Friday, October 28, 2011

USS Arkansas (BM-7) Commissioned 109 years Ago Today

The third ship to be named after the "Natural State" was commissioned 109 years ago today, 28 October, 1902.

USS Arkansas (BM-7) was a single-turreted "New Navy" Monitor, designed after the Civil War had shown that the days of wooden-hulled sailing warships was over.

She was also one of the last monitors built in the world.

Because of their design, monitors were not ocean-going and the development of the iron-hulled, ocean-going "dreadnaught" brought the monitor age to an end.

USS Arkansas served much of her career as a training ship for midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. She was re-named USS Ozark on 02 March 1909 and the name was freed up to be used on the battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) when her construction started in 1910.

USS Ozark was assigned to the District of Columbia Naval Militia from 1910-1913. After that, she began conversion to a submarine tender, to support the rapidly growing submarine force.

As a submarine tender, USS Ozark operated along the US East Coast and off the Gulf Coast of Mexico. She sailed throughout Central America as far as the Panama Canal Zone.

In January, 1916, USS Ozark was serving as a tender for USS E-2 (SS-25). E-2 was having new, experimental batteries installed at the time. On the morning of 16 January, 1916, these batteries exploded. E-2's Commanding Officer, LT Charles Maynard "Saavy" Cooke, a native Arkansan, was aboard Ozark at the time of the explosion and personally led rescue and firefighting teams into the still burning submarine, saving the lives of nine men.

USS Ozark was decommissioned in 1919.


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