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Ship Name:NEW MEXICO - BB 40
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Howard L. Thomas, Aurora IL


USS New Mexico (BB-40) was a battleship in service with the United States Navy from 1918 to 1946. She was the lead ship of a class of three battleships, and the first ship to be named for the state of New Mexico. Her keel was laid down on 14 October 1915 at the New York Navy Yard, from which she was launched on 23 April 1917 and commissioned on 20 May 1918. New Mexico was the U.S. Navy's most advanced warship and its first battleship with a turbo-electric transmission, which helped her reach a maximum speed of 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph).

Shortly after completing initial training, New Mexico escorted the ship that carried President Woodrow Wilson to Brest, France to sign the Treaty of Versailles. Thereafter she was made the first flagship of the newly created United States Pacific Fleet. The interwar period was marked by repeated exercises with the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets, use as a trial ship for PID controllers, and a major modernization between March 1931 and January 1933. New Mexico's first actions during World War II were neutrality patrols in the Atlantic Ocean. She returned to the Pacific after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and participated in shore bombardments during operations at Attu and Kiska, Tarawa, the Marshall Islands, the Mariana and Palau islands, Leyte, Luzon, and Okinawa; these were interspersed with escort duties, patrols, and refits. The ship was attacked by kamikazes on several occasions. New Mexico was awarded six battle stars for her service in the Pacific campaign and was present in Tokyo Bay for Japan's formal surrender on 2 September 1945. Four days later, she sailed for the United States and arrived in Boston on 17 October.

New Mexico was decommissioned in Boston on 19 July 1946 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 25 February 1947. She was sold for scrapping to the Lipsett Division of Luria Bros in November 1947, but attempts to bring her to Newark, New Jersey for breaking up were met with resistance from city officials. City fireboats were sent to block the passage of the battleship and the Lipsett tugboats, while the United States Coast Guard declared intentions to guarantee safe passage. The Under Secretary of the Navy Department was sent to defuse what the media began to call the "Battle of Newark Bay"; the city agreed to break up New Mexico and two other battleships before scrapping operations in Newark Bay ceased, while Lipsett was instructed to dismantle the ships in a set timeframe or suffer financial penalties. Scrapping commenced in November and was completed by July 1948.

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