100th  Anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt's
"Great White Fleet"
Pier 30 | May 21, 2008 | Seattle, Washington

One hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt sent a component of the Atlantic Fleet on a world tour to test United States naval readiness, establish global presence and generate international goodwill.  President Roosevelt sent 16 battleships, plus auxiliary support ships, and 14,000 Sailors and Marines to embark on the 14-month journey that covered 43,000 miles and made 20 ports of call on 6 continents.  One of those visits by "The Great White Fleet" was to the Seattle area.
In commemoration of the centennial, two Navy ships, the USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and the USS Preble (DDG 88) and a Navy Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) hovercraft visited Seattle to parade on Elliot Bay, conduct ship tours, and hosted a reception to commemorate this historic 100th anniversary.

An impressive parade of ships (which included and were escorted by the fireboats of Seattle's waterfront)  passed by Pier 66 and Bell Tower on May 20, 2008 at approx. 12:15pm on their way to docking at Pier 30 for the May 21st festivities.


USS Rushmore

Historic Perspective:

In 1907, the ships departed Hampton Roads, Virginia, to become the first global naval voyage in history.  The participating ships, painted white except for gilded scrollwork on their bows, became known as "The Great White Fleet".  The message to the world was that the United States had arrived as a significant world power, outward looking, and filled with goodwill towards every nation.

Honoring the 100th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt's GWF deployment underscores the Navy's commitment to sustaining a Navy and Marine Corps responsive to the challenges of the 21st century.  Today, informed by its diplomatic tradition, the US Navy continues to work with partners to deter aggressors, protect the right to operate freely at sea, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief around the world.

USS Preble

Together with the Navy, "Miss Michele" put on a beautifully orchestrated event.  Examples of the dignitaries who were invited on board ranged from representatives of the Navy League, present and former Navy Commanders and Directors, various Consuls of foreign governments who are based in Seattle, famous war heroes, and the media, to a note-worthy "Teddy Roosevelt" reenactor (Joe Wiegand), and of course members of Somewhere in Time Unlimited who were dressed in 1908 attire!

SITU's gentlemen wore "tophat and tails", gloves and walking sticks, while the ladies of the group wore lovely gowns, jackets, elaborate hats, gloves and parasols.

The Somewhere in Time group had been asked and then invited to be the official "Welcoming Committee" as the dignitaries boarded the vessel.  There were many precarious gang-planks, tall platforms and steps to navigate (pardon the pun), especially difficult when in tall heels or carrying parasols!

Some SITU members greeted people as they came up the steep steps to the flight deck...

... others mingled with guests on the flight deck "aft" as  guests cleared the staircase.  From here, the view of downtown Seattle as well as the harbor was stunning!

The next group of SITU members were positioned just outside of the massive white tenting which had been set up to guard us all against the elements and in which the incredible spread of food was waiting for everyone to enjoy.

Many, many photos were taken by visitors and the press.
{**If you happen to have any, would you consider sharing them with us so we can post them here?}
Once inside the tent, a drinks bar serving wine/beer and soft-drinks, as well as a most lavish meal was spread out for everyone to enjoy.  Servings of roast beef, chicken, jumbo shrimp, rounds of bread heaped full of various seafood mixes or vegetarian delights, cheese and cracker platter, fruit platter, breads, and an entire table dedicated just to desserts awaited the hungry celebrants.  When a young Navy enlisted was asked who the catering company was, he shyly but proudly replied that the staff on-board had provided all the wonderful food and had done the preparations.  A hearty round of applause for a job WELL done!!!

After dinner, everyone was invited to disembark to a tent waiting on the pier where the Navy Band played several tunes.  Guest speakers and “Teddy” made wonderful and moving presentations.  A young enlisted woman was awarded a sort of “most valuable player” kind of honor for the USS Rushmore.  Another young enlisted man awarded from the USS Preble.  {**Forgive Lady Victoria for not noting the title of the award.}


"Star Spangled Banner"


SITU thanking guests for attending.

Joe Wiegand as "Theodore Roosevelt".  Click HERE for his website@

The beautiful video presentation about the Navy and the service they provide was so rousing, it caused at least one female SITU member to comment, “Sign me up!”

If you are truly interested in considering a career in the US Navy, please click HERE for further info.

The finale of the evening’s celebrations was concluded by a barbershop quartet from the Navy Band, NW Region singing the original words to “Stars and Stripes Forever”.  Wow!!! 

 If I am able to obtain a sound clip of them singing, I shall post it here onto this website as well as the SITUSeattle blog.  (Click here to see the blog.)


"...and forever in peace may it wave."

Thank you again, Miss Michele, for your efforts to coordinate the celebrations and to invite SITU members to participate in such a momentous occasion.  Those of us who were honored to be invited, were impressed by the honor and kindness shown to our group.  We are truly blessed to have such perfect examples of military personnel and it was a delight to be counted in relationship with such fine American patriots!

“Hats off” too, to the Officers and Crews of the USS Rushmore and Preble.  Well done.  Well done.  Bully! Bully!  Bully!!!!


For more information about The Great White Fleet, go to: www.navy.mil/gwf

  Updated July 22, 2008  
Photo on Event Tab courtesy of Hampton Roads Naval Museum,
G. Calhoun, Editor/Historian

Return to home page.