Haze Gray Photo Feature

Great White Fleet Auxiliaries

These seldom-seen auxiliaries supplied and supported the fleet during its long voyage. All of these ships were former civilian vessels, acquired by the Government to supplement the fleet during the Spanish-American War. They were the predecessors to the vast fleets of auxiliaries which were a feature of the US Navy during and after WWII.

Stores Ship Culgoa
Lt. Commander John B. Patton
Culgoa was built for commercial service in 1889. After being purchased by the Navy, she served in the western Pacific area until 1901, then shifted to the Atlantic, where she served for most of her career. She decommissioned in 1921 and sold in the following year.
Stores Ship Glacier
Commander William S. Hogg
Glacier was built for commercial service in 1891, named Port Chalmers, and was renamed Glacier soon after the Navy purchased her. She was detached from the Great White Fleet at Cavite in October 1908, and served primarily in the Pacific for the remainder of her career. The old ship was decommissioned in 1922, and sold the same year. At right: A boat and crew from Glacier.
Repair Ship Panther
Commander Valentine S. Nelson
This ship started life as a passenger liner named Austin, and was acquired by the Navy as an auxiliary cruiser. After the war most of her time was spent in reserve and as a station ship before being outfitted as a repair ship for the world cruise. She finished life as a destroyer tender, and was sold in 1923. At right: Panther's machine shop crew.
Yacht Yankton
Lt. Walter R. Gherardi, later Lt. Commander Charles B. McVay
This yacht, although of no military use whatsoever, was brought along for use in ceremonies and as a status symbol. She had been built as the yacht Penelope in 1893, and was purchased by the Navy in 1898 as a patrol ship. She was sold into commercial service in 1921, spent time as a rumrunner, and was eventually scrapped in 1930.
Hospital Ship Relief
Surgeon Charles F. Stokes
Built as the passenger liner John English, this ship was purchased by the Army for service as a hospital ship in 1898. She was transferred to the Navy in 1902 and was recommissioned in 1908 to support the world cruise. She joined the fleet in California early in 1908, but only made it to the Philippines before being detached in November 1908. Damaged by a storm while attempting to return to the US, she spent the next 11 years at Olongapo, PI, as a stationary floating hospital, eventually renamed Repose. Sold into merchant service in 1919, she apparently became a war loss during WWII.

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