USS Georgia (BB-15)
The first USS "Georgia" (BB-15) was a
United States NavySclass|Virginia|battleship.
She was launched by the
Bath Iron Worksof Bath, Maine, 11 October 1904, sponsored by Miss Stella Tate, and commissioned at Boston Navy Yard24 September 1906, Captain R. G. Davenportin command.
After "Georgia" was fitted out and completed a short shakedown cruise, she joined the
U.S. Atlantic Fleetas flagshipof 2nd Division, Squadron 1. "Georgia" departed Hampton Roads 26 March 1907 for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she participated in gunnery practice with the fleet. After returning briefly to Boston Navy Yard for repairs, "Georgia" joined with other ships of the Atlantic Fleet in ceremonies opening the Jamestown Exposition. President Theodore Rooseveltand dignitaries present reviewed the fleet 10 June 1907, and 11 June was proclaimed "Georgia Day" at the exposition in special ceremonies aboard "Georgia".
"Georgia" next sailed with the fleet for target practice in
Cape Cod Bay, arriving 15 June. During these drills, 15 July, a powder charge ignited prematurely in her aft 8 inch turret, killing 10 officers and men and injuring 11. Condolences for the loss from this tragic accident were received from all over the world.
The powerful battleship then participated in the tercentenary of the landing of the first English Colonists 16 August to 21 August 1907, after which she rejoined the fleet for battle maneuvers before mooring at
League Island, New York, 24 September, for overhaul.
Arriving in Hampton Roads 7 December 1907, "Georgia" gathered with 15 other battleships, a torpedo boat squadron, and transports for the great
naval reviewpreceding the cruise of the U.S. Atlantic Fleetto the West Coast. On 16 December President Roosevelt reviewed the assembled " Great White Fleet" and sent it on the first leg of an around-the-world voyage of training, and building of American prestige and good will. Visiting many South American countries and their highly successful cruise, the fleet met with ships of the Pacific Fleet in another review in San Francisco Bayfor the Secretary of the Navy8 May 1908. Then "Georgia", in company with other battleships and supply vessels, departed San Francisco7 July 1908 for the second leg of the cruise, showing the flag and bringing the message of American sea power to many parts of the world, including the Philippines, Australia, Japan, and Mediterraneanports. The fleet returned to Hampton Roads 22 February 1909.
At this point she was overhauled, and received
cage masts that were the hallmark of so many US battleships of this era. "Georgia" continued to serve with the Atlantic Fleet in exercises and battle maneuvers, with periods of overhaul interspersed, until 2 November 1910 when President William Howard Taftreviewed the fleet prior to its departure for France. In an elaborate battle and scouting problem, "Georgia" and the other battleships continued their training, visiting Weymouth, England, and returning to Guantanamo Bay on 13 March 1911.
From 1911 to 1913, "Georgia" continued to train and serve as a ceremonial ship, and 5 June 1913 participated in a 2-month practice cruise for
United States Naval Academymidshipmen. After a long overhaul period in Boston Navy Yard, "Georgia" arrived off the coast of Mexico14 January 1914 with other fleet units to protect American interests in the troubled Veracruz- Tampicoarea. The battleship returned briefly to Norfolk, Virginia, in March, but was soon back cruising Mexican waters, and from August to October 1914 cruised off Haitifor the protection of American civilians in that country.
After another period of overhaul, "Georgia" joined the fleet off Cuba 25 February 1915 for winter maneuvers, and spent the rest of the year in training and ceremonial duties with the Atlantic Fleet Battleship Force. She arrived at Boston Navy Yard for overhaul 20 December 1915 and decommissioned 27 January 1916.
Assigned as a
receiving shipat Boston, "Georgia" was called to duty at the outbreak of World War I, and commissioned again 6 April 1917. For the next 18 months, she operated with the 3rd Division, Battleship Force, in fleet tactical exercises and merchant crew gunnery training, based in the York River, Virginia. She joined with Cruiser Force Atlanticbriefly in September 1918 to escort convoys to meet their eastern escorts, and beginning 10 December 1918 was fitted out as a transport and attached to the Cruiser and Transport Forcefor the purpose of returning troops of the American Expeditionary Force(AEF) to the United States. "Georgia" made five voyages to France from December 1918 to June 1919 and brought home nearly 6,000 soldiers.
"Georgia" was next transferred to the Pacific Fleet as flagship of Division 2, Squadron 1. She left Boston for
San Diego, via the Panama Canal, 16 July 1919, and after participating in ceremonial operations for two months, entered Mare Island Navy Yardfor repairs 20 September 1919. Here "Georgia" staged until decommissioning 15 July 1920. She was eventually sold for scrap 1 November 1923 in accordance with the Washington Naval Treatyfor the limitation of naval armaments, and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register10 November 1923.
*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
* [http://members.tripod.com/BIW_History/artm/bb151.html History of BB-15]
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-g/bb15.htm Navy photographs of "George" (BB-15)]
* [http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_directory/us_navy_pages/uss_georgia_bb15.htm Maritimequest USS Georgia BB-15 Photo Gallery]
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