USS MASSACHUSETTS (SSN 798) is under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in Norfolk, Virginia and is tentatively scheduled to be commissioned in 2023. Upon commissioning, she will be the ninth ship of the name in service to the United States, representing a legacy of service going back to the earliest days of the Continental Navy. USS MASSACHUSETTS (SSN 798) is a Virginia class fast attack nuclear submarine capable of a variety of missions vital to national security, and following commissioning is planned to be homeported in Groton, CT.
As a side note, it is called both a “Boat” (generally by submariners) and a “Ship” (by just about everyone else).
134 officers & enlisted
Motto: Pro Patria “For Country” from President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address
Flag of the Massachusetts Naval Militia
Crest shape from Flag of Massachusetts
Distinctive shape of the state for the people of the state and the support from the state
Stars at the top of shield represent the eleven battle stars earned in WWII
by USS MASSACHUSETTS (BB 59)
Minuteman for the Massachusetts history in the independence of the United States
Submarine with ship name on scroll for the continuance of the tradition of Massachusetts and for ships named for the state protecting our security
Dolphin insignia for the Officers and Crew serving in the name our state
Naval rope and blue field for the maritime tradition of the Commonwealth
Ships of the Name
USRC Massachusetts was one of the first ten cutters operated by the Revenue-Marine (later to become the U.S. Coast Guard). She was built in Newburyport, Massachusetts and served out of Boston. Massachusetts by tradition is held to be the first revenue cutter to enter active service. She was also the first to be decommissioned, having a very short service life of only about 15 months before being sold.
USRC MASSACHUSETTS II
Massachusetts II was a small sloop operated by the Revenue-Marine used in the collection of customs duties. She was completed in June 1793 and replaced Massachusetts, one of the first ten cutters of the Revenue-Marine, when it was determined that the older ship was too large and slow to perform her assigned tasks. Massachusetts II was constructed by Adna Bates of Cohasset, Massachusetts for a cost of US$1,600. Her area of operation was along the Massachusetts coast as a smaller less expensive replacement to the original Massachusetts. When the original Massachusetts was sold at auction, the second and third mates were discharged and Massachusetts II was manned by two officers and four crewmen. Massachusetts II was sold in June 1804 for US$900.
Pictured: A Revenue Marine cutter, possibly Massachusetts or Massachusetts II
The first USS MASSACHUSETTS was a wooden steamer purchased by the War Department in 1847 as a troop transport before it was transferred to the Navy Department in August 1949. Built at a shipyard in Boston owned by Samuel Hall, it originally served as an auxiliary steam packet. She served in the Pacific Squadron throughout its career with the brief exception of a return cruise to Norfolk, VA (March 1853-May 1954) during which it was decommissioned. Her missions in the Pacific Squadron included aiding in the selection of lighthouse and buoy locations, showing the flag in South American ports and cruising along and visiting ports in the Pacific Northwest/Washington Territory. She was transferred to the War Department and Army Quartermaster Corps in May 1859. The ship was later transferred back to the Navy in January 1862 and placed in ordinary at Mare Island, where she was later converted to a storeship and renamed FARALLONES in January 1863. FARALLONES continued in the service until she was decommissioned in 1867 and sold to Moore & Co. in San Francisco.
Source: "Massachusetts I (ScGbt)," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History & Heritage Command.
The second USS MASSACHUSETTS was an iron screw steamer purchased by the Navy Department in May 1861. It was built in Boston in 1860 for the Boston & Southern Steamship Co. The ship served in the Gulf Blockading Squadron, along the Atlantic Coast and in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. She took up station in the vicinity of Pensacola, FL. During her service in the Gulf of Mexico in 1861, she captured 16 ships and captured Ship Island in September 1861, providing the blockade squadron with a safe harbor from storms and was the base for Admiral Farragut's attack on New Orleans. She served as a transport and supply ship along the Atlantic coast during 1862. From March 1863 until the end of the Civil War the MASSACHUSETTS served in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron capturing five additional prizes. The ship struck a mine in Charleston Harbor in March 1865, which failed to explode. She was decommissioned in late-September 1865 and sold at public auction the following the month. The ship later appears as the CRESCENT CITY and serves U.S. commerce until 1872.
