- USS North Dakota (BB-29)
USS "North Dakota" (BB-29), a "Delaware"-class
battleship, was the first ship of the United States Navynamed in honor of the U.S. stateof North Dakota. Her keel was laid down 16 December 1907 by the Fore River ShipbuildingCompany of Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on 10 November 1908 sponsored by Miss Mary Benton, and commissioned at Boston, Massachusetts, on 11 April 1910 with Commander Charles P. Plunkett in command.
On 8 September 1910 the ship suffered an oil-tank explosion and fire whilst at sea. Six men - Chief Watertenders
August Holtzand Patrick Reid, Chief Machinist's Mates Thomas Stantonand Karl Westa, Machinist's Mate First Class Charles C. Robertsand Watertender Harry Lipscomb- each received the Medal of Honor"for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession" during the fire.
In her first years "North Dakota" operated with the Atlantic Fleet in maneuvers along the East Coast and in the
Caribbean Sea. She sailed 2 November 1910 for her first Atlantic crossing, visiting England and France prior to winter-spring maneuvers in the Caribbean. In the summers of 1912 and 1913 she carried United States Naval Academymidshipmen for training in New Englandwaters, and on 1 January 1913 she joined the honor escort for "HMS Natal" as the British ship entered New York Cityharbor with the body of the late Whitelaw Reid, United States Ambassador to Great Britain.
As Mexican political disturbances strained relations with the United States, "North Dakota" sailed for Veracruz, where she arrived 26 April 1914, five days after American sailors had occupied the city. She cruised the coast of
Mexicoto protect Americans and their interests until a more stable government took office, and returned to Norfolk, Virginia, on 16 October. An even more intensive program of training was taken up by the Atlantic Fleet as war threatened, and "North Dakota" was in Chesapeake Bayfor gunnery drills when the United States entered World War I.
Throughout the war, "North Dakota" operated in the
York River, Virginia, and out of New York training gunners and engineers for the expanding fleet. Then, on 13 November 1919, she stood out of Norfolk to carry home the remains of the late Italian Ambassador to the United States. While in the Mediterranean Seashe called at Athens, Constantinople, Valencia, and Gibraltarbefore returning to the Caribbean for the annual spring maneuvers. In the summer of 1921, she took part in the Army-Navy bombing tests off the Virginia Capesin which the German light cruiser "Frankfurt" and battleship "Ostfriesland" were sunk to demonstrate the potentialities of air power. She interrupted fleet operations during the next two summers to again cruise with midshipmen,contributing to the future strength of the Navy by educating its officers-to-be. The cruise of 1923 took her to Scandinavia, Scotland, and Spain.
"North Dakota" decommissioned at Norfolk on 22 November 1923 with a number of other battleships, under the terms of the
Washington Naval Treaty. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Registeron 7 January 1931, and she was sold for scrapping 16 March 1931. Her steam turbineengines were fitted in USS "Nevada" (BB-36).
A model of the "North Dakota" is on display at the North Dakota Heritage Center on the grounds of the state capitol in
Bismarck, North Dakota.
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-n/bb29.htm USS North Dakota (Battleship # 29, later BB-29), 1910-1931]
* [http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_directory/us_navy_pages/uss_north_dakota_bb29.htm Maritimequest USS North Dakota BB-29 Photo Gallery]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/01/29a.htm NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive BB-29 USS NORTH DAKOTA 1908 - 1916]
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