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Notes: Authorized under the Act of 30 June 1890, the INDIANA class were the first battleships of the "New" Navy. They were not regarded as very successful ships, due to too much being attempted on too little a displacement. Freeboard was only 11' 4" forward, and that was when only 400 tons of coal was bunkered; when at their usual capacity, they rode much lower in the water. They were regarded as extremely wet ships. They were also regarded as being both cramped and undermanned; only nine "line" officers were aboard, which meant that there were none for the torpedoes, main deck battery and secondary batteries, and no margin for an officer killed or disabled in action. The main battery turrets were unbalanced, with hydraulic training in the OREGON and steam training in the other two. The class made 15.5 knots on trials, and had a tactical radius of 585 yards at 12 knots. Following the world cruise of the "Great White Fleet", some much-needed alterations were made. They were reboilered with eight Babcock and Wilcox boilers. The main battery turrets were at least partially rebalanced. The 6" guns, most of the 6-pdrs., and all of the torpedo tubes were removed and replaced by 12 - 3" "anti-torpedo-boat" guns. OREGON was fitted with a cage mainmast in 1911.
After her commissioning, OREGON was fitted out for duty on the Pacific Station, where she served for a short time. Upon hearing of the sinking of the battleship MAINE at Havana, OREGON set sail for Cuba on 19 March 1898. Following a 66-day, 14,000-mile journey that went through terrible weather and the threat of attack from Spanish torpedo boats, OREGON arrived at Jupiter Inlet, Florida and reported as "ready for battle". This journey proved not only that "modern" battleships could transit long distances and foul weather and arrive "ready for battle", but also served to sweep away the opposition against the building of the Panama Canal; "for it was then made clear that the country could not afford to take two months to send warships from one coast to the other each time an emergency arose."1 On 28 May 1898, OREGON joined Admiral Sampson's squadron, and arrived for the blockade of Santiago on 1 June. In late June, 1898, army units landed there, forcing Spanish Admiral Cervera to attempt to force the blockade and escape with his squadron. The Battle of Santiago in took place on 3 July 1898, with OREGON taking part in the destruction of the Spanish squadron.
Following a refit at the New York Navy Yard, OREGON sailed for duties with the Asiatic Squadron, arriving at Manila on 18 March 1899. She departed for Japanese waters in February, 1900, and was stationed there until sailing for Hong Kong in May. On 28 June 1900, while steaming through the Straits of Pechili, OREGON grounded on an uncharted rock. She was drydocked at Kure, Japan, in July, 1900 for permanent repairs. In August, OREGON returned to duties off the Chinese coast, and then returned to the United States in June, 1901. OREGON returned to Asiatic waters in March, 1903. While there, she visited various Chinese, Japanese, and Philippine ports. OREGON remained in the Far East until returning to the West Coast in February, 1906. She was decommissioned at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 27 April 1906.
OREGON was recommissioned on 29 August 1911, but remained in reserve until October, when she sailed to San Diego. She remained on the West Coast through World War I, and then served as an escort for the Siberian Expedition. On 12 June 1919, OREGON was again decommissioned, but was briefly recommissioned on 21 August through 4 October as the reviewing ship for President Woodrow Wilson during the arrival of the Pacific Fleet at Seattle. In 1921, a movement was begun to preserve the battleship as an object of historic and sentimental interest, and to lay her up permanently at some port in the state of Oregon. In 1924, in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty, OREGON was disarmed, and in 1925, she was moored at Portland, Oregon as a floating monument. On 17 February 1941, OREGON was reclassified as IX-22. She was sold for scrap on 7 December 1942. The work was halted in September, 1943, when the upper deck was reached and the interior gutted, and she was returned to the Navy under her former designation. In July, 1944, OREGON was loaded with ammunition and towed to Guam as an ammunition hulk. She remained in place there (apart from breaking free in a typhoon in 1948 and having to be towed back into place) until she was sold for scrap on 15 March 1956 and subsequently broken up at Kawasaki, Japan.
1 From: DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN NAVAL FIGHTING SHIPS, Vol. V, pp. 167-68.