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USS Birmingham (CL-2)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Birmingham (CL-2)

The first USS Birmingham (Scout Cruiser No. 2) was laid down on 14 August 1905 at Quincy, Mass., by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 29 May 1907; and sponsored by Mrs. Mary C. Underwood, wife of John L. Underwood, son of Sen. Oscar W. Underwood of Alabama.

Commissioned at Boston Navy Yard, Mass., on 11 April 1908, Cmdr. Burns T. Walling in command, Birmingham – assigned to the Atlantic Fleet – completed additional trials and shakedown training in New England waters. Birmingham then began cruising along the eastern seaboard of the United States. She joined the Pacific Fleet in July 1919 as flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet. From her base at San Diego, Calif., she ranged the western coasts of the United States and Mexico, engaged in torpedo drills and various tests. On 17 July 1920, when the Navy adopted the alphanumeric system of hull classification and identification, she was reclassified to a light cruiser (CL-2).

USS Birmingham (CL-2) accomplished an overhaul at Boston Navy Yard through the end of January 1923, and then renewed ties with the state of her namesake when she took part in Mardi Gras at Mobile (31 January–14 February), celebrating the festival on the 8th. USS Birmingham (CL-2) carried out upkeep at Balboa until 1 May 1923, when she set out for a courtesy visit to Callao, Peru. USS Birmingham (CL-2) weighed anchor at 10:00 a.m. on 24 May 1923 and on the 26th entered Buenaventura, Colombia.

The following month USS Birmingham (CL-2) prepared to take part with Denver (CL-16) and Galveston (CL-19) in night battle practice in Panama Bay. USS Birmingham (CL-2)’s age caught up with her, however, and the ship experienced ongoing problems with her “thrusts”, which heated dangerously whenever she attempted to steam at 15 knots or greater. USS Birmingham (CL-2) sailed from Balboa to Cristóbal on 28 June 1923, and then (30 June–7 July) set out on her final voyage to Philadelphia. She was decommissioned there on 1 December 1923, and remained in reserve until 21 January 1930, when she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register.

For a complete history of USS Birmingham (CL-2) please see its DANFS page.