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Mare Island, Vallejo CA, Oct 2007

President Fillmore reserved Mare Island for government use. The U.S. bought Mare Island in July, 1852, for the use as a naval shipyard. Two years later, on September 16, 1854, Mare Island became the first permanent U.S. naval installation on the west coast, with Commodore David G. Farragut, as Mare Island's first base commander. The shipyard had long been the economic engine of the City of Vallejo, having reached an employment peak of 40,000 workers during World War II, and even employing 10,000 workers after scaling back in 1988.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery, the U.S. Navy's oldest cemetery in the Pacific.

On September 11, 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War, Captain A. Berlinsky steered the Cruiser Lena of the Imperial Russian Navy into San Francisco seeking repairs. He had sailed from Vladivostok to raid Japanese fishing fleets in the Sea of Okhotsk, and ended up getting cut off from his base by Japanese cruisers.

Because President Theodore Roosevelt had proclaimed American neutrality in the Russo-Japanese War, Captain Berlinsky, the Lena and her crew, had to depart within forty-eight hours or be detained in America for the remainder of that war. The Lena had troubles with her boilers and the crew were detained on Mare Island until the war ended. Several crew members are buried in the cemetery on Mare Island.

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