Last Mission of the USS Olympia — Carrying the Unknown Soldier Home


USS Olympia at the Battle of Manila Bay

On Memorial Day, an updated repost from six years ago about the last mission of the USS Olympia in 1921, when she carried an American unknown soldier killed during World War I  from a cemetery in France back to the Washington to be in entombed Arlington National Cemetery.   The Olympia was decommissioned the following year. 

USS Olympia is the oldest steel-hulled American warship afloat and Commodore George Dewey’s flagship during the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898.  The ship is is now a museum ship at Philadelphia’s Independence Seaport Museum.

Memorial Day: Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and has never been officially named. The Tomb of the Unknowns stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. On March 4, 1921, Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater.

On Memorial Day, 1921, four unknowns were exhumed from four World War I American cemeteries in France. U.S. Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger, who was wounded in combat, highly decorated for valor and received the Distinguished Service Medal in “The Great War, the war to end all wars,” selected the Unknown Soldier of World War I from four identical caskets at the city hall in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, Oct. 24, 1921. Sgt. Younger selected the unknown by placing a spray of white roses on one of the caskets. He chose the third casket from the left. The chosen unknown soldier was transported to the United States aboard the USS Olympia.

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One Response to Last Mission of the USS Olympia — Carrying the Unknown Soldier Home

  1. Irwin Bryan says:

    Rick,
    I forwarded this to a contact at Independence Seaport Museum. An important mission for USS Olympia they may not be aware of!

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