Saturday, March 12, 2011

USS New Mexico (SSN 779) Commissioning

Looking forward to the commissioning of sister ship USS Minnesota!

USS George H.W. Bush Commissioning

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Take a look at the Virginia Class Submarine Program from Northrop Grumman


Precommissioning Unit Minnesota SSN 783 is under construction!

Precommissioning Unit Minnesota - Coming June 2013!

The third USS Minnesota (SSN-783) will be the 10th of a projected 30 Virginia-class submarines. She will be the third United States Navy ship named for the state of Minnesota. The contract to build her was awarded to the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia on 14 August 2003.
Her name was announced on 15 July 2008. Construction of Minnesota began in February, 2008.

USS Monitor and CSS Virginia with USS Minnesota

USS Monitor and CSS Virgina and USS Minnesota

USS Monitor and CSS Virginia with USS Minnesota grounded

The Story of USS Minesota BB 22

USS Minnesota BB-22

Displacement: 16,000 Normal, Full Load 17,650 Length at the water line: 456'4" Beam. 76'10" Draft: 24'6" (mean) Speed: 18 kts. Complement: 42 Officers, 838 Enlisted. Armament as built 1907: See notes below. Armour, (Krupp): 9" Belt (amidships), 4" Belt (ends), 3" Deck (slopes), 7" Lower deck side, 10" Barbettes, 12" Turrets, 7" Battery, 2" Casemates, 6" Small Turrets, 9" Conning Tower, 5" Director Station (near Conning Tower). Machinery: 2 sets of Newport News vertical 4 cylinder triple expansion engines. 2 screws (outward turning). Boilers: 12 Babcock. Designed H. P. 16,500 at 18 kts. Coal: normal 900 tons maximum 2420 tons Class: Kansas
Armament as built 1907:
Main: (4) 12"/45 cal. Turrets, (8) 8"/45 cal. Turrets, (12) 7"/45 cal. Broadside Battery
Secondary: (20) 3"/50 cal., (4) 1 pdr. (12) 3 pdr., (4) .30 cal.
Torpedo Tubes: (4) 21" submerged

Main: (4) 12"/45 cal. Turrets, (8) 8"/45 cal. Turrets, (12) 7"/45 cal. Broadside Battery
Secondary: (18) 3"/50 cal., (4) 1 pdr., (12) 3 pdr., (4) .30 cal.
Torpedo Tubes: (4) 21" submerged

Main: (4) 12"/45 cal. Turrets, (8) 8"/45 cal. Turrets, (12) 7"/45 cal. Broadside Battery
Secondary: (4) 3"/50 cal., (4) 1 pdr., (12) 3 pdr., (4) .30 cal.
Torpedo Tubes: (4) 21" submerged

(4) 12"/45 cal. Turrets, (8) 8"/45 cal. Turrets
Secondary: (6) 3"/50 cal., (2) 3"/50 AA, (4) 1 pdr., (12) 3 pdr., (4) .30 cal.
Torpedo Tubes: (4) 21" submerged

Main: (4) 12"/45 cal. Turrets, (8) 8"/45 cal. Turrets
Secondary: (12) 3"/50 cal., (2) 3"/50 AA, (4) 1 pdr., (12) 3 pdr., (4) .30 cal.
Torpedo Tubes: (4) 21" submerged

The USS Minnesota as she looked during her WWI days. Likely to be taken during 1919 as her 7-inch 45 cal. Broadside Batteries have been removed. During this period she was used to return troops home from France.

