Silk Embroidered Pictorial Souvenir of an American Sailor's Cruise Aboard the "U.S.S. Relief", with phrase "In Remembrance of My Cruise in China, Japan, Philippines & Hawaii" with a photograph of the sailor with embroidered eagle above, surrounded with 8 flags of nations above an embroidered oval vignette of the U.S.S. Relief
16 ¾ in. x 13 ¾ in.
The U.S.S. Relief namesake was "Aid Given in Time of Need". The sixth USS Relief, the first ship of the United States Navy designed and built from the keel up as a hospital ship, was laid down 14 June 1917 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched 23 December 1919; and commissioned 28 December 1920 at Philadelphia, Commander Richmond C. Holcomb, Medical Corps, USN, in command.
With a bed capacity of 550 patients, Relief was one of the world's most modern and best equipped hospital ships. Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, she departed Philadelphia 26 February 1921 to provide fleet units on Caribbean maneuvers with all the facilities of a modern shore hospital.
Relief returned north to Philadelphia 28 April 1921 to serve the fleet in waters ranging from the Virginia Capes to the New England coast. During this service Captain Holcomb was relieved of command 5 September 1921 by Captain Thomas L. Johnson, a line officer. Following a proclamation made by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, it had been customary for hospital ships to be commanded by medical officers. But now, as a result of a review decision of the Judge Advocate General 6 June 1921, the old tradition of line officer command of ships was re-established.
As a result of this decision, Navy Regulations were changed, and the controversy ended. (Change No. 2 to 1920 Navy Regulations.)
Relief continued to serve the Atlantic Fleet until the conclusion of the winter-spring maneuvers of 1923, which took her to Cuba and Panama Bay. Departing the Panama Canal Zone 31 March 1923 for San Diego, California, she arrived 12 April. There she relieved USS Mercy (AH-4) as hospital ship for the Pacific Fleet and participated in fleet battle problems conducted northward to Alaska and westward to Hawaii. Her usual employment schedule was interrupted 1 July 1925 when she sailed from Pearl Harbor to join the Battle Fleet as it made its good will practice cruise via the Samoan Islands to Australia and New Zealand. She returned to San Pedro, California, 26 September 1925 and continued to serve the Pacific Fleet as the National Emergency preparations swelled the ranks of sailors and marines. This duty ended 3 June 1941 when Relief departed San Diego en route Norfolk, Virginia.
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