The funds for the building of the new ship
were provided for by the approval by Congress of the budget for fiscal year 1914.
Construction was entrusted to Brooklyn
Navy Yard in New York, and the contract
was signed on September 15, 1913. One of
the reasons why the building of the ship
was given to a state shipyard was the
fact that if privately owned builders were
allowed to bid, there would have to be an
official tender submitted, and this would
delay the beginning of construction by
a minimum of two or three months. The
first of the building materials for the new
ship were ordered on the 3 of the month.
The keel was laid officially on March 16,
1914. Launching was conducted on June 19,
1915, and this was followed by her being
armored, armed, and having her superstructures installed. After completing
acceptance trials, the USS Arizona was
placed on the duty roster of the US Navy
on October 17, 1916. The final cost of the
ship was $12,993,579.23US.
The first commanding officer of the Arizona was Cpt. John D. McDonald, who held
the post until February 1918, and commended her maiden voyage on November 10,
1916. After six days of testing, she headed
to Guantanamo Bay on the island of Cuba,
via Newport. There was an accident there on December 7, that led to damage to
one of her turbines. The ship was recalled
to New York to undergo repairs, where
almost four months were spent on completion of necessary work, maintenance and above all, repairs to said turbine.
Launch of USS Arizona (BB-39) on 13 June
1915 (photo: Walter J. Brady via Naval Historical Collection, U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command).
Tangier Sound / USS San Marcos, Formally USS Texas
In the southern part of Chesapeake Bay,
on the border between Virginia and Maryland, west of Smith Island and north
of Tangier Island, is the Tangier Sound
sandbar, chosen by the US Navy to be its
medium and heavy caliber ship artillery
shooting range in the early 20th century. For this purpose, several old vessels
were sunk here as training targets, including the decommissioned armored ship
USS San Marcos. This ship was one of the
first armored ships of the United States
Navy. Launched in 1892 at the Norfolk Shipyards, it was commissioned as the USS
Texas with the nomenclature AC-1. The
ship‘s length was 308 feet and 10 inches
(94.1 m), with a displacement of 6,316 tons
(full combat displacement of 6,417 tons)
and was propelled by two three-expansion steam engines with a total output
of 8,610 horsepower (6,420 kW) giving
a maximum speed of 17.8 knots (33 km/h).
The main armament consisted of two twelve-inch (305 mm) guns in two single-gun
towers. This main armament puts the USS The USS Texas during the Spanish-American war. The ship was renamed USS San Marcos in 1911
(photo: Naval History and Heritage Command).