Length: 504 feet 5 inches. Breadth: 72 feet 10 1/2 inches. Mean Draft: 25 feet. Displacement: 14,500 tons normal, 15,712 tons full load. Machinery: 28,600 IHP; Babcock boiliers, 2 sets of 4-cylinder, Triple Expansion Engines, 2 screws, outward turning. Speed: 22.16 knots. Coal Bunker Capacity: 900 tons normal, 1,992 tons maximum. Batteries: Main Battery: four 10-inch, 40 cal. breech-loading rifles, sixteen 6-inch, 50 cal. rapid fire guns. Secondary Battery: twenty-two 3-inch, 50 cal. rapid fire guns, two 3-inch antiaircraft, four 3 pdr. saluting guns, two 3-inch field pieces, six automatic guns, caliber .30, four 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes. Armor: Belt, 3 to 5 inches; turrets, 5-9-inches; barbettes, 5-inches; deck, 3 inches; Conning Tower, 9 inches. Complement: 41 officers, 850 men (921 as flagship). Built by: New York Shipbuilding Co., NY Class: Tennessee
This is an early undated photo of the Washington under way making good speed. This is a view of the Washington as she was built before she was re-fitted with her cage style mast.
The seventh Washington (Armored Cruiser No. 11) was laid down on 23 September 1903 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Company. She was launched on 18 March 1905 and sponsored by Miss Helen Stewart Wilson, the daughter of United States Senator John L. Wilson of Washington State. Washington was commissioned into the Navy at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 7 August 1906 with Captain James Dextor Adams in command as her first skipper.
Within four days of her commissioning, the Washington suffers her first casualty. On the morning of August 11, 1906 a work detail is over the side of the ship cleaning the hull, and they have a large float alongside of the ship from which they were working from. At about 9:03 that morning Ordinary Seaman William Sylvester Knipp was standing at the edge of the float, when for some reason, weather he stepped backwards or he fell is unknown, but he landed in the water and was drowned.
Washington finished her fitting out process in the Philadelphia Navy Yard through the end of October 1906. Her first trip was on 1 November when she got underway for Hampton Roads, Virginia, where she departed a week later as an escort for USS Louisiana (Battleship No. 19), which was then carrying President Theodore Roosevelt to Panama for an inspection of progress of work constructing the Panama Canal. During that voyage, the Washington stopped at Hampton Roads and Piney Point, Virginia, Colon, Panama, Chiriqui lagoon, and Mona Passage before she returned back to Newport News Virginia on 26 November. She headed back toward the Delaware capes on 8 December, arriving at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on the 11th, and remained there undergoing repairs into the spring of 1907.
The boiler tubes of the Pennsylvania and her sister ship the Colorado, became part of a lawsuit levied by the United States Government on October 4, 1906. It was alleged by the Navy Department that thousands of boiler tubes were installed in the boilers of the Pennsylvania, Colorado, Maine and Georgia, and other un-named naval ships, were never subjected to government tests. Many of the tubes, which were installed in these vessels was done so after the manufacturer of the tubes had rejected them and this fraud may have started as early as 1898. A man named Frank L. Emmett, of Sharpsville, PA, brought this fraud to the attention of the Navy Department. Emmett was at the time in charge of the shipping department of the Shelby Steel Tube Company, located in Greenville, Pennsylvania. This scandal continued on for sometime before charges were brought against the Shelby Company.
Three men of the Shelby Steel Tube Company, J. Jay Dunn, Charles L. Close and frank L. Emmett were all charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States Government in connection with the defective tubes. United States District Attorney John W. Dunkle brought before Judge Nathaniel Ewing of the United States District Court on May 6, 1907 a lawsuit stating that these defective boiler tubes were alleged to have been installed into the following United States ships; Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Maryland, Charleston, Nebraska, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington, and Tennessee. Before judge Ewing Frank L. Emmett pleaded guilty and waived a hearing. Emmett one of the three men charged had struck a deal with the prosecutor and turned States evidence against his former employer the Shelby Steel Tube Company and Dunn and Close, the other two men named in the suit. The specific charges against the three defendants involved the alleged furnishing of defective boiler tubes to United States naval vessels form the Greenville, Pennsylvania mill of the Shelby Steel Tube Company, by which the defendants were employed. During the trial over sixty witnesses from different sections of the country were subpoenaed to give testimony.
Washington departed League Island on 11 April 1907 and arrived at Hampton Roads the next day. She remained there into May participating in festivities of the Jamestown Tercentenary Exposition, which commemorated the founding of Jamestown in 1607, the first permanent settlement of Anglo-Saxon people in America. She returned northward soon thereafter, spending most of May undergoing docking and tests at the New York Navy Yard. She then shook down off Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York, from 28 May to 5 June 1907 before she returned to Hampton Roads for further observances at the Jamestown Exposition.
Washington departed Hampton Roads on 11 June and sailed via Bradford, R.I., to Newport where she joined Tennessee (Armored Cruiser No. 10) before heading across the Atlantic on the 14th, bound for European waters. The sister ships visited the French ports of Royan, Ile díAix, La Pallice, and Brest between 23 June and 25 July, before returning to Tompkinsville, New York in August 1907 to run speed trials.
Following those trials and a period of yard work at the New York Navy Yard, Washington set sail for the Pacific Station, again in company with Tennessee. The two armored cruisers subsequently called at Hampton Roads, Virginia; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; British West Indies; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; Punta Arenas, Chile; Callao, Peru; Acapulco, Mexico; and Pichilinque Bay, Mexico, before they joined the Pacific Fleet in time to fire target practices with them at Magdalena Bay, Mexico, from late December 1907 into January 1908. Washington subsequently operated both in company with the Fleet and on independent tactical exercises out of Magdalena Bay, Mexico into March 1908, operating also off Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and San Diego, as well as San Pedro, California.
During early May 1908 there was a great armada of the United States Navy assembled in San Francisco Bay, which was reviewed by Navy Secretary Metcalf. There were 44 Battleships, Cruisers and Destroyers assembled and lay at anchor in four long columns’ just a short distance off of Goat’s Island. Captain Austin M. Knight was the commanding officer of the Washington at the time. On board the USS Yorktown, Commander J. H. Glennon transported Secretary Metcalf up and down the columns of warships where he reviewed each ship.
Other ports visited by the armored cruiser into the summer of 1908 included Redondo Beach, Venice, Monterey, Angel Island, California and Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Seattle, Tacoma, and Bremerton, WA. She was among the units of the Fleet reviewed by the Secretary of the Navy at San Francisco between 6 and 17 May 1908.
Now under the command of Captain Theodoric Porter, Washington operated off the west coast until she was ordered to form a special Pathfinder Squadron with the USS Tennessee. Leaving the west coast she made her way to the east coast to meet the Tennessee. This Pathfinder Squadron was formed on the orders of Admiral Sebree and was to traverse the course that would be sailed for the upcoming cruise of the battleships of the famous Great White Fleet two months later. Washington and Tennessee steamed out of Hampton Roads, Virginia on October 12, 1908 bound for Magdalena Bay, Mexico, where they met up with the USS California and the USS South Dakota. The California and the South Dakota then were joined with the Pathfinder Squadron and together all four cruisers steamed for San Francisco.
President Teddy Roosevelt had called for a cruise of the Great White Fleet to sail around the world to show good will and also a show of force to the far reaches of the world. And in so he wanted to have an additional force of ships in the Southern Pacific areas just in case his Great White Fleet of Battleship needed assistance if hostile conditions warranted. The Navy Department also wanted to have a fleet of smaller Torpedo Boat Destroyers that would be based out of Samoa and gave orders for Admiral Swinburne’s Cruiser fleet to tow 7 of these ships out to Samoa from San Diego. The tow lines were made of 10-inch ropes with a 1-inch steel cable embedded it the rope. Each towline was 450-yards long and the small destroyers during the tow would keep steam up in the boilers in case of an emergency, manned only with a skeleton crew. Once in Samoa they would be crewed with sailors and officers there.
Admiral Swainburne aboard his flagship the West Virginia towed the USS Preble, with the Maryland towing the USS Stewert, Pennsylvania towing the USS Perry, Tennessee towing the USS Hopkins, Washington towing the USS Hull, California towing the USS Truxtun and the South Dakota towed the USS Whipple. The USS Colorado was unable to join her sisters due to her still being repaired in Bremerton, Washington because of her recent grounding event of August 15 where she ran aground in Puget Sound at Lip Lip Point.
On 17 August 1908, Admiral Swinburne’s fleet of 7-cruiser towing their small destroyers for a cruise to Pago Pago, Samoa and Honolulu, left San Diego to start the cruise. About the 15th of September 1908 the fleet crossed the equator on their way to Navigators Island (Samoa). The crossing was made at 165 Longitude. After the Great White Fleet passed through the Southern Pacific areas the fleet headed eastward to operate in Central and South American waters. Fall battle practice for the cruiser fleet was then held off Magdalena, Bay, Mexico from October 23-December 4, 1908.
But while in the waters of the Atlantic side of South America the Colorado and Washington are anchored in Buenos Aires, Argentina an accident occurs in which two sailors distinguished themselves. On the night of December 9, 1908 at least three sailors, two from the Colorado and one from the Washington, were standing on the dock in La Boca, which is a barrio of Buenos Aires. Somehow a coal passer from the Colorado named Liebendorfer fell off the end of the dock and landed into the water between the dock and a barge. The other two sailors who were standing with Liebendorfer, jumped into the water to save their fellow sailor. Coal Passer Richard A. Hyland of the Colorado and Ordinary Seaman Bruce Conrad of the Washington took direct action and were able to save Liebendorfer’s life, but because it was so dark on the dock it did take the pair a bit of effort to get everyone out of the water safely. Several months after the rescue aboard the Colorado and the Washington, Letters of Commendation arrive from the Secretary of the Navy in which Hyland and Conrad were personally commended for the rescue of Liebendorfer.
