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Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Leaders

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson led the U.S. Navy during World War I.  Admiral Benson was the first Chief of Naval Operations following establishment on March 3, 1915.   Franklin D. Roosevelt, the future thirty-second President of the United States, served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.   Vice Admiral William S. Sims was quickly, and secretly, dispatched to liaison with the British Admiralty, arriving on April 9.  Remaining in London, he served as Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European waters.   Consulting with the British, he recommended the most effective use of the U.S. Navy.   Once in London, Sims learned the German U-Boat situation was drastically more serious than originally told by the British.    If the merchant ship loss continued, Britain would have been starved by November.   To lead the fight with the enemy in  Atlantic and European waters, Admiral Henry T. Mayo was ordered to become Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet. 

Image:  NH 57088:  Honorable Josephus Daniels with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt.   U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.