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Nebraska I (Battleship No. 14)

1907-1922

Nebraska was admitted to the Union on 1 March 1867 as the 37th state.

Hecla, a double-turreted monitor originally named Shakamaxon (q.v.), was renamed Nebraska on 10 August 1869.

I

(Battleship No. 14: displacement 16,094; length 441'3"; beam 76'2"; draft 25'10"; speed 19 knots; complement 1,108; armament 4 12-inch, 8 8-inch, 12 6-inch, 4 3-pounders, 4 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Virginia)

The first Nebraska (Battleship No. 14), ex-Pennsylvania, was laid down by Moran Brothers, Seattle, Wash., on 4 July 1902; launched on 7 October 1904; sponsored by Miss Mary N. Mickey, daughter of Governor John H. Mickey of Nebraska; and commissioned on 1 July 1907, Capt. Reginald F. Nicholson in command.

After shakedown and alterations, the new battleship joined the "Great White Fleet" at San Francisco, Calif., after 6 May 1908, relieving Alabama (Battleship No. 8).

Departing San Francisco on 7 July 1908, the Fleet visited Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands; Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; Manila, Philippine Islands; Yokohama, Japan; and Colombo, Ceylon, arriving at Suez, Egypt, on 3 January 1909. Departing Messina, Italy, on 9 January, the Fleet visited Naples, Italy, then Gibraltar, arriving at Hampton Roads, Va., on 22 February, where President Theodore Roosevelt reviewed the fleet as it passed into the roadstead.

Nebraska continued duty with the Atlantic Fleet. She attended the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in 1910 and the Louisiana Centennial during 1912. She earned the Mexican Service Medal for operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, from 1 May to 21 June 1914 and 1 June to 13 October 1916. After a period of reduced commissioned service, she was again placed in full commission on 3 April 1917.

When war was declared on 6 April 1917, Nebraska underwent repairs at Boston Navy Yard, Mass., attached to the 3rd Division, Battleship Force, Atlantic Fleet. On 13 April 1917, she steamed from Boston to engage in maneuvers and battle practice with the fleet in the Chesapeake Bay area. She operated along the east coast, primarily training armed guard crews for American merchantmen, until entering Norfolk Navy Yard, Va., on 15 April 1918 for repairs.

At Hampton Roads on 16 May, she received on board the body of the late Carlos M. DePena, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from Uruguay, with full honors, departing Hampton Roads the same day and arriving at Montevideo on 10 June, in company with Pittsburgh (Armored Cruiser No. 4), flagship of the Pacific Fleet. The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, came on board for the ceremonies and the body of the late Uruguyan Minister to the United States was transferred with full honors. She sailed from Montevideo on 15 June, returning to Hampton Roads on 26 July. The battleship departed New York on 17 September as the principal escort for a fast merchant convoy of 18 ships to an eastern Atlantic rendezvous, returning to Hampton Roads on 3 October. Nebraska made two more convoy voyages in the Atlantic, returning from the latter on 2 December to prepare for service in returning American troops from France.

Nebraska made four voyages from the United States to Brest, France, transporting 4,540 troops to and from the United States. On the first trip, she departed Hampton Roads on 30 December 1918, arrived at Brest on 11 January 1919, and returned to Newport News on 28 January. The final voyage to return veterans from France ended when she entered Newport News, Va., on 21 June with 1,279 troops.

On 22 June 1919, Nebraska detached from the transport service and shortly thereafter sailed to join Division 2, Squadron 1, Pacific Fleet, for operations along the west coast under command of Capt. P. N. Olmstead until she decommissioned on 2 July 1920. She was reclassified to BB-14 on 17 July 1920, and stricken on 12 July 1922.

In accordance with the Washington Treaty limiting naval armament, Nebraska was rendered incapable of further warlike service on 9 November 1923 and sold for scrap a few weeks later.

Updated and expanded by Mark L. Evans

17 June 2015

Published: Wed Jun 17 11:56:58 EDT 2015