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Great White Fleet Visits West Coast

SAN DIEGO一 The USS Louisiana was photographed off the coast of Coronado, California, on April 14, 1908, during the “Great White Fleet’s” visit to the west coast. The fleet anchored off the Hotel del Coronado and spent four days in San Diego before departing for Los Angeles on April 18. In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt sent the “Great White Fleet” around the world as part of a show of strength to American advisories. Roosevelt wanted to use this time of peace to expose any failures in the fleet and impress upon the Japanese that the U.S. could shift its strength from the Atlantic to the Pacific where there were mounting tensions. “I want all failures, blunders, and shortcomings to be made apparent in time of peace and not in time of war,” said Roosevelt before the fleet’s departure. The fleet consisted of sixteen new battleships added to the Atlantic Fleet. The ships were painted white except for folded scrollwork on their bows. There were four squadrons of warships manned by 14,000 sailors and marines under the command of Rear Admiral Robley, “Fighting Bob” Evans, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command website. The deployment of the fleet is considered the first round-the-world cruise by a fleet of steam-powered steel battleships. It was a 43,000-mile journey that took 14 months and had 20 port calls on six continents.

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