Tuesday, July 14, 2009

USS Newport (PG-12)

Figure 1: USS Newport (PG-12) oil on canvas by an unidentified artist. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC, Navy Art Accession #: 66-255-A, US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 2: USS Newport (PG-12) 10 August 1915 in Dry Dock No. 2 at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California. Courtesy Darryl Baker. Click on photograph for larger image.

Named after a city in Rhode Island, the 1,153-ton Annapolis class “composite” gunboat USS Newport (PG-12) was built by the Bath Iron Works at Bath, Maine, and was commissioned on 5 October 1897. Newport was classified a “composite” gunboat because it was built using wooden planks over a steel frame. The ship was approximately 204 feet long and 36 feet wide, had a top speed of 12.8 knots, and had a crew of 156 officers and men. Newport was armed with one 4-inch gun, two 3-inch guns, and two 6-pounders.

Once the ship completed its “fitting out” process in Boston, Newport sailed to the Caribbean on 15 October 1897. From December 1897 to August 1898, Newport patrolled the West Indies and off the coast of Central America. During the Spanish-American War, Newport captured four Spanish ships but returned shortly after the war ended. The ship was decommissioned on 7 September 1898.

Newport was re-commissioned on 1 May 1900 and served as the training ship for the US Naval Academy and at the Naval Training Station at Newport, Rhode Island. However, she was decommissioned at Boston on 1 December 1902. Re-commissioned once again on 18 May 1903, Newport was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and patrolled the East Coast as well as the West Indies. The ship was decommissioned on 17 November 1906 and then was loaned to the Massachusetts Naval Militia on 2 June 1907. On 27 October 1907, Newport was transferred to the New York Public Marine School and also was used as a training ship for the Third Naval District until June 1918. On 26 July 1918, Newport was reassigned as a training ship for New York State and was placed under the control of the Third Naval District’s Commandant. She went on a training cruise from New York to the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies that lasted from 9 December 1918 to 25 May 1919, but was returned to the full control of New York State on 3 June 1919.

Newport was re-designated IX-19 and listed as an “Unclassified Miscellaneous Auxiliary” on 1 July 1921. She continued serving as a training ship until she was struck from the Naval Register on 12 October 1931. By an Act of Congress on 14 May 1934, USS Newport was given to the city of Aberdeen, Washington, and ended her days there as a training ship for the US Naval Reserves. Her final disposal date is unknown.