Tuesday, January 10, 2012
USS Arkansas (BM-7)
Figure 1: "US Monitors Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida and Wyoming." Pen and ink side elevation and plan view, by the Bureau of Construction and Repair. These monitors (numbers 7-10, respectively) were built under the 1898 ship construction program. Connecticut (Monitor No. 8) was renamed Nevada in January 1901, after launching but more than two years before completion. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: Launching of USS Arkansas (BM-7) at Newport News, VA, 10 November 1900. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: The monitor USS Arkansas (BM-7) fitting out at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., 1 July 1902. Her armament has been completely installed and the ship is only four months away from commissioning. The ship in the background is the battleship Missouri (BB-11). US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: Postcard of the Arkansas (BM-7). Photograph courtesy of SK/3 Tommy Trampp. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: Officers and crew of the monitor USS Arkansas (BM-7), circa 1907. US National Archives photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Ozark (formerly USS Arkansas) as completed, port-side view. She was renamed Ozark in March 1909. Date and location of this photograph is unknown. Photograph from National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), Record Group 19-N, Box 33. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Ozark (formerly USS Arkansas) painted in wartime gray. She was renamed Ozark in March 1909. US Navy photograph courtesy of US Warships of WW1 by Paul Silverstone. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Ozark (BM-7) probably in a Mexican port, circa 1914-1918. The original photograph is printed on postal card stock. Photographed by Carreras. Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after the state of Arkansas, the 3,225-ton USS Arkansas (BM-7) was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Virginia, and was the lead ship in a class of single-turreted “New Steel Navy” monitors. She was one of the last monitors built for the US Navy and was commissioned on 28 October 1902. The ship was approximately 255 feet long and 50 feet wide, had a top speed of 12 knots, and had a crew of 220 officers and men. Arkansas carried two 12-inch guns in its single turret, plus four 4-inch guns and three 6-pounders.
After her shakedown cruise, Arkansas was initially used as a training ship for the US Naval Academy. She then was ordered to join the Coast Squadron of the North Atlantic Fleet. Her primary duties included patrolling off America’s east coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the West Indies. But Arkansas continued making summer training cruises for the midshipmen at the Naval Academy and in 1906 was assigned to the Academy as a training ship for more than three years.
To free up her name for a new battleship that was being built at the time, Arkansas was renamed USS Ozark on 2 March 1909. The ship then was assigned to the District of Columbia’s Naval Militia from 26 June 1910 to 6 March 1913. Later that month, Ozark was sent to Norfolk, Virginia, to be converted into a submarine tender. Although she began those new duties on 12 July 1913, Ozark was sent off the coast of Mexico for most of 1914 and participated in Atlantic Fleet training exercises in 1915. In 1916, Ozark was assigned to patrol the Chesapeake Bay area off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland.
On 6 April 1917, the day the United States entered World War I, Ozark was assigned to Submarine Division (SubDiv) 6 of the Atlantic Fleet as a submarine tender. But Ozark soon was ordered to steam to Tampico, Mexico, where she was used as a gunboat to protect American lives and property along the coast of that politically unstable country. Ozark left for New Orleans on 18 December 1918 and then patrolled off the coasts of Key West, Florida, as well as Central America and the Panama Canal Zone. Ozark returned to Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 23 June 1919 and was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 20 August. USS Ozark remained there until 26 January 1922, when she was sold for scrapping.