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Re: [PMMC-NLUS] Navy celebrated the centennial of the Great White Fleet

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  • Michael Nerney
    Phelps - I thought you might be interested in this website on the Great White Fleet. http://www.greatwhitefleet.info/GWF_San_Francisco1.html Regards, Mike
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 7, 2008
      Phelps - I thought you might be interested in this website on the Great
      White Fleet.



      "Phelps Hobart"
      Sent by: To
      PMMC-NLUS@yahoogr <SeaPower@yahoogroups.com>,
      oups.com <PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com>
      "William Stephens"
      01/05/2008 06:43 <wstepone@...>
      AM Subject
      [PMMC-NLUS] Navy celebrated the
      centennial of the Great White Fleet
      Please respond to

      Look for more on this marking the 100th anniversary of the fleet's arrival
      at West Coast ports. Might even be a bit of Navy League involvement -
      nothing announced yet.


      Navy marks 'Great White' launch

      Published: Dec. 17, 2007

      NORFOLK, Va., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy celebrated the centennial of
      the launching of the 16 battleships of the Great White Fleet in Norfolk,

      U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt pushed for the creation of the fleet,
      which he intended as a show of U.S. maritime power, the Newport News (Va.)
      Daily Press reported Sunday.

      Saturday was the 100th anniversary of the day the ships -- and their more
      than 14,000 sailors -- set off on a 43,000-mile odyssey to six continents
      to impress potential rivals and allies with American naval might.

      At an event Saturday commemorating the launch, Navy Secretary Donald Winter
      and chief of naval operations Adm. Gary Roughead praised Roosevelt for his
      foresight in launching the fleet.

      "It's not possible to improvise a Navy after war breaks out," Roughead

      Great White Fleet celebrates 100th anniversary


      Tuesday, December 11, 2007

      Associated Press

      NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- The Navy's Great White Fleet is celebrating its 100th

      Sixteen battleships departed Hampton Roads on December 16th 1907 for a
      14-month global naval voyage.

      The deployment included about 14,000 sailors, covered 43,000 miles and made
      20 port calls on six continents. The ships that took part were later be
      dubbed the Great White Fleet because each was painted white.

      Naval history says the trip was supposed to be a "grand pageant of American
      sea power."

      Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter will be in Norfolk Saturday for a
      ceremony marking the anniversary. The ceremony will take place on board the
      Naval Station Norfolk-based USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.

      Leaders pay homage to Roosevelt's vision for Navy


      Click for full view

      "It was first and foremost a demonstration of U.S. Navy strength. America
      was a nation eager to be recognized as a respected actor on the world
      stage." - Navy Secretary Donald Winter .

      By Kate Wiltrout
      The Virginian-Pilot
      © December 16, 2007


      There was an ice sculpture in the shape of an aircraft carrier, and another
      depicting a fighter jet.
      Teddy Roosevelt himself – well, an impersonator of the 26th president,
      anyway – roamed among about 600 guests at Saturday night’s gala aboard the
      carrier Roosevelt at Norfolk Naval Station.

      There was even a message from the president on White House stationery.

      All the fanfare marked the 100th anniversary of the Great White Fleet’s
      departure from Hampton Roads.

      The Navy’s top officials, Secretary Donald Winter and Adm. Gary Roughead,
      the Chief of Naval Operations, paid homage to Roosevelt’s ambitious vision
      of the Navy. The Great White Fleet’s 14-month voyage symbolized the Navy’s
      evolution from a continental force that patrolled America’s shores to a
      global power that could take its might – and its fight – anywhere in the

      “It was first and foremost a demonstration of U.S. Navy strength,” Winter
      said during a ceremony in the carrier’s hangar bay. “America was a nation
      eager to be recognized as a respected actor on the world stage.”

