U.S. Navy Battleships - USS Wyoming (BB 32)
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Displacement: 27,243 tons
Speed: 21.22 knots
Armament: Twelve 12" guns; twenty-one 5" guns; two 3" guns; two 21" torpedo tubes
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The third Wyoming (Battleship No. 32) was laid down on 9
February 1910 at Philadelphia, Pa., by William Cramp and Sons;
launched on 25 May 1911; sponsored by Miss Dorothy Eunice
Knight, the daughter of former Chief Justice Jesse Knight of the
Wyoming Supreme Court; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy
Yard on 25 September 1912, Capt Frederick L. Chapin in command.
Wyoming departed Philadelphia on 6 October 1912, and completed
the fitting-out process at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn,
N.Y., before she joined the fleet in Hampton Roads, Va. Reaching
the Tidewater area on 30 December 1912, she became the flagship
of Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger, Commander, United States
Atlantic Fleet, soon thereafter. Sailing on 6 January 1913, the
new battleship visited the soon to be completed Panama Canal and
then conducted winter fleet maneuvers off Cuba before she
returned to Chesapeake Bay on 4 March.
After gunnery practice off the Virginia capes, on the southern
drill grounds, Wyoming underwent repairs and alterations at the
New York Navy Yard between 18 April and 7 May. She then
participated in war games off Block Island between 7 and 24 May,
a period of activity broken by repairs to her machinery, carried
out at Newport, R.I., between 9 and 19 May, before she underwent
more repairs at Newport. She then visited New York City from 28
to 31 May 1913 for the festivities surrounding the dedication of the
monument honoring the battleship Maine, destroyed in Havana
harbor on 15 February 1898.
Shifting to Annapolis, Md., on 4 June 1913, Wyoming embarked a
contingent of Naval Academy midshipmen and took the young
officers-to-be on a summer cruise off the coast of New England
that lasted into late August. Disembarking the "middies" at
Annapolis on 24 and 25 August, Wyoming then conducted torpedo
and target practices in the southern drill grounds, out of
Hampton Roads, into the late autumn. She was docked at New York
for repairs between 16 September and 2 October and then ran a
full-power trial as she headed south to Norfolk to resume
exercises off the Virginia capes before sailing for Europe on 25
Reaching Valetta, Malta, on 8 November, the dreadnought-type
battleship visited Naples, Italy, and Villefranche, France,
during the course of her Mediterranean cruise. The battleship
then left French waters astern on the last day of November and
reached New York on 15 December 1913.
Wyoming then underwent voyage repairs at the New York Navy Yard,
remaining there through the end of 1913. Getting underway on 6
January 1914, the battleship reached Hampton Roads on the morrow
and spent the next three days coaling to prepare for the annual
fleet exercises in the warmer Caribbean climes.
Wyoming exercised with the fleet, out of Guantanamo Bay and
Guacanayabo Bay, Cuba, between 26 January and 15 March, before
setting her course northward for Cape Henry, Va. She then ranged
with the fleet from the southern drill grounds, off the Virginia
capes, to Tangier Sound, for gunnery drills and practices. She
remained engaged in that routine until 3 April 1914, when she headed
for the New York Navy Yard and an overhaul.
After that period of repairs, which lasted from 4 April to 9 May
1914, Wyoming subsequently embarked a draft of men for transport
to the fleet, departed Hampton Roads on 13 May, and headed for
Mexican waters. She reached Vera Cruz on 18 May, less than a
month after American sailors and Marines had occupied that
Wyoming remained at Vera Cruz over the months that ensued, into
the late autumn of 1914, before she returned northward. After
conducting exercises off the Virginia capes en route, she put into the New York Navy Yard on 6 October and then underwent
repairs and alterations that lasted until 17 January 1915.
Shifting down the coast upon completion of that yard period,
Wyoming left Hampton Roads in her wake on 21 January for the
annual exercises in Cuban waters and in the Caribbean. Returning
to the Tidewater area on 7 April, the battleship carried out
tactical exercises and maneuvers along the eastern seaboard,
primarily off Block Island and the southern drill grounds-into
the late autumn, when she again entered the New York Navy Yard
for an overhaul.
