USS Mars (AC-6)

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USS Mars (AC-6).jpg
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Name: USS Mars
Builder: Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard, Maryland
Laid down: 5 October 1908
Launched: 10 April 1909
Sponsored by: Ms. Juliana Keyser
Commissioned: 26 August 1909
Decommissioned: 3 July 1912
Recommissioned: 11 December 1912
Decommissioned: 15 July 1913
Recommissioned: 8 May 1914
Decommissioned: 27 December 1921
Reclassified: "AC-6", 17 July 1920
Struck: 26 April 1923
  • Sold, 22 June 1923
  • Ran aground and abandoned, 8 November 1924
General characteristics
Type: Collier
Displacement: 11,250 long tons (11,430 t) normal
Length: 403 ft (123 m)
Beam: 53 ft (16 m)
Draft: 24 ft 8 in (7.52 m)
Speed: 12.65  kn (14.56 mph; 23.43 km/h)
Complement: 82
Armament: 4 × 0.5 in (12.7 mm) machine guns

The second USS Mars (AC-6) was a collier of the United States Navy. The ship was laid down by the Maryland Steel Co., Sparrows Point, Maryland on 5 October 1908, launched on 10 April 1909, sponsored by Miss Juliana Keyser, and commissioned at Norfolk on 26 August 1909, Master A. B. Randall, Naval Auxiliary Service, in command. She was the sister of the USS Hector (AC-7).

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military forces. The ceremonies involved are often rooted in centuries old naval tradition.


Service history


Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, Mars departed Norfolk on 6 January 1910 for Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for fueling operations in the Caribbean. Returning Norfolk on 14 March, the collier sailed on 1 April for the South Atlantic Squadron. Arriving at Maldonado Bay, Uruguay, on the 25th, she remained there, coaling ships, until heading home on 14 May, and arriving Norfolk on 4 June.

United States Fleet Forces Command

The United States Fleet Forces Command (USFF) is a service component command of the United States Navy that provides naval forces to a wide variety of U.S. forces. The naval resources may be allocated to Combatant Commanders such as United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. Originally formed as United States Atlantic Fleet (USLANTFLT) in 1906, it has been an integral part of the defense of the United States of America since the early 20th century. In 2002, the Fleet comprised over 118,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel serving on 186 ships and in 1,300 aircraft, with an area of responsibility ranging over most of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Central and South America. The command is based at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia and is the navy's service component to U.S. Northern Command and is a supporting command under the U.S. Strategic Command.

Guantánamo Bay bay located in Guantánamo Province

Guantánamo Bay is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the largest harbor on the south side of the island and it is surrounded by steep hills which create an enclave that is cut off from its immediate hinterland.

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

After operations out of Norfolk, the collier sailed on 14 December with stores for the European station. On 7 January 1911, Mars cleared Cherbourg, France, to return to Norfolk on the 26th. She served out of Norfolk for the next 18 months, making five voyages to Guantanamo, before decommissioning on 3 July 1912 to go into drydock at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Mars recommissioned on 11 December and resumed her east coast operations off Portsmouth until again decommissioned on 15 July 1913.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire City in New Hampshire, United States

Portsmouth is a city in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 21,233, and in 2017 the estimated population was 21,796. A historic seaport and popular summer tourist destination on the Piscataqua River bordering the state of Maine, Portsmouth was formerly the home of the Strategic Air Command's Pease Air Force Base, since converted to Portsmouth International Airport at Pease.


On 8 May 1914, Mars recommissioned and departed six days later for Vera Cruz to support fleet action off Mexico following the arrest of a U.S. Navy shore party in April. Returning to Newport News, Virginia on 12 September, she sailed for the Marianas, arriving Apra Harbor, Guam on 20 January 1915. On 7 March, Mars steamed for home, arriving Norfolk on 22 May. She departed with supplies on 24 July for the first of three voyages from the east coast to Balboa, Canal Zone, ending at Baltimore, Maryland on 9 April 1916.

The Tampico Affair began as a minor incident involving U.S. sailors and Mexican land forces loyal to Mexican dictator General Victoriano Huerta during the guerra de las facciones phase of the Mexican Revolution. A misunderstanding occurred on April 9, 1914, but developed into a breakdown of diplomatic relations between the two countries. As a result, the United States invaded the port city of Veracruz, occupying it for more than six months. This contributed to the fall of President Victoriano Huerta, who resigned in July 1914.

Apra Harbor seaport in Guam

Apra Harbor is a deep-water port on the western side of the United States territory of Guam. The harbor is formed by Orote Peninsula in the south and Cabras Island in the north. To the south, the harbor narrows and then widens again to form an inner harbor. The southern end of the harbor is the location of Naval Base Guam. The northern end is the commercial port, which handles about 2 million tons of cargo a year. It is considered one of the best natural ports in the Pacific and attracts many tourists.

Guam Island territory of the United States of America

Guam is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the easternmost point and territory of the United States, along with the Northern Mariana Islands. The capital city of Guam is Hagåtña and the most populous city is Dededo. The inhabitants of Guam are called Guamanians, and they are American citizens by birth. Indigenous Guamanians are the Chamorros, who are related to other Austronesian natives of Eastern Indonesia and Philippines and Taiwan. Guam has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983.

Mars sailed for the west coast on 26 April, arriving San Diego on 7 June. She operated along the coasts of western Mexico and Central America until 6 July 1917, when she headed for the east coast, reaching Norfolk on the 31st.

San Diego City in California, United States

San Diego is a city in the U.S. state of California. It is in San Diego County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico.

For the next 21 months, the ship served off the Atlantic coast transporting coal, cargo, and passengers. Assigned to the newly established Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) on 9 January 1918, Mars made four cruises to the Mediterranean between 1 April 1919 and 25 November 1921, when she retired to Hampton Roads, Virginia. The collier was reclassified "AC-6" on 17 July 1920.

Decommissioning and sale

Mars decommissioned on 27 December 1921, was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 26 April 1923, and sold to Mr. John E. Walsh, Boston, Massachusetts on 22 June. On 8 November 1924, she ran aground off Daiquiri, Cuba — with the loss of one life — and was abandoned.

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