Washington remained on the west coast until she got underway from San Francisco on 5 September 1909 and called, in succession, at Honolulu, Hawaii from 10 to 20 September, and Nares Harbor, Admiralty Islands, where she re-coaled between 17 and 25 October and then sailed for Manila, Philippine Islands, where she arrived on 30 October 1909.
While the Washington visited the Samoan Islands and the Admiralty Islands there was time to explore the islands and spend time with the local people. Many examples of the artwork and handcrafts of the islands were brought back as souvenirs by the sailors and officers of the Washington as remembrances of the time they spent in the islands. One such collection was of a black Melanesian Obsidian dagger measuring about 8-inches in length mounted to a wooden spear handle along with two small spear points. The person who collected the specimens identified them with a paper marked as “Spear Heads from Samoan Island. Brought back from 1909 cruise of USS Washington by CP Porter.” It is not known for sure who “CP Porter” was.
The cruiser squadron consisting of the USS Tennessee as flagship along with the Maryland, Colorado, California, South Dakota, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, took a cruise to Chinese and Japanese ports. The Squadron left Manila in December 1909 and assembled off Yokohama, Japan on January 19, 1910 for the start of the return trip. During the cruise it was ordered that no more than two of the ships of the fleet would be in port at any one time. The fleet reached San Francisco on February 1, 1910.
After visiting Woosung, near Shanghai, China, from 14 to 30 December 1909, Washington and her fleet mates called at Yokohama, Japan, from 3 to 20 January 1910, and Honolulu from 31 January to 8 February, before returning to the west coast. While the Washington was in Japanese waters she was attacked by an invisible enemy, that of the Smallpox virus. When she left Yokohama, Japan bound for Honolulu on January 22, the third day at sea there were two cases of Smallpox that developed among her crew. At first the ships doctors made an incorrect diagnosis and treated the two cases as if they were Chickenpox, which went on for 3 days until it was determined that in fact there was an outbreak of Smallpox.
The Washington made port in Honolulu now with 3 cases of Smallpox on January 28 several hours before her other fleet mates who had left Yokohama at the same time. As soon as she entered the harbor in Honolulu she was quarantined and the Yellow Flag of a quarantined ship flew from her mast. While quarantined in Honolulu the ship was fumigated and scrubbed to rid the ship of the virus. Sufficient time elapsed with no additional outbreaks of Smallpox aboard ship and so she was under orders to proceed to Bremerton where she was scheduled for dry-dock work. On February 3 the Washington and the Tennessee steamed for Puget Sound, but on February 6 the third day at sea the enemy attacked again and 3 new cases of Smallpox appeared on the Washington. She now carried at total of 5 men stricken with the Smallpox virus. As such Washington was directed to the Quarantine Station at Diamond Point located in Puget Sound. Diamond Point was a quarantine station for ships coming into the Puget Sound from outside the United States. There were two docks for ships, a spray house, a utility building, a hospital, and nurses' quarters.
Steaming at full speed for the quarantine station she broke away from her fleet mate the Tennessee who went direct to the Bremerton Navy Yard. While steaming from Honolulu when the Washington was near Cape Flattery on the northwest extremity of the Olympic Peninsula, she encountered a storm. Great swells raked the Washington and carried away one of her lifeboats breaking it from the davits that held the boat in place. The lifeboat was later found on a beach about 2-miles west of Carmanah Lighthouse on Vancouver Island. This area is commonly known as the “Grave yard of the Northwest” due to the currents washing up wreckage along the beach routinely there.
While still a days steaming time from Diamond Point one of the five men who were sick with the Smallpox passed away at 5 o’clock in the afternoon his name being Franklin. Washington reached the quarantine station on February 14 where the 4 men and the body of the sailor known as Franklin along with 2 corpsmen who had been caring for the sick men were taken off ship and the sick sent to the isolation ward. The Washington again flew the Yellow Quarantine Flag from her mast. Four days later on February 18 another case of Smallpox appeared on ship, this now being the sixth case. The sailors name was E. Nelson. One of the 4 men taken off ship on the 14th was named W. J Bohning and on February 17 he passed away in the isolation ward at Diamond Point. Another of the sick men was Ensign P. O. Griffith and he passed away on February 22 in the isolation ward. Ensign Griffith was 23-years old and was a California native who had joined the navy in 1903. The death toll was now at 4 men, the first was the sailor known as Franklin, the second was W. J. Bohning, the third man died on the 20th and was named Michael Bopinski and Ensign Griffith making the fourth man. On the day before Ensign Griffith died he had improved some but the next day he took a turn for the worse. His mother had sent him a bouquet of roses to wish him well and it was delivered to him the same day he passed away. Washington was released from Quarantine at Diamond Point on February 22. Once the 2 corpsmen served the required time in the isolation ward and they showed no signs of the smallpox they were allowed back on ship.
Washington made port back at San Francisco on March 4, 1910 via Port Discovery and Bremerton, Washington. She then returned to Bremerton where she commenced a period of repairs on 21 March 1910. After the repairs were completed she again had a change of commanders. Washington was now under the command of Captain Melvin Austin Knight.
Washington next operated off the west coast into the autumn of 1910, holding target practices off Santa Cruz, California, before returning to San Francisco. She coaled ship at Tiburon, California, on 7 and 8 August before shifting to San Francisco to prepare for her next deployment. On 14 August, she departed San Francisco, bound for South America on the first leg of her voyage to the east coast to join the Atlantic Fleet. Washington in company with the Colorado, Pennsylvania and California, visited Valparaiso, Chile, and took part in the observances of the Chilean Centennial Celebration from 10 to 23 September. She then resumed her voyage sailing alone from Valparaiso around the Horn of South America, touching at Talcahauano and Punta Arenas, Chile; Rio de Janeiro; Carlisle Bay, Barbados; and St. Thomas, Danish West Indies; before she arrived at Culebra, Puerto Rico, on 2 November to prepare for target practice with the Atlantic Fleet. She then joined with the Tennessee, Montana and North Carolina forming the Fifth Division of the Atlantic Fleet. The four cruisers each were larger and faster than the Atlantic Fleets biggest battleship but they were lighter armed.
Washington’s next area of operations was the Tidewater area of Virginia--especially Hampton Roads and Lynnhaven Bay--before the armored cruiser underwent repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard from 20 December 1910 to 2 January 1911. The Washington, under command of Captain Rees William Rush, subsequently underwent another period of repairs at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard before heading south with stores and material for delivery to the 5th Division of the Fleet in Cuban waters. Before she sailed south a change of command took place on the Washington. Captain Rush relinquished command to Captain Richard M. Hughes.
In December of 1910 the Atlantic Battleship Fleet was in England and was due to participate in the winter battle practice. This years practice would have the battleship fleet sail from England and make a mock attack on the Panama Canal Zone. The defending force was made up of the following ships, the armored cruisers USS Tennessee, Montana, North Carolina and Washington, along with the scout cruisers Salem and Birmingham, and the destroyers Smith, Flusser, Reid, Lamson, and Preston. The North Atlantic Battleship fleet of 16 ships steamed from England on December 30, 1910 and the defending force of 11 cruisers and destroyers were to seek out this invading force in mid ocean. The cruiser fleet defeated the battleship fleet and then the combined ships steamed on to Guantanamo, Cuba for target practice.
On January 12, 1911 while the Washington is conducting battle practice with her fleet mates when she blows out one of her high-pressure cylinders. There were no injuries during the accident but her port side engine was damaged with a cracked high-pressure cylinder head. Admiral Schroder ordered her to return to Hampton Roads for repairs. Her builders, The New York Ship Builders in Camden, New Jersey were notified and without delay they began casting a duplicate from the original patterns they kept on hand. Upon her arrival in Hampton Roads the new head casting was waiting for her at the dock. The crew was basking in the warm tropical weather and now they were greeted with bitter cold New England weather. Within a short time the Washington was repaired and back on duty. Once her High pressure cylinder head had been replaced she was ordered to the Portsmouth Navy Yard where both her propellers were replaced.
Captain Hughes guided the Washington into the lower harbor at Portsmouth at about 9 o’clock in the morning on January 20, and he eased her into the navy yard under her own power with out any assistance. This was quite a feat because the water was at the lowest levels in quite some time. But on her trip up she was running so low on coal that they barely made it to Portsmouth from Virginia. The Washington then took on 250-tons of coal filling her bunkers. Throughout most of February she is in the Portsmouth dry-dock with work progressing on the re-fit of her propellers. This change of propellers was done to increase the pitch from the original propellers. It was thought that the set with more pitch would give the Washington at least two-knots more speed. Work completed the Washington was re-floated from the dry-dock on February 16. Once re-floated work continued on the Washington, on February 28 she had her port side anchor removed and a new one was installed.
Captain Richard M. Hughes receives orders on Thursday evening March 9, 1911 that he should make the Washington ready for sea as soon as possible. His orders stated that he should ready for sea and steam south to Cuba and meet with her fleet mates the Montana, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Liberty was cancelled and a recall was issued, and every man aboard the Washington was busy stowing stores and supplies for the trip south. On Saturday March 11 the Washington was coaled and she took on a full load of ammunition, and among the stores that were loaded into the Washington’s holds were 4 large horse wagonloads of potatoes. By the amount of potatoes the crew loaded they did not have any doubts as to what they would be eating a lot of in the coming weeks. Captain Hughes reported that she was ready for sea by Monday morning March 13, 1911.
Washington arrived at Guantanamo Bay on March, 20 1911 and remained there into the summer, conducting trials and exercises with the 5th Division. She then returned northward and stopped at Hampton Roads from 21 to 24 June before pushing on to New York, where she arrived on the 25th for a period of maintainance.
