. In my opinion no engineer should be required to express his opinion until he has been able to explore, as we have explored, at the lower bay site. I am confident that the rock here is better for dry-dock excavation than it is in the lower bay. And not only that, but I can handle it more cheaply, as far as rock goes.
Mr. PADGETT. Did I understand you to say that you could build a dry dock here for $5,000,000 ?
Commander Cox. I could build a dry dock here out beyond the area where docks can be founded on rock for approximately that sum, assuming no bad subsurface water conditions. I can build one inside that area for less.
Mr. PADGETT. You have not made any borings, and consequently you can't tell ?
Commander Cox. I have not gone out there at all.
Commander Cox. I would base the cost of a dock outboard of the rock area exactly the same as I would at Alameda, which is $5,700,000; but at the site where I have located the inboard dock, “Scheme E," I estimate its cost at $3,800,000. The second dock outboard, but still in rock, I have estimated the same as I did at Hunters Point, $4,300,000.
Mr. PADGETT. One other question: Do you know of any physical obstruction in either of these three sites that could not be overcome by a reasonable additional expenditure ?
Commander Cox. Absolutely nothing that could not be overcome, if military or other considerations warranted the additional expense.
Mr. PADGETT. So you could build just as good a dry dock at Hunters Point or at Alameda as you could up here at Mare Island ?
Commander Cox. Yes, sir; absolutely. The only proposition is the business proposition, and that is dependent upon the military situation, which I have nothing to do with.
Senator BALL. Have you any further questions? Mr. PADGETT. What is the area of the Carquinez Straits territory for anchorage ?
Commander Cox. It is a mile from shore to shore, right across from the navy yard, and it is over 2,000 feet wide in the gorge between Crockett and Martinez. The anchorage extends from the end of the dyke, which is 6,000 feet west of the proposed yard, 8 miles in all for capital ship anchorage affording 40 feet depth.
Mr. PADGETT. At any rate, the minimum would be 51 miles ? Commander Cox. Six and a half miles is the minimum length, with another stretch of 11 miles separated by a half mile of 30-foot depth.
Mr. PADGETT. What depth of water between those side areas that you gave ?
Commander Cox. It runs from 40 feet to 10 fathoms, and in some cases to 16 fathoms.
Mr. PADGETT. After you pass the 40 feet, you pass out on either side, or on one side or the other, how much do you think, before you get down to 20 feet?
Commander Cox. Let me see if I can get that exactly. You mean how far in length ?
Mr. PADGETT. In length and in width. In other words, how much area have you of water from 20 feet up to 40 feet outside of your 40-foot area in the Carquinez Straits ?
Mr. BRITTEN. As a general thing. Commander Cox. The area of the mud flats? Mr. PADGETT. No; the area of the channel, not the mud flats. Commander Cox. We will get that by subtraction. Mr. PADGETT. Here is what I mean: Here is your 40-foot area of which you have just given me the dimensions (indicating]. How much do you have to go out that way before you get to 20 feet, and how much out on this side?
Commander Cox. I am now pointing to my layout, marked “Scheme E." You will observe that the plate shown in gray represents the tide flat out to, say, the 35-foot contour line, along which I have built my bulkhead, and back of which I have filled to my yard level. Without a scale, I should say that from the shore line to the 40-foot line is 1,500 to 1,800 feet. I think that answers your question.
Mr. PadGETT. But that is simply tide land that you are showing there.
Commander Cox. Yes, sir.
Mr. PADGETT. I am not asking about tide land, but I am trying to get how much of a base you have that is less than 40 feet and not less than 20 feet, in addition to the basin you have that is not less than 40 feet. In other words, that would accommodate boats that are drawing less than 40 feet.
Commander Cox. 'Oh, I see. Mr. PADGETT. For instance, destroyers. You have given me the dimensions in miles and thousands of feet for the Carquinez Straits basin, which is for big-ship anchorage. Now, I was trying to see what you had in addition that would accommodate other than the deepwater crafts; that is, of a large draft.
Commander Cox. Mr. Padgett, when you leave the flats, it goes down very fast, and as developed, the whole width opposite the yard would be 40 feet deep.
Mr. PADGETT. That is what I wanted to get at. Commander Cox. I did not understand you. Would it be of any advantage to you, Mr. Padgett, if I should give you, for the purpose of the record, the area of the anchorage ground?
Mr. PADGETT. Yes; that is what I want.
Commander Cox. All right. I will put it in, then, accurately, and it will be of more service.
Mr. PADGETT. That is what I wanted.
(Commander Cox thereafter furnished the following information in answer to the question:
Immediately in front of the proposed base there is 1.25 square miles of 40 feet or over in depth, and, if to this is then added the available 40-foot anchorage area in Carquinez Straits, the total 40-foot anchorage will be 3.55 square miles. The area of anchorage ground with depth of from 20 to 40 feet, and including all of Carquinez Straits between the west end of the dike and Ryer Island, is 41 miles. 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