After repairs lasting from 20 December 1915 to 6 January 1916,
Wyoming got underway on the latter day, bound for war games in
the southern drill grounds. She subsequently headed farther
south, reaching Culebra, Puerto Rico, on 16 January. After
visiting Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 27 January, Wyoming put into
Guantanamo Bay on the 28th and then operated in Cuban waters,
off Guantanamo and Guacanayabo Bays and the port of Manzanillo,
until 10 April, when she sailed for New York.
Wyoming remained in the New York Navy Yard from 16 April to 26
June 1916, undergoing repairs; she then operated off the New
England coast, out of Newport, and off the Virginia capes
through the remainder of 1916. Departing New York on 9 January
1917, Wyoming then conducted routine maneuvers in the Guantanamo
Bay region through mid-March. She departed the Caribbean on 27
March and was off Yorktown, Va., when the United States entered
World War I on 6 April 1917.
Over the months that ensued, Wyoming served in the Chesapeake
Bay region as an engineering ship until 13 November 1917. On
that day Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman broke his flag in USS New York
(Battleship No. 34) as Commander, Battleship Division 9. After
preparations for "distant service," Wyoming, New York, USS Delaware (Battleship No. 28), and USS Florida (Battleship No. 30) sailed for
the British Isles on 25 November and reached Scapa Flow, Orkney
Islands, on 7 December 1917. Although retaining their American
designation as Battleship Division 9, those four dreadnoughts
became the 6th Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet upon
arrival in British waters.
Wyoming carried out maneuvers and tactical exercises with the
units of the British Grand Fleet until 6 February 1918. On that
day, she got underway with the other ships of the 6th Battle
Squadron and eight British destroyers to guard a convoy routed
to Stavanger, Norway. En route, Wyoming dodged torpedo wakes off
Stavanger, on 8 February but reached Scapa Flow safely two days
later. In the following months, Wyoming continued to patrol off
the British Isles, guarding the coastwise sea lanes against the
danger posed by the still-powerful German High Seas Fleet.
Between 30 June and 2 July 1918, Wyoming operated with the 6th
Battle Squadron and a division of British destroyers, guarding
Allied minelayers as they planted the North Sea Mine Barrage.
Later, Wyoming returned to the Firth of Forth, where she was
inspected by the King of England, His Majesty George V, along
with other units of the Grand Fleet.
Although American and German capital ships never met in combat
on the high seas, they nevertheless made rendezvous. On 21
November 1918, 10 days after the armistice ended World War I,
Wyoming, New York, USS Texas (Battleship No. 35), and USS Arkansas
(Battleship No. 33) joined the Grand Fleet as it escorted the
German High Seas Fleet into the Firth of Forth to be interned
following the cessation of hostilities.
Later, Wyoming, hoisting the flaw of Rear Admiral William S.
Sims, Commander, Battleship Division 9, sailed on 12 December
1918 from Portland, England, bound for France. The following
morning, she and other battleships rendezvoused with George
Washington (Id. No. 3018) off Brest, France. Embarked in the
transport was the President of the United States, Woodrow
Wilson, en route to the Paris Peace Conference.
After serving in the honor escort for the President and his
party, Wyoming returned Admiral Sims to Plymouth, England, along
with the newly appointed ambassador to Great Britain. Debarking
her distinguished passengers on 14 December, the battleship
loaded 381 bags of mail and, within a few hours, sailed for the
United States. Reaching New York City on Christmas Day 1918, she
remained there through New Year's Day 1919. On 13 January 1919,
she became the flagship of Battleship Division 7, 3rd Squadron,
and broke the flag of Rear Admiral Robert E. Coontz.
Wyoming departed New York on 1 February and, following winter
maneuvers in Cuban waters, returned north, reaching New York on
14 April. However, she stood out to sea soon thereafter, getting
underway on 12 May 1919 to serve as a link in the chain of ships
stretching across the Atlantic to guide the NC-boats on their
flight across that ocean. After completing her duty as plane
guard and meteorological station, Wyoming returned to Hampton
Roads on the last day of May.