The Washington operated off the northeastern seaboard through the summer, holding exercises and maneuvers in areas ranging from Cape Cod Bay to Hampton Roads. During that time, she cruised briefly with the Naval Militia from 19 to 21 July 1911, and acted as a reference ship for torpedo practice off Sandwich Island, MA, on 2 August 1911. The Washington put into the Portsmouth Navy Yard on July 24 and went into the yards dry dock for routine maintenance. She remained there for 48-hours and then was on her way to torpedo practice. Her sister ship the North Carolina was to enter the dry dock shortly after the Washington was finished.
During a live fire target experiment held on 27-28 August 1911, to test the effect of shell fire on the navy’s new cage style fore masts, Washington stood by as the Delaware (Battleship No. 28) fired at the target hulk USS San Marcos, the former Second Class Battleship Texas. After which the Washington conducted battle practice with the Fleet off the southern drill grounds.
On 31 October 1911 Secretary of the Navy Meyer reviewed 102 Naval vessels in New York Harbor, which was the largest assemblage of United States warships reviewed at that time. The crowd assembled to look at the great warships numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Each ship was decked out with all the trimmings and each sailor was dressed in his whites making quite a sight to the onlookers. There were 17 battleships there that day along with the cruisers Washington and North Carolina. At about 3 O’clock in the afternoon on October 26 the Washington with rear Admiral B. A. Fiske aboard was moving into her anchorage at 125th Street and as she passed the Connecticut, flagship of Admiral Osterhaus Commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Fleet, the Washington’s gunners gave a 13-gun salute to honor Admiral Osterhaus. Then as soon as the Washington’s salute ended the Connecticut answered back with a 13-gun salute in Honor of Admiral Fiske, commander of the Fifth Division. Behind the Washington came the Salem and as they both passed the Connecticut the ships bands of all 3 ships played the Star Spangled Banner together as the crews of all three ships stood at attention. The Washington’s sister ship, North Carolina was expected to join the ships at anchor for the review a day later.
Washington then participated in a search problem out of Newport, R.I., from 9 to 18 November 1911. The U.S. Atlantic fleet was in the waters off the Maryland and Virginia coast and the exact location of the ships of the fleet were not known by the Navy Department. At the same time down in the Dominican Republic there was growing unrest in that island nation. President Caceres of the Dominican Republic who had just been assassinated gave cause to the U.S. State Department to act to defend foreign lives and property, and to insure that law and order would be maintained.
With this in mind and the fact that no American warship was near the Dominican Republic, the State Department gave orders to Admiral Wainwright, the Chief of Naval Operations, to send assistance to the Dominican Republic. Admiral Wainwright then sent a cable to the Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet to dispatch the USS Washington and North Carolina to the Dominican Republic.
Being the entire Atlantic Fleet was at sea undergoing a training mission it was not known how long it would be before Admiral Wainwright would have a reply back from the fleet as to the status of the two cruisers. But within eleven minutes’ time from when Admiral Wainwright had sent his request he had an answer on his desk stating that the Washington and North Carolina were on their way back to Hampton Roads, and would arrive in the area within a few hours. The Washington was to take on board the American Foreign Minister to the Dominican Republic, Mr. W. W. Russell. Once Russell was aboard the Washington on November 25, 1911 the two cruisers sail south to the Dominican Republic. The stated mission was to protect American lives and to ensure that order was maintained. Both ships arrived off Santo Domingo on November 26.
Within a short time from the arrival of the Washington and North Carolina in Dominican waters things calmed down enough that both ships could leave the area. Washington subsequently returned home to Hampton Roads in company with her sister ship North Carolina, and went into dry dock at the Norfolk Navy Yard three days before Christmas of 1911.
After returning to the Fleet and participating in maneuvers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in late January and early February 1912, Washington steamed back to the Norfolk Navy Yard where, between 13 and 19 of February, she underwent special preparations to embark the Secretary of State and his party. The armored cruiser then shifted to Key West where she embarked the Secretary on 23 February. In the ensuing weeks, Washington carried the honorable Philander C. Knox and his guests to such ports as Colon, Panama; Port Limon, Costa Rica; Puerto Barrios, Guatemala; La Guaira, Venezuela; Santo Domingo; St. Thomas; Puerto Cabalo, Venezuela; San Juan; Port-au-Prince; Guantanamo Bay; Kingston, Jamaica; and Havana, before disembarking her distinguished guests at Piney Point, Maryland, on 16 April 1912.
The high point of the spring of 1912 for Washington was her service as temporary flagship for the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, while she was at the Philadelphia Navy Yard between 19 April and 3 May. Washington subsequently paused at New York from 9 to 12 May and at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard for an inspection by the Board of Inspection and Survey for ships before she conducted maneuvers out of Provincetown and Newport and then received Rear Admiral Hugo Osterhaus--the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet--on board on 26 May 1912. After shifting to Hampton Roads, Washington embarked a detachment of additional marines on 27 May, took on stores, and set out that day for Key West. There, she awaited further orders between 30 May and 10 June, while President Taft concentrated a strong naval force there to prepare for possible action which might be required by internal problems in Cuba. Washington accordingly departed Key West with the battleship Rhode Island on 10 June and arrived at Havana later that day. Both the Rhode Island and the Washington carried an additional detachment of 125 marines each that would be landed if the situation were called for. She remained there on "duty in connection with the Cuban rebellion" until 1 July when she shifted to Guantanamo. The rebellion on the island was put down by the Cuban Government, resulting in the withdrawal of the American naval and marine representation there. Accordingly, Washington sailed to Hampton Roads, where she discharged her marines and equipment and went into "first reserve" at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard on 9 July.
She remained inactive until 8 October 1912 when she sailed for New York to participate in the naval review held there between 10 and 15 October, and then resumed her reserve status at Portsmouth on 17 October. Shifted subsequently from Portsmouth to the New York Navy Yard--via President Roads, MA, and Tompkinsville, Staten Island-- Washington was assigned duty as receiving ship at the New York Navy Yard on 20 July 1912.
Washington was placed in commission again on 23 April 1914, with Captain Edward Walter Eberle in command. Later that spring, the armored cruiser took on board drafts of men from Norfolk and Port Royal, South Carolina to bring her up to sea going strength. Setting out from the New York Navy Yard on 30 April bound for Key West, Florida and reaching her final destination on May 2, 1914.
Once again there was unrest in the Dominican Republic. A revolution in the northern province of Santiago, against the rule of Provisional President Jose Bordes Valdes, had been quelled; but one in the province of Puerto Plata, near the capital of Santo Domingo itself, continued unchecked and was marked by severe fighting. The fighting was so severe that the officers and crew of the Washington felt “marked apprehension”.
On 1 May 1914, the Petrel (Gunboat No. 2) had been ordered to Dominican waters, but a further show of force seemed to be in order. Accordingly, Washington was chosen to "show the flag" in those troubled waters. She departed Key West with the 44th Marines consisting of 3 officers and 127 enlisted men, on May 4 and arrived at the beleaguered city of Puerto Plata on 6 May to protect American interests, joining the gunboat Petrel. Six days later, Captain Eberle invited representatives of both warring parties, the insurgents and the government, out to his ship, in an attempt to persuade both sides to come to an amicable settlement.
Unfortunately, the attempt failed, and the fighting continued. The insurgents were aided by a recent large consignment of guns and ammunition smuggled across the Haitian border that had given them new blood. The revolutionaries soon recaptured the key city of Le Vega and were successfully holding Puerto Plata. Government forces, laying siege to that port and shelling the insurgents, clearly endangered the lives of the neutral citizens still living in the city. Captain Eberle objected to the bombardment and warned President Valdes repeatedly. On June 6, 1914 Washington was relieved by the USS Machias (Gunboat No. 5) and departed Puerto Plata with the conflict between the insurgents and the government of President Valdes still unresolved.
Washington coaled ship and took on stores at Guantanamo Bay from 7 to 10 June 1914 before she sailed for Veracruz, Mexico. She then remained in Mexican waters between 14 and 27 June before she shifted to Cape Haitien, Haiti, to protect American interests there during an outbreak of violence that summer. For her time on station in Mexican waters her crew were entitled to wear the Mexican Service Medal for the service date of June 14-27, 1914.
Washington remained at Cape Haitien into July. In the meantime, the situation in the Dominican Republic had worsened when government shellings of rebel positions in Puerto Plata resulted in an inevitable "incident." On 26 June, a stray shell killed an English woman in Puerto Plata causing the gunboat Machias to shift to a berth in the inner harbor and shell one of President Valdes’s batteries, silencing it with a few well-placed shots. During early July, Machias again fired her guns in anger when stray shots hit the ship.
In view of those developments, Washington returned to Puerto Plata on 9 July and remained there into the autumn, keeping a vigil to protect American lives and property and standing by to land her landing force if the situation required it. The 44th Company of Marines that had been aboard the Washington since the beginning of May were on July 15, sent ashore in Vera Cruz, Mexico. That August, Captain Eberle's attempts to bring about a conference finally bore fruit. The United States government sent a commission, consisting of J. F. Fort, the former governor of New Jersey, James M. Sullivan, the American Minister to Santo Domingo; and Charles Smith, a New Hampshire lawyer, to mediate a peace in the Dominican Republic.
Both sides ultimately accepted the American suggestions, which provided for the establishment of a constitutional government and the institution of elections under United States "observation." Washington left Santo Domingo on 20 November 1914 but, later that month, continued high feelings over the closely contested election resulted in further unrest. This unrest was met by the dispatch of additional force of U. S. Marines sent to Santo Domingo. For Washington, however, her part in the Dominican intervention of 1914 was over. She sailed for home and arrived at Philadelphia on 24 November and became flagship of the Cruiser Squadron.