      But the party was more than just a chance to look back. It was also an
      opportunity for Roughead and Winter to talk about the Navy’s future – and
      the importance of investing in ships, planes and technology that cost

      A brief video that played after the speeches interspersed pictures of Navy
      helicopters and F/A-18 Hornets with reasons why the U.S. Coast Guard,
      Marine Corps and Navy are crucial: Seventy percent of the Earth is covered
      in water. Eighty percent of the world’s population lives within a few hours
      of the coast. And 90 percent of global commerce – from crude oil to
      Christmas wrap – travels via the ocean.

      Those themes are familiar to Navy observers: They reiterate the tenets of
      the maritime security strategy the Navy unveiled this fall.

      Even as the Army and Marine Corps fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Navy
      is defining itself as a military branch that projects power through
      strength, defends the world’s sea lanes and responds to natural disasters
      and offers humanitarian assistance.

      The message is one that Roosevelt would likely have supported, and that was
      another reason to toast Teddy on Saturday night.

      “America has been, is, and always will be a maritime nation with maritime
      interests,” Winter said. “Those interests must be and can only be defended
      by a strong navy, a branch of service which – by its very nature –
      encourages an international perspective.”

      TR's Big Stick: The Great White Fleet's Voyage

      by Austin Bay
      December 12, 2007

      When the fleet sailed out of Norfolk, Va., on Dec. 16, 1907, it was simply
      the Atlantic Fleet beginning a globe-circling voyage. But trust writers to
      coin a flashy marquee name: the Great White Fleet.

      This week marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of that peacetime
      naval expedition -- which still has historic resonance.

      President Theodore Roosevelt sent the fleet of 16 white-painted battleships
      on the 14-month cruise for a number of reasons. I doubt the headline "TR
      PR" appeared in 1907, but it would have been accurate, as well as succinct.
      The Great White Fleet's journey certainly served as a global public
      relations event.

      In a recent interview, naval historian Dr. A.A. Nofi agreed with that
      assessment. "The voyage was an announcement," Nofi said. "America had been
      quietly building up the second-largest navy in the world, and no one was
      paying attention. The Great White Fleet said, 'Hey, we're here.'"

      Nofi said, however, there was another reason to send the fleet, one that
      had less to do with showoff bravado and more to do with calculated
      geostrategic signaling in the wake of Japan's victory over Russia in the
      Russo-Japanese War in 1905. An Asian power had defeated a European power in
      a major naval engagement that featured the movement of the Russian fleet
      from European waters to East Asia. "In the immediate political context (of
      the early 20th century)," Nofi said, "the fleet's voyage was a message to
      Japan that said that unlike Russia, if America has to cross the ocean to
      fight you, its navy will be there in force and ready."

      Having mediated the peace negotiations between Japan and Russia, Roosevelt
      was acutely aware of Japan's military capabilities. In 1906, TR received
      the Nobel Peace Prize for his successful mediation. The Great White Fleet
      embodied TR's dictum, "Talk softly and carry a big stick." The fleet was a
      "big stick" behind a man with a peace prize.

      A big stick indeed -- peace through strength, a later generation would call
      it -- "but the Great White Fleet also garnered an extraordinary amount of
      good will for the U.S.," Nofi added, a different kind of publicity payoff.
      The fleet generated positive buzz; its arrival in a port of call was good
      PR for the port. Elements of the fleet also assisted in the Messina
      (Sicily) earthquake of 1908. "Some of the fleet's ships were in the
      vicinity," Nofi said, "and responded, similar to the way U.S. military
      forces aided victims of the terrible tsunami of 2005 (which smashed
      Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka)."

      The voyage provided the U.S. Navy with operational insights that would
      prove useful during the next 100 years, especially in terms of exposing
      U.S. Navy planners to the problem of truly global logistics. A huge
      battleship squadron steaming around the planet in peacetime is impressive,
      however, wartime combat requires sustaining the fleet with fuel and

      The Navy hired private colliers from around the world to support the
      voyage. "In effect," Nofi said, "the USN was using contractors for global
      support. So using contractors like KBR isn't a new idea." However, Nofi
      pointed out, the Navy ultimately decided it was a bad idea, or at least an
      inadequate answer. "It took the Navy until the 1930s to convince Congress
      to purchase sufficient support ships -- fleet auxiliaries so the Navy could
      support its warships" in transoceanic combat operations.

