Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

NH-2896: USS Kansas (BB 21)
Description
Tags
Related Content
USS Kansas (Battleship # 21, later BB-21), 1907-1924

USS Kansas, a 16,000-ton Connecticut class battleship built at Camden, New Jersey, was commissioned in April 1907. After a shakedown cruise off the east coast, she joined the Atlantic Fleet's battleships in Hampton Roads, Virginia, in time to take part in the cruise around the World that began in December 1907. For the next fifteen months, Kansas and her sister battleships cruised around South America to the U.S. west coast, then steamed across the Pacific to visit Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines and Japan. Continuing by way of the Indian Ocean, they called on Ceylon, transited the Suez Canal, passed through the Mediterranean and crossed the Atlantic to return to Hampton Roads in late February 1909.


At the end of this epic voyage, Kansas began an overhaul that greatly changed her appearance. She emerged with two new "cage" masts and grey paint in place of the previous "white and buff". During the next eight years, she mainly operated with the battle fleet in U.S. and Caribbean waters, but also made three trans-Atlantic cruises. In late 1911, Kansas called on ports in France and England. The next spring, she went to the Baltic and in 1913 visited Italy. In a diplomatic mission in July 1914, the battleship transported the body of the late Venezuelan Minister back to his country for burial.


After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Kansas served in training and escort roles until the conflict's end in November 1918. Next assigned work as a troop transport, she made five round-trips to France from then until mid-1919, helping to bring home veterans of the "Great War". In June 1920, Kansas passed through the Panama Canal to the Pacific, taking Naval Academy midshipmen on a training cruise that reached as far west as Hawaii. Returning to the Pacific in October 1920, she steamed to Samoa and Hawaii. She made a final voyage to Europe on a midshipmen's training cruise in mid-1921. Kansas was inactive after the conclusion of that trip. Decommissioned in December 1921, she was stricken from the Navy list in 1923 and broken up in 1924.