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USS Florida (BB-30)

The fifth United States Navy ship Florida (BB-30) was a battleship, the lead ship of her class of two (Utah (BB-32) being the other).

She was launched 12 May 1910 at the New York Navy Yard, sponsored by Miss E. D. Fleming, daughter of a former Florida Governor; and commissioned 15 September 1911, Captain H. S. Knapp in command.

After extensive training in the Caribbean and Maine coastal waters, Florida arrived in Hampton Roads on 29 March 1912 to join the Atlantic Fleet as flagship of Division 1. Regularly scheduled exercises, maneuvers, fleet training and target practice, and midshipmen training cruises took the new battleship to many east coast ports and into Caribbean waters. Early in 1914 tension heightened between the United States and factions in Mexico, and Florida arrived off Veracruz on 16 February 1914 remaining there during the ensuing occupation. She steamed to New York in July to resume regular Fleet operations and in October was transferred to Division 2.

Following the United States entry into World War I, Florida completed exercises in the Chesapeake Bay and proceeded with Battleship Division 9 to join the British Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, on 7 December 1917. She participated in the Grand Fleet maneuvers and evolutions, and performed convoy duty with the 6th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet through the remainder of the war. She rendezvoused with the Grand Fleet on 20 November 1918 when it met to escort the German High Seas Fleet into the Firth of Forth.

Florida joined the escort for George Washington, President Woodrow Wilson embarked, as she proceeded into Brest, France on 12 and 13 December 1918. She participated in the grand Victory Naval Review in the North River, New York City, in late December and then returned to Norfolk, Virginia 4 January 1919 to resume peace time operations. During May she cruised to the Azores and took weather observations for the first aerial crossing of the Atlantic achieved that month by Navy seaplanes.

Florida's operations during the remaining years of her career were highlighted by participation in the tercentenary celebration in August 1920 of the Pilgrims' landing at Provincetown, Massachusetts, a diplomatic voyage to South American and Caribbean ports with Secretary of State R. Lansing embarked, service as flagship for Commander, Control Force, U.S. Fleet, amphibious operations with Marines in the Caribbean, and midshipman training cruises.

The Florida was laid up June 1924. She was modernized at the Boston Navy Yard from 1 April 1925 to 1 November 1926. The reconstruction included: Heavier deck armor and anti-torpedo blisters along her sides and a rearranged secondary gun battery. The four boilers were converted from coal fired to White-Forster oil fired. Her two smokestacks were trunked into one. The aft caged mast was replaced with a lower stick mast and relocated aft between Turrets 3 & 4. Four of the sixteen 5" 45 caliber secondary battery mounted in sponsons in the hull were removed. The two 21" underwater mounted torpedo tubes were also removed. The ship served but a few years in this new guise, as she had to be removed from the National Armament under the 1930 London Naval Limitations Treaty.

Therefore, she was decommissioned 16 February 1931 at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, stricken from the list 6 April 1932 and scrapped at the Philadelphia Naval Yard under the terms of the London Naval Treaty of 1930. Scrapping was completed on 30 September 1932.

General Characteristics

See USS Florida for other Navy ships of the same name.

This article includes information collected from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.