Tuesday, May 19, 2009

USS Quiros (PG-40)

Figure 1: USS Quiros (PG-40) photographed circa 1900-1923. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 2: USS Quiros (PG-40) at Ichang, China, 8 December 1922. Donation of C. Kauffman, 1977. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Quiros was a 350-ton schooner-rigged gunboat that was laid down for the Spanish Navy at the Whampoa Dock Company, Hong Kong, China, in June 1894 and was launched in early 1895. The ship was captured by the US Army at Manila in 1898 during the Spanish-American War and was acquired by the US Navy on 21 February 1900. The gunboat was commissioned as the USS Quiros at the Cavite Navy Yard on 14 March 1900. Quiros was approximately 145 feet long and 22 feet wide, had a top speed of 11 knots, and had a crew of 57 officers and men. The ship was armed with two 6-pounder guns and two 3-pounders.

Quiros’ primary mission was to support the US Army in defeating the rebellion in the Philippines. The gunboat steamed along the east coast of Luzon transporting troops, providing gunfire support, blockading rebel villages, and making hydrographic surveys. Quiros then supported the army off the coast of Samar until 6 October 1901. After an overhaul at the Cavite Navy Yard that lasted from 25 February to 7 May 1902, Quiros was ordered to patrol the waters off Zamboanga for several months, acting primarily as a troops transport for the Army and the Marines. She eventually returned to Cavite and was decommissioned on 29 January 1904.

Quiros was re-commissioned on 2 September 1904 and, after a brief assignment with the Philippine Squadron, was sent to China and arrived at Shanghai on 3 August 1905. She steamed along the Chinese coast as far as Chefoo and then went up the Yangtze River, making several trips to Hankow and even going as far as Ichang, which was approximately 900 miles inland. On 27 February 1908, Quiros was ordered back to Cavite, arriving there on 8 March and then was decommissioned three days later.

The useful gunboat was again re-commissioned on 11 October 1910 and patrolled the coastline of the Philippines for more than a year. On 11 November 1911, Quiros steamed first to Amoy and then went to Shanghai where she joined the Yangtze Patrol. Quiros remained with the Yangtze Patrol for the rest of her career, carrying supplies, providing security for merchant ships that steamed on the Yangtze River, and protecting American lives and property along the river. The gunboat was interned at Shanghai on 5 May 1917 after America entered World War I, but an international agreement on the protection of nationals in China allowed Quiros to resume operations in August. USS Quiros was decommissioned for the last time at Shanghai on 10 August 1923 and was sunk as a target ship off the coast of China on 16 October 1923.

Even though originally built for the Spanish Navy, USS Quiros provided the US Navy with more than 23 years of useful service. Evidently, well-built warships will always last a long time, regardless of what navy they are in.