south carolina olympia committee



♦ Oldest steel hull warship afloat

♦ Beginning of the modern U.S. Blue Water Navy

♦ Dewey’s flagship at Battle of Manila Bay

♦ Only remaining ship from the Spanish-American War

♦ 1919-Murmansk Landings

♦ 1921-Returned remains of the Unknown Soldier from France to Arlington

♦ USNA Training Ship

♦ Naval & Mechanical Engineering treasure

The South Carolina Olympia Committee's Mission: To Bring One of America’s Most Historic Ships to One of America’s Most Historic Towns
—Project Highlights

January 2013

  1. The chosen SCOC berthing site for the USS Olympia is one of the most historic towns in America, dating back to the arrival of the Spanish in 1521, the French in 1562 and the English in 1670.
  2. The U.S. Navy played a major role in the Battle of Port Royal led by Admiral DuPont. It was the earliest amphibious operations of the American Civil War, in which a United States Navy fleet and United States Army expeditionary force captured Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, on November 7, 1861.
  3. The U.S. Naval Station was established during the Civil War as a Union coaling station and home station command of the Union South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
  4. With concerns of an impending conflict with the Spanish in Cuba, a large dry-dock was built in 1891 - 1895, the only one south of Norfolk VA. It was the largest dry dock ever built by the U.S government. For eight years, until the navy yard was permanently moved to Charleston, Parris Island was among the U.S. Navy’s principle repair facilities on the east coast. Paulo Coletta in his United States Navy and Marine Corp Bases publication refers to Port Royal in the following quote. “The war with Spain in 1898 saw Port Royal serve her country once again with honor and distinction. Ships of all sizes, from the battleship MAINE to the smallest man-of-war, put in to be fitted out, repaired, provisioned, or put out of commission. At least twenty-two naval vessels called at Port Royal for one reason or another during this period of crisis."
  5. In 1915, Parris Island was officially designated a Marine Corps recruit depot. The MCRD has played a vital role since then providing Marines trained and ready for service. During World War II alone 205,000 recruits went through the Parris Island Training. Today The MCRD will train approximately 20,000 graduates and will host over 80,000 recruit family members for graduations now with extended family days. The Marine Corps Air station, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, veteran groups and the large population of retired veterans represent a strong support base with strong interest and appreciation in military history.

The Opportunity

  1. The town of Port Royal with its rich history would offer a unique opportunity for the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps to showcase the important roles they played during the Spanish American War. If the Olympia could be berthed in Port Royal it would be the forth National Historic Site from the Spanish American War including the Historic and Generals Quarters on Parris Island, The batteries and the Hospital at Fort Fremont.

Pete Richards
South Carolina Olympia Committee, Inc.

Download PDF of this letter HERE