THE UNITED STATES NAVY
JULY 1, 1923
USS ARKANSAS in the 1920's.
US Navy Photo from the Navy History and Heritage Command On-Line Library.
As far as I know, this photo is in the public domain.
While going through the government documents section of a university library several years ago, I came across The Navy Directory from July 1, 1923. This
document contained not only listings of the commissioned and warrant officers of the service, but also organizational tables for forces both ashore and afloat.
Using it, as well as other resources, I compiled the following pages.

At this time the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 was just about to be put into effect, with the last of the signatories in the process of following the US in ratifying
the agreement. This marked the beginning of the so-called "Treaty Era" in which the fortunes of the Navy suffered, due to the lack of public and political will to
maintain a powerful and effective naval force. Still, the Navy was expected to safeguard the nation's interests in the Western hemisphere and overseas. Though
some senior officers still saw Britain as a potential foe, most assumed any future naval conflict would entail battle with the forces of Imperial Japan.

The organization of the fleet reflects this fact. The Battle Fleet, made up of the most modern Battleships, backed up by two squadrons of the Navy's WWI era
destroyers, the best of an inferior batch of submarines, and, eventually, the Navy's first, experimental, aircraft carrier, was stationed in the Pacific, with homeports
in San Diego and Los Angeles, and Navy Yards in San Francisco and the Seattle area. The Scouting Fleet, made up of older, coal-burning battleships and two
Destroyer squadrons, backed up by patrol planes and the Control Force of older submarines, made up the Atlantic station. Detachments served in European and
Caribbean waters, while the weak Asiatic Fleet kept watch over US interests in China and the Philippines. Marine brigades occupied and policed Haiti and the
Dominican Republic, and the Navy administered various Pacific outposts.

The information presented on the following pages helps show how the Navy stood as it began a decline which would not be reversed until war clouds hung over
Europe and Asia at the end of the 1930's. One key thing to notice is the almost complete lack of cruisers. The Omaha-class light cruisers neared completion, but
for the most part the Navy possessed only a handful of old scout cruisers mainly used as flagships for detached units. The Navy Directory also included a "War"
organization chart, showing how the fleet would be aligned in an emergency. It includes ships, such as LEXINGTON and SARATOGA which, as it turned out, would
not be commissioned for years.

FORCES AFLOAT

BATTLE FLEET
SCOUTING FLEET
CONTROL FORCE
NAVAL FORCES, EUROPE/SPECIAL SERVICE SQUADRON
BASE FORCE
SHIPS ON SPECIAL OR OTHER ASSIGNMENT/NOT YET COMMISSIONED
ASIATIC FLEET
VESSELS OUT OF COMMISSION
VESSELS UNDER CONSTRUCTION OR AUTHORIZED
SPECIAL "WAR" FLEET ORGANIZATION TABLE

SHORE ESTABLISHMENT

OFFICE OF SECRETARY, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, AND CNO
BUREAUS
BASES NEAR WASHINGTON, DC
NAVAL DISTRICTS
MARINE CORPS UNITS

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USS OMAHA as built, circa 1923.
US Navy Photo from the NAVSOURCE photo archive.
As far as I know, this photo is in the public domain.
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