Champions of the Fleet
They joined the Navy to see the world, and what did they see? They saw the sea!
The story is murky, but when a pair of great uncles were ejected from the family farm circa 1912 they ran off and joined the US Navy. It’s not clear if they expected to see the world, but at least it was refuge from rural Missouri and from whatever “misunderstanding” that prompted their flight.
One or both were posted to the USS Wyoming, BB-32, which served as the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet at the time. Fortunately, a number of post cards and photos survived to chronicle life aboard the USS Wyoming and provide some insight into its travels. The crew definitely saw quite a bit of the New York Navy Yard, specifically the dry dock, and later Hampton Roads, from which they made forays to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Culebra, Puerto Rico; and US occupied Veracruz, Mexico.
With the US entry into WWI, the Wyoming, as part of Battleship Division 9, was dispatched to Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands to reinforce the British Grand Fleet. It’s safe to say the crew logged quite a bit of sea time in 1918, escorting convoys to and from Norway and patrolling the North Sea. All in all, the war was relatively uneventful for the crew of the USS Wyoming. Interestingly, they were on hand for the internment of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow following the Armistice. The Wyoming returned to New York, arriving on Christmas Day 1918, where the pictorial record ends.
The images from this trove have inspired us to explore naval themes as we design and develop new products. We look forward to sharing the details with you as we introduce new pieces to the collection.