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Crommelin Retains 'Bulldog Tenacity'
By Francis P. Douglas To some observers the actions of Capt. John G. Crommelin, jr„ may appear to be those of a man hell bent to enjoy the role of martyr. His friends—and he has many in the Navy—reject this idea. One of them said his present course stems from “his bulldog tenacity” to fight for what he believes to be right for the Navy and for the country. At the white brick Georgetown home where he lives, Capt. Crom melin, 47-year-old Navy aviator, was told yesterday afternoon that; Admiral Denfeld, chief of Naval Operations, had been directed to prefer charges against him. “That means court-martial,” Capt. Crommelin remarked in a matter-of-fact manner. “I’m not surprised.” Prefers to Tell Congress. He was asked if he welcomed this development. “I don’t welcome a general court-martial,” he replied. “It would be much better, in the in terest of the country’s defense, to be called before Congress. It is fundamental for the people and Congress to know the situation in the Department of Defense.” The court-martial he regarded as "incidental” to his general ob jective. Asked just how he would state that objective, he thought a minute and then, wrinkling his brow under his sandy hair, he answered slowly: “My basic objective is to get the security of the United States back on the rails and to awaken the American people to the necessity of their taking a more active in terest in the defense establish ment.” His slow, almost halting speech —it may be the result of the strain of recent days—gives no indica tion of the man of action. His friends will tell you of that part of his career, which has been a distinguished one, and relate inci dents to show he is one of the “hottest” pilots in naval aviation. Survived Sinking, Burns. In 1943, Capt. Crommelin was chief of staff to Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinix aboard the car rier Liscome Bay. It is no part of the job of a top staff afficer to fly a fighter plane, but in the landing on Tarawa, Capt. Crommelin took a fighter and joined in raking the island with his fire. In November, 1943, the Liscome Bay was torpedoed and sunk. Ad miral Mullinx was lost. Capt. Crommelin crawled out of a haw serhole. He was burned, but he was saved. He spent a period in a hospital at Pearl Harbor and then returned to duty. One friend—he said he dis agreed with Capt. Crommelin’s views, had argued with him for months, but felt Capt. Crommelin should have the right to state his opinions—said that, if the captain had only kept quiet, he would have been an admiral shortly. He said Capt. Crommelin's name was high on the list of captains. But Capt. Crommelin emphati cally is not keeping quiet. Sitting in an arm chair in the attractive living room of his home at 1513 Thirtieth street N.W., he discussed the train of explosive events that he touched off. A bulging brief case and an addi tional pile of papers were beside him. He is tall and his well knit figure recalls his service with the Annapolis varsity boxing squad for three years. He spoke quietly. He put on glasses to read a para graph from, one of the documents taken from the brief case. Then off would come the glasses to be waved in his hand to emphasize a point. His long upper lip never lost its severity in a smile. He was disinclined to talk about himself. He spoke instead of his aims. It was a conversation carried on between telephone calls, ' the return of a small daughter from school who was sent off again to dancing school, visitors at the door and cameramen coming to film Capt. Crommelin for the newsreels and television. Capt. Kane Is Counsel. But if Capt. Crommelin would not talk about himself, his long time friend and Annapolis class mate, Capt. Joseph L. Kane, would. Capt. Kane has been asked by Capt. Crommelin to act as his counsel in facing the charges to be filed against him. Capt. Kane was already on the job yesterday afternoon. Capt. Crommelin admitted he gave to reporters “confidential” official correspondence in which three top admirals expressed con cern about the Navy’s morale and the Navy’s position under unifica tion of the armed services. This action of Capt. Crommelin led to his suspension from duties and the restriction of his movements. Capt. Kane was asked: “What makes Capt. Crommelin tick?” “He is an expert on morale; it has been his major interest for a number of years,” was the ready answer. “Morale is the main thing in conflict. Capt. Crommelin has studied the campaigns of the past war and in earlier history to learn what part morale has played. "He looked to his men to see what make them tick. He extend ed his interest to their families. This accounts for his success as a leader. He has had equal success with his senior officers.” The subject of Cedric R. Worth came up. Mr. Worth admitted be fore the House Armed Services Committee in August that he was the author of the anonymous document that led to the investi gation into the Air Force procure ment of the B-36 