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Newspaper Page Text
MARCH 7, 1909.
Around the World with the Fleet
IN THE HARBOR AT GIBRALTAR
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THE FLEET'S TOUR OF THE WORLD
round-the-world trip of our fleet of battleships is likely to
be a lifelong epoch in the history of our nation," said Gen.
Tracy, former secretary of the navy. "It was a great thing
to do, a wonderful performance in fact, particularly as the ships have
reached our shores in as good condition as when they went away.
The trip is sure to attach a great reputation to our navy. There is
no doubt at all that the experience and competency to our officers
and men gained through the cruise will be invaluable to the service.
"If we were to meet the enemy today, these men and officers
who have been on the cruise would be infinitely superior to men who
have not an intimate knowledge of sea experience and of battleship
maneuvers. This experience they could not have got in any other
way. They have acquired practical knowledge of how to handle
ships of wai to the best advantage.
"The cruise has awakened the public mind to a realization of the
fact that it is unwise to have a battleship fleet on one side of our
coast and not on the other. In a word, that we should go on increas
ing the number and size of our ships. Nearly twenty years ago I
said of the Panama canal that with it we should support two separate
and distinct navies—one on each coast. But it would not be ad
vantageous to divide even a large navy into two smaller ones on each
coast, because the division would make the whole worth nothing
practically. With the completion of the canal it will be absolutely
incumbent upon us to not only defend that waterway but also to have
LOS ANGELES HERALD SUNDAY MAGAZINE
THE NEW DOCKS, CONBIDEBED A 8 IDEAL, BY MANY NAVAL AUTHORITIES.
GEN. BENJAMIN F. TRACY, FORMER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, COM
MENTS ON THE WONDERFUL ACHIEVEMENT OF THE A MERICAN NAVY
a formidable fleet in each ocean. It is not a question of cost. It is a
matter of defense, a protection to our commerce and our homes.
"A navy that is largely inferior to another is of no use, because
a larger navy will destroy it at the first onslaught. If I were in con
gress I should vote for four battleships of 26,000 tons each and
equipped with the most approved armor and armament for defense
and offense. We need them. I believe in ships that are able to put
those of any other nation at hors de combat whenever occasion de
manded us so to do.
"What is to be the limit of the size of battleships I do not know.
I thought when I was secretary of the navy that in the construction
of the Massachusetts and the Oregon, each of 10,000 tons, the largest
and most powerful article of war had been reached. They were
larger than anything that England, France and Germany had. But
the moment that the Oregon and Massachusetts were completed
England set to work to build larger battleships. So it goes on.
"England builds larger ships than a rival nation. The other na
tion then builds larger ships than England. Once again England
sets the pace for size and aggressiveness of construction, only to
have the honor wrested from her as time goes by.
"We have 4000 miles of sea coast to protect, and along this
enormous territory there are many large cities. Besides we shall
have to guard the Panama canal. We have got to maintain a large
navy, and this cruise has tended to show the public the importance
of our navy. It has taught the public the necessity of a large and
powerful fleet. If no other end was served, this wonderful cruise
has been invaluable to the American nation in that way."