Friday, December 7, 2012

Admiral Webb C. Hayes II, Commander of the USS Tracy

Webb C. Hayes II, born in 1890, was the third son of Birchard Hayes, who was the eldest son of President Rutherford B. Hayes. Webb II graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1911.

Admiral Webb C. Hayes II
Admiral Webb C. Hayes II Collection

He was commissioned lieutenant in 1912, and lieutenant commander in 1917. During World War I, he served as the executive officer on the destroyer U.S.S. Tracy and as destroyer officer in the Queenstown Flotilla. From 1918 until 1927, he commanded the United States ships: Champlin, Wood, Moody, and Sinclair.

In 1927, Admiral Hayes was given command of the destroyer USS Tracy. She and two other destroyers were assigned to the Atlantic as part of the Scouting Force of the Mediterranean Fleet. Her duties were to “show the flag” at ports of call. Steaming from Newport, she visited Queenstown, Northern Ireland before touching at ports in Scotland, England, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, and Italy. Departing Gibraltar in January 1928, she operated in the Atlantic for another month before being transferred to the Battle Fleet.

Admiral Webb C. Hayes II and the officers of the U.S.S. Tracy
Admiral Webb C. Hayes II Collection

In 1919, he married Martha Baker, daughter of Arthur Baker of Toledo, Ohio. They were the parents of three sons: Webb Cook (born 1920), Arthur Baker (born 1924), and Scott Birchard. (born 1926)

Martha Baker Hayes in Europe with her sons Webb (left), Arthur (middle), and Scott (right)
Admiral Webb C. Hayes II Collection

Webb took the opportunity to have his wife and three sons, ages 7, 3, and 1 join him in Europe. Martha Baker Hayes and family left New York on the tenth of June  with their three sons and 14 trunks! Martha and the boys stayed in hotels, rented rooms, and chateaus, moving from port to port and country to country during the admiral’s tour of duty in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Mediterranean. Their home movies, a part of the exhibit at the Hayes Presidential Center Tales of Travel from the President's Attic, feature the family and some of the highlights of their time in Europe and the Mediterranean.

Personal Possessions of Admiral Webb C. Hayes II & Martha Baker Hayes
as part of

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