USS Missouri (BB-11)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Missouri.
Missouri lying at anchor
Career (US)
Name: USS Missouri
Namesake: State of Missouri
Ordered: 4 May 1898
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Laid down: 7 February 1900
Launched: 28 December 1901
Sponsored by: Edson Galludet
Commissioned: 1 December 1903
Decommissioned: 8 September 1919
Struck: 1 July 1921
Fate: Sold for scrap
General characteristics [1][2]
Class and type: Maine-class battleship
Displacement: 13,500 tons (12,200 tonnes)
Length: 393.9 ft (120.1 m)
Beam: 72.2 ft (22.0 m)
Draft: 25.7 ft (7.8 m)
Speed: 18.15 kn (20.89 mph; 33.61 km/h)
Complement: 592 officers and enlisted
  • 4 × 12 in (305 mm)/40 cal guns
  • 16 × 6 in (152 mm)/50 cal guns
  • 6 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 cal guns
  • 8 × 3-pounders (47 mm (1.9 in))
  • 6 × 1-pounders (37 mm (1.5 in))
  • 3 × .30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns
  • 2 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tubes
  • Belt: 5.5–11 in (140–279 mm)
  • Barbettes: 8–12 in (203–305 mm)
  • Turret Mains: 11–12 in (279–305 mm)
  • Turret secondary: 5.5–6 in (140–152 mm)
  • Conning tower: 10 in (254 mm)

USS Missouri (BB-11), a Maine-class battleship, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 24th state. The battleship was affectionately known as the Mizzy by her crew.[3]

Missouri 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 Fessenden Gallaudet, daughter of United States Senator Francis Marion Cockrell of Missouri and commissioned on 1 December 1903, Captain William S. Cowles in command.

Pre-World War I[edit]

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 Wednesday 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 burnt and suffocated 31 of the crew.[3] Prompt action in flooding the magazine prevented the loss of the warship and three of her crew earned Medals of Honor for extraordinary heroism. Future admiral William Halsey, Jr was a junior officer on the bridge of the Missouri at the time. The event was so shocking that for the rest of his life Halsey dreaded the thirteenth of every month, especially when it fell on a Friday.[3]

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 17–19 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 on 22 February.

Missouri in 1906.

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 on 9 September 1912.

Missouri recommissioned on 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 on 2 December, but recommissioned on 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 on 18 October, recommissioned on 2 May 1916, and again conducted training along the east coast and in the Caribbean until placed in ordinary for the winter at Philadelphia.

World War I[edit]

Upon the entry of the United States into World War I, Missouri recommissioned on 23 April 1917, joined the Atlantic Fleet at Yorktown, Virginia and operated as a training ship in the Chesapeake Bay area. On 26 August, 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 on 18 February 1919 on the first of four voyages to Brest, France to return 3,278 US troops to east coast ports. Missouri decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 8 September. She was sold to J.G. Hitner and W.F. Cutler of Philadelphia on 26 January 1922 and scrapped in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty limiting naval armaments.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.


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