Document Signed by Both of the Great War Presidents of the 20th Century, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt

A very scarce document, being our first in decades

Ernest G. Small had a distinguished naval career, ending up as a Rear Admiral. From 1940-1942, he headed the Ordnance and Gunnery Department at the Naval Academy. On April 10, 1942, he assumed command of the heavy cruiser USS Salt Lake City and was subsequently awarded the Navy Cross for heroism for...

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Document Signed by Both of the Great War Presidents of the 20th Century, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt

A very scarce document, being our first in decades

Ernest G. Small had a distinguished naval career, ending up as a Rear Admiral. From 1940-1942, he headed the Ordnance and Gunnery Department at the Naval Academy. On April 10, 1942, he assumed command of the heavy cruiser USS Salt Lake City and was subsequently awarded the Navy Cross for heroism for directing action against Japanese surface vessels near Guadalcanal during the great battle there. From January to August 1943 he served as war plans officer on the staff of the Commander of the Cruiser Division. A Navy destroyer was named for him, and that ship saw service in the Korean War.

Document signed, as President, Washington, August 19, 1915, appointing “Ernest G. Small” to the position of “Lieutenant junior grade in the Navy from the 8th day of June 1915”. This was one of Small’s first appointments. The document is countersigned by Secretary of War Newton Baker. In the absence of the Secretary of the Navy, the Acting Secretary of the Navy has countersigned this document. And that man was future President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Documents signed by both of the great war presidents of the 20th century have always been uncommon, but over the past few decades they have become much more so. We had our last one in 2001.

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