Naval History of Wyoming

By Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division

By the late 1880s, Republicans and Democrats alike agreed that it was time for the territory of Wyoming to become a state, and on July 10, 1890, Wyoming was the 44th state admitted to the Union.

You might not associate a landlocked state like Wyoming with the U.S. Navy, but the state actually does have some ties to U.S. Naval History. A surprising 28 ships have even been named for the state, its cities, places and people!

Laramie, Wyo., native and Naval Academy graduate Emory Scott Land was awarded the Navy Cross for his work in connection with the design and construction of submarines and for work in the war zone during World War I. His contributions to the advancement of the U.S. Navy were notable enough that the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) was named in his honor – and, there is even a glacier in the Antarctic Region named after him!

When the U.S. Navy was rapidly converting from coal to oil-burning ships, President William Howard Taft, in 1910, set aside federal lands believed to contain oil as an emergency reserve for the Navy. This led to President Woodrow Wilson passing an Executive Order in 1915 that designated “Teapot Dome” in Wyoming as Naval Petroleum Reserve (NPR-3). It was a small stripper well oil field that produced about 200 barrels of crude oil per day and intended to provide a reserve supply of crude oil to fuel U.S. naval vessels in times of short supply or emergencies. After a tumultuous time under the Department of the Interior in the 1920s, the Navy was once again given control of the land and eventually transferred it to the Energy Department in 1977, who then sold to the private sector in 2015.

Learn more about Wyoming’s Naval History in the infographic below!