bomber. Later, on September 10 Capt. Crommelin came out with a state ment saying the furore over the B-36’s came partly from an at tempt to keep military policy makers from “emasculating the offensive potential of the United States Navy.” He told of meeting last May with Mr. Worth and others when the Worth document was dis cussed. He praised Mr. Worth’s character. Ten days later, before a Navy court of inquiry, Capt. Crommelin said: “Although I had nothing to do with the preparation of the document, it is my firm conviction 4 WKm&w * ws-mm — CAPT. JOHN G. CR0MMEL1N. —Star Staff Photo. that Cedric Worth was prompted by the highest motives of patriot ism and selflessness in whatever action he took to help point out the dangers of the original Tyd ings bill (for unification of the armed forces). It is my firm belief that when this entire investiga tion is completed, Cedric Worth will be vindicated in the eyes of the American people.” Sees Two Accomplishments. Capt. Kane was asked about justification of Capt. Crommelin’s support of a man who attacked the characters of two high Gov ernment officials in an anonymous document, later conceding there was no support for the charges. Capt. Kane said Capt. Crom melin held that what Mr. Worth had done had accomplished two things: 1. Taken some of the most objectionable features out of the Tydings Act . 2. Given the Navy’s point of view a hearing on Capitol Hill and before the American people. Capt. Kane continued: "Capt. Crommelin had taken an oath to defend his country against domestic enemies as well as for eign enemies. He felt he could no longer work under the condi tions he was forced to work under. His conscience would not permit it.” Capt. Kane described his friend as tenacious in attaining his end —a quality he exhibited in the war—and of unswerving purpose. This applied also to the “Green Bowl” episode. Capt. Crommelin touched oil an investigation of the Green Bowl two years ago by testifying before a Congressional committee that a Navy society named the Green Bowl had “grown vicious with the years.” It was said that its mem bers had the inside track for pro motions and high-ranking jobs. The Green Bowl was started in 190? at the# Naval Academy, a bowl containing strong drink pre sumably being the focus of meet ings. - Navy Investigates. The upshot of the investigation was a Navy announcement that the organization had ceased to exist in 1944 but that, anyway, it was being banned forever. The Navy said there was no evidence the organization had the influ ence attributed to it for advanc ing its members but that there had been an “adverse effect to a limited degree on service morale because of the fear of the poten tdalitis of an alleged self-serving secret society.” Capt. Kane said neither Capt. Crommelin nor he had been Green Bowl members. Capt. Crommelin was asked for a succinct statement of his posi tion in the unification of the armed services dispute. He read this from the statement he issued September 10: “The B-36 controversy and the recently canceled carrier contract (the one for the supercarrier) are mere superficial manifesta tions of the real cause for dis agreements between the armed services. The basic contention, in my opinion, lies within the area of the general staff concept and will never be resolved until it is thoroughly threshed out in con formity with the principles of democracy—equal representation and expression from the three services—before the Congress of the United States. Cannot Lend Support. “The Navy cannot support an organization whose methods and principles violate the Navy con cept of a Navy man’s oath. “I am convinced that many naval officers find it most difficult to support conscientiously, and with a deep sense of devotion to duty, the present organization principles of the armed services, for they are domniated by the general staff with the two-to-one vote system in the Joint Chiefs of, Staff. “I can certify that the general staff concept is absolutely foreign to the principles on which the Navy has functioned so success fully from the conclusion of World War I to the conclusion of World War U.” When Capt. Crommelin issued that September 10 statement, he said: “I’m finished. This means my naval career. But I hope this will blow the whole thing open and bring on another Congres sional investigation.” Apparently Advanced. Not only did this not finish Capt. Crommelin, but the sequel came close to being advancement to a job of greater responsibilities. He ha& been a member of the staff of the Joint Chief of Staffs, working on secret war plans of all three services. On September 15 he was reassigned and made director of naval aviation person nel, a post vacated the day before by Rear Admiral F. W. McMahon. It appeared—for a few hours— that the Navy was taking care of its own and that Capt. Crommelin was getting a better assignment. Then Navy Secretary Matthews took a hand. He announced the transfer of Capt. Crommelin to the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operation for Air. Instead of