The second Minnesota was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va., 27 October 1903; launched 8 April 1905; sponsored by Miss Rose Marie Schaller; and commissioned 9 March 1907, Capt. John Hubbard in command. Following her shakedown off the New England coast, Minnesota was assigned to duty in connection with the Jamestown Exposition, Jamestown, Va., 22 April to 3 September 1907.
A view of the Minnesota's bridge showing her forward 12-inch main gun. She has letters that spell her name on her bridge. These were lighted letters and at night during public events she would turn them on showing her name to all who could see. This photo is not identified but clearly can be seen her original fore-mast, which is not the cage style of her later years. This with the fact that the letters appear on her bridge dates this to the time of the Great White Fleet days of 1908-1909. On her decks can been seen several civilian visitors among who is at least one lady standing on the left side with a man in a derby hat and walking cane or umbrella.
According to an article in the 18 July 1907 edition of The Washington Post the Minnesota was at Hampton Roads. It was reported that there were many desertions and 100 desertions from the Minnesota alone. The article reads: Norfolk, VA 17 July 1907. "There are wholesale desertions from warships at Hampton Roads is indicated by the statement that in the past few weeks 100 deserters have been listed and advertised from the battleship Minnesota alone. The local police yesterday were notified of 15 desertions. The lists are coming in daily. It was stated at the Navy Department last night that there was no official information there regarding wholesale desertions from the Minnesota. Captain Hubbard, of the Minnesota, was at the Navy Department yesterday, but made no report on the subject. The department has several times investigated reports regarding desertions at that port, but, according to the department, without finding the situation very serious."
On 16 December 1907 she departed Hampton Roads as one of the 16 battleships sent by President Theodore Roosevelt on a voyage around the world. In 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt, for reasons of national prestige and to test the ability of the American Navy to respond to potential crises in the Pacific, decided to dispatch the battleships of the Atlantic Fleet on what became an around-the-world cruise. The voyage, regarded by President Roosevelt as a dramatic gesture to the Japanese-who had only recently emerged on the world stage as a power to be reckoned with-proved to be a signal success, with the ships performing so well as to confound the doom-sayers who had predicted a fiasco. This force, the largest concentration of American naval power sent to the Pacific to that time, was known as the Great White Fleet, due to the soon-to-be-discarded practice of painting American warships White hulls and Spar colored upper structures. Commanded by Rear Admiral Robley Evans, the last Civil War veteran on active naval duty, the fleet of battleships, along with a torpedo flotilla and some auxiliaries, sailed from Hampton Roads in December 1907, arriving in San Franciso the next May after travelling around South America.
The fleet arrived in San Francisco on May 6, 1908 from Magdalena Bay, Mexico for a huge celebration hosted by the City of San Francisco. As each ship passed Fort Point it fired a 21-gun salute, which was answered with a salute from land. Crowds flocked to San Francisco to see the fleet and on May 8th 1908 "The Great Naval Parade" was held in San Francisco. Standing on the decks of the Minnesota was a junior officer by the name of Raymond Spruance and another fellow junior officer serving on the USS Kansas was William Halsey both Spruance and Halsey were to play major roles in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
An undated photo of a burial at sea from the after quarter deck of the Minnesota. Note the line of Battleships behind the Minnesota. They are painted in the "Spar and White" colors that the fleet was painted during the cruise of the Great White Fleet, so this may date the photo sometime during 1908-09.
Approximately 14,000 sailors made up the crews of the ships of the Great White Fleet. During the voyage, 300 sailors deserted their ships. More sailors deserted in California than anywhere else. More than 200 of the deserting sailors stayed behind to marry local girls and so the postcard that claims that "California Captured the Atlantic Fleet in 1908" has some merit.
Russell Witherow who today lives in Australia was looking into his family history and in the family stories there is one of a man referred to only as "J. Witherow" who supposedly jumped ship from the Minnesota while she was in Australia. In further investigating this story there is a name that appears on a list of sailors from the Great White Fleet, Atlantic Fleet bound for the Pacific 16 December 1907. On this list a name of "J. E. Withrow" appears from the USS Minnesota. So it can be guessed that these two names of "J. Witherow" and "J. E. Withrow" could be one in the same man. There is a difference in spelling of the last names but they are so close and one could imagine that the spelling on the 16 December 1907 list may not be correct.
