During his time as her commanding officer she not only changed her name but also conducted early experiments with launching and retrieving balloons aboard ship. later an experimental catapult was added and tested. At one point the Martin Thomas seaplane caught fire while on board. She later catapulted a Curtiss "F" type flying boat while underway. All this may have catapulted his career as he became the commandant of the Panama Canal when the US entered WWI to 1920.