USS Wyoming / Cheyenne (BM-10)
Monitor Warship / Submarine Tender
Commissioned under the name USS Wyoming, the warship became the first USN vessel to use a fuel oil propulsion system - this as USS Cheyenne.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
For a period in naval history, "monitors" were en vogue for various naval powers of the world. Navies introduced these surface fighting vessels around the middle part of the 1800s and the type saw service in the American Civil War (1861-1865). Their design typically utilized low profiles of relatively compact size but were armed with large-caliber guns and proved to be slow in the water. Despite this, monitors were still in service, to some degree, at the time of both World Wars (1914-1918; 1939-1945) and the concept returned during the American involvement in Vietnam (1955-1975).
At the turn of the last century, the US Navy focused remained on such ship types for the firepower they provided as well as inherent "blue water" capabilities. As such, a class of four-strong monitors was drawn up under the "Arkansas" configuration to become the Arkansas-class and one of their number was USS Wyoming (M-10). USS Wyoming was ordered by the American Navy on May 4th, 1898 and laid down by Union Iron Works in San Francisco, California on April 11th, 1898. Launched on September 8th, 1900, the warship was commissioned on December 8th, 1902 to begin her service in the United States Navy which would run into the 1920s.
Aboard was a crew of 222 to include thirteen officer-level personnel. Wyoming has a running length of 255 feet, a beam of 50 feet and a draught of 12.5 feet. Displacement reached 3,225 tons. Her machinery consisted of 4 x Babcock & Wilcox boiler units feeding 2 x Vertical triple-expansion engines developing up to 2,400 horsepower to 2 x Shafts under stern. The ship could make headway at 12 knots. Armament centered on 2 x 12" (305mm) /40 caliber turreted main guns set in a single turret over the forecastle. These were backed by 4 x 4" (102mm) /40 caliber secondary guns and 3 x 6-pounder 57mm (2.2") tertiary guns. Armor protection reached 11 inches at the belt with 11 inches cover the barbettes and 1.5" used to protect the deck. The conning tower was protected in 8" of steel.
USS Wyoming underwent the requisite trials off of the American West Coast before relocation to South American waters to support American interests (and evacuate its nationals) during the period of the Colombian Civil War - the "Thousand Days War" of 1899-1902. The American naval presence in the region also helped to secure Panamanian Independence from Colombia which was finalized on November 3rd, 1903. Returning to the American West Coast, Wyoming was eventually overhauled in January of 1905. In August of that year, she was decommissioned.
The vessel lay out-of-service from 1905 until 1908 when she being returned to test out an all-new oil-burning propulsion scheme. The switch from coal-fired boiler units to oil was a necessity for navy powers of the time for oil proved a much more effective fuel. She was recommissioned on October 8th, 1908 to continue her career as a test platform and, on January 1st, 1909, she was formally renamed as USS Cheyenne (M-10) to begin her sailing career anew. The Wyoming name was then passed to a new USN battleship, USS Wyoming (BB-32). Cheyenne, meanwhile, entered reserve status on June 8th and was decommissioned, again, on November 13th.
The following year, on July 11th, 1910, USS Cheyenne was recommissioned for service once more and assigned to the Washington Naval Militia for the state of Washington. She was then modified to serve as a submarine tender and was assigned to the 2nd Submarine Division, Pacific Torpedo Flotilla from there. Additional American refugee actions followed her as she rescued citizens from a collapsing situation in Mexico. When World War 1 arrived in the summer of 1914, Cheyenne continued in service along the West Coast of the United States but was called to Port Angeles, Washington when the United States entered the war in April of 1917.
After a period there, she was reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet and became flag ship of Division 3, Flotilla 1, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet. She then joined Division 1, American Patrol Detachment and served American interested in and around Mexico until October 1919. The war in Europe ended with the Armistice back in November of 1918.
In the post-war period, Cheyenne made her way to the Philadelphia Navy Yard in October of 1919 and was decommissioned on January 3rd, 1920. Following that, the vessel was redesignated as "IX-4" and recommissioned on September 22nd, 1920. After this, she was arranged as a training ship for the Naval Reserve Force and served in this role until 1925. The warship was deactivated on January 27th, 1926, decommissioned on June 1st of that year, struck from the Naval Register on January 25th, 1937 and sold off for scrapping on April 20th, 1939.
With the end of USS Cheyenne, the United States Navy said goodbye to their last serving monitor warship.