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USS Mississippi (BB-23)

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Authorized:3 March 1903
Laid down:12 May 1904
Launched:30 September 1905
Commissioned:1 February 1908
Fate:sold to Greece
Decommissioned:21 July 1914
General Characteristics
Displacement:13,000 tons
Length:382 feet
Beam:77 feet
Draft:24.7 feet
Speed:17 knots
Complement:34 officers, 710 men
Armament:four 12-inch guns, eight eight-inch guns, eight seven-inch guns, 12 three-inch guns, six three-pounders, two one-pounders, six .30-caliber machineguns, two 21-inch torpedo tube

The second USS Mississippi (BB-23), the lead ship of her class[?], was the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 20th state. Her keel was laid down on 12 May 1904 by William Cramp & Sons of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was launched 30 September 1905 sponsored by Miss M.C. Money, daughter of Senator H.P. Money of Mississippi, and commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 1 February 1908, Captain J.C. Fremont in command.

Following shakedown off the coast of Cuba, 15 February to 15 March 1908, the new battleship returned to Philadelphia for final fitting out. Standing out 1 July, she operated along the New England coast, until returning to Philadelphia 10 September. The warship next put to sea 16 January 1909 to represent the United States at the inauguration of the President of Cuba at Havana, 25 January to 28 January. Mississippi remained in the Caribbean Sea until 10 February, sailing that day to join the "Great White Fleet" as it returned from its famous world cruise. With the fleet on Washington's Birthday, the battlewagon was reviewed by President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt. On 1 March she returned to the Caribbean.

The ship departed Cuban waters 1 May for a cruise up the river which shared her name, the mighty Mississippi River. Calling at the major ports of this great inland waterway, she arrived at Natchez, Mississippi on 20 May, and then proceeded five days later to Horn Island[?] where she received a silver service from the state of Mississippi. Returning to Philadelphia 7 June, the battleship operated off the New England coast until sailing 6 January 1910 for winter exercises and war games out of Guantanamo Bay. The battleship departed 24 March for Norfolk, Virginia, and operated off the east coast until fall, calling at a number of large ports, serving as a training ship for Naval Militia, and engaging in maneuvers and exercises designed to keep the ship and crew in the best possible fighting trim.

She departed Philadelphia 1 November for a fleet rendezvous at Gravesend Bay, England[?], on 16 November, and then sailed 7 December for Brest, France, arriving on 9 November. On 30 December, Mississippi set course for Guantanamo Bay for winter maneuvers until 13 March 1911.

Returning to the United States, the battleship operated off the Atlantic coast, basing alternately out of Philadelphia and Norfolk for the next year and two months, serving as a training ship and conducting operational exercises. She cleared Tompkinsville, New York, on 26 May 1912 with a detachment from the Second Marine Regiment on board to protect American interests in Cuba. Landing her Marine detachment at El Cuero[?] on 19 June, she remained on station in Guantanamo Bay until 5 July, when she sailed for home.

Following exercises with the Fourth Battleship Division off New England, she returned to Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was put in the First Reserve 1 August 1912.

Mississippi remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia until detached 30 December 1913 for duty as aeronautic station ship at Pensacola, Florida. Departing 6 January 1914, the battleship arrived 21 January, transporting equipment for the establishment of a naval air station. At Pensacola, she stood by while her crew, along with the early naval aviators, rebuilt the old naval base, laying the foundation for the largest and most famous American naval air station.

With the outbreak of fighting in Mexico, Mississippi sailed 21 April to Vera Cruz, arriving on 24 April with the first detachment of naval aviators to go into combat. Serving as a floating base for the fledgling seaplanes and their pilots, the warship launched nine reconnaissance flights over the area during a period of 18 days, making the last flight 12 May. One month later, the battleship departed Vera Cruz for Pensacola. Serving as station ship there from 15 June to 28 June, she then sailed north to Hampton Roads where she transferred her aviation gear to armored cruiser USS North Carolina (CA-12)[?] on 3 July.

On 10 July, Mississippi shifted to Newport News, Virginia, to prepare for transfer to the Greek government. Mississippi decommissioned at Newport News on 21 July 1914, and was turned over to the Royal Hellenic Navy[?] the same day. Renamed Lemnos, the battleship served for the next 17 years as a coast defense vessel. She was sunk in an air attack by German bombers on Salamis Island in April 1941; and, after World War II, her hull was later salvaged as scrap.

See USS Mississippi for other ships of the same name.

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