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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Nero (AC-17)
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USS Nero (Collier #17) (1898 - 1920)


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Spanish Campaign Medal - Mexican Service Medal -World War I Victory Medal (with Mobile Base Clasp)
Nero Class Collier;
  • Built in 1895 as the steamer SS Whitgift by J.H. Thompson & Son Ltd., Sunderland, England
  • Purchased by the US Navy from McCondray and Co., at San Francisco, CA., 8 June 1898
  • Commissioned USS Nero (Collier #17), 8 June 1898, CDR. Charles Belknap in command
  • During the Spanish-American War and Philippines Insurrection USS Nero served in the Philippines and China
  • Decommissioned, 7 January 1899, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.
  • Recommissioned, 10 April, 1899
  • Decommissioned, 20 May 1900
  • Recommissioned, 4 October 1900
  • Decommissioned, 23 June 1906
  • Recommissioned, 1 February 1907
  • Decommissioned in 1909
  • Recommissioned, date unknown
  • Decommissioned, 3 January 1910
  • Recommissioned, 16 September 1911
  • Decommissioned, 31 July 1913, at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, WA.
  • Recommissioned, 29 April 1914
  • During World War I USS Nero was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, Naval Overseas Transportation Service
  • Designated AC-17, 17 July 1920
  • Decommissioned, 12 September 1921, at San Francisco, CA.
  • Struck From the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Sold, 29 July 1922, to A. Bercovich and Co., Oakland, CA.
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Specifications:
    Displacement 6,360 t.
    Length 329'
    Beam 41'
    Draft 20'
    Speed 9 kts.
    Complement 80
    Armament four 6-pdrs
    Propulsion coal fired reciprocating steam engine, single propeller

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    Size Image Description Contributed
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    Merchant Service
    Nero 304k Scale: 1:48. A model of the starboard side of SS Whitgift. Made entirely in wood with silver-plated metal fittings and painted details. The hull is carved from wood, the lower half of which is laminated revealing different cross-grains, the effect simulating stylised planking. The hull below the waterline is varnished or polished, and painted black above. On starboard bow "Whitgift". The through deck is made from a single piece of wood and scored to resemble plating. Deck fittings include a number of tall ventilators with red inserts, a forward bridge wing, hatches with hatch covers indicated in pen, derricks, a truncated fore and main mast, single black painted funnel, a bridge house with flying bridge, two boats stowed on davits and a rail running the entire length of the ship's side.
    Royal Museums Greenwich
    Darryl Baker
    USS Nero (Collier #17)
    Nero 318k USS Nero (Collier #17) in Mare Islandís Dry Dock #1, 14 June 1898. Note that she has a very different superstructure than her 1912 photos.
    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum File name: AC 17 3491-5 June 1898.
    Darryl Baker
    Nero 340k USS Nero (Collier #17) at Mare Island in June 1898. Again, note her superstructure or maybe lack of.
    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum File name: AC 17 3491-1 1899.
    Darryl Baker
    Nero 426k USS Nero (Collier #17) in 1899 soon after she was purchased by the Navy in 1898.
    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum File name: AC 17 3491-2 06141898.
    Darryl Baker
    Nero 116k USS Nero (Collier #17) aground on Block Island, 1 August 1902, with two tugs standing by. The original is printed on postal card.
    US Navy photo # NH 102991, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005.
    Robert Hurst
    Nero 68k USS Nero (Collier #17) at anchor prior to World War I, location unknown.
    US Navy photo # NH 71828, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy of Donald M McPherson, 1973.
    Robert Hurst
    Nero
    NH 105442
    128k USS Nero (Collier #17) loading supplies, including livestock, while in dry dock at the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., in May 1912. The ship was preparing to depart on the 1912 US Navy Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    US Navy photos # NH 105442 and NH #105441, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation.
    Robert Hurst / Mike Green
    Nero
    NH 105441
    97k
    Nero 81k USS Nero (Collier #17) departing Mare Island, California, 20 May 1912, on the first leg of the 1912 Alaskan Radio Expedition.
    US Navy photo # NH 104440, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation.
    Robert Hurst
    Nero 74k USS Nero (Collier #17) off Unalga Island, Alaska, during the 1912 Alaskan Radio Expedition. In the foreground is the second wharf built by the ship to get supplies ashore for the radio station under construction there, the first wharf having been destroyed by a storm on 19-21 June 1912.
    US Navy photo # NH 105434, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation.
    Robert Hurst
    Nero 98k USS Nero (Collier #17) moored pierside at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, during the 1912 Alaskan Radio Expedition. Nero made frequent stops here between early June and early September 1912, often to take shelter from storms while erecting a radio station at nearby Unalga. This image is cropped from the original print for NH 105433 (US Naval Historical Center Photo # NH 105433-A).
    US Navy photo # NH 105433-A (cropped from NH # 105433) from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    Robert Hurst
    Nero 57k USS Nero (Collier #17) returning to Mare Island, CA., 23 November 1912, at the conclusion of the 1912 US Navy Alaskan Radio Expedition. Note the long homeward bound pennant flying from the top of the main mast.
    US Navy photo # NH 105437, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation.
    Robert Hurst
    Nero 61k USS Nero (Collier #17) at anchor in a Pacific Coast harbor, prior to World War 1. The original photograph is printed on post card ("AZO") stock.
    US Navy photo # NH 92197, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, collection of Thomas P. Naughton, 1973.
    Robert Hurst

    USS Nero (Collier #17 / AC-17)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Belknap, Charles, USN (USNA 1867)8 June 1898 - 10 April 1899
     Decommissioned7 January 1899 - 10 April 1899
    01CDR. Belknap, Charles, USN (USNA 1867)10 April 1899 - 17 June 1899
    02LT. Miller, Marcus Lyon, USN (USNA 1888)17 June 1899 - 30 June 1899
    03CDR. Belknap, Charles, USN (USNA 1867)30 June 1899 - 17 August 1899
    04LCDR. Hodges, Harry Marsh, USN (USNA 1875)17 August 1899 - 20 May 1900
     Decommissioned20 May 1900 - 4 October 1900
    05LCDR. Shurtleff, Isaiah Frederick, USNRF15 July 1906 - 1 February 1907
    06MASTER Kennedy, William Robert (Naval Auxiliary Service)1 February 1907 - 5 July 1907
    07MASTER Meriwether, Henry Thomas (Naval Auxiliary Service)5 July 1907 - 3 January 1910
     Decommissioned3 January 1910 - 16 September 1911
    08LCDR. Kelton, William John, (Naval Auxiliary Service)16 September 1911 - 31 July 1913
     Decommissioned31 July 1913 - 29 April 1914
    08LCDR. Kelton, William John, (Naval Auxiliary Service)29 April 1914 - ?
    09LCDR. Robinson, Earnest Francis, USNRF18 January 1918 - 22 August 1920
    10LCDR. Lewis, Justus Arthur, USNRF22 August 1920 - 12 September 1921
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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    Last Updated 23 February 2018