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Patrol Yacht Photo Archive

Scorpion (PY 3)

Call sign (1919):
George - Rush - Have - Quack

Call sign (1921):
Nan - Tare - Tare

ex-Gunboat Scorpion
ex-Patrol Yacht Scorpion

Call sign (1912):
Nan - Sail - George

Patrol Yacht:

  • The fourth Scorpion was built in 1896 as the steam yacht Sovereign by John N. Robins, South Brooklyn, New York
  • Acquired by the Navy 7 April 1898 and renamed Scorpion
  • Commissioned USS Scorpion 11 April 1898
  • Decommissioned 14 January 1899 in preparation for conversion to a Gunboat
  • Recommissioned 22 August 1899
  • Decommissioned 24 July 1901 at Boston, MA
  • Recommissioned 1 July 1902
  • Designated a Patrol Yacht, PY-3 in 1920
  • Decommissioned 27 October 1927 at Philadelphia, PA
  • Struck from the Navy Register 23 March 1929
  • Sold for scrap 25 June 1929 to the Boston Iron and Metal Co. of Baltimore, MD.


  • Displacement 775 t.
  • Length 212' 10"
  • Beam 28' 1"
  • Draft 11'
  • Speed 11 kts.
    1911 - 17.85 kts.
  • Complement 90
    1905 - 100
    1911 - 87
    1914 - 102
  • Armament: Four 5"/40 mounts and four 6-pounders
    1905 - Six 6-pounders and four 6mm Colt machine guns
    1911 - Four 6 pounder rapid fire mounts
  • Propulsion: Four Yarrow boilers, two 1,400ihp vertical inverted triple expansion steam engines, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Scorpion 97k

    Scorpion - An order of arachnids having an elongated body and a narrow segmented tail bearing a venomous sting at the tip

    Tommy Trampp
    Scorpion 260k At the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, circa April 1898. Note battery of four 5"/40 guns located on her sides, fore and aft of the superstructure. This was by far the heaviest battery fitted to any yacht converted for Spanish-American War service
    U.S. Navy photo NH 108713
    Naval History and Heritage Command
    Scorpion 98k Starboard broadside photo of the Scorpion underway in 1899
    Detroit Photographic Co. photo 05523 © 1899 from the Library of Congress (Photo LC-D4-5523)
    Mike Green
    Scorpion 95k c. early 1900s
    In peacetime rig, there is virtually nothing about her appearance to mark her as a Navy ship other than her color scheme and the identifying letter "S" on the bows of her boats
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
    Scorpion 112k c. 1910 - Turkey
    Moored in the Bosporus
    U.S. Navy photo from the August 1961 edition of All Hands magazine
    Joe Radigan
    Scorpion 117k Dressed with flags, probably for an American holiday in about 1912. Location is probably in Turkish waters. A yacht-like British Royal Navy vessel is in the immediate background, also dressed with flags. The original image is printed on a post card published by R. Gailleminot, Bæspilug et Cie., Paris. It was postmarked on board Scorpion on 13 July 1912
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 105482
    Mike Green
    Scorpion 50k Photo from the 1914 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships Robert Hurst
    Scorpion 225k Anchored off the Dolma Bagtche Palace, Constantinople, [Turkey] probably during the early 1920s
    Original negative, given by Mr. Franklin Moran in 1967
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 65006
    Mike Green
    Scorpion 118k c. 1925
    Courtesy U.S. Warships of World War I
    Scorpion 183k Anchored at Naples, Italy, circa 1926-1927, shortly before her final return to the United States
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 101672
    Scorpion 167k U.S. Navy photo from the January 1959 edition of All Hands magazine Joe Radigan
    Scorpion 218k U.S. Navy photo from the December 1961 edition of All Hands magazine

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR Adolph Marix, USN - USNA Class of 1868
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    11 April 1898 - 21 May 1898
    02LCDR William Henry Turner, USN - USNA Class of 186921 May 1898 - 22 August 1899
    03LCDR Nathan Sargent, USN - USNA Class of 187022 August 1899
    04LCDR Clifford Joseph Boosh, USN - USNA Class of 18761 July 1902
    05LCDR Hilary Pollard Jones, Jr., USN - USNA Class of 1884
    Awarded the Distinguished Service Medal - Retired as Admiral
    11 June 1905
    06LCDR Frank Woodruff Kellogg, USN - USNA Class of 18791907
    07LT Allen Buchanan, USN - USNA Class of 1899
    Awarded the Medal of Honor (1914) and the Navy Cross (1918)- Retired as Captain
    08LCDR Walter Selwyn Crosley, USN - USNA Class of 1893
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    26 February 1909
    09LCDR George Wood Logan, USN - USNA Class of 18871910
    10LCDR Frank Brooks Upham, USN - USNA Class of 1893
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    21 February 1912 - 2 January 1913
    11LCDR Edward McCauley, Jr., USN - Awarded the Navy Cross (1920)2 January 1913
    12LCDR William F. Bricker, USN - USNA Class of 190014 March 1915
    13CDR Herbert Stephens Babbitt, USN - USNA Class of 190620 March 1915
    14CDR James Proctor Morton, USN - USNA Class of 189524 June 1915
    15LT William Owen Baldwin, USN3 July 1917 - 27 October 1917
    16CDR Richard Philip McCullough, USN - USNA Class of 190427 October 1917 - 1918
    17CDR Elmer Wayne Tod, USN1919
    18LT Samuel Russell Deets, USN - USNA Class of 19151919 - 1 June 1920
    19LCDR Guy Evans Baker, USN - USNA Class of 19071 June 1920 - 10 November 1921
    20CAPT Robert William Henderson, USN - USNA Class of 190410 November 1921- 26 October 1922
    21LCDR Arthur Samuel Dysert, USN - USNA Class of 190926 October 1922 - 26 January 1924
    22CDR Alfred Walton Atkins, USN - USNA Class of 190726 January 1924
    Courtesy Bill Gonyo and Joe Radigan

    View Scorpion (PY-3) Library of Congress Images
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: The fourth Scorpion was built in 1896 as Sovereign a two-masted schooner rigged, steel, steam yacht, for M. C. Borden by John N. Robins, South Brooklyn N.Y.; purchased for the Navy on 7 April 1898 renamed Scorpion; and commissioned on 11 April 1898 Lt. Comdr. Adolph Marix in command.