Additionally there is an article in the Thursday Evening edition of the Oakland Tribune for August 27, 1908 newspaper, which details how that when the Great White Fleet was visiting Sydney, Australia there were over 80 sailors who missed their ships when the fleet sailed from Sydney bound for Melbourne. It was said that due to the large number of sailors who missed their ships that they would not be charged as deserters and would be listed as accidental. Later that day 50 of the sailors were embarked on the Yankton and ferried to Melbourne to meet up with their ships. This may have been the event that was spoken about in the Russell Witherow family stories.
Nothing more about the "J. E. Withrow" from the 16 December list is known, but there are two names that could match this listing. One is a John Withrow who was listed as an prisoner serving sentence at the Folsom State Prison in California in April of 1910. This man was born about 1872 in California and he could have been the "J. E. Withrow" listed from the Minnesota. He would have been old enough and if he was caught as a deserter he may have served his sentence in Folsom. Or there is a second man named James B. Withrow listed as a sailor on the USS Stockton in 1920. This man was born in Indiana about 1882 and was a storekeeper aboard the Stockton. Being that he was a single man and serving in the navy and could have been old enough in 1908 to be in the navy so this also could be the "J. E. Withrow" from the 16 December list. It will never be known for sure who this man was but it is very likely that the "J. E. Withrow" from the 16 December list and the story from Russell Witherow about "J. Witherow" are one in the same.
A view of the Minnesota's stern showing her 12-inch after turret. This photo was taken when the Great White Fleet visited Sydney, Australia in August of 1908. During the visit the ships of the fleet were opened to visitors and the Minnesota's decks are crowded with many curious "Aussies"
In San Francisco Admiral Evans, in reality too ill to have even sailed with the fleet, turned over command, first to Rear Admiral Charles Thomas for a week, then to Rear Admiral Charles Sperry. On July 7, 1908 the fleet was reassembled under the command of Rear Admiral Charles Sperry and bid farewell to San Francisco and departed for Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii and then to New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, China, and, most notably, Japan before returning to the US in February 1909 via Ceylon, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean. The cruise began eight days before Christmas of 1907, and ended on Washington's Birthday, 22 February 1909. During the course of the voyage, the ships called at ports along both coasts of South America; on the west coast of the United States; at Hawaii; in the Philippines; Japan; China; and in Ceylon. During October of 1908 Minnesota was anchored in Manila Bay, Philippines.
The Minnesota was in the Third Division as Flagship with Captain Hubbard still in command. The Third Division was under the command of Rear Admiral Charles Thomas. The other three Battleships in the Third Division were the USS Maine, USS Missouri and the USS Ohio. On the return leg of the cruise she was shifted into the First Division Along with the Connecticut (Flagship), Kansas and Vermont. The First Division was commanded by Rear Admiral Charles Sperry.
Returning from her world cruise in 1909, Minnesota resumed operations with the Atlantic Fleet. At this time she underwent some refitting and her original foremast was replaced with the newer cage style foremast as well as her superstructure was modified. Also she was completely repainted from the Great White Fleet colors of Spar and White to the standard Navy Grey paint. During 1910 she had her aftmast replaced with the cage style. During the next 3 years she operated primarily along the east coast, with one brief deployment to the English Channel.
On 31 October 1911 Secretary of the Navy Meyer reviewed 102 Naval vessels in New York harbor, which was the largest assemblage of United States warships reviewed at that time. The crowd assembled to look at the great warships numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Each ship was decked out with all the trimmings and each sailor was dressed in his whites making quite a sight to the onlookers. The Minnesota was one of the 17 battleships there that day along with the cruisers Washington and North Carolina.
In 1912, her employment schedule began to involve her more in inter-American affairs. During the first half of that year she cruised in Cuban waters and was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, 7 to 22 June, to support actions aimed at establishing order during the Cuban insurrection.
