February 22, 1909, the Great White Fleet returned from its cruise around the world. The fleet of 16 battleships and various escorts sailed 43,000 nautical miles and made 20 port calls on 6 continents. In addition to exhibiting goodwill, the mission helped accomplish Theodore Roosevelt’s goal of establishing the U.S. as a global naval power. Experience gained from the journey led to improved ship design and more effective fleet operations.