It would be unseemly if a national ship that has attained the venerable age of 93 should end her career without some recognition of her long and faithful service.
The Santee has ever been unique. No other ship has been more abused and ridiculed, and yet none has been more faithful in the performance of the humble duty required of her. While few ships have served so long, no other has the Department been able to hold with such absolute continuity at her station. Further, what are the three years required for the building of the modern battleship in comparison with the 35 years that elapsed between the laying of the keel and the launching of this old frigate, followed by six additional years before she was ready for her first cruise? According to a Naval Academy ditty of the late '90's, the midshipmen boasted of her as their fastest ship:
"That is the Santee prison ship
On which we take our yearly trip;
She is the fastest thing around."
"How can that be?"
"She's fast aground."