The USS Skaneateles

In 1920, Henry (“Harry”) Latrobe Roosevelt, a former Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, inherited Roosevelt Hall in Skaneateles from the estate of his uncle, S. Montgomery Roosevelt. In the 1920s, Harry and his family lived primarily in Paris, but in 1930, they reopened the mansion. That summer, and again in 1932, they hosted Harry’s cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was Governor of New York on his first visit and a candidate for the U.S. Presidency on his second. In 1933, the newly elected President confirmed Harry’s appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. One of the perks of the job was a launch at the Washington Navy Yard. Harry’s boat was a former Coast Guard “rum chaser,” the USS Onondaga. On June 1, 1934, Harry had the boat rechristened the USS Skaneateles.


The launch’s time under this name was a short one. Harry Roosevelt died in Washington, D.C., in 1936. Under his successor as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Charles Edison, the launch was rechristened the USS Milan in October of 1937.

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Photo of the USS Skaneateles/USS Milan by Theodore N. Silberstein, also known as Ted Stone.


2 thoughts on “The USS Skaneateles

    • Some more, but the veil drops in 1946: “After her rechristening as USS Milan, (YP‑6), a former district patrol vessel, was tied up at the Washington Navy Yard for the use of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. With the outbreak of World War II, she was returned to patrol duties. In the middle of the war she was loaned, for a brief period, to the dock department, City of New York, after which she returned to the Washington, D.C., area, stationed at Dahlgren, Virginia. Declared to be excess to the needs of the Navy on 5 April 1946, Milan was turned over to War Shipping Administration for disposal on 7 July 1946 and sold on 27 July 1946.”

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