taking the place of a rear ad miral, Capt. Crommelin’s assign ment was under Rear Admiral E. A. Cruse in the air warfare divi sion. Came a lull. Then the step that really appears to have jeopardized Capt. Crommelin’s career came late Monday. He turned over to the three press associations the letter to Mr. Matthews from Vice Admiral Gerald F. Bogan, expressing con cern about Navy morale as the result of the workings of unifica tion, with indorsements by Ad miral Arthur W. Radford, Pacific Fleet commander, and Admiral Denfeld. There were two days of mystery as to the identity of the person who had made the documents public. Makes Admission. Wednesday night, Capt. Crom melin admitted he was the man. He said he had asked that his name be withheld in connection with the publication of the docu ments “to prevent any diversion of the attention of the American people from the true import’' of the letter and indorsements. Capt. Crommelin said yester day he obtained his copy of the letter “from an officer with au 1 Platinum watch and band, 180 fin* diamonds, $1050. I weighing over 6 corats -- Unique Cut Mqrquise Diamond with multiple facets. 1 Vi carats, extraordinary fine gam, flaw less, in vary expansive platinum mounting with two $|500* side Marquise ---— — A magnificent estate diamond, 3 ft carats, very $1400. beautiful stone. A wonderful bargain at Qualities are guaranteed by one af the eldest established and best known Washington jewelers. (Prices Include Federal Tax) Our Diamonds Are Tasted by the Newest Scientific Equipment Kahn-Oppenheimer, Inc. 917 F Street N.W. of Wartime thority to give it. and I had au thority to receive it.” He said in his statement of Wednesday night, however, that his action may have been a technical viola tion of a regulation, “but it had to be done.” Capt. Crommelin’s biography issued by the Navy runs for four pages of single-spaced «opy. Its length is the result of his citations. There are four: 1. A Letter of Commendation praising him for his actions as air officer of the carrier Enter prise in the Battle of Santa Cruz, October 26, 1942. 2. A Presidential Unit Citation for the aggressive spirit and dis tinguished achievement of the Enterprise. Legion of Merit. 3. The Legion of Merit (with Combat “V”), citing his material contributions, professional skill and devotion to duty as chief of staff of a Carrier Task Group Commander in operations against the Japanese in 1944. 4. The Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit, with a citation praising his training for combat of all Navy squadrons and pilots on the West Coast from August 12, 1944, to July 24, 1945. Capt. Crommelin was born in Montgomery, Ala., October 2, 1902. He attended the University of Virginia before his appointment to the Naval Academy from which he was graduated in 1923. The first assignment afloat was on "the battleship West Virginia, when it was commissioned in 1923. Later he went to the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Fla., and completed flight training in No vember, 1926. He has served in naval aviation since. He served aboard carriers and twice returned for duty at Pensa cola. In May, 1940, he was as signed to duty in the Bureau of Aeronautics here, serving for two years, then joining the Enterprise as air officer in June, 1942. The Enterprise saw plenty of service from Guadalcanal to the Battle of Rennel Island in January, 1943. Commanded Saipan. Later he was assigned to be chief of staff to Admiral Mullinix and was aboard the Liscome Bay when she was torpedoed and sunk in the Gilbert Islands area. There followed his duty as director of training on the West Coast. He commanded the carrier Sai pan from her commissioning in July. 1946, to September, 1947, when he became chief of staff to the commander, Operational De velopment Force, Atlantic Fleet. These were important assign ments. He then attended the Naval War College at Newport, R. I., and later the National War College here. The officers the Navy assigns to these service colleges are usual ly highly regarded and believed to be headed for an admiral’s flag. The Crommelin family is an old one in Alabama, and the fam ily plantation is at Harrogate Springs between Montgomery and Wetumpka. Both of Capt. Crom melin's grandfathers served in the Confederate Army. Two Brothers Killed. Capt. Crommelin was married in 1930, to Miss Lillian Eoff Lan dis of Findlay, Ohio. They haye three children, daughters 8 and 4 years old, and a son, 6 months old. Five Crommelin brothers went through Annapolis and served in the Navy. Capt. John G. Crom melin, jr., is the oldest. Capt. Henry Crommelin, of the Annapolis class of 1925, is the only one who did not become a flyer. Lt. Comdr. Quentin C. Crommelin. the youngest, was graduated from Annapolis in 1941. Two of the brothers were killed in action. They were Comdr. Charles L. Crommelin, class of 1931, who was killed off Okinawa, and Lt. Comdr. Richard G. Crom melin, class of 1938, who was killed off the coast of Japan. Senate Will Approve Anderson Farm Bill Today, Backers