Now in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Navy Yard she underwent a routine overhaul from 12 December through 11 January 1915. She was loaded with ammunition and sailed on January 11, via President Roads, MA for Hampton Roads, VA where she arrived on the 14th of January. After a five-day visit, during which she took on stores and provisions and an expeditionary force of marines, Washington sailed for Caribbean waters once more.
Two revolutions had rocked Haiti in 1914, and a third, in January of 1915, led by General Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, had resulted only in further unrest for that troubled nation. Washington arrived at Cape Haitien on 23 January 1915; one week after General Sam’s troops had invaded it. On board the Washington were 150 Marines that would be used in case of a landing was called for. The armored cruiser, flying the flag of Rear Admiral Caperton and commanded by Captain Edward Latimer Beach, Sr. (the father of the future naval officer Edward L. Beach, Jr., who would win fame as a daring WWII submariner and author) stayed in port there until the 26th investigating "political conditions" before she shifted to the Haitian capital, Port-Au-Prince, on 27 January. There, she again observed local political conditions in the wake of General Sam’s takeover of the government before sailing, via Guantanamo, for Mexican waters. In March of 1915 Mexican General Carranza began to throw his power and his actions brought a “sharp note” from the United States. In addition to the message the State Department gave orders for the navy to dispatch ships to the area. The battleship USS Georgia and the cruiser Washington, on March 10th, were sent to Vera Cruz, Mexico as the muscle part of the note to General Carranza. Admiral Dewey’s old flagship the Olympia was dispatched to take the Washington’s place in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.
Washington conducted sub-caliber practices, observed political conditions, and conducted torpedo practices off the ports of Tampico, Tuxpan, Progreso, and Veracruz into the summer of 1915. Washington received provisions and stores from the supply ship Celtic off Progreso on June 26. The next day on June 27, Washington the flagship of Rear Admiral W. B. Caperton, sailed for Guantanamo where she coaled and took on water on 30 June. She sailed the same day for Cape Haitien, as all reports from the American minister there indicated that yet another crisis was brewing.
Washington arrived at Cape Haitien on July 1, and on July 3, 1915, 1st Lt. J. P. Wilcox, USMC, in command of eight men were sent ashore to establish and operate a portable radio station in Cape Haitian. Additional marines were sent ashore on July 3rd and July 9th. On July 27, 1915, Lt. Wilcox and the detachment of 18 marines reported back aboard the Washington.
While Washington awaited further developments at Cape Haitien, events in Port-au-Prince deteriorated, moving American Charge d'Affaire Davis to send a telegram on 27 July to the Secretary of State, Robert Lansing, reporting the troubled conditions. He reported that President Sam and some of his men had been surrounded in the presidential palace and that the presence of American war vessels was desirable.
In accordance with that message, the Navy dispatched Washington to that port. Meanwhile, President Sam took refuge in the French legation where he hoped that diplomatic immunity would prevail. The mobs of angry Haitians, however, were not concerned with such international niceties, and they invaded the legation at 10:30 on the morning of 28 July 1915. They forcibly removed former President Sam, killed and dismembered him, and paraded portions of his body on poles around the city. An hour and 10-minutes after the mobs invaded the legation the Armored Cruiser Washington arrived at Port-au-Prince at 11:40 in the morning. Upon reviewing the situation, Admiral Caperton acted quickly. He ordered a landing force consisting of marines and navy bluejackets ashore at the Bizoton Navy Yard, from his flagship the Washington. The orders were to protect not only American interests but those of other foreign nations as well. This combined landing force was under command of Captain George Van Orden, USMC. The marine battalion consisted of 2 officers and 162 men, commanded by Captain Giles Bishop, USMC. The bluejacket battalion consisted of 7 officers and 215 men commanded by Lieutenant Fred. W. Poteet, USN. Captain Van Orden gave orders to march his detail two-miles east to the city and restore order. By morning on the 29th of July Captain Van Orden had restored order in the city at a cost of two Haitians dead and ten wounded. By that evening Captain Van Orden's detail is reinforced by a marine company from the Collier Jason, which sailed direct from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
At 8 O’clock on the evening of the 29th, the Haitians attacked the now strengthened, American detail, and Captain Van Orden’s forces counterattack repelling the feeble Haitian efforts. Six of the Haitians were killed, and two wounded. There were two of the Washington's sailors who had been detailed to guard an outpost, and were shot and killed by a Haitian sniper during the attack. The two sailors were Ordinary Seaman Cason S. Whitehurst, and Seaman William Gompers, the nephew of the famous labor leader Samuel Gompers.
In August 1915 the USS Tennessee joined the Washington and Admiral Caperton’s force with an additional 350 Marines and a Marine Artillery Regiment. Captain Edward L. Beach, USN, now the Commanding officer of the Tennessee landed to take charge of the military and civil functions as Senior Naval Officer ashore at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Two bluejackets were killed in the action ashore. Part of the Washington’s bluejacket battalion landing force returned back aboard the Washington on August 14, 1915, and the balance on August 18, 1915.
Washington remained at Port-au-Prince into the winter. During that time, the United States effectively ran Haiti. On 12 August, Philippe Sudra Dartinguenave was elected president; and his government was recognized by the United States on 17 September 1915.
Ending that lengthy in-port period, Washington departed Port-au-Prince on 31 January 1916 and arrived at Guantanamo the following day. There, she transferred passengers and stores to other ships of the Fleet and later transferred a company of marines to Norfolk soon after her arrival in Hampton Roads on 5 February 1916. Washington steamed north, via New York and Boston, reaching Portsmouth, N.H., on 29 February. She began an overhaul period in the navy yard there, which lasted until the end of March 1916, after which she was placed in reserve status on 31 March 1916.
On 9 November 1916, Washington was renamed Seattle (retaining her classification as Armored Cruiser No. 11). She was simultaneously taken out of reserve status and re-commissioned for duty as flagship of the Destroyer Force under the command of Captain DeWitt Blamer. Commander Richard Drace White was the Executive Officer of the Seattle under Captain Blamer. Commander White was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1899, but was graduated in 1898 so he could participate in the Spanish- American War. Later during WWI Commander White was transferred to the USS Orizaba to be her commanding officer. White was wounded during an explosion aboard the Orizaba in Brest, France.
Seattle’s peacetime duties as flagship for the Destroyer Force were short. On 6 April 1917, the United States, after attempting patiently but futilely to remain neutral, despite repeated incidents on the high seas, finally entered World War I.
USS Seattle as she looked in 1918 during her convoy escort days.
Stearn view of the Seattle, still in her war paint, in the dry-dock at Portsmouth, NH Navy Yard. This is possibly during her re-fit for carrying troops after the war.
Seattle arrived at New York on 3 June 1917 to be fitted out at the New York Navy Yard for war service. She sailed on 14 June as an escort for the first American convoy to European waters and as flagship for Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves.
Captain Blamer’s crew, at 11:15 on the evening of June 22, 1917, encountered their first enemy submarines in latitude 48-00 N, longitude 25-50 W. Shortly before the convoy was attacked, Seattle’s helm jammed; and she sheered out of formation sharply, sounding her whistle to warn the other vessels. A few minutes later, the ship was brought back on course. Soon lookouts noted a white streak in the water 50 yards ahead of the vessel, crossing from starboard to port at right angles to Seattle’s course. Admiral Gleaves, asleep in the charthouse at the time, awoke and was on the bridge with Captain Blamer in time to see the Seattle’s gun crews manning their weapons and the transport De Kalb opening fire on the U-boat. Subsequently, the destroyer Wilkes (DD-67) attacked an enemy U-boat but failed to sink the German submarine. Later information indicated that the enemy, probably aware of the approach of the first American expeditionary forces, had dispatched a pair of submarines to lie in wait for it. The attack, conducted under "ideal" conditions, was, fortunately for the Americans, unsuccessful. Admiral Gleaves, in his report to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, on 12 July 1917, reported unequivocally: "their [the enemy's] failure to score hits was probably due to the attack being precipitated by the fortuitous circumstances of the Seattle’s helm jamming and the sounding of her whistle, leading the enemy to suppose he had been discovered."
They made port safely and on June 28, 1917 while at anchor, the Seattle suffered her first war-time casualty. At about 2:45 in the afternoon Seaman 2c John Joseph Dunn is standing on the foredeck of the Captain’s gig, which was being used at the moment. The deck was wet and very slippery and Seaman Dunn slipped and fell off the deck of the gig, and was drowned.
On January 4, 1918 the USS Mercury, a former German passenger liner, waits anchored just off Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, New York to await the assemblage of her convoy and the cover of darkness before heading out into open seas. The Mercury waits until the USS Seattle, the escort for the trip, meets with them at 10:45 that evening. The USS America, also loaded with troops arrives and together all three ships head out to destinations only known as “Somewhere in France.” On the sixth-day of the trip the convoy begins a zigzag course designed to elude an attack from a German U-boat.
As morning broke on January 10 the Mercury sighted a two-masted schooner, which appeared to be riding very low in the water. A signal was sent to the cruiser Seattle and she came along the schooner to investigate. The Seattle soon found the schooner to be the A. Crownwell skippered by W. F. Johnson of Newfoundland, and she was leaking and had lost her rudder. The Seattle took her crew aboard and they stated they had been manning the pumps for 12-days straight and were not making progress. Being that the A. Crownwell was now a hazard to navigation the Seattle set her on fire to sink her.
On the evening of January 15 the officers of the Mercury became lost from the convoy due to sailing at night with no lights but at daylight were able to pick up the other ships and once again regained the safety of the convoy. It was at 8:07 AM that the first destroyer the USS Ericsson was sighted, likely a sign of relief to the crew of the Mercury. Later that day 5 more destroyers joined the convoy, as this was the point in which the cruiser Seattle turned over escort duties to the destroyers. The Seattle then turned back westward to pick up another eastbound convoy. The destroyers USS Ericsson, Tucker, O’Brien, Balch, Wadsworth and Parker then escorted the Mercury and America to St. Nazaire, France.
