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Bureau of Construction and Repair

Bureau of Construction and Repair

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The Bureau of Construction and Repair was the part of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 which from 1862 to 1940 was responsible for supervising the design, construction, conversion, procurement, maintenance, and repair of ships and other craft for the Navy. The bureau also managed shipyard
Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial...

s, repair facilities, laboratories, and shore stations.

On June 20, 1940, Congress passed a law which consolidated the Bureau's functions with those of the Bureau of Engineering, creating the Bureau of Ships
Bureau of Ships
The United States Navy's Bureau of Ships was established by Congress on June 20, 1940, by a law which consolidated the functions of the Bureau of Construction and Repair and the Bureau of Engineering. The new Bureau was to be headed by a Chief and Deputy-Chief, one selected from the engineering...



The Bureau was staffed by officers of the Construction Corps (called constructors) with advanced degrees in naval architecture. Six civilian constructors were hired by the Navy in 1794 to supervise construction of the frigates authorized by Congress that year. The Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs was established in 1842 as one of the five original material bureaus replacing the former Board of Navy Commissioners
Board of Navy Commissioners
The Board of Naval Commissioners was a United States Navy administrative body in existence from 1815 to 1842, with responsibility for the Navy's material support. The three-member Board was created as part of an expansion of the U.S. Navy Department at the end of the War of 1812. The system was...

. In 1862, Congress decided to replace the Bureau into three new organizations: the Bureau of Construction and Repair, the Bureau of Steam Engineering
Bureau of Steam Engineering
Bureau of Steam Engineering was set up by act of 5 July 1862, receiving some of the duties of the former Bureau of Construction, Equipment and Repair. It became, by the Naval Appropriation Act of 4 June 1920, the Bureau of Engineering...

 (later called the Bureau of Engineering), and the Bureau of Equipment. The Bureau of Construction and Repair was established by Congress by an act of July 5, 1862 (12 Stat. 510). The new organization, headed by a Chief of the Bureau, was responsible for all aspects of ship construction, except for propulsion systems, which were the responsibility of the Bureau of Engineering; and equipage, which fell under the Bureau of Equipment.

The Construction Corps was created in 1866 to be staffed by constructors graduated from the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 cadet-engineer curriculum implemented in 1864. The Construction Corps provided permanent naval status for personnel who had formerly been employed in a civilian capacity on an as-needed basis. Naval constructors gained the rank and recognition previously available to doctors of the Medical Corps and pursers of the Supply Corps. Two cadet-engineers of the Naval Academy class of 1879, Frances Bowles and Richard Gatewood, set the standard for postgraduate education of Construction Corps officers. Bowles and Gatewood completed postgraduate work in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in the developing science of naval architecture
Naval architecture
Naval architecture is an engineering discipline dealing with the design, construction, maintenance and operation of marine vessels and structures. Naval architecture involves basic and applied research, design, development, design evaluation and calculations during all stages of the life of a...

. The postgraduate program shifted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 in 1901.

The Bureau of Equipment was discontinued in 1910, and formally abolished in 1914. Its functions were divided between the Bureau of Construction and Repair and the Bureau of Steam Engineering. These two bureaus were placed under the supervision of the Coordinator of Shipbuilding in 1939, and were superseded by the Bureau of Ships in 1940. The "engineering duty only" (EDO
Engineering Duty Officer
An Engineering Duty Officer is a Restricted Line Officer in the United States Navy, involved with the design, acquisition, construction, repair, maintenance, conversion, overhaul, or disposal of ships, submarines, aircraft carriers, and the systems on those platforms...

) designation of Bureau of Engineering officers expanded to include naval architects of the Construction Corps when the Bureau of Ships was formed in 1940.

Chiefs of the Bureau

list incomplete

Individuals who served as Chief of the Bureau include:
  • Rear Admiral William Shubrick
    William Shubrick
    William Branford Shubrick was an officer in the United States Navy. His active-duty career extended from 1806 to 1861, including service in the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War; he retired in the early months of the Civil War.-Biography:Born at "Belvedere," Bull's Island, South Carolina,...

    , early 1850s?
  • Rear Admiral Washington L. Capps
    Washington L. Capps
    Rear Admiral Washington Lee Capps was an officer of the United States Navy, who served during the Spanish-American War and World War I...

    , served 1903-1910
  • Rear Admiral David W. Taylor
    David W. Taylor
    Rear Admiral David Watson Taylor, USN was a naval architect and engineer of the United States Navy. He served during World War I as Chief Constructor of the Navy, and Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair...

    , served during World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

  • Rear Admiral Emory S. "Jerry" Land, served 1932-1937
  • Rear Admiral Alexander H. Van Keuren, -July, 1940 (Last Chief of BuC&R. Thereafter, also July, 1940, became Vice-Chief of new Bureau of Ships [BuShips] which supplanted BuC&R)

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