Later embarking midshipmen and taking them on their southern
cruise in the Chesapeake Bay-Virginia capes area, Wyoming
entered the Norfolk Navy Yard on 1 July to prepare for service
in the Pacific. On that day, she became a unit of the newly
designated Pacific Fleet, assigned the duty as flagship for
Battleship Division 6, Squadron 4. On the morning of 19 July 1919,
the fleet, led by flagship USS New Mexico (Battleship No. 40), got
underway for the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal soon
thereafter, the fleet reached San Diego, Calif., on 6 August.
Shifting to San Pedro, Calif., three days later, Wyoming
operated out of that port into the autumn. After an overhaul at
the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., from 15 September
1919 to 19 April 1920, Wyoming returned to her base at San Pedro
on 4 May. Over the next few months, the battleship exercised off
the southern California coast. During that time, she was
reclassified BB-32 on 17 July 1920.
Departing San Diego on the last day of August 1920, Wyoming
sailed for Hawaiian waters and conducted exercises and maneuvers
there through September. Returning to San Diego on 3 October,
Wyoming subsequently conducted tactical evolutions off the
western seaboard, ranging north to Seattle. Departing San
Francisco, Calif., on 5 January 1921, Wyoming, over the ensuing
weeks, conducted further drills, exercises, and maneuvers
reaching from Panama Bay to Valparaiso, Chile, and was reviewed
by the President of Chile on 3 February. Returning north via
Panama Bay and San Pedro, Wyoming arrived at the Puget Sound
Navy Yard on 18 March and remained there into the summer.
Upon completion of repairs, Wyoming headed south and, on 2
August 1921, reached Balboa, Canal Zone, where she embarked Rear
Admiral Hugh Rodman and members of the commission to Peru for
transportation to New York City. Reaching her destination on 19
August, she disembarked her passengers and, that afternoon,
broke the flag of Admiral Hilary P. Jones, the Commander in
Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.
Over the next 41 months, Wyoming operated primarily in the
Atlantic, off the eastern seaboard of the United States,
participating in Atlantic Fleet exercises, ranging from the
coast of New England to the Virginia capes. She took part in the
routine winter maneuvers of the fleet in Caribbean and Cuban
waters, serving at various times as flagship for Vice Admiral
John D. McDonald, Commander, Battleship Force; and, later,
Commander, Scouting Fleet, and his successors, Vice Admiral
Newton A. McCully and Vice Admiral Josiah S. McKean. During that
time, the ship received routine repairs and alterations at the
New York Navy Yard and conducted a midshipman's training cruise
in the summer of 1924, cruising to Torbay, England; Rotterdam,
Holland; Gibraltar; and the Azores.
Departing New York on 26 January 1925, the battleship conducted
battle practice in Cuban waters, out of Guantanamo Bay, and then
transited the Panama Canal on 14 February to join the Battle
Fleet for exercises along the coast of California. Wyoming next
sailed for Hawaiian waters and operated in those climes from
late April to early June. After a visit to San Diego from 18 to
22 June, the battleship returned to the east coast, via the
Panama Canal, and arrived back at New York City on 17 July to
resume operations off the coast of New England. Following those
training evolutions with a cruise to Cuba and Haiti, Wyoming
underwent an overhaul at the New York Navy Yard from 23 November
1925 to 26 January 1926. During her yard period, Cmdr. William
F. Halsey, Jr., reported on board as the battleship's executive
officer. The future fleet admiral served in Wyoming until 4
Wyoming subsequently took part in the Fleet's annual winter
maneuvers in the Caribbean and then returned northward, reaching
Annapolis on 29 May to embark midshipmen for their summer
training cruise. After touching at Newport, R.I.; Marblehead,
Mass.; Portland, Maine; Charleston, S.C.; and Guantanamo Bay,
Wyoming returned to Annapolis on 27 August 1927, disembarking the
officers-to-be upon arrival. The ship then put into the
Philadelphia Navy Yard for modernization.
Converted from a coal burner to an oil burner, Wyoming also
received new turbines, blisters for added underwater protection
against torpedoes, and other alterations. Completing the
overhaul on 2 November 1927 and heading south for Norfolk,
Wyoming then underwent a post-modernization shakedown cruise to
Cuba and the Virgin Islands before returning to Philadelphia on
7 December. Two days later, she hoisted the flag of Commander,
Scouting Fleet, Vice Admiral Ashley H. Robertson.