At anchor on April 11, 1918 just off 67th Street in the North River, New York, the Seattle is between convoys having completed her last trip and was waiting for her next ships to gather for the next eastbound trip. The next troop ships then taking aboard troops which would be sailing in the next 3-4 days were the SS Karoa, SS New York, and the USS Madawaska. The Karoa was taking aboard troops of the 306th Infantry of the 77th Division. The 306th Infantry served in the front lines from June 21 until the end of the war, and was heavily involved during the Meuse-Argonne battles. The Seattle had her steam launches out and were tied to her booms for the night from the side of the ship. On the morning of April 11 the Seattle’s No. 1 steam launch was presently tied to the starboard boom, and at 5:10 that morning Fireman 2c Harry Leroy Kreiling is climbing down the side of the Seattle in order to get steam up in the No. 1 launch. In the dim light Fireman Kreiling falls from the Seattle into the river and was drowned.
The routine of the crossings with troops became second nature to the crew of the Seattle. At 23-minutes past noon on July 1, 1918 the Seattle meets up with the Newport News and New York sections of transports off New York, and this combined convoy consisted of the Mercury, President Grant, Mongolia, Mount Vernon, Madawaska, Siboney, Zeelandia, Calamares, Sigourney and several other ships. During this trip the convoy had two cruisers as escorts, the Seattle and the Frederick and several destroyers. Once the entire convoy was assembled the day would not end before the enemy was encountered. At 7:08 in the evening a U-boat was sighted off the starboard quarter of the convoy, and General Quarters was sounded. Several destroyers swiftly cut across in front of the Mercury and began to work over the U-boat by dropping several depth charges. Things returned to normal, if there ever is such a thing on a crossing during wartime, until the next event took place. At 7 o’clock in the evening on July 2 the Henderson, one of the other ships in the convoy, was observed to be on fire. Within an hour she had dropped out of formation with a destroyer standing watch over her while they returned back to port.
On July 4, 1918 as the convoy is making way eastward a flash is sent to the ships in the convoy from the Seattle to dress the ships in honor of the Nations Birthday. And so at Noon with the ships of the convoy fully dressed with flags, sporting events were held on deck. There were also boxing bouts held for the entertainment of the troops. For the briefest of moments each man felt like they were safe. But for the next two days the weather turned to heavy fog until noon on July 6.
Later in the evening at 6 o’clock on July 6, the Seattle fired several shots at a suspected target, but it was not known as to what the target was. At about the same time aboard the Mercury the fire alarm was sounded as a small fire had broken out in a linen locker. Any fire aboard ship, no matter how small is a big concern, and it was extinguished before any serious damage had taken place.
Three days of relative smooth sailing passed until the next event took place. On July 9 at 1:18 in the afternoon one of the escorting destroyers thought they had detected a U-boat and raised the submarine warning flag alerting the rest of the convoy. Quickly the destroyer broke out of formation to track down her prey, but by 1:30 the destroyer had resumed her place back in formation. Now on July 11 the convoy reached the hand-off point and the Seattle turn back once the 13 destroyers had took control of the convoy.
Seattle operated on comparatively uneventful escort duties for the remainder of World War I, completing her ninth round-trip voyage at New York on 27 October 1918. The Seattle under the command of Captain J. R. Y. Blakely, and Executive Officer Commander W. L. Culbertson began to hear rumors towards the end of November that the crew of the Seattle would be reduced from wartime strength to a reduced crew and that likely the Navy would have less use for the old Seattle.
This was confirmed by the ships Chaplain, John H. S. Putnam on Sunday December 1, 1918 when Chaplain Putnam wrote in part the following on the Sunday Church Service bulletin published aboard the ship:
“We learn with regret that our Ship’s Compliment is being reduced to the minimum, and that many of us are soon to be separated. The months spent together have been filled with work, and yet there has been much pleasure interspersed, such as our Smokers, Entertainments, and Liberty’s. We shall leave the ship with the satisfaction that we have served in the World’s Greatest War and on board a vessel that compares favorably with any, in its active duty. Reluctantly we go, but on the other hand, glad that the world is again in a state of peace and that the period of reconstruction is so near.”
Chaplain Putnam’s message on that Sunday service was entitled “God’s Corporation.” But the old Seattle soon afterwards gained a new life and was used to return troops from Europe back to the United States.
After the armistice of 11 November 1918, Seattle, like many other ships, was fitted with extra accommodations to enable her to function as a transport ship returning doughboys from France. One such trip she returned to New York on January 12, 1919 with the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Battery aboard. Her last and final trip transporting returning troops concluded on July 5, 1919. Later, after all of her special troop fittings had been removed, Seattle sailed for the west coast to join the Pacific Fleet.
In June of 1919 a newly commissioned Ensign climbs the gangway of the Seattle, salutes the Flag and asks permission to come aboard. He then reports to the Commanding Officer for duty. Ensign Solomon Silas Isquith who had just graduated from the Naval Academy and received his commission on June 6, 1919 was assigned to duty aboard the Seattle, where he would serve until February of 1921, when the Seattle was placed into Reserve. Isquith later in his career on December 7, 1941 was the Commanding Officer of the battleship USS Utah, which was one of the first battleships to be hit and sunk at Pearl Harbor. For his actions that day he was awarded the Navy Cross, and the Purple Heart for wounds he received. Isquith in 1947, would retire from Active Duty at the rank of Rear-Admiral.
Reviewed by President Woodrow Wilson on 12 September at her namesake city, Seattle, the armored cruiser shifted to the Puget Sound Navy Yard where she was placed in "reduced commission." While in that inactive status, Seattle was reclassified a heavy cruiser, CA-11, on 17 July 1920.
Placed in full commission again on 1 March 1923, with Captain George Loring Porter Stone in command, Seattle became the flagship for the Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet. In that role, over the next four years, she wore the four-starred flags of a succession of flag officers: Admiral Hilary P. Jones, Admiral Robert E. Coontz, Admiral Samuel S. Robison, and Admiral Charles F. Hughes. During that time, Seattle operated from Seattle, WA to Hawaii and from Panama to Australia. Command of the Seattle passed from Captain Stone to Captain Cluverius to Captain Clarence S. Kempff in 1924 and again to Captain Charles Seymour Freeman in early 1926.
During the time Admiral Hilary P. Jones was aboard the Seattle the following officers were serving:
Commander-In-Chief, United States Fleet, Admiral Hilary P. Jones
Rear Admiral W. C. Cole (Chief of Staff)
Captain W. T. Cluverius (Commanding Officer of the Seattle)
Commander D. L. Howard (Exec.)
Lt. Commander H. W. Underwood
Lt. Commander H. E. Snow
Lt. Commander H. A. Rochester
In January of 1924 the Navy conducted its mock training battle known as Fleet Problem II and the Chief Umpire of 1924 Fleet Problems was stationed aboard the USS Seattle. The first of these mock battles, Fleet Problem I, was held in February-March of 1923, and was staged off the coast of Panama. In this Problem the attacking Black force, using battleships to represent aircraft carriers, tested the defenses of the Panama Canal. A single plane launched from the USS Oklahoma, representing a carrier air group, dropped 10 miniature bombs and theoretically "destroyed" the spillway of the Gatun Dam.
Fleet Problems II, III, and IV were held concurrently in January and February of 1924 and took place in the Caribbean waters, which simulated actions that might occur in the Pacific. Fleet Problem II simulated the first leg of a westward advance across the Pacific. Fleet Problem III focused on a defense of the Panama Canal from the Caribbean side. The Blue force was defending the canal from an attack from the Caribbean by the Black force, operating from an advance base in the Azores. It was to practice amphibious landing techniques and the rapidity of transiting a fleet through the canal from the Pacific side. In the exercise, a Black force special operations action resulted in the "sinking" of Blue force battleship USS New York in the Culebra Cut which would have blocked the canal. Fleet Problem IV simulated the movement from a main base in the western Pacific to the Japanese home islands, represented in that case by islands, cities, and countries surrounding the Caribbean waters.
The United States Pacific Fleet in the summer of 1925 embarked on what was officially known as the Australian Cruise of 1925, but was more commonly known as “The Cruise Down Under” to many of the men aboard the ships. Some 145 ships took part on the cruise, which began in San Francisco and visited Hawaii, Samoa, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Auckland, Wellington, San Pedro, Panama and San Diego. The Seattle was the flagship of Admiral Samuel S. Robison on the “Cruise Down Under.” The Chief of Staff of Admiral Robison’s staff of ten officers aboard the Seattle was Lt. Commander Morton Lyndholm Deyo. He would serve on Active Duty for 38-years and obtained the rank of Vice-Admiral upon retirement.
Officers of Admiral Robison’s staff 28 July 1926:
Admiral Samuel S. Robison, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet
Rear Admiral L. A. Bostwick
Captain G. S. Schaffer
Colonel J. C. Breckinridge, USMC
Commander L. G. Bowen. Back
Commander Chester W. Nimitz
Commander E. D. Washburn
Commander J. L. Kauffman
Lt. Commander W. G. Ruble
Lt. Commander R. D. Kirkpatrick
Lt. Commander Morton L. Deyo
This South Pacific Cruise to Australia was for goodwill but it also served as an important experiment in radio communications of the time. The U. S. Navy in 1923 had begun to use shortwave radios so that a broadcast band could be established for the rapidly increasing numbers of standard broadcast stations around the world. The navy’s first shortwave experiments were with the 2 to 3 meter bands. However, by 1924 the navy was using the higher frequencies that could reach out much farther using the 54-meter band from their NKF station located at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D. C.
