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USS Kansas (BB-21)

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Career
Ordered:
Laid down:
Launched:12 August 1905
Commissioned:18 April 1907
Fate:sold for scrap
Struck:24 August 1923
General Characteristics
Displacement:16,000 tons
Length:456.3 feet
Beam:76.8 feet
Draft:24.5 feet
Speed:18 knots
Complement:880
Armament:four 12-inch, eight eight-inch, 12 three-pounders, two one-pounders, two .30-caliber machineguns, four 21-inch torpedo tubes

USS Kansas (BB-21), a Vermont-class battleship[?], was the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 34th state. Her keel was laid down by New York Shipbuilding Corporation[?] of Camden, New Jersey. She was launched 12 August 1905 sponsored by Miss Anna Hoch, daughter of the Governor of Kansas and commissioned in Philadelphia Navy Yard on 18 April 1907 with Captain Charles B. Vreeland in command.

The new battleship departed Philadelphia on 17 August 1907, for shakedown training out of Provincetown, Massachusetts, and returned home for alterations 24 September. She joined the "Great White Fleet" at Hampton Roads on 9 December and passed in review before President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt while getting underway on the first leg of the fleet's historic world cruise. The American ships arrived Port-of-Spain, Trinidad[?], on 23 December and six days later got underway for Rio de Janeiro. From there they sailed south along the east coast of South America and transited the perilous Straits of Magellan[?] in open order. Turning north, the fleet visited Valparaiso, Chile, and Callao Bay, Peru[?], en route to Madalena Bay, Mexico[?], for a month of target practice.

The "Great White Fleet" reached San Diego, California, on 14 April 1908, and moved on to San Francisco, California, on 7 May. Exactly two months later the spotless warships sortied through the Golden Gate and headed for Honolulu. From Hawaii they set course for Auckland, New Zealand, to be greeted as heroes upon arrival 9 August. The fleet made Sydney on 20 August and, after enjoying a week of the most warm and cordial hospitality, sailed to Melbourne where they were welcomed with equal graciousness and enthusiasm.

Kansas had her last glimpse of Australia on 19 September on leaving Albany for ports in the Philippine Islands, Japan, and Ceylon before transiting the Suez Canal. She departed Port Said, Egypt, on 4 January 1909, for a visit to Villefranche, France[?], and then staged with the combined "Great White Fleet" at Gibraltar and departed for home 6 February. She again passed in review before President Roosevelt as she entered Hampton Roads on 22 February, ending a widely acclaimed voyage of good will subtly but effectively demonstrating American strength to the world.

A week later Kansas entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for overhaul. Repairs completed 17 June, the battleship began a period of maneuvers, tactical training, and battle practice which lasted almost until the close of the following year. With the Second Battleship Division, she sailed on 15 November 1910 for Europe visiting Cherbourg, France[?], and Portland, England[?], before returning to Hampton Roads via Cuba and Santo Domingo. She again departed Hampton Roads on 8 May 1911, for Scandinavia, visiting Copenhagen, Stockholm, Cronstadt[?], and Kiel before returning to Provincetown, Massachusetts, on 13 July. She engaged in fleet tactics south to the Virginia Capes[?] before entering the Norfolk Navy Yard on 3 November for overhaul.

Early in 1912, she began several months of maneuvers out of Guantanamo Bay and then returned to Hampton Roads to serve as one of the welcoming units for the German Squadron which visited there from 28 May to 8 June and New York City from 8 June to 13 June.

The battleship embarked United States Naval Academy Midshipmen at Annapolis, Maryland, on 21 June for a summer practice cruise which took her, among other ports of call along the Atlantic seaboard, to Baltimore, Maryland, during the United States Democratic Party National Convention which nominated Woodrow Wilson. After debarking her midshipmen at Annapolis on 30 August, she sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, on 15 November for a training cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. She returned to Philadelphia on 21 December to enter the Navy Yard for overhaul.

Back in top shape by 5 May 1913, Kansas operated on the East Coast until she stood out of Hampton Roads on 25 October, bound for Genoa, Italy. From there she proceeded to Guantanamo Bay en route to the coast of Mexico to operate off Vera Cruz and Tampico watching out for American interests in that land then troubled by revolutionary unrest as rival factions struggled to attain and hold power. She returned to Norfolk on 14 March 1914 and entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for overhaul 11 April.

Kansas departed Norfolk on 1 July with the body of the Venezuelan Minister to the United States, arriving La Guaira[?] on 14 July. Then she returned to the Mexican coast to patrol off Tampico and Vera Cruz supporting the American Expeditionary Force[?] which had landed there. She departed Vera Cruz on 29 October to investigate reports of unstable conditions at Port au Prince, Haiti[?], where she arrived 3 November. The battleship stood out of Port au Prince on 1 December and reached Philadelphia a week later. Maneuvers off the East Coast and out of Guantanamo Bay occupied her until she entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for overhaul 30 September 1916.

Kansas was still in that yard 6 April 1917 when the United States entered World War I. She arrived in York River[?] from Philadelphia on 10 July and became a unit of the 4th Battleship Division, spending the remainder of the war as an engineering training ship in Chesapeake Bay occasionally making escort and training cruises to New York. After the Armistice, she made five voyages to Brest, France, to embark and return veterans home.

She was overhauled at the Philadelphia Navy Yard from 29 June 1919 to 17 May 1920. Three days later she arrived at Annapolis where she embarked midshipmen and sailed 5 June for a practice cruise to Pacific waters, transiting the Panama Canal to visit Honolulu, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Pedro, California. She departed the latter port 11 August, transited the canal, and visited Guantanamo Bay before returning to Annapolis on 2 September.

Proceeding to Philadelphia, Kansas became flagship of Rear Admiral Charles F. Hughes, Commander of Battleship Division 4, Squadron 2, and future Chief of Naval Operations. She sailed for Bermuda on 27 September and was inspected by HRH Edward, Prince of Wales, at Grassey Bay, Bermuda[?], on 2 October. Two days later she was underway for the Panama Canal and Samoa. She was at Pago Pago, Samoa[?], on 11 November when Captain Waldo Evans became Governor of American Samoa. After visiting Hawaiian ports and transiting the Panama Canal, she cruised in the Caribbean Sea and the Panama Canal before returning to Philadelphia on 7 March 1921.

Kansas embarked midshipmen at Annapolis and sailed 4 June 1921, with three other battleships bound for Christiana, Norway[?], Lisbon, Gibraltar, and Guantanamo Bay. She returned 28 August to debark her midshipmen before visiting New York from 3 September to 19 September. She entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard 20 September and decommissioned 16 December. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 24 August 1923, and she was sold for scrap in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty limiting naval armament.



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