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USS North Dakota (BB-29)

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USS North Dakota (BB-29), a Delaware-class battleship[?], was the first ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 39th state. Her keel was laid down 16 December 1907 by the Fore River Shipbuilding[?] Company of Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on 10 November 1908 sponsored by Miss Mary Benton, and commissioned at Boston, Massachusetts, on 11 April 1910 with Commander Charles P. Plunkett in command.

In her first years North Dakota operated with the Atlantic Fleet in maneuvers along the East Coast and in the Caribbean Sea. She sailed 2 November 1910 for her first Atlantic crossing, visiting England and France prior to winter-spring maneuvers in the Caribbean. In the summers of 1912 and 1913 she carried United States Naval Academy midshipmen for training in New England waters, and on 1 January 1913 she joined the honor escort for Natal as the Brazilian ship entered New York City harbor with the body of the late Whitelaw Reid[?], United States Ambassador to Brazil.

As Mexican political disturbances strained relations with the United States, North Dakota sailed for Vera Cruz, where she arrived 26 April 1914, five days after American sailors had occupied the city. She cruised the coast of Mexico to protect Americans and their interests until a more stable government took office, and returned to Norfolk, Virginia, on 16 October. An even more intensive program of training was taken up by the Atlantic Fleet as war threatened, and North Dakota was in Chesapeake Bay for gunnery drills when the United States entered World War I.

Throughout the war, North Dakota operated in the York River, Virginia[?], and out of New York training gunners and engineers for the expanding fleet. Then, on 13 November 1919, she stood out of Norfolk to carry home the remains of the late Italian Ambassador to the United States. While in the Mediterranean Sea she called at Athens, Constantinople, Valencia, and Gibraltar before returning to the Caribbean for the annual spring maneuvers. In the summer of 1921, she took part in the Army-Navy bombing tests off the Virginia Capes[?] in which the German warships Frankfurt and Ostfriesland were sunk to demonstrate the potentialities of airpower. She interrupted fleet operations during the next two summers to again cruise with midshipmen, contributing to the future strength of the Navy by educating its officers-to-be. The cruise of 1923 took her to Scandinavia, Scotland, and Spain.

North Dakota decommissioned at Norfolk on 22 November 1923. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 7 January 1931, and she was sold for scrapping 16 March 1931.

General Characteristics

  • Displacement: 20,000 tons
  • Length: 518.8 feet
  • Beam: 85.3 feet
  • Draft: 26.9 feet
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Complement: 933 officers and men
  • Armament: ten 12-inch guns, 14 five-inch guns, four three-pounders, two 21-inch torpedo tubes

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