Say By the Aisociatcd Pr«u Senate leader* called for a new test today on a long-range, slid ing-scale program of farm price supports. They said they have the votes to win this time. Majority Leader Lucas called the lawmakers into sesskm an hour early in the hope or com pleting action today or tonight on the controversial farm price measure. Both Senator Lucas and Sena tor Anderson, Democrat, of New Mexico, former Secretary of Ag riculture, claimed enough votes to assure that the bill—written by Senator Anderson—will come through without major change. The big argument is over how much to support farm prices with Federal funds. The Anderson bill would support basic crops at from 75 to 90 per cent of parity price levels. Parity Is a figure declared to be fair to the farmer in rela tion to the things he has to buy. 'the biggest threat to Senator Anderson’s plan is a once-success ful move to make the support price level a flat 90 per cent. However, even Senators Young, Republican, of North Dakota and Russell, Democrat, of Georgia, who got the 90 per cent figure in the bill for a while this week, con ceded they were at a disadvantage today. Aided by a vote by Vice Presi dent Barkley that decided a 37-3? tie on Tuesday, Senators Young and Russell attached a support program for wheat, cotton, corn, rice, tobacco and peanuts at 90 per cent of parity to the Ander son bill. Yesterday Senators Lucas and Anderson succeeded in knocking this out of the bill by a 9-to-3 vote at a closed session of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Plane (Continued From First Page.) from the Blue Ridge parkway. One of the first on the scene at 10:07 a.m. was Game Warden W. C. Hall. He reported all nine men dead and said one of the victims apparently had crawled from the wreckage but died from bums. News of the tragedy was flashed to the Greenville (S. C.) Air Rescue Service station by the transmitter of FM Radio Station WMIT, near the summit of the mountain. Then it was relayed to Bolling, ending the vigil of the victims’ relatives. Ever since the plane was re ported missing, shortly after its last radio contact with Bolling, the relatives had been contacted by telephone hourly by Maj. Joseph G. Manyo, operations of ficer in charge of the flight. It remained foe chaplains at the air base to visit the homes and impart the final word. The search had centered on balsam-thatched Mount Mitchell after two farmers said they heard a plane crash there between 10:30 and 11 am. Wednesday. The wreckage was discovered shortly after 25 planes took oil from Andrews and Bolling bases this morning to augment about 100 planes and 300 men already searching the route from Wash ington to Mobile. Covered 22,500^)IUes. Yesterday planes frt>m the Washington area covered 22,500 miles shuttling between here and Roanoke. Altogether eight Air Rescue Service units, including a ground ' searching party from Westover (Mass.) Air Force Base, were pressed into action. Bolling officials had refused to abandon hope until the tom two engined craft was sighted. They pointed out that both Capt. Sen sor and Lt. Clark were pilot in structors at the base and rated E -1 Ey \ p Mac lachlan g Air-Vac* I • H|i The hat that lets Wc air get to your hair Here’s the hat that adjusts itsell at once to the' shape of your head. The ex clusive full floating leather binding does the job. See the Air-Vac* in all the new shades at ^ the YMS — TO DAY! $15 Others t$SS t« $40 SINCE 1911 . . . FAMOUS FOR FAMOUS MAKES g|* ena fsAqR I 1 'Css* SATwarmrSM" ‘ ' "f among the best instrument flyers. The C-47 they were flying was considered one of the bale’s more dependable planes. In the service seven years, Capt. Sensor had more than 3,000 flying hours. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Laurende Broberg Sensor, and two sons, George, fi, and John. 4. Had 64 Combat Missions. Lt. Clark spent part of his nine years of service flying 64 combat missions in the South Pacific and Philippines. He held the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. Survivors include his wife, Billy Ford Clark, and a 6-month-old daughter. The wife of Sergt. Cosby, crew chief of the plane, was reported expecting their second child this month. His service includes 16 months in the European and Mediterranean theaters, during which he won the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with three clusters. His wife, Mrs. Reba Page Cosby lives here with their son, Michael, 3. Capt. Jett and Lt. Cross were to have flown a B-25 bomber back from Brookley Field. Had 3,000 Hours in Air. A pilot instructor, Capt. Jett had 3,000 hours flying time. He is survived by his wife, Olive I. Jett and two sons, Richard, 5, and Randall, 3. Lt. Cross, a West Point graduate in 1945, served overseas for three years after the war and holds an Army commendation ribbon. Survivors are his wife, Evelyn Cross, and a year-old daughter. Sergt. Silva served 37 months in the Pacific. His survivors in clude his wife, Mrs. Juanita Silva, and son, James, 3. Sergt. McDonald held