From 1907 to 1909 the Great White Fleet of U.S. battleships made its debut on the global stage with an around-the-world cruise. The ships completed their voyage at Hampton Roads, Virginia, on Washington's Birthday in 1909, two weeks before the conclusion of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency. During Roosevelt's nearly eight years in office, the Navy commissioned 16 battleships, each armed with four 12-inch guns as the main battery. All were rendered obsolete when the first two U.S. dreadnought-type battleships, the South Carolina and Michigan, joined the fleet in early 1910. Each of the new ones mounted eight 12-inch guns.
Battleship Sailors of the Dreadnought Era
For the men who served on board the U.S. Navy's battleships in the 1910s, life at sea often meant backbreaking work shoveling coal or manning the guns, little chance for liberty, and a night's sleep in a hammock instead of a bunk.
By Paul Stillwell