Joe Price was a native Kansan who enlisted in the Navy at Kansas City, Missouri, on July 26, 1918. He was born at Effingham on October 3, 1897, and he found himself not being assigned to a ship in the Atlantic fleet, but the Pacific.
Not that this wasn’t important. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Vicksburg, which patrolled the west coast for the threat of German submarines. There was concern that after the Zimmermann telegram, Germany might continue to try to make an alliance with Mexico. The Vicksburg had its moment a few months before Price joined its crew.
On March 17, 1918, the Vicksburg received intelligence that a schooner carrying Germans would leave Viejo Bay, Mexico. The schooner was stopped, and the Vicksburg found on board five Germans, eight Mexicans, an American spy–probably the source of the tip–as well as arms, ammunition, and a German flag.
The Vicksburg continued its patrol of the west coast until October 1919. In addition to its patrol duties, the Vicksburg also escorted American ships going to Russia as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War.
Joe Price might not have had the war experience he expected when he signed up, but his service and that of the Vicksburg is a reminder that the Great War extended to the Pacific for Americans as well as others.
Joe’s uniform now is in the collection of the Kansas Museum of History.
Click here for a pic of sailors on the Vicksburg.