      The Great White Fleet's voyage took place in peacetime, when contractors
      (the privately owned colliers) were eager and available. "Upon analyzing
      extended naval movements (such as the Great White Fleet)," Nofi said, "the
      question the Navy faced was would these privately owned support ships be
      available in wartime? Moreover, would their crews be willing to sail with
      battle fleets in hostile waters?" The Navy concluded if it had to fight a
      global war, it needed its own auxiliaries manned by Navy personnel who knew
      that fighting in wars was their job.

      The same question confronts contemporary war planners. In the 1990s, the
      Pentagon decided to cut military support structure and hire private

      The Great White Fleet returned to Norfolk on Feb. 22, 1909, after a journey
      of 43,000 miles. Go to www.history.navy.mil/library/online and click on
      "gwf cruise" for a detailed article on the voyage, as well as an excellent

      Navy salutes a history-making tour


      Image 1 of 3 | Click for more

      The Great White Fleet, consisting of 16 coal-powered battleships painted
      white, steams off Hampton Roads in 1907

      By Kate Wiltrout
      The Virginian-Pilot
      © December 14, 2007


      When 16 battleships steamed out of Hampton Roads on Dec. 16, 1907, there
      was no doubt something momentous was unfolding.

      Crowds gathered at Fort Monroe in Hampton to watch the ships pass by.
      Thousands more viewed the naval parade from Cape Henry.

      As the gleaming, coal-powered ships passed before the presidential yacht
      Mayflower, each offered a thunderous 21-gun salute to the man who’d ordered
      them to sea: Theodore Roosevelt.

      Pacing the deck, Roosevelt could hardly contain his excitement, according
      to the next day’s edition of The Virginian-Pilot: “To the Secretary of the
      Navy Metcalf and to others of his guests on board he was constantly
      exclaiming upon the beauty and grandeur of the surrounding scenes. 'Did you
      ever see such a fleet? And such a day! Isn’t it magnificent? Oughtn’t we
      all to feel proud?’”

      Roosevelt made no speech that day. He didn’t have to. For the man who
      uttered the phrase “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” the fleet’s
      departure said it all.

      Its circumnavigation of the globe, with stops in 20 cities on six
      continents, marked the debut of the modern, mobile U.S. Navy.

      Saturday, the Navy will celebrate the 100th anniversary of what came to be
      called the Great White Fleet aboard the aircraft carrier that bears
      Roosevelt’s name.

      Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter will host the pier-side party at
      Norfolk Naval Station. Like Roosevelt, Winter grew up on Long Island.
      Roosevelt served as an assistant secretary of the Navy, and a portrait of
      him hangs in Winter’s Pentagon office, above a “standing desk” that
      reportedly belonged to the 26th president.

      “When we take a look at the history of the Navy, one of the seminal events
      in the evolution of the Navy really was the Great White Fleet,” Winter
      said. “He brought the U.S. Navy out of a level of almost obscurity, through
      a period of tremendous technological change and political change.”

      Painted bright white, the warships were easily visible from foreign shores.
      The color made them vulnerable, but no amount of paint could disguise the
      reality of the 12-inch guns, capable of launching an 850-pound projectile
      almost three miles.

      Among the 14,000 sailors aboard were old men who’d served on wooden ships
      during the Civil War – and young officers named Nimitz, Spruance and
      Halsey, whose defining battles would come during World War II.

      Roosevelt passed good wishes to officers and enlisted alike, according to
      news accounts.

      “In parting with the officers of the fleet, president Roosevelt was wholly
      informal and to each he had a cordial hand-clasp, a grasp of the uniformed
      shoulder and a hearty 'Good bye, old fellow, and good luck,’ spoken in his
      characteristic manner,” The Virginian-Pilot reported on Dec. 17, 1907.

      The president summoned a young seaman from the battleship Louisiana onto
      the Mayflower and introduced him to the first lady and other guests, then
      sent him back to his ship with greetings for the rest of the crew.

