Military Wiki
USS Birmingham (CL-2)
USS Birmingham (CL-2)
Career (United States)
Name: USS Birmingham (CL-2)
Builder: Fore River Shipyard
Laid down: 14 August 1905
Launched: 29 May 1907
Commissioned: 11 April 1908
Decommissioned: 1 December 1923
Fate: Sold for scrapping, 13 May 1930
General characteristics
Class & type: Chester-class cruiser
Displacement: 3,750 long tons (3,810 t)
Length: 423.1 ft (129.0 m)
Beam: 47.1 ft (14.4 m)
Draft: 16.9 ft (5.2 m)
Speed: 24.5 kn (28.2 mph; 45.4 km/h)
Complement: 359 officers and enlisted
Armament: 2 × 5 inch (127 mm)/51 cal guns[1] (2x1), 6 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 cal guns (6x1), 2 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes

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

Pre-World War I

Pilot Eugene Ely takes off from USS Birmingham, Hampton Roads, Virginia, 14 November 1910

Birmingham served with the Atlantic Fleet until 27 June 1911, and went into reserve at Boston three days later. One of her sailors, Chief Electrician William E. Snyder, received the Medal of Honor for rescuing a shipmate from drowning on 4 January 1910.[2] From Birmingham's deck, civilian pilot Eugene Ely made the first airplane take-off from a warship on 14 November 1910[3] in a Curtiss Model D biplane designed by Glenn Curtiss.

Recommissioned on 15 December 1911, she made a short cruise to the West Indies and then reverted to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia on 20 April 1912. From 19 May – 11 July, she was in commission for service on the Ice Patrol and then returned to the Philadelphia Reserve Group. Recommissioned on 1 October 1913, Birmingham carried the Commissioners of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition on a South American tour from 3 October – 26 December, and was then outfitted at Philadelphia Navy Yard as a tender to the Torpedo Flotilla.

She left the yard on 2 February 1914, and resumed operations with the Atlantic Fleet as flagship of the Torpedo Flotilla. From 22 April – 25 May, 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 25 April. In 1916, she became flagship of Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet, and Torpedo Flotilla 3.

World War I

Following American entrance into World War I, Birmingham patrolled along the northeast coast until 14 June 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, US 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.

Inter-war period

From July 1919 – May 1922, she was based at San Diego, California 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 and was decommissioned there on 1 December 1923, being sold for scrap on 13 May 1930.


  • Burns Tracy Walling 11 April 1908 –
  • William Bartlett Fletcher 28 October 1909 – 1910
  • Charles Frederick Hughes 18 December 1911 – 1912
  • William Veazie Pratt c. 1914 –
  • David Foote Sellers January 1915 – 9 June 1916
  • DeWitt Blamer 9 June 1916 – November 1916
  • Charles Lincoln Hussey c. 1917 – c. 1918
  • Franck Taylor Evans 28 April 1919 – November 1919
  • George Bertram Landenberger 1920 –


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

  1. *Preston, Anthony (1980). Cruisers. Prentice Hall. pp. 60. ISBN 0-13-194902-0. 
  2. "Medal of Honor Recipients - Interim Awards, 1901-1911". Medal of Honor Citations. U.S. Army Center of Military History. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  3. Friedman, Norman (1983). U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History. Naval Institute Press. pp. 31. ISBN 0-87021-739-9. 

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