This cruise was an important one for the U. S. Navy, in that the experiments undertaken during that cruise validated the ideas of using high-frequency transmissions rather than low-frequency transmissions for long-distance ship-to-shore contact. This made possible a major reorientation of tactical, operational and strategic-level naval communications, with other serious larger implications that had not been fully explored at the time. What the navy learned from this cruise they used to envision a new plan that came after this, which would form the basis for what is the present day international radio spectrum.
The navy in early 1925, had set up four-hour tests on 54 and 100 meter bands, three nights a week, for the benefit of amateurs. In the summer of 1925, the navy would invite shortwave operator Fred H. Schnell to join its Australian Cruise for the express purpose of communicating with amateur shortwave operators. Schnell, who was then serving as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserves would also demonstrate the effectiveness of shortwave communications during the cruise. Lt. Schnell would work with S. C. Hooper, Fleet Radio Officer aboard the Seattle. The radio equipment aboard the Seattle consisted of the Naval Laboratory transmitter, operating on a frequency of 5700 kc, and an RG receiver. Schnell also installed his personal shortwave station NRRL, aboard the Seattle. During the cruise Lt. Schnell contacted many amateur operators in several countries and was heard worldwide during the cruise.
One of these broadcast’s, which took place sometime between 16-21 August, 1925, was heard aboard the USS Seattle, then at anchor in the harbor at Wellington, New Zealand. During this broadcast six Eskimos near Etah Fiord, Greenland gathered before a microphone on the SS Peary as she lay at anchor in Greenland, less than 700-miles from the North Pole. They sang some native songs for Admiral Coontz aboard the Seattle, which was off the shores of Wellington, New Zealand, half the world away. “That's not singing,” exclaimed Admiral Coontz. “It sounds like a college yell to me.” “Perfect!” exulted Commander McDonald, president of Zenith, who was aboard the Peary in Etah Fiord. “That's what Eskimo songs sound like. It proves that our transmission is getting through to you okay.”
In fact, there was quite a volume of communications between the Peary (station WAP) at Etah Fiord and New Zealand during the three weeks the Peary was at Etah Fiord. Lieutenant Schnell, operating on the USS Seattle as station NRRL, reported that the signal from the Peary's transmitter was almost always a significantly stronger signal in Wellington than that of station 9XN in Chicago.
The radio operators aboard the Peary consistently maintained communication not only with the United States, but with England, Scotland, France, Holland, Italy, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia, the greatest distance having been a two-way communication with Box Hill, Victoria, Australia, nearly halfway around the earth on 37.5 meters. Commander McDonald had transmitted the voices of the Eskimo’s singing when the Peary was about 700-miles from the North Pole, and these songs were heard in Australia and New Zealand. Lieutenant Fred Schnell, with his short-wave apparatus on the Seattle, was trying to send a radio message with his compliments to the Convention of the American Radio Relay League, then being held in Chicago, on August 16, but was unable to reach Chicago direct, and was forced to send it from the Seattle then laying off Wellington, New Zealand, to the SS Peary, within 700-miles of the North Pole, and they in turn relayed the message back to Chicago, consuming less than five minutes’ time.
Through these test aboard the Seattle it was discovered that many electrical devices aboard ship emitted radiations that interfered with reception. The rolling and pitching and the vibrations of the ship increased the difficulties in the use of the radio equipment which required critical tuning. Despite these conditions, fair results were obtained and these results improved as the operators became more proficient.
The communications that took place between the Seattle, and the Peary proved to be the convincing evidence needed by the U. S. Navy to begin conversion from longwave to shortwave communication equipment. Within a few years the U. S. Fleet was provided with far more reliable equipment than any fleet in the world.
To the men aboard the Seattle this was a leisurely cruise and many a men had a great time while “Down Under.” One such sailor was Fireman Stanley A. Goetz, who crossed the equator for the first time on July 6, 1925 at Longitude 165-25W as the Seattle was bound for Samoa. Stanley or “Mike” as he was known would have received his Shellback certificate on this cruise and had many stories to tell his family when it was over. His favorite story was once in Melbourne the 22-year old sailor, and a fellow shipmate rented an Indian motorcycle and traveled around the area while on leave and got back late almost missing the ship. They were busted a grade but didn't much care as it was one of the greatest experiences of his life.
Another view dockside in Melbourne, Australia showing the Seattle’s stern. The 3 Melbourne, Australia photos provided by Chris Summers of Melbourne, Australia.
Another view of the Seattle in Melbourne, Australia July 27, 1925 shown with 2 other unidentified Battleships. On this cruise the fleet consisted of the Seattle as Flagship, with the battleships Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Oklahoma, along with the Marblehead.
The Seattle dockside on the Prince's Pier in Melbourne, Australia July 27, 1925 during her Australian Cruise of Admiral Coontz
Admiral Coontz issued the following farewell message last night'
USS Seattle, Flagship,
On the eve of our departure from Australian waters the commander In-chief of the United States Fleet is glad to have the opportunity to say a parting word. He believes that the visit of the portion of the United States Fleet that has made the cruise to the southern seas has been most successful. For three years it has been talked of and looked forward to, and has finally come to a full and complete fruition.
The arrangements for handling the fleet during its stay in Australian waters and the care taken therewith have been phenomenal and successful. The visit has exceeded our fondest expectations. Those of us who were here in 1908 in junior capacities well remember the openhearted hospitality and kindness with which the fleet was greeted. But the present stay has even put that memorable experience in the shade.
In all his experience the commander-in-chief has never seen such an outpouring of friendship and kindness on the part of each and every one, high and low, as has been given to our fleet. Our people have been taken into your homes and given great opportunities to see your wonderful country.
It was with regret that decision had to be made not to visit other of your great cities on the east coast and in Western Australia. Time, repairs, overhauls, and fuel and food replenishments did not permit. If there has been any case of a letter unanswered or a request not acceded to, the commander-in-chief feels sure that when the writer or tenderer understands the vast volume of work imposed on officers of the fleet during such occasions of this kind they will pardon such errors of unintentional omission.
The fleet leaves Australia with the kindest thoughts for its people; with thankful hearts for the great courtesies so friendly extended; believes that Australia has a great future and a wonderful place in the world in the years to come; and bids them good-bye and Godspeed along the road.
R. E. COONTZ,
In June of 1926 Major Franklin Augustus Hart, USMC took command of the Marine Detachment aboard the Seattle. This was Major Hart’s second sea duty command, and he served as C. O. until January of 1927 when he was transferred to command the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Rochester. Hart would serve in the Corps for more than thirty-seven years and would obtain the rank of General when he retired from Active Duty. In June, 1943, General Hart was ordered to the Fourth Marine Division where he assumed command of the Twenty-Fourth Marine Regiment. During the following year he led the Regiment in the attack on Roi-Namur, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, and the assault of Saipan and Tinian, Marianas Islands, where he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
His citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the Regimental Combat Team Twenty-Four, Fourth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the attack on Roi-Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, 1 and 2 February 1944. Landing when the assault troops had advanced only one hundred yards from the beach, Colonel Hart fearlessly led his combat team against heavy enemy resistance in a crushing attack toward its first objective. After repelling numerous counterattacks during the night, he skillfully reorganized his depleted units and effected a coordinated assault the next morning, rapidly overcoming all remaining opposition and exterminating a large force of determined and fanatical Japanese. By his valiant performance of duty and outstanding leadership throughout this perilous assignment, Colonel Hart inspired all with whom he served and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
In late August of 1926 the United States Battle fleet was returning to San Francisco, California with Secretary of the Navy Curtis D. Wilbur who was traveling on the Battleship USS California. The cities of San Francisco and Oakland had planned a great celebration of the returning Fleet, and 70 warships of the fleet anchored in the harbor on August 20, 1926. Admiral Samuel S. Robison, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet arrived on the flagship Seattle in San Francisco at 7:00 in the morning several hours ahead of the main body of the fleet. The celebration was a 10-day event with many speeches and celebration dinners, parades and all sorts of local events were planned to welcome the fleet back home. Also during the celebrations was held the annual Pacific Coast Championship Yachting Regatta. The bay cities played host to over 25,000 officers and men of the fleet.
Subsequently returning to the Atlantic in June of 1927, Seattle passed in review before President Calvin Coolidge on 3 June 1927.
On the 25th of July 1927 while the Seattle was at anchor in Portland, Maine Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh while flying his famous plane the “Spirit of St. Louis” nearly landed on the deck of the cruiser. Lindbergh was flying his famous plane over the city giving official honors to the military and Naval forces assembled there. After circling the city several times Lindbergh made a pass over the harbor to Great Diamond Island, paying respect to the Citizen’s Military Training Camp and to Ft. McKinley. Then he made another pass up the harbor dipping down twice and on the second time almost hit the Seattle. Rear Admiral Hughes likely had a few welcoming words to say too Lucky Lindie after his “pass” over his Flagship.
After a cruise along the east coast, the ship arrived at New York on 29 August 1927 to assume duties as the receiving ship at that port. Captain Freeman relinquished his command of the Seattle on 31 October 1927 to Captain John Charles Fremont. On 1 July 1931, the ship's designation was changed to "unclassified."
As receiving ship at the New York Navy yard, Seattle served as a floating barracks, a "clearance house for personnel" into the 1940s. Ships and stations transferred men to her for attending various schools in the 3d Naval District, and she provided men for tugs and other district craft, as well as naval escorts for patriotic functions, parades and funerals, etc., and, on board her, crews for ships preparing to go into commission were assembled. Among those ships was the light cruiser USS Honolulu (CL-48). During this time, she had several commanders and among them were Captain Frederick Lansing Oliver (1932-1936) and Captain Harry Earl Shoemaker (1939-1940).On 17 February 1941, the ancient cruiser Seattle was reclassified as IX-39. She was ultimately placed out of commission at New York on 28 June 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 19 July of the same year. Sold on 3 December 1946 to Hugo Neu, of New York City, the former flagship of the United States Fleet and receiving ship at New York was subsequently scrapped.
