FLORINA, Malta — USS Barry (DDG-52) arrived here for a short visit to mark the 100th anniversary of the "Great White Fleet," a historic U.S. Navy goodwill voyage around the world that included a stop in Malta in 1909.
In 1907, Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States, sent a portion of the Atlantic fleet on a world tour to generate international goodwill. Sixteen battleships, plus auxiliary support ships and 14,000 sailors and Marines, embarked on the 14-month journey that covered some 43,000 miles and made twenty port calls on six continents. The participating ships, painted white except for gilded scrollwork on their bows, later became known as the "Great White Fleet."
This naval voyage demonstrated to the world the United States' friendship and its commitment to enhancing multilateral relations. "The Great White Fleet" reached the Mediterranean in December 1908 and offered invaluable assistance during the devastating earthquake which hit Messina, Italy at that time. Following its humanitarian mission in Messina, the fleet spent a few days in Malta between January 14 and 19, 1909.
During its port visit, USS Barry will commemorate this historic event with a number of activities, including a reception hosted by U.S. Amb. Molly Bordonaro and Navy Rear Adm. Joe Leidig, U.S. Sixth Fleet deputy commander, in honor of Maltese dignitaries. In keeping with the U.S. Navy tradition, members of the crew will volunteer some of their free time to give a helping hand at a number of local charitable institutions.