Eager to have technically proficient officers for service in its rapidly expanding fleets, the Navy chose Olympia to be the flagship of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis on which to train the next generation of naval leaders. She was ideal for this role as her electrical, propulsion, weapons, and communications systems were similar to what these future officers would encounter upon entering the Fleet. For nearly six years, Olympia served as an incubator for the leaders of the United States Navy. All of those who trained aboard her would serve through World War I and many into World War II, including the future captain of the USS Arizona, Franklin Van Valkenburg, who perished on December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor.