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USS Wisconsin (BB 9)

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USS Wisconsin (Battleship # 9, later BB-9), 1901-1922

USS Wisconsin, a 11,565-ton Illinois class battleship built at San Francisco, California, was commissioned in February 1901. She mainly operated along the western coasts of North and Central America during the next two years, often serving as flagship of the Pacific Squadron. She also cruised to the South Pacific in late 1901 and to Chile early in 1902. Between June 1903 and September 1906 Wisconsin was stationed in the Far East as Asiatic Fleet flagship. She was out of commission at the Puget Sound Navy Yard from November 1906 until April 1908, and in July 1908 joined the "Great White Fleet" battleships that were then preparing for the trans-Pacific stage of their cruise around the World. Participating in the remainder of this epic voyage, Wisconsin visited New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Japan, China, Ceylon, then crossed the Indian Ocean, transited the Suez Canal, and passed through the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic before steaming into Hampton Roads, Virginia, in February 1909.

Over the next few months, Wisconsin underwent modernization work that greatly changed her appearance. Emerging from the shipyard with a new "basket" foremast, grey paint and many other alterations, she operated along the U.S. East Coast and in the Caribbean from mid-1909 to the spring of 1910, then went into reserve. Fitted with a second "basket" mast, she emerged briefly from reserve in 1912, and in 1915 joined the Naval Academy Training Squadron. In the middle of that year, the battleship passed through the Panama Canal on a Midshipmen's training cruise, thus returning to the Pacific for the first time in nearly seven years.

However, Wisconsin's remaining career was primarily spent in the Atlantic. Her Naval Academy tour ended when the United States entered World War I in April 1917. During that conflict she was employed to train the huge numbers of new Sailors needed to man the greatly enlarged wartime Navy. Wisconsin generally operated in the Chesapeake Bay for this purpose, but made occasional trips along the East Coast. With the War at an end, in early 1919 she participated in Atlantic Fleet exercises off Cuba and, in mid-year, carried Naval Academy midshipmen on a Caribbean cruise. Decommissioned in May 1920, a few weeks later Wisconsin was given the hull number BB-9, but had no further active service. She was sold for scrapping in January 1922.