A view of the Seattle’s stern, taken sometime in 1923 showing the flag at half-mast.
As I find names of men who sailed this ship I will add them here with what I know of each. If you know additional facts about these men or others who were crew of the USS Washington USS Seattle please e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell
Oscar Henry Riddle was born on June 11, 1894 to Willis R. and Margaret J. Riddle. Oscar was born in Arkansas and in April of 1910 the family lived on a farm in Giles Township of Cleburne County, Arkansas.
Oscar’s father Willis was born about 1856 in Mississippi and his mother Margaret was born about 1860 in Alabama. Willis and Margaret were married about 1879. By April of 1910 Margaret had given birth to eight children, sis of which were still living. When the Federal Census was taken at the Riddle home on the 23rd of April 1910, three children lived in the home. They were a daughter named Clara born about 1882 in Mississippi, Oscar Henry born June 11 of 1894 in Arkansas and another son named Price who was born about 1898 in Oklahoma. Willis worked the family farm to support the family.
When Oscar had turned 22 America was declaring war with Germany, and as such he registered for the federal Draft in Giles Township, Arkansas on June 5, 1917, 6 days before he would have turned 23-years old. At that time Oscar was a single man living in Shiloh, Arkansas, which was in his home county of Cleburne. Oscar worked as a farm laborer for R. W. Riddle, which was likely a relative of his. Oscar as stated on his draft card was a tall medium built man with light blue eyes and black hair.
Oscar served his time in the military in the United States Navy and was serving on the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle, which served as an escort for the American convoys to European waters and as flagship for Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves.
After the war ended Oscar was discharged from the navy and returned to his home in Giles township of Cleburne, Arkansas. In January of 1920 Oscar lived on the farm of his younger brother Price, who was married to Meda and they had a 1-year old son named Clinton F. There were 3 families of Riddles all living next to each other in Giles Township. Oscar’s father and mother lived in one farm and Gordon Riddle and his wife, Nonie and their son Darrell and daughter Seattle on another farm. Gordon was 30-years old and may have been another brother to Oscar. It is curious that the 1-year old daughter of Gordon and Nonie was named “Seattle” which was the name of the ship that Oscar served on during WWI.
Nothing more is known about Oscar H. Riddle past the 1920 Federal Census.
Sue Riddle Scivally, great-grand niece of Oscar H. Riddle.
Seaman Lynnly C. Adams pictured while stationed on the Receiving Ship at Philadelphia in 1918. His uniform shows him at his rating of the time, Seaman Recruit.
|Lynnly Creighton Adams was born February 16, 1895 in Clarksburg, Scott County Mississippi. As a small child he moved with his parents to Rankin County, Mississippi, and he was still living there when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on October 15, 1917 in Jackson, Mississippi. He was sent to Norfolk, Virginia for training where he remained until January 25, 1918 when he was sent to the USS Illinois for a month of shipboard training. On February 15, 1918 he was sent to a receiving ship at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to await assignment.
On February 27, 1918, he was assigned to the USS Seattle as a Fireman 3rd Class. From his service record it appears he was a good sailor as he only had one blemish on his record - on May 9, 1918, he was given eight hours extra duty for throwing a cigarette butt on deck. Shortly after the war ended Lynnly was stricken with double pneumonia twice, and his service record indicates that he was sent to the U.S. Navy Base Hospital No. 5 at Brest France. He was very ill and he remained at the hospital from December 28, 1918, to March 3, 1919. Lynnly was discharged from the navy on August 14, 1919 at Atlanta, Georgia.
He went back to Mississippi and resumed his pre-war occupation as a farmer. He died at the Veteran's Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, on November 24, 1952, and is buried in the New Prospect Cemetery eight miles east of Brandon, Mississippi.
Written by Jeff Giambrone, grandson of Lynnly C. Adams.
Harry Tice was born on December 27, 1899 in Bergen County, New Jersey to Herman A. and Charity Tice. Herman Tice worked as a Pharmacist in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Herman and Charity were married sometime in 1891 and by 1910 Charity had given birth to 5 children but as of May 1910 only two were living, Mabell age 12 and Harry age 10.
At the age of 16 years and 9 months old Harry Tice, a 120-pound young lad with blue eyes and brown hair enlisted into the U.S. Navy as an Apprentice Seaman at the New York Naval Station on October 5, 1916. Young Harry Tice was sent to the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island.
Once on Active duty it is known that he served on the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle during WWI, as he was discharged with Honor on 18 November 1919 as a Seaman. While in the Navy, Harry found a life long occupation, that of life in the military. It is not known when but after he was released from active duty with the navy he joined the army. This is known from a certificate dated June 6, 1922 where he was promoted from Private First Class to the rank of Corporal.
Then again on July 9, 1923 Harry Tice enlisted for the second time in the navy with the rating of Seaman First Class at the New York Navy Yard, the same place he had enlisted in 1916. During this second time in the navy Harry served until discharged on 7 July 1927 with the rating of Coxswain, again serving on the USS Seattle.
During the later part of Harry Tice’s duty on the Seattle, she served as Flagship for the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. And in March of 1927 while Admiral Charles F. Hughes was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, Coxswain Harry Tice was involved in a motor launch accident aboard the Seattle in which another man was killed and Harry was given a letters of commendation.
On March 21st, three days after the accident, the Commanding Officer of the Seattle, Captain C. S. Freeman writes a letter to Coxswain Tice.
1. On 18 March, 1927, while the first motor launch of this ship of which you are coxswain was being hoisted, a defective link of the chain hoisting slings gave way and permitted the stern of the boat to drop about thirty-five feet to the water, precipitating you and three other occupants of the boat into the water, injuring all of you and fatally injuring C. A. Le Cureux, seaman first class, whose right leg was torn off by the whip of the parted slings, and who was helpless and presumably unconscious in the water. Disregarding your own injuries, consisting of a bruised right upper leg and a lacerated left knee, you promptly swam to Le Cureux, supported him on the surface of the water, and were finally instrumental in assisting him to the boat which had immediately been dispatched to the scene of the accident.
2. For this unselfish act of courage in going to the assistance of an injured shipmate, I take pleasure in Publicly commending you and shall cause a copy of this letter to be placed on file with your service record.
This letter of Commendation was written by Admiral Hughes and delivered by the Seattle’s commanding officer Captain C. S. Freeman, who, in the words written on the commendation was “delivered with pleasure.” The Commendation from Admiral Hughes written on April 12, 1927 while the Seattle was at Guantanamo, Cuba reads as follows:
Conduct during recent accident while hoisting in motor launch.
1. On 18 March 1927, the after sling carried away while hoisting the first motor launch aboard the USS Seattle. As a result of this accident Claude A. Le Cureux, late Seaman first class, U.S. Navy, lost his life. At the time of this accident you were in the first motor launch, performing the duties as coxswain of that boat. The Commander-in-Chief notes from the record of the Court of Inquiry held in this case that you were thrown into the water when the boat slings carried away, the boat at the time having been hoisted tow blocks. He further notes with pleasure your prompt action in immediately swimming to the assistance of Le Cureux who was mortally injured and entirely incapacitated to help himself. It is due to this action, in a very large measure, that Le Cureux was recovered, and taken into a boat for first aid treatment in an effort to save his life.
2. The court of Inquiry cites your conduct as worthy of commendation. The Commander-in-Chief feels that commendation is particularly deserved because under the circumstances the natural impulse of anyone less mindful of his duty to a shipmate, would have been to insure his own safety first, rather than to be concerned with the safety of others who were involved in the accident. Your conduct during this emergency, especially in view of the fact that you yourself were injured in the fall, is considered most exemplary, and in accordance with the highest ideals of the Naval Service.
And then in early June 1927 word of this heroic event reached all the way to the Secretary of The Navy. Acting Secretary Richard Henry Leigh wrote the following commendation, which was then delivered to Coxswain Tice on June 8 by Captain Freeman aboard the USS Seattle.
From: The Secretary of the Navy
1. The Commanding Officer of the USS Seattle has brought to the attention of the Department the heroic conduct displayed by you on the occasion of the fatal injury of the late Claude A. Le Cureux, U.S. Navy.
2. It appears that on 18 March 1927 at about 4:00 p.m., the first motor launch of the USS Seattle was being hoisted aboard. The boat had reached the required height to be swung into the skids and the signal had been given, but before the crane could move, at least one link of the after sling carried away and the stern of the boat fell. Another open link of the stern sling carried away, releasing the wire leg to the stern sling, but leaving attached to this wire leg a heavy shackle, ring and broken link. The wire sling went forward and struck Le Cureux, his right leg was jammed between the bow of the boat and the forward sling and amputated below the knee, allowing him to fall into the water. He also suffered a crushed pelvis and crushed chest. Regardless of the fact that you were injured at the time of this accident, you swam to the assistance of Le Crueux and succeeded in supporting him on the surface of the water until a boat arrived and you were both taken aboard.
3. It is a pleasure to the Department to commend you for your unselfish disregard of your own personal comfort on this occasion. It is reported that you suffered a lacerated left knee and that you’re right upper leg was injured but regardless of this fact you rendered every possible assistance to your shipmate who was fatally injured.
Signed R. H Leigh
Harry Tice was married sometime after duty with the USS Seattle and 1938. Harry and his wife Hazel had their first and only child, a son named Harry Allan Tice who was born on August 20, 1929. The son, Harry A. married on May 9, 1959 to Alina Ferretti and she has shared the photo and information about Chief Harry Tice, her father-in-law.
The above photo shows Chief Boatswain Harry Tice. It is known that he entered the Navy during WWII on January 8, 1942 and in the photo Harry has 4 Service Stripes on his are. The Navy and Marine Corps both wear Service Stripes and each one represents 4 years of service, so Chief Tice would have been in the Navy for at least 16 years in this photo and this would date it to at least 1958 or 1959.