Over the next few years, Wyoming operated out of Norfolk, New
York, and Boston, making training cruises for the Naval Reserve
Officers' Training Corps (NROTC) units hailing from Yale,
Harvard, Georgia Tech, and Northwestern. That duty took her from
the Gulf of Mexico to Nova Scotia and into the Caribbean, as
well as to the Azores. During the course of that duty, she
departed Hampton Roads on 12 November 1928; and, on the night of
13 and 14 November, picked up eight survivors of the sunken
British merchant steamship Vestris; and landed them at Norfolk
the following day, 15 November.
Relieved as flagship of the Scouting Force on 19 September 1930,
Wyoming then became the flagship of Rear Admiral Wat T.
Cluverius, Commander, Battleship Division 2, and performed that
duty until 4 November. After then hoisting the flag of Rear
Admiral H. H. Christy, Commander, Training Squadron, Scouting
Fleet, the battleship conducted a training cruise into the Gulf
of Mexico, during which she visited New Orleans.
Returning north after that cruise, Wyoming was placed in reduced
commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 1 January 1931 to
prepare for demilitarization and conversion to a training ship
in accordance with the 1930 London Treaty for the limitation and
reduction of naval armaments. During that process, Wyoming lost
her blisters, side armor, and the removal of guns and turret
machinery from three of her six main battery turrets. On 21 May
1931, Wyoming was relieved of her duties as flagship for the
Scouting Force by USS Augusta (CA-31) and by USS Arkansas (BB-33) as
flagship of the Training Squadron.
Wyoming subsequently visited Annapolis upon the completion of
her demilitarization and, between 29 May and 5 June 1931,
embarked Naval Academy midshipmen for a cruise to European
waters. Sailing on 5 June, the ship was in the mid-Atlantic 10
days later, when she went to the aid of the foundering ice-
cutting submarine Nautilus, commanded by the famed British
Arctic explorer, Sir Hubert Wilkins. Wyoming took the disabled
submersible in tow and took her to Queenstown, Northern Ireland.
Later in the course of the cruise, the former battleship visited
Copenhagen, Denmark; Greenock, Scotland; Cadiz, Spain; and
Gibraltar, before she returned to Hampton Roads on 13 August.
During her cruise, she had been redesignated from a battleship,
BB-32, to a miscellaneous auxiliary, AG-17, on 1 July 1931.
Over the next four years, Wyoming continued summer practice
cruises for Naval Academy midshipmen and training cruises for
NROTC midshipmen with units from various universities. Her
service took her throughout the Caribbean and the Gulf of
Mexico, as well as to northern European ports and into the
However, there were new jobs for the old campaigner. On 18
January 1935, she embarked men of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine
Regiment, at Norfolk, for the winter-spring landing assault
practices at Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal Zone. In almost
every succeeding year, Wyoming took part in amphibious assault
exercises, as the elements of the Fleet Marine Force and Navy
developed tactics for use in possible conflicts of the future.
Departing Norfolk on 5 January 1937, Wyoming transited the
Panama Canal; headed for San Diego soon thereafter; and spent
the following weeks engaged in assault landing exercises and
gunnery drills at San Clemente Island, off the coast of
California. On 18 February 1937, during the culminating phase of
a multi-faceted (land, sea, and air) exercise, a shrapnel shell
exploded prematurely as it was being rammed into one of the
ship's 5-inch broadside guns. Six Marines were killed, and 11
were wounded. Immediately after the explosion, Wyoming sped to
San Pedro, where she transferred the wounded Marines to the
hospital ship USS Relief (AH-1).
Completing her slate of exercises and war games off the
California coast on 3 March, Wyoming stood out of Los Angeles
harbor on that day and headed back to the east coast. Returning
to Norfolk on the 23rd of the same month, the ship served as
temporary flagship for Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, Commander,
Training Squadron, from 15 April to 3 June 1937, during the
preparations for the upcoming Naval Academy practice cruise.
