Army Sailors
Army Transportation Corps Marine Officers Cadet School

U. S. Maritime Service trains officer personnel at St. Petersburg station for jobs with Army Transportation Corps

During the Summer of 1943 an urgent request was made to the War Department --- General Douglas MacArthur desperately needed 800 small ships of all types and the officers to command them. The ships, ranging from 40-foot launches to 468-foot freighters, were ordered. Construction on some was started immediately. The Army then turned to the U. S. Maritime Service requesting qualified Deck and Engine officers to man these craft.


Officer cadets learn engine room Navigation classes
Officer cadets learn engine room operation Navigation classes given to Deck Cadets

The Transportation Corps, part of the Army Service Forces, was created as a result of MacArthur's plea and is charged with the operation of all boats under the jurisdiction of the War Department, with only minor exceptions. The organization was previously known as the Army Transportation Service.

These vessels are manned by both military and civilian personnel but the overwhelming majority of officers and crews are employed as civilians enjoying all the benefits of the prevailing practices of the Maritime industry, in addition to the benefits provided for Government employees.

The ships run the gamut from small harbor craft 40 feet in length to sea-going freight and passenger vessels of approximately 168 feet in length, not counting the transport class of boat. The types of service to which the ships are assigned vary from auxiliaries in ports of embarkation and continental United States sorts to sundry craft used to follow and supply invasion troops and keep a steady flow of munitions and food to our forces engaged in driving the Japanese from their island strongholds.

Training Ship
Training Ship attached to the Marine Officers Cadet School

To assist in the rapid training of these much-needed personnel the Transportation Corps, in cooperation with the U. S. Maritime Service, has established at St. Petersburg, Florida, the Transportation Corps Marine Officers Cadet School. Two courses of instruction are provided, one leading to qualifications as a Junior Deck Officer (approximately ten weeks), the other as a Junior Engineer Officer (approximately eight weeks).

To be eligible for entrance to this school, a candidate must be a graduate of an U. S. Maritime Service Training Station with a satisfactory record in either the Deck or Engine department. He must sign an agreement that in consideration of his employment and training as a Marine Officer Cadet he will accept employment anywhere in the world for a minimum period of one year and at a minimum base pay of $2200 a year plus the benefits and bonuses he will receive for active duty. During the period of training the Marine Officer Cadet will be paid $66 a month and quartered and fed at the school; transportation, textbooks, etc., are also provided by the government.

Cadets, during their training period, have the rating of Seamen 1st Class and receive $66 a month. While in training the Deck Cadet will be instructed in the duties of an officer in command of small craft, navigation, etc. The training period for Engine Cadets is eight weeks and during this time they are thoroughly familiarized with the smaller Diesel engines, gasoline and some steam models.

When a Cadet finishes his course of training he is given the rating of a Junior Marine Officer; some of the men will be offered commissions in the Army in ranks commensurate with qualifications and ability. Successful graduates will be assigned in accordance with their qualifications and record in school. Some, providing they have shown superior qualifications and record, may upon graduation be employed in a higher rating and at a higher rate of pay. A cadet after graduation may be assigned to duty in the Pacific, Atlantic or in the continental United States.

Only those applicants will be accepted for the Transportation Corps Marine Officers Cadet School who like the sea, are adapted for it, are of a disciplined character and anxious to work hard and long to qualify themselves for the highest possible contribution toward the prosecution of the war in posts of responsibility. Application for this school is entirely voluntary. Candidates should understand that they probably will be assigned to duty in a combat area.

The Transportation Corps prefers men in the age group of 20-29 first, 30-35 second, 19-20 and 18-19 as the last choice. A candidate may be single or married. However married men and men with dependents should understand that they will not be entitled to any special consideration or compensations as a result of their family responsibilities. A high school education is desired, but may be waived if experience and ability of the applicant warrants it. The real requirements are intelligence, courage and a willingness to work as well as the qualities necessary for leadership.

Like all cadet schools, the St. Petersburg station offers its men anything but an easy life. The training is hard and intense. No midweek liberties are granted and the cadets are literally on the go daily from 0615 to 2230. Study is compulsory every night from 1830 to 2000. The cadets, however, know just how important their training is to the war effort and the goal of becoming a Junior Marine Officer is incentive enough to make them dig in and make a good record.

Marine Officer cadets exercise
Marine Officer cadets exercise on Florida beaches.

The school has a fleet of training ships at its disposal to give cadets practical schooling in navigation, ship operation, maneuvering and other aspects of seamanship. The cadets also get a pretty good idea of what life is like on board the type of ship to which they'll later be assigned.

Lieut. R. G. Tatterson, USNR, who has been on active duty with the U. S. Maritime Service since 1940, is head of the school. A graduate of the California Marine Academy, Lieutenant Tatterson has been going to sea since 1932.

The Transportation Corps Cadet School offers promising opportunities for seamen who are desirous of gaining an officer's rank. The work this unit is doing in supplying our invasion forces during combat operations is highly significant. These small craft make island invasions in the Pacific successful and will no doubt play a big part in the "second front" assault in Europe when that day comes.

MAST Magazine, May 1944


Located here in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the only Transportation Corps, Marine Officers Cadet School in the United States. By arrangement with the War Department, the United States Maritime Service is training cadets for duty with the Transportation Corps, Army Services of Supply.

