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Seattle I (Armored Cruiser No. 11)

The largest city in Washington, Seattle is also known as a commercial and industrial seaport, as well as the terminus of the Yellowstone Trail.

(Armored Cruiser No. 11: displacement 15,712; length 504'5"; beam 72'10"; draft 25'; speed 22 knots; complement 887; armament 4 10-inch, 16 6-inch, 22 3-inch, 4 18-inch torpedo tubes; class Tennessee)

Seattle was laid down on 23 September 1903 as Washington (Armored Cruiser No. 11) by the New York Shipbuilding Company, Camden, N. J.; launched on 18 March 1905; sponsored by Miss Helen Stewart Wilson, daughter of United States Senator John L. Wilson of Washington; and commissioned at Philadelphia on 7 August 1906, Capt. James D. Adams in command.

After a shakedown cruise, Washington sailed to Panama in connection with President Roosevelt's trip, returning to Philadelphia for repairs. In April and May 1907, the armored cruiser was present at the Jamestown Exposition. In June, Washington made a trip to France; and, on 12 October, departed Hampton Roads bound for the west coast to join the Pacific Fleet. Washington was engaged in operations along the west coast and, in May 1909, arrived at Tacoma to assist in the reception for the Japanese Squadron and forduty in connection with the Exposition held there in August. From September 1909 to February 1910, Washington made a cruise to the Far East, calling at ports in China and Japan.

Washington sailed from San Francisco on 14 August 1910 with the 1st Division of the Pacific Fleet for Valparaiso, Chile, to take part in the Chilean Centennial Exposition. In September, she was detached from the fleet at Talcahuano, Chile, and sailed to join the Atlantic Fleet's 5th Division.

In the early part of 1912, Washington cruised to Central and South America with the Secretary of State and party on board. Upon her return to New York, she became flagship of the United States Atlantic Fleet. On 25 May, the armored cruiser left Newport, R. I., for duty in connection with the Cuban Rebellion.

Remaining in the Key West area until 10 June, Washington returned to Portsmouth, N. H., where she was placed in reserve on 9 July. One year later, Washington was assigned duty as Receiving Ship at the port of New York.

Washington was placed in full commissioned status on 23 April 1914 and sailed for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Then she was detailed to Special Service at Vera Cruz, Mexico, later returning to her previous duty off Santo Domingo and Haiti from June to November 1914. During the first half of 1915, the armored cruiser continued her operations in the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico. From 28 July 1915 to February 1916, she remained at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to protect American citizens. In March 1916, Washington was detached from the Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, and placed in reserve.

Washington, renamed Seattle, was again placed in full commission on 9 November 1916 and assigned to duty as flagship, Destroyer Force.

Seattle was at anchor in the New York River when the United States entered World War I. She arrived at New York on 3 June 1917, to be put in readiness for war service. On 14 June, she sailed as an escort for the first American convoy to Europe, arriving at St. Nazaire, France, on the 26th.

It was during this convoy, at 2215 on 22 June, that Seattle sighted her first enemy submarines. Shortly before the attack, the helm of the Seattle had jammed, and the ship took a rank sheer to starboard; the whistle was blown to indicate this sheer. In a few minutes, the ship was brought back on course at which time personnel on the bridge sighted a submarine crossing her bow at about 50 yards. After consulting French reports in possession of the United States Naval Attache in Paris, it was determined that there had been two submarines, and that they had been ordered to watch for the convoy. The enemy hunters had probably been trailing the convoy at a safe distance waiting for darkness. These submarines sank Benquela and Syria, Allied merchantmen, one week later; but their failure to score hits on Seattle's convoy was probably due to Seattle's helm jamming, and her fortuitous sounding of her whistle. Presumably, just before the attack, the enemy supposed that he had been discovered.

Seattle performed escort duty until the end of the war, completing her ninth escort trip upon her arrival at New York on 27 October 1918. After the war, Seattle returned troops from France until 5 July 1919.

After the removal of all special transport fittings, the armored cruiser sailed for the west coast to join the Pacific Fleet. On 12 September, she was reviewed by President Wilson at her namesake city, and from there proceeded to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, to be placed in reduced commission. While she was in reduced commission, on 17 July 1920, Seattle received the hull designation CA-11.

Seattle was placed in full commission again on 1 March 1923. Between 1923 and 1927, as flagship for Commanders-in-Chief of the United States Fleet, Admiral Hilary P. Jones, Admiral R. E. Coontz, Admiral S. S. Robison, and Admiral C. F. Hughes, Seattle operated from Hawaii to Seattle and from Australia to Panama.

Seattle returned to Hampton Roads to pass in review before President Coolidge on 3 June 1927. After a cruise along the east coast, she arrived at New York on 29 August to assume duty as Receiving Ship at that port. On 1 July 1931, her designation was changed to "unclassified."

Her cruising days over, Seattle remained on Receiving Ship duty until 1941, when she was reclassified as a miscellaneous auxiliary, IX-39. She remained in New York during World War II and was placed out of service on 28 June 1946. Seattle was stricken from the Navy list on 19 July 1946 and sold to the Northern Metal Company for scrap.

Published: Tue Sep 08 10:27:41 EDT 2015