The following spring and summer 1913 she cruised in Mexican waters. Life was somewhat mundane during her Mexican duty as recorded by her logs. On 11 June 1913 Minnesota was anchored in a Mexican harbor with the USS Idaho. During the day the Idaho left the harbor for sub-caliber target practice. The boats of the Minnesota under oar and sail were inspected by the Division Commander. Red Cross relief steamer Mexicano sailed with American refugees for Tempico and Galveston. Thursday the 12th of June the Minnesota held general quarters drill and the mail left via the French steamer Respangne and Ward-Line steamer Esperania. On Friday the crew preformed routine maintenance and painting and the mail was received. Saturday the ship and her crew was inspected by her Commanding Officer. Later in the day a recreation party landed at Sacrifacio Island. The crew of the Minnesota was invited to a smoker on board the German cruiser Bremen, which was enjoyed very much by party from the Minnesota. On Sunday the 15 of June, the German cruiser Bremen left the harbor for Trinidad. More sailing and swimming parties from the Minnesota landed at Verile and Sacrifacio Islands. Monday the 16th, routine maintenance and painting was again the duty of the day. Minnesota sent her mail via Hamburg-American steamer. The next day on the 17th of June 1913 brought continuous rain from midnight throughout the day. The most exciting thing that happened all week long was a small fire on board when the lead from the wireless aerial burned out. Fire quarters was sounded and the ships crew put out the fire quickly.
In 1914, Minnesota under command of Captain Edward Simpson, USN, twice returned to Mexican waters (26 January to 7 August and 11 October to 19 December) as that country continued in the throes of political turmoil. On January 21, a battalion of marines, consisting of 11 officers and 387 enlisted men, under the command of Major Smedly D. Butler, U.S.M.C., stationed at Panama, reported on board the U.S.S. Minnesota at Cristobal, Canal Zone and sailed the same date for Vera Cruz, Mexico, where the Minnesota arrived on January 26, 1914. The Marine battalion participated in the occupation of Vera Cruz and in the engagement actions that followed. The battalion was designated as the Third Battalion, Second Advance Base Regiment, and was detached for duty with the U.S. Army, April 30, 1914. The landing force from the Minnesota that landed from April 22 through June 20, 1914 was under command of Lt. R. R. Adams.
In 1915, she resumed east coast operations, with occasional cruises to the Caribbean area, which she continued until November 1916 when she became flagship, Reserve Force, Atlantic Fleet.
On 6 April 1917, as the United States entered World War I, Minnesota rejoined the active fleet at Tangier Sound, Chesapeake Bay, and was assigned to Division 4, Battleship Force as flagship. The 4th Division was made up of the Minnesota, South Carolina and the Michigan. During World War I she was assigned as a gunnery and engineering training ship, cruising off the middle Atlantic seaboard until 29 September 1918. On the 30th of September, 20 miles from Fenwick Island Shoal Lightship (38 d. 11'N, 74 d. 41'W.) Minnesota struck a mine, apparently laid by the German submarine U-117. Suffering serious damage to the starboard side, but with no loss of life, she managed to reach Philadelphia where she underwent 5 months of repairs. During this time of repairs at the Philadelphia Navy Yard she had her 7-inch 45 cal. Broadside Batteries removed.
Captain Jehu Valentine Chase was the commanding officer of USS Minnesota when she was mined in September 1918, Chase was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of his splendid seamanship and leadership in bringing his ship safely to port without loss of life. Admiral Chase was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, from 17 September 1930 to 15 September 1931, and Chairman of the General Board from April 1932 until his retirement in February 1933. Jehu Valentine Chase was born in Pattersonville, Louisiana, 10 January 1869, and graduated from the Naval Academy 6 June 1890. He died at Coronado, Calif., 24 May 1937. USS Chase (DE-158) was named in his honor. Admiral Chase was buried with full military honors in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.  His wife, Mary Taylor Chase (1873-1950) is buried with him.
On 11 March 1919, she put back to sea as a unit of the Cruiser and Transport Force. In a report of ship locations of the Cruiser and Transport Force the Minnesota was at Hampton Roads and sailed for Brest, France on 1 April, 1919. Other battleships at Hampton Roads with the Minnesota on 1 April were the Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas and the Vermont. She was assigned to that force until 23 July, she completed three round trips to Brest, France, to return over 3,000 veterans to the United States.

The Minnesota was now commanded by Captain Raymond D. Hasbrouck who had commanded the troopship USS Covington when she was Torpedoed and sunk on 1-2 July 1918. Primarily employed thereafter as a training ship, Minnesota conducted two midshipmen summer cruises (1920 and 1921) under the command of Captain C. L. P. Stone. On September 24, 1921 Captain Stone was relieved of duty as the last skipper of the Minnesota and was given command of the battleship USS Connecticut. The Minnesota was decommissioned three months later on December 1, 1921, now obsolete in the eyes of the Navy Department she was struck from the Naval Register the same day. She lingered on in storage until finally arriving at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on January 23, 1924 where she was dismantled and sold for scrap.
An undated photo of the Minnesota's Engineering Division taken on the after turret.
Port side view of the Minnesota.