the Dis tinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal through European and Mediterranean service. His wife, Margaret Hopes McDonald, and daughter, Peggy Jean, 15, live at Hagerstown. Three New Polio Cases Listed in District Area Three new polio cases were re ported today by area health of fices. . two of them in Prince Georges County. The Prince Georges polio total for the year was brought to 45 with a six-year-old Laurel boy who has been admitted to a Bal timore hospital and a flve-year old girl from the 6200 block of Fifty-eighth avenue, admitted to Children’s Hospital. The third case, reported by Ar lington County, was a 32-year-old woman from the 5100 block of Columbia pike, admitted to Gal linger Hospital. The year’s total for other areas, including Washington’s 78 cases, remains unchanged. Sexton Who Admitted Breaking Jail Awaits Sentence lor Assault A 52-year-old church sexton who yesterday surprised a District Court jury by testifying he had escaped from jail in New York 27 years ago, awaited sentencing today on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon for shooting and wounding his wife last Au gust. The sexton, Louis B. Elze, was convicted on the assault charge by the jury late yesterday for the shooting of his wife, Mrs. Augusta Elze, 36, at her home in the 4500 block of MacArthur boulevard N.W. The jury, however, acquit ted him of the more serious charge of assault with intent to kill. Police reported that after drink- j ing during the day, Elze walked into his wife’s home, and fired three shots, one of which struck his wife in the chest. The sexton, according to police, then went out in the front yard and fired another shot in the general direction of his 11-month-old granddaughter. Judge Alexander Holtzoff, who presided at the trial, did not set a date for sentencing and referred the case to the probation officer for Investigation pending sentence. The highlight of Elze’s trial came when he testified he had escaped from a jail at Great Meadows, N. Y., where he was held on a robbery charge. He told the court he was not guilty of that charge. For some time the defendant served as sexton at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, at Foxhall road and Greenwich Park way. !Chapin and Mason Confirmed for Posts (y the Associated Press The Senate yesterday confirmed the nomination of Selden Chapin of Washington to be the Ambas sador to the Netherlands. Also confirmed was the nomi nation of Lowell B. Mason, Chi-: cago Republican, for seven-year term on the Federal Trade Com mission. Mr. Mason first was ap pointed to the commission in Oc-1 tober, 1945, to fill an unexpired! term. Head of Florida Group Calls Transit Meeting L. E. Wolfson of Jacksonville, Fla., who heads a group of Florida businessmen who control the Capital Transit Co., was to meet this afternoon with directors of the company, a spokesman for the company said. The subject of the meeting was not disclosed. It was to be held at the Riggs Bank's main office, Fifteenth street and New York avenue. I Benson Granted Appeal In Virginia Bribery Case By th« Associated Pcoss RICHMOND. Va., Oct. 7.—Car vel Benson, who was given three years after being convicted on a charge of police bribery In Norfolk, was granted an appeal by the Vir ginia Supreme Court. Benson’s conviction on the brib ery charge followed his arrest by police investigating the numbers game, or “policy racket,” in the city. Benson was acquitted on the numbers charge. Seattle is named for an Indian chief who befriended the first settlers. ADVERTISEMENT. By “REX” ALAN A member of the Bikini atom bomb test medical team says in sects may inherit the world if there is an all-out atomic war. This puts the reverse spin on the evolu tion theory. And it’s a quick answer to folks who claim the •world is going to the dogs. It seems that insects can absorb 20 to 40 times as much atomic ra diation as humans. A jolt that would jar a man would only re charge the batteries on a glow worm. This certainly sticks a pin in the ballooning ego of the human race. For cpnturies we’ve considered man the top specimen in'the animal kingdom. Now. we find we’re low man on the atomic totem poll. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Sheckels, 32 East Mont gomery Ave., on the birth of your daughter, Bonnie Gay. A hearty welcome to Mr. and Mrs. John R. Lynch of 5325 Baltimore Ave., who have just moved here from Waukegan, Illinois. A Seattle manfacturer makes policemen’^ leather gloves with a pouch in the palm that holds half a pound of shot. There’s nothing like a nice pair of gloves to make an impression. There’s nothing like quality beverages, low prices and friendly service to make a good impression, and they all go hand in glove at 5319 Wisconsin Avenue, home of REX LIQUOR STORE. Fhone: EM. 6363. A , Never have we offered such a buy so early in the season! Misses’ 845 & *49 »s WORS' HITS Made by a Famous Manufacturer (he asked us not to mention his name) , * N • Glen Fields . 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