During WWII Harry was still on active service with the US Navy and served through out the war years at the rating of Chief Boatswain Mate.
It is not known when Harry Tice closed his career in the military but sometime after he worked as a Merchant Marine aboard the USNS Sgt. Archer T. Gammon. This ship was a 1,455’ Victory ship launched in January of 1945 with her original name of Yale Victory. In March of 1950 she was transferred to the Military Sea Transport Service (MSTS) and given the name USNS Sgt. Archer T. Gammon. As a point of interest Harry Tice’s son, Harry Allan Tice served on the USS Yale Victory during 1946.
While serving aboard the Archer Gammon, Harry Tice distinguished himself again. At an unknown date but must have been between March of 1950 and his death in March of 1967, Harry received a Distinguished Sea Rescue Award from the American Merchant Marine Institute. Apparently during a Typhoon, the USNS Sgt. Archer T. Gammon came to the rescue of a sinking Japanese ship named Yoneyama Maru. Harry Tice was there to help in the same way he did in 1927 when he came to the aid of a fellow shipmate.
Harry Tice lived at the end of his life in San Francisco, California and it was on March 25, 1967 that he passed away of a heart attack while still serving in the Navy. On March 29, 1967 Harry Tice, a man who lived most of his life on the sea, was buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery, Section J, Site 42-D.
Lester P. Lipe was born on May 23, 1890 in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the time of his registering for the Federal Draft on June 5, 1917 Lester lived at 1411 Belmont Street in Washington D.C. where he worked for the Federal Government as a Mechanical Engineer for the Signal Corps. Lester was married and had one child in June of 1917 and possible his mother may have lived with him at his home on Belmont Street.
Previous to WWI Lester had served 7 years in the U. S. Navy as a Machinist Mate 2nd Class. Lester was a medium built man with grey eyes and dark hair. He was slightly balding and on his Draft card he listed that he was missing his middle finger on his left hand. This apparently did not keep him from serving a second time in the navy. During WWI Lester served aboard the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle. Lester reported aboard the Seattle on May 8, 1917 and was involved with the launching of airplanes from a catapult constructed on the stern of the ship. Additionally Lester may have served at the Pensacola Naval Station before reporting to the Seattle.
Undated photo of USS Seattle crewman Sterling Wing Lockwood, standing left end.
It is assumed the the other three sailors are also Seattle crewmen.
Theron DeWitt Carter shown in an undated photo but his rating sleeve patch shows that of a Quartermaster Second Class.
Undated photo with Theron Shown as a Warrant Officer, third from the left.
Theron DeWitt Carter was a career navy man and at the time of his death had served more than 20-years in the navy, serving on several ships and shore stations.
Theron Carter, born in February of 1898, was the son of William Carter a 36-year old man who had been widowed prior to 1900 and was left to raise three children. The children were Willard, Mildred and Theron the youngest. Theron’s father, William Carter was one of four sons born to Mary E. and William H. Carter Sr., of Washington, New Jersey. In 1880 the William Carter Sr. family consisted four sons, Henry, J. Calvin, William Jr., and Ellsworth.
In the early summer of 1900 the William Carter Jr. family was living on 9th Street in Keyport, New Jersey where William supported his three children and Georgiana Walters who was the housekeeper William employed, by working in the garment industry as a shirt cutter.
Ten years later in 1910 the William Carter Jr. family still lived on 9th Street with William still working in the garment industry. By then eldest son Willard was away from the home serving in the navy. Now living in the home with William Jr., Mildred and Theron was William’s 78-year old father, William Sr. While Theron’s oldest brother Willard, was serving in the navy he likely saw inspiration from his brother and one day he too would follow his brothers footsteps and put on the blue uniform of a sailor.
It is not known for sure when Theron first entered the service but it is surmised to be sometime about 1916 due to the fact that Theron had left in his box of mementos a program from a Ball put on by the crew on June 15, 1916. Also in another of his photos of himself from the time he is shown in a Quartermaster's uniform and on his left sleeve are two service stripes showing that he had served at least one year in the war zone during WWI. In the 1920 Federal Census, Theron is listed aboard the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle as a Chief Quartermaster. He was then a 21-year old single man and listed his home of record in Keyport, New Jersey.
About 1924 Theron married and his wife’s first name was Margaret. She was six years younger than Theron born on June 10, 1903, and was English born having come to America in late 1903 as an infant. Theron and Margaret’s first child was born when Theron was stationed in Massachusetts likely at the Boston Navy Yard. They named their first child a daughter, Margaret in honor of her mother. The second and third children were also born in Massachusetts, Virginia and Theron DeWitt II.
About 1929 Theron was transferred to the Naval Station in Key West, Florida and he was now a Naval Warrant Officer. About that same time after the family was living in Key West another son named William was born. The family lived in a rented home on South Street in Key West City. Following duty in Key West Theron was stationed in New Jersey for a time and then finally at the Charleston, South Carolina Navy Yard.
His last duty was as the Executive Officer of the Naval Tug Umpqua (AT-25). The Umpqua was build and launched in 1919 and was a tug of exceptional power and seagoing ability. Umpqua spend nearly her entire service life working from the Charleston Navy yard in the 6th Naval District performing heavy duty towing and tug operations for the Atlantic Fleet.
In early February of 1940 the Umpqua with Chief Boatswain Theron Carter as the Executive Officer, was working in and around Guantanamo, Cuba. In the days before February 13 Chief Carter took ill and passed away in Guantanamo at the naval base. His body was then prepared for transport to the Norfolk, Virginia Navy Base aboard the destroyer USS Helena. His body was then taken to Washington, DC where his funeral was held in the Chapel in Arlington National Cemetery where he was subsequently buried in Section 6, Site 9329 on March 2, 1940. His wife Margaret and three children survived him. Margaret at the time was living at 59 Fenwick Drive in Windemere, South Carolina.
Margaret P. Carter would live on until she passed away on November 21, 1997 and was buried next to her husband in the Arlington National Cemetery. Theron’s son Theron DeWitt Carter II carried on the family tradition of the Carter serving in the Navy first begun by Willard Carter.
Theron Dewitt Carter II served in the navy starting about 1946, serving aboard several landing ships, LSM 480, LST 553, LSM 333, the escort carrier USS Wake Island (CVE-65), the destroyer tender USS Frontier (AD-25) and the destroyer USS McCaffery (DD-860).
Group photo of Chief Petty Officers of the USS Seattle.
Theron DeWitt Carter shown with a fishing pole and at least 3 large fish on his stringer.
On the deck just to the right of the fish is a small cat waiting for supper.
Theron stands behind what appears to be a 5-inch deck gun, he also is wearing a Chief’s hat.
Another undated photo of Warrant Officer Chief Boatswain Theron DeWitt Carter shown on a Quarterdeck of possible a battleship.
The USS Washington Marching Flag. This flag would have been used when a company of the Washington's men would march in formation.
Strangely the "T" in Washington seems to be underlined.
This is a photo of the outside cover of a small program of a Ball given by the crew of the USS Washington on June 15, 1916
Inside of the program showing the Informal Ball given by the crew of the USS Washington, Freeman's Hall June 15, 1916.
Theodore B. Henthorne was the son of Grant and Ida (Williamson) Henthorne and was born on May 3, 1889 in Sidney, Illinois. Theodore Henthorne entered into service in the United States Navy at an unknown age and the only record of his service comes from a photo post card of he and his “Dynamo Busters” that he had sent back to his aunt in the states. The date of the writing on the backs is November 13, 1909 and was written when the USS Washington, the ship he was serving on was in Manila, Philippine Islands.
Henthorne was an Electrician Third Class and worked in the Dynamo room of the USS Washington. The dynamo of a US Navy ship is basically the electrical generator that is powered by the steam from the ships boilers. The Dynamo room is located deep down within the hull near the engine rooms but always in a separate compartment to keep the moisture and steam from shorting out the dynamo. The Dynamo room of the ship is where all the electrical circuits come to and are controlled from.
Seaman Henthorne most likely joined the Washington prior to the time she was leaving Hampton Roads, Virginia on October 12, 1908, when she was ordered to for the Special Pathfinder Squadron with her sister ship Tennessee. They were to join the other Armored Cruisers and scout a route that the main Battleship fleet would take when they cruised around the world, which was known as the famous cruise of the “Great White Fleet.” The Washington arrived in Manila, P.I. on October 30, 1909 about 2 weeks before Seaman Henthorne writes his post card to his aunt.
Above is the front side showing Henthorne seated 2nd on the left with his legs crossed. On the back of the post card Seaman Henthorne writes:
Nov. 13, 1909
Dear Aunt: Here is a bunch of “dynamo busters” and myself photographed sitting on the anchor chain. You will recognize me as the 2nd one on the left setting. This is the way the front row looks in their everyday life on the ship. The ones in the back row are “Posing a trifle.”
Yours Ted Henthorne
After a cruise all around the Pacific Ocean aboard the Washington, Henthorne and his “Dynamo Busters” finally reach Bremerton, Washington after a final cruise from Hawaii on March 3, 1910. The Washington then underwent a period of overhaul in the Bremerton Navy Yard and she was still there on June 11, 1910 the day that the 1910 Federal Census was taken aboard the ship. Seaman Theodore B. Henthorne, Electrician Third Class was listed with the other third Class Electricians of the ship where he is recorded as a 21-year old single sailor born in Illinois. His father and mother are only listed as having been born in the United States.
The final chapter in the life of Seaman Henthorne ends four years later on April 8, 1914. That was the day he died from the effects of Tuberculosis. It was not known if he was still in the navy at that time, but he was buried back in his home state of Illinois. Today Theodore B. Henthorne rests in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Danville, Illinois.