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USS Missouri (BB-11)

USS Missouri (BB-11), a , was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 24th state. Her keel was laid down on 7 February 1900 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company of Newport News, Virginia. She was launched on 28 December 1901 sponsored by Mrs. Edson Galludet, daughter of Senator Francis Marion Cockrell of Missouri, and commissioned on 1 December 1903 with Captain William S. Cowles in command.

Assigned to the North Atlantic Fleet, Missouri left Norfolk, Virginia, on 4 February 1904 for trials off the Virginia Capes and fleet operations in the Caribbean Sea. On 13 April, during target practice, a flareback from the port gun in her after turret ignited a powder charge and set off two others. No explosion occurred but the rapid burning of the powder suffocated 36 of the crew. Prompt action prevented the loss of the warship and three of her crew earned Medals of Honor for extraordinary heroism. After repairs at Newport News, Missouri sailed on 9 June for duty in the Mediterranean Sea from which she returned to New York on 17 December.

Fleet operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean during the next years were highlighted by her relief to earthquake victims at Kingston, Jamaica, from 17 January to 19 January 1907. In April she took part in the Jamestown Exposition.

With the "Great White Fleet," Missouri sailed from Hampton Roads on 16 December 1907, passing in review before President Theodore Roosevelt at the beginning of a world cruise which was to show the world that American naval might could penetrate any waters. Calling at ports in the Caribbean and along the east coast of South America, the fleet rounded Cape Horn to call in Peru and Mexico before arriving at San Francisco, California, on 6 May 1908 for a gala visit. In July the fleet turned west for Honolulu, Hawaii, thence to New Zealand and Australia, arriving in Manila on 2 October. The most tumultuous welcome yet came in Yokohama, Japan, and with a call in Amoy, China, the fleet began the passage home by way of Ceylon, Suez, and ports in the eastern Mediterranean. Departing Gibraltar on 6 February 1909, the fleet was again reviewed by President Roosevelt upon its triumphant return to Hampton Roads 22 February. An important diplomatic mission had been carried out with the greatest success.

Placed in reserve at Boston, Massachusetts, on 1 May 1910, Missouri recommissioned on 1 June 1911 and resumed east coast and Caribbean operations with the Atlantic Fleet. In June 1912 she carried Marines from New York to Cuba where they protected American interests during a rebellion. The next month the battleship carried midshipmen for training then decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 9 September 1912.

Missouri recommissioned 16 March 1914 for that summer's United States Naval Academy Practice Squadron's cruise to Italian and English ports. She returned to ordinary at Philadelphia 2 December 1914, but recommissioned 16 April 1915 to train midshipman in the Caribbean and on a cruise through the Panama Canal to California ports. She returned to the Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia 18 October 1915, recommissioned 2 May 1916, and again conducted training along the east coast and in the Caribbean until placed in ordinary for the winter at Philadelphia.

Upon the entry of the United States into World War I, Missouri recommissioned 23 April 1917, joined the Atlantic Fleet at Yorktown, Virginia, and operated as a training ship in the Chesapeake Bay area. On 26 August 1917 Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman broke his flag in Missouri as Commander, Division 2, Atlantic Fleet, and the warship continued to train thousands of recruits in engineering and gunnery for foreign service on warships and as armed guards for merchant vessels.

Following the Armistice, the battleship was attached to the Cruiser and Transport Force, departing Norfolk 18 February 1919 on the first of four voyages to Brest to return 3,278 U.S. troops to east coast ports. Missouri decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 8 September 1919. She was sold to J.G. Hitner and W.F. Cutler of Philadelphia 26 January 1922 and scrapped in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty limiting naval armaments.

References

  • Alden, John D. American Steel Navy: A Photographic History of the U.S. Navy from the Introduction of the Steel Hull in 1883 to the Cruise of the Great White Fleet. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989. ISBN 0870212486
  • Friedman, Norman. U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0870217151
  • Reilly, John C. and Robert L. Scheina. American Battleships 1996-1923: Predreadnought Design and Construction. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1980. ISBN 0870215248

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