USS Kentucky (BB-6), a Kearsarge-class battleship,
was launched on 24 March 1898 by Newport News Shipbuilding &
Dry Dock Company of Newport News, Virginia sponsored by Miss Christine
Bradley, daughter of Governor William Bradley of Kentucky, and
commissioned on 16 May 1900 with Captain Colby M. Chester in command.
After fitting out in New York Navy Yard during the summer, Kentucky
sailed on 26 October 1900 for the Far East via Gibraltar and the Suez
Canal. She joined the other American ships on the Asiatic Station at
Manila February 1901 and six days later sailed for Hong Kong where she
became flagship of the Southern Squadron under Rear Admiral Louis
Kempff 23 March. Throughout the following year the battleship led her
squadron as it watched over American interest in the Far East, visiting
principal ports of China and Japan including Chefoo, Taku, Nanking,
Woosung, Hong Kong, Amoy, Nagasaki, Kobe, and Yokohama.
Rear Admiral Frank F. Wildes also selected Kentucky as his flagship
upon relieving Admiral Kempff on 1 March 1902, but he transferred his
flag to Rainbow on 7 April. Rear Admiral Robely D. Evans, Commander in
Chief, Asiatic Fleet, chose Kentucky as his flagship at Yokohama on 4
November; and he continued to direct American naval operations in the
Far East from her until she sailed from Manila for home on 13 March
1904. After retracing her steps through the Suez Canal and the Strait
of Gibraltar she arrived New York City on 23 May.
Upon completing overhaul in New York Navy Yard on 26 October, Kentucky
devoted the following year for tactics and maneuvers off the Atlantic
coast with the North Atlantic Fleet. The battleship joined the welcome
of the British Squadron at Annapolis, Maryland, and New York City in
the fall of 1905 and then cruised along the eastern seaboard until 23
September 1906. On that day off Provincetown, she embarked Marines from
Maine, Missouri, and Kearsarge and landed them at Havana, Cuba, 1
October to protect American interests and property during the Cuban
insurrection. She stood by to support forces ashore until 9 October
before resuming battle practice and tactics in the North Atlantic.
She remained there until decommissioning on 29
May 1920. Kentucky
was sold to Dravo Construction Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for
scrapping on 23 January 1924 in compliance with U.S. commitments under
the Washington Naval Treaty.