USS Birmingham (CL-2)

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This article is about the World War I light cruiser. For other ships with similar names, see USS Birmingham.

USS Birmingham (CL-2), named for the city of Birmingham, was a Chester-class light cruiser laid down by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company at Quincy in Massachusetts on August 14, 1905, launched on May 29, 1907 by Mrs L. Underwood and commissioned on April 11, 1908, Commander B. T. Wallin in command.

Birmingham served with the Atlantic Fleet until June 27, 1911 and went into reserve at Boston three days later. From her deck, November 14, 1910, civilian pilot Eugene Ely made the first airplane take-off from a warship in a Curtiss Model D biplane designed by Glenn Curtiss.

Recommissioned December 15, 1911, she made a short cruise to the West Indies and then reverted to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia April 20, 1912. During May to July 1912 she was in commission for service on the Ice Patrol and then returned to the Philadelphia Reserve Group. Recommissioned October 1, 1913, Birmingham carried the Panama-Pacific Exposition Commissioners on a South American tour (October 3 to December 26, 1913) and then was outfitted at Philadelphia Navy Yard as a tender to the Torpedo Flotilla.

She left the yard February 2, 1914 and resumed operations with the Atlantic Fleet as flagship of the Torpedo Flotilla. During April and May 1914 she operated with the fleet in Mexican waters. During this time, one of her two Curtiss Model F flying boats performed the first military mission by a US heavier-than-air aircraft, while scouting for mines off Veracruz on April 25. In 1916 she became flagship of Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet, and Torpedo Flotilla 3.

Following American entrance into World War I, Birmingham patrolled along the northeast coast until June 14, 1917 when she sailed from New York as part of the escort for the first American troop convoy to France. After returning to New York she was fitted for service in Europe and in August reported to Gibraltar as flagship for Rear Admiral A. P. Niblack, Commander, U. S. Forces Gibraltar. She escorted convoys between Gibraltar, the British Isles, and France until the Armistice. After a short cruise in the eastern Mediterranean, she returned to the United States in January 1919.

From July 1919 until May 1922 she was based at San Diego, Calif., as flagship of Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, and then moved to Balboa, Canal Zone, as flagship of the Special Service Squadron. After cruising along the Central American and northern South American coast she returned to Philadelphia Navy Yard and was decommissioned there on December 1, 1923, being sold for scrap on May 13, 1930.

See also

See USS Birmingham for other ships of the same name.


  • USS Birmingham (CL-2). (2007, October 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:39, November 14, 2007 [1]