Source: "Massachusetts II (ScStr)," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History & Heritage Command.
The third USS MASSACHUSETTS was a twin-turreted KALAMAZOO class monitor originally named THUNDERER before it was renamed MASSACHUSETTS while laid up in an unfinished condition at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. It was never completed and condemned by Congress in 1882. It was broken up in 1884.
Source: "Massachusetts III (BB-2)," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History & Heritage Command.
USS MASSACHUSETTS BB2
The fourth USS MASSACHUSETTS was built by William Cramp & Sons in Philadelphia and commissioned in 1896. Between 1896 and 1898, the ship served in the North Atlantic Squadron participating in training maneuvers and making port calls in major east coast ports. In 1898 she served during the Spanish American War blockading Cuban ports and intermittently bombarding Spanish fortifications. After the war, the MASSACHUSETTS spent the next seven years cruising the Atlantic coast and eastern Caribbean as part of the North Atlantic Squadron. In 1904, she served as a training ship for Naval Academy Midshipmen cruising off New England. The ship was placed decommissioned in 1906. In 1910, MASSACHUSETTS was recommissioned to serve once again as a training ship of Naval Academy midshipmen and made three summer cruises to Western Europe before it was placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in 1912 and decommissioned again in 1914. After the United States entered World War I, MASSCHUSETTS returned to service at the Naval Training Station, Newport, RI as training ship for gun crews. It was decommissioned of the final time on in March 1919 and struck from the Navy list in 1920 and scuttled as a target ship for the Army off Pensacola the following year.
Sources: "Massachusetts III (BB-2)," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships,Naval History & Heritage Command.
"Massachusetts IV," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History & Heritage Command.
The fifth USS MASSACHUSETTS was under construction by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Quincy, MA when the United States negotiated the Washington Naval Treaty 1922. Based on the terms of the treaty, the Navy Department suspended construction on the MASSACHUSETTS in February 1922 and cancelled the contract in August 1923. The unfinished hull was sold for scrap and the name struck from the Navy list in November 1923.
Source: "Massachusetts IV," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History & Heritage Command.
USS MASSACHUSETTS BB 59
The last USS MASSACHUSETTS earned 11 battle stars during her service in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of World War II. Built by Bethlehem Steel Co. in Quincy, MA, the ship was commissioned in May 1942 in Boston. Following its shakedown cruise in Casco Bay, ME, the MASSACHUSETTS participated in the invasion of North Africa as the flagship of ADM H. Kent Hewitt. During the operation, the ship came under fire by the French battleship JEAN BART off Casablanca. MASSACHUSETTS returned fire and within minutes silenced the JEAN BART's main battery then sank two French destroyers that joined the battle. She also shelled shore-based batteries and an ammunition dump. These were the first 16-inch shells fired by the U.S. against the European Axis Powers. After returning to the United States in November 1942, she headed for the Pacific theater arriving at New Caledonia in March 1943. While serving the Pacific, she served as part of the screen for carrier task groups making strikes in the Gilbert, Marshall, and Caroline island chains. She also participated as part of the bombardment force for landings at Kwajalein and Hollandia and served with Task Group 38 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf and operations in the Philippines. MASSACHUSETTS participated in several carrier raids of the Japanese islands and supported the invasion of Iwo Jima and fought off kamikaze attacks off of Okinawa. In July and August 1945, she served off of Japan screening carrier strikes and bombarding coastal industrial complexes. On August 9, MASSACHUSETTS fired what was likely the final 16-inch shells fired in combat during World War II. Following an overhaul in Puget Sound, MASSACHUSETTS served along California coast until departing for Hampton Roads, VA in April 1946. She was decommissioned in March 1947 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Norfolk. Struck from the Naval Register in June 1962, "Big Mamie" was transferred to the Massachusetts Memorial Committee in June 1965 and is now on public display as a museum ship at Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' memorial to those who gave their lives in WWII.
Source: "Massachusetts V (BB-59)," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History & Heritage Command.