    Following commissioning, Scorpion proceeded to Hampton Roads where she joined the Flying Squadron on 1 May and prepared for duty in the Caribbean. On the 22d, she arrived with the squadron off Cienfuegos, Cuba, then continued on to the Santiago area with dispatches for ships scouting off that port. On the 25th the day after war against Spain had been declared, she returned to Cienfuegos; patrolled on blockade until the next day; then sailed for Key West for coal and water.

    On 7 June, Scorpion sailed south, escorted a provisions ship and an ammunition ship to Santiago; then, until the 22d, performed blockade duties off the harbor there. On the 22d, she assisted in clearing the beach at Daiquiri in preparation for an army landing and, on the 23d, carried out a similar mission at Siboney. On the 24th, she resumed blockade duties off Santiago. On the 30th, she shifted to Cape Cruz, and, on 1 July, she joined Osceola in an unsuccessful attack on Spanish gunboats in Manzanillo harbor. After the attack, she retired to waters off the entrance, captured a provisions lighter, and patrolled there until the 5th.

    Scorpion then proceeded to Guantanamo for water, coal, provisions, and ammunition. She returned to Manzanillo on the 11th, and, seven days later, participated in another attack which destroyed all Spanish Government vessels then in the harbor.

    After the second attack on Manzanillo, Scorpion resumed blockade duties, continued them until 3 August; then returned to Guantanamo, whence she carried dispatches for the remainder of the war.

    On 27 November, Scorpion departed Cuban waters. A month later, she arrived at New York and, on 14 January 1899, she was decommissioned in preparation for conversion to a gunboat. Recommissioned on 22 August, she was assigned to the Isthmian Canal Commission and ordered south. Into the spring of 1900, she remained in the Caribbean as the Commission investigated the proposed canal routes. In June, she returned to the United States, operated off the northeast coast into the fall, then resumed operations in the Caribbean. From November 1900 to May 1901, she cruised off Hispaniola. In June, she arrived at Boston; and, on 24 July, she was again decommissioned.

    On 1 July 1902, the gunboat was recommissioned and assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron. For the next six years, she carried dispatches and personnel, conducted hydrographic surveys, and participated in exercises along the east coast and in the Caribbean, operating primarily off Santo Domingo during 1906 and 1907.

    Ordered to the Mediterranean in 1908, Scorpion sailed from Philadelphia on 22 October. On 4 December, she arrived at Constantinople to take up duties as station ship; but, on the 21st, she was ordered to Messina, Italy, to assist in relief efforts for the survivors of an earthquake there. She supported International Medical Service efforts from 3 to 8 January 1909, then steamed back to Turkey. From 10 February until 15 July, she was at Naples for repairs. She returned to Constantinople on the 20th and assumed station ship duties, which included work for the United States Embassy. From 27 November 1910 to 28 January 1912, she was at Trieste for extensive repairs, and, in February, she returned to Constantinople. In August, she assisted Turkish earthquake victims and in October, as the first Balkan War broke out, she commenced operations to assist Americans caught in disputed areas.

    Through that six-month war and the second Balkan War, which followed in the summer of 1913 and set the stage for the incident at Sarajevo in 1914, Scorpion continued to protect American interests. After the wars, she assisted the international commissions which gave aid to refugees and displaced persons.

    During the first years of World War I Scorpion was held at Constantinople and, on 11 April 1917, after the United States had entered the war on the side of the Allies, she was interned. Under Turkish guard from 15 November 1917, she was allowed to assist British personnel released from POW camps in the interior of Turkey during late October 1918. On 9 November, she was allowed to resume her previous activities and soon thereafter began assisting the many refugees in the area.

    With the arrival of Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol High Commissioner to Turkey and Senior U.S. Naval Officer in Turkish Waters, Scorpion assumed duties as flagship and dispatch vessel, continuing, at the same time, her station ship and relief work. Designated PY-3 in 1920, she shifted to Phaleron Bay, Greece, in November 1923 and took up duties as station ship in the eastern Mediterranean. On 16 June 1927, she departed the Mediterranean and steamed west. On 11 July, she arrived at Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 27 October 1927. Struck from the Navy list on 23 March 1929, she was sold to the Boston Iron and Metal Co., Baltimore, Md., on 25 June of the same year.

    Addendum: Constantinople, (22 March 1915) – Lieut. Commander William F. Bricker of the United States converted yacht Scorpion and three sailors named Ford, Dowell, and Leverings were drowned on the night of March 20 while attempting to reach their vessel in a rowboat. The Scorpion was anchored in the Bosporus off Constantinople, near in Dolma Bagtchi Palace. The rowboat was swamped in a heavy sea thrown up by a south gale. Lieut. Herbert S. Babbitt and one sailor, who were in the boat, were saved. Bricker’s body was the only one recovered of the drowning victims. Lieut. Commander Bricker arrived at Constantinople on March 16 to succeed Lieut. Commander Edward McCauley, Jr. in command of the Scorpion. Text copyright of the New York Times published March 23, 1915
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