Sunday, July 7, 2013

USS CONCORD, PG-3, A part of her remains!

In March of 1890, more than 120 years ago, the USS Concord, a gunboat of the Yorktown class, began her life, when she was launched from Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works.  She was 244 feet long with a beam of 36 feet.  She was armed with 6X 6 inch Mk IV breech loading howitzers.  She could make almost 17 knots with her steam engines, which were supplemented by sail, and she boasted a crew of 190.

Commissioned in 1891, she operated along the United States East Coast and West Indies until 1893, when she was transferred to the Asiatic Station.  She spent a year out of commission for upgrades most likely.  In early 1898, she was returned to the Asiatic Fleet and took part in the Spanish American War, where she and other ships helped decimate the Spanish Fleet under command of Admiral Dewey in The Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines on May 1st, 1898.

She continued to support operations in the Philippines and then patrolled off of Mexico, Alaska, and even China.  She was finally retired from active service and became a barracks ship in 1909.  In 1914 she became a quarantine ship in Astoria, Oregon.  In 1929, she was finally let go and, likely, scrapped.

Somewhere along the line though, at least two of her six inch guns were removed.  In 1915, these were given to the United Spanish War Veterans, who placed them in the War Garden at Woodland Park.  These two large caliber guns still reside there.  They are a link to that long ago war that brought the United States of America to the forefront of world politics.  Even though the USA attempted to maintain a backseat in two world wars, each time she was brought into the fray and her action helped win the day for the side she was on.  These victories earned her an unavoidable place in the spotlight and placed her center stage in the world as a superpower for well into the 21st century.

Even though they sit mute in the corner of a disused park, these guns recall a time when America and the United States were still an untried entity in world politics.  Admiral Dewey unleashed a fusillade of American might upon the Spanish Navy, and, in 115 years, that might has not changed nor backed down from a fight.

If you wish to view these fine symbols of American Might, and perhaps commune with their spirits and partake of their valor in bringing the fight to the enemy, you can find them in Seattle, Washington.  Look for the Woodland Park Zoo and go to the southern entrance.  On the west edge of the parking lot you will find these long forgotten behemoths keeping watch over your vehicle.

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