Putting to sea on 4 June from Hampton Roads, Wyoming reached
Kiel, Germany, on 21 June 1937, where she was visited by
officers from the ill-fated German "pocket battleship" Admiral
Graf Spee. Her embarked midshipmen subsequently toured Berlin
before Wyoming sailed for home on 29 June, touching at Torbay,
England, and Funchal, Madeira, before returning to Norfolk on 3
After local exercises, Wyoming disembarked her midshipmen at
Annapolis on 26 August. For the next few months, Wyoming
continued in her role as training ship, first for Naval Reserve
units and then for Merchant Marine Reserve units, ranging from
Boston to the Virgin Islands and from New York to Cuba,
respectively, before she underwent an overhaul at the Norfolk
Navy Yard between 16 October 1937 and 14 January 1938.
For the next three years, Wyoming continued her operations out
of Norfolk, Boston, and New York, visiting Cuban waters, as well
as Puerto Rico and New Orleans. In addition, she conducted a
Naval Academy midshipman's practice cruise to European waters in
1938, visiting Le Havre, France; Copenhagen; and Portsmouth,
England. Ultimately, on 2 January 1941, Wyoming became the
flagship for Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs, Commander, Training,
Patrol Force, and continued in her training ship duties into the
In November 1941, Wyoming embarked on yet another phase of her
career, that of a gunnery training ship. She departed Norfolk on
25 November 1941 for gunnery training runs out of Newport, R.I.,
and was off Platt's Bank when the Japanese attacked Pearl
Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 7 December 1941.
Putting into Norfolk on 28 January 1942, Wyoming sailed out into
the lower reaches of Chesapeake Bay on 5 February to begin a
countless chain of gunnery training drills in that area that
would carry her through World War II. So familiar was her
appearance in that area that Wyoming earned the nickname of the
"Chesapeake Raider." Assigned to the Operational Training
Command, United States Atlantic Fleet, the former dreadnought
battleship provided the platform on which thousands of gunners
trained in guns, ranging from 5-inch to .50-caliber.
Refitted at Norfolk between 12 January and 3 April 1944, Wyoming
took on a different silhouette upon emerging from that yard
period; the rest of her 12-inch turrets were removed, and
replaced with twin-mount 5-inch guns; in addition, newer models
of fire control radar were installed. She resumed her gunnery
training activities on 10 April 1944, operating in the
Chesapeake Bay region. The extent of her operations can be seen
from a random sampling of figures in a single month. In November
1944, Wyoming trained 133 officers and 1,329 men in antiaircraft
gunnery. During that month, she fired 3,033 5-inch shells, 849
3-inch; 10,076 40-millimeter; 32,231 20-millimeter; 66,270 .30-
caliber; and 360 1.1-inch ammunition. She claimed the
distinction of firing off more ammunition than any other ship in
the fleet, training an estimated 35,000 gunners on some seven
different types of guns.
On 30 June 1945, Wyoming completed her career as "Chesapeake
Raider" when she departed Norfolk for the New York Navy Yard and
alterations. Leaving the yard on 13 July 1945, she entered Casco
Bay soon thereafter, reporting for duty to Vice Admiral Willis
A. Lee, Commander, Composite Task Force 69. She fired her first
experimental gunnery practice at towed sleeves, drone aircraft,
and radio-controlled targets, as the largest operating unit of
the force established to study methods and tactics for dealing
with the Japanese kamikazes. Subsequently, Composite Task Force
69 became the Operational Development Force, United States
Fleet, on 31 August 1945. Upon the death of Admiral Lee, the
reins of command passed to Rear Admiral R. P. Briscoe.
Even after the broadening of the scope of the work of the force
to cover all the operational testing of new devices of fire
control, Wyoming remained the backbone of the unit through 1946.
On 11 July 1947, Wyoming entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and
was decommissioned on 1 August 1947. Her men and materiel were
then transferred to USS Mississippi (AG-128) (exBB-41).
Wyoming's name was struck from the Navy list on 16 September
1947, and her hulk was sold for scrapping on 30 October 1947.
She was then delivered to her purchaser, Lipsett, Inc., of New
York City, on 5 December 1947.
Updated: 30 July 2009