Cadets are selected from each of the United States Maritime Service Training Stations, Hoffman Island, New York; Sheepshead Bay, New York; Avalon, California; and St. Petersburg, Florida. Requirements for entrance to the Transportation Corps Marine Officers Cadet School are that a cadet must be between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five and must hold deck or engine papers as are given at the completion of three months training in any of the Maritime Schools. The cadet must be in good physical health and willing to perform duties outside the continental limits of the United States. Before entering the cadet school a contract is signed under the terms of which the cadet is paid $66.00 per month during the training period which is not in excess of ninety days.

Because of the intensive course of training and the exacting requirements that each man must possess with regard to loyalty, attention to duty, ability to learn, and initiative, which is required of graduates, only the highest caliber of graduate apprentice seaman is recommended for training as a cadet at the Transportation Corps Marine Officers Cadet School. Cadets selected are then given intensive specialized instruction in deck and engine subjects.

Cadets entering deck training receive ten weeks of training devoted to navigation, seamanship, signaling, first-aid, physical fitness, and special subjects. Eight weeks shore-side duty and two weeks of training aboard vessels are given to all deck cadets. During the period aboard vessels, cadets are given practical experience in handling and navigating the types of ships they later will be employed upon.

Modern Fleet of Vessels
The Transportation Corps has a modern fleet of vessels at its disposal upon which cadets are provided an opportunity of becoming acquainted with ship operation. These several vessels are each in excess of 150 feet in length and are capable of cruising for long periods at sea.

Engineering School
Those entering training at the engine school receive eight weeks of instruction in the operation, care of, and repair of all types of diesel engines. The engine school is strictly a diesel school and cadets are given instruction in diesel theory, practical operation of diesel and diesel auxiliaries, first aid, special subjects and physical fitness. Engine cadets undergo three weeks of theory in class rooms, and two weeks in a modern diesel laboratory constructed specially for the St. Petersburg school, followed by three weeks aboard vessels attached to the school.

The diesel laboratory contains numerous types of engines and the cadets are given every opportunity to operate, dis-assemble, and assemble all equipment. A second laboratory building, now being constructed, will have many larger types of engines identical to the kind graduate cadets will have aboard their ships when they go to sea.

One week of practical training aboard small vessels attached to this unit is in store for all engine cadets.

The last two weeks of training for cadets in the engine department finds them aboard larger vessels, modern in every respect, having been turned out of American ship yards within the last year. Cadets at this stage are required prior to their graduation to demonstrate their ability to operate engines on these larger vessels.

Training in the Transportation Corps Marine Officers Cadet School is both complete and adequate in the deck and engine departments, and no other school of this kind, exists anywhere in the world. Training is intensive and cadets should come prepared to apply themselves to the job of learning to become an officer. Transportation Corps cadets are easily identified by the smart uniform they wear which was especially designed for them.

Upon graduation, cadets become Junior Marine Officers in the Transportation Corps and are entitled to wear uniforms as prescribed by the War Department. Cadets, upon graduation from this school, are assigned to a Port of Embarkation where they are detailed to vessels plying the seven seas.

Graduate cadets of the Transportation Corps are at present being offered commissions as second and first lieutenants in the United States Army and, in some exceptional cases, as captains.

Unlimited Opportunity For Graduates
An unlimited opportunity for advancement is in store for graduate cadets who have demonstrated their ability while undergoing training and, secondly, while they are employed by the War Department.

Upon graduation and being assigned as Junior Marine Officers, the men are paid $2,200.00 per annum plus, in most instances, a 100% increase while at sea in accordance with provisions established by the Maritime War Emergency Board. Advancement in rank brings corresponding increases in pay, In many instances graduate cadets have made their initial trips in a higher capacity than Junior Marine Officer.

Officers, employed by the Transportation Corps are entitled to insurance benefits similar to those established for persons serving with the Merchant Marine.

Headed By Lt. Tatterson
The Transportation Corps, Marine Officers Cadet School is headed by Lt. R. G. Tatterson, USNR, who first went to sea in 1932. Lt. Tatterson, a graduate of the California Marine Academy, has been in Maritime Service Training since 1940.

Lt. A. C. Hauser, USMS, Engineering Training Officer and formerly from New York City, has in excess of twenty years experience in the diesel engine field.

A Typical Day
A typical day for the cadet in training at the Marine Officers Cadet School begins at 0615 and ends at 2230. General cleanup or quarters and breakfast takes up the early morning until classes begin at 0830. Classes continue until 1230 at which time an hour is allowed for dinner. Afternoon classes begin at 1330 and continue until 1730 when supper is served. Study is compulsory every night from 1830 to 2000 and no liberty is given during week-nights.

Saturday morning is devoted to examinations in all subjects given during that week. Saturday afternoon brings general clean up and inspection with liberty for cadets beginning at 1545. Cadets are allowed liberty until midnight on Saturday. Sunday liberty is granted from 1030 to 2230.

Every apprentice seaman who possesses the necessary qualifications and who desires to advance to officers status is urged to contact the Classification and Selection Officer for possible recommendation to this school.

Source: MARITIMER, February 25, 1944

Army Transportation Corps History
U. S. Maritime Service St. Petersburg


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