      “I tell you our enlisted men are everything. They are perfectly bully and
      they are up to everything required of them,” Roosevelt said as the sailor
      departed, according to the Pilot. “This is indeed a great fleet and a great

      The 14-month deployment was a great adventure. The crews visited Rio de
      Janeiro, San Francisco, Honolulu and Melbourne, Australia, on the first two
      legs of the journey. A crowd of 250,000 Australians welcomed them to
      Sydney. Festive banquets awaited them in Amoy, China, and Yokohama, Japan.
      On the final leg of the trip, sailors explored what’s now Sri Lanka, rode
      camels in Egypt, and posed for pictures in front of the Sphinx.

      But the cruise was more than an adventure. The fleet spent a month doing
      gunnery exercises off the Baja peninsula and again in the Philippines.

      Roosevelt’s decision to test the fleet was born out of his understanding of
      naval history. As a young man, he wrote an analysis of the naval battles of
      War of 1812 that is still considered a classic. He was a devotee of Alfred
      Thayer Mahan, the great naval strategist of the time. Before resigning to
      serve with the Rough Riders in Cuba during the Spanish-American War,
      Roosevelt had, during his stint as assistant Navy secretary, battled for
      money to build modern, steel-hulled ships. As president, Roosevelt had
      noted the Japanese navy’s defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of
      1905. The Russian ships had sailed successfully from Europe around the tip
      of Africa and into Asian waters, but they weren’t ready for battle when
      they arrived.

      “I want all failures, blunders and shortcomings to be made apparent in time
      of peace and not in time of war,” Roosevelt said before the fleet departed,
      according to the Naval Historical Center.

      Outwardly, Roosevelt emphasized the fleet’s message of diplomacy and

      “The warships of America exist for no other purpose than to protect peace
      against possible aggression, and justice against possible oppression,” he
      wrote in a 1908 letter to President Alfonso Penna of Brazil.

      Winter will emphasize a similar message this weekend in Norfolk, when an
      expected crowd of 500 people will gather on the Theodore Roosevelt.

      “I love the quote from his 1902 message to Congress,” Winter said this week
      in a phone interview. “'A good navy is not a provocation to war, it is a
      guarantor of peace.’ He viewed investment in a navy as being part of what
      we would now refer to as having 'deterrence and dissuasive capability.’”

      The Navy secretary’s voice rises when he talks about the service’s rapid
      transition from sail to steam, from wooden hulls to steel. “The technical
      transformation was incredible,” said Winter, who has a doctorate in

      “The old Navy was more focused on coastal defense, river operations, the
      Mississippi. These were battleships intended for use wherever, whenever.”

      Winter noted that in 1909, the Great White Fleet was in the Mediterranean
      when an earthquake struck Sicily. Several ships were dispatched to the city
      of Messina to help search for survivors – a decision echoed in recent years
      by the Navy’s response to the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004, Hurricane
      Katrina in 2005 and in Bangladesh last month after a cyclone.

      “A lot of what we talk about now as humanitarian assistance and disaster
      relief finds its antecedent in what transpired in Messina with the Great
      White Fleet,” Winter said.

      Roosevelt was a lame duck by the time the fleet returned to Hampton Roads
      on Feb. 22, 1909. He had only two weeks left in office when he came down on
      the Mayflower for the homecoming.

      “The battleship fleet is the topic on every tongue for miles around,” The
      Virginian-Pilot reported on Feb. 20. “No other subject is worthy of
      consideration as compared to the importance of the 'boys in blue.’”

      Later, Roosevelt declared the cruise of the Great White Fleet “the most
      important service that I rendered for peace.” Bill Stewart, a retired naval
      officer who owns a massive collection of Great White Fleet memorabilia and
      runs an extensive Web site about it, sees a lot of parallels between
      Roosevelt’s era and the modern Navy.

      “We’re going to peacefully coexist with the rest of the planet, but they
      understand we deal from a position of strength. It’s the same thing we
      operate on today,” Stewart said. “I think Roosevelt understood the impact
      it had on the rest of the world.”
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