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USS Boxer in May 1905
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Design: Sail training brig, 1904
Displacement (tons): 346 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 125.3' oa, 108.0' wl x 29.75' x 9.2' mn
Original Armament: none
Later armaments: 4-6pdr
Speed (kts.): --
Propulsion (HP): --
Machinery: Sails, hermaphrodite brig rig
||15 Jan 04
||11 Oct 04
||11 May 05
||14 May 20
FY 1904 (Act of 3 Mar 03). In 1902 and 1903 the Navy was using as cruising vessels for apprentices the ESSEX (launched in 1874), HARTFORD (1858), and MONONGAHELA (1862) on the Atlantic coast and the ALERT (1874) on the Pacific coast. With training in sail still considered essential for apprentices, the Navy obtained from Congress in 1903 appropriations for three new sail training ships, including one wooden-hulled brig, to be used for training landsmen and apprentices at stations and to cost not over $50,000. As completed she was rigged as a hermaphrodite brig, not a full-rigged brig. She had no armament and was manned by 4 officers and 60 men.
Preliminary acceptance occurred on 8 May 05 and she was placed in service at the Training Station at Newport, R,I., on 7 May 06. She and the Navy's other sail training ships were rated "unserviceable" in 1912. Detached on 18 Oct 12, she proceeded to Annapolis and arrived there for duty on 20 Oct 12. Detached on 25 Jun 14, she proceeded back to Newport and arrived there 27 Jun 14 as relief for the old stationary training ship CONSTELLATION.
BOXER was placed on the sale list circa 1919. She was withdrawn from sale on 7 May 20 pending transfer on loan to the Department of the Interior. She was transferred outright on 14 May 20. She remained at Newport until towed by the Coast Guard to the West Coast in 1922. Between 1920 and 1922 the Navy retained her in its list of "District unclassified" craft and in 1922 Navy file clerks assigned her the file symbol YX-7.
The Department of the Interior obtained BOXER for use by its Bureau of Education in Alaska. Funds for installing an engine and repairing the ship were included in the Interior Department appropriation act approved 24 May 22 and the ship began operations in May 1923. Every summer BOXER, now an auxiliary schooner, carried a heavy tonnage of supplies and equipment, teachers, doctors, and nurses from Seattle to remote settlements on the Alaskan coast and adjacent islands as far north as Point Barrow. For many settlements the annual visit of BOXER furnished their only means of communication with the rest of the world. On her southward voyages she brought out teachers and doctors whose terms of service had expired and carried for Eskimo herders reindeer meet that they wished to sell in the States. On 14 Mar 31 the Secretary of the Interior transferred these functions to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and at the same time a larger replacement ship, NORTH STAR (see IX-148) was ordered. In early 1941 NORTH STAR was ordered to the North Atlantic for patrol duties as a Coast Guard cutter and BOXER was reactivated to carry out Alaska supply duties during the emergency. NORTH STAR was returned to the Interior Department at Seattle on 15 Jun 45 and, while undoubtedly a welcome replacement for BOXER and other temporary vessels used during the war, was quickly found to be too small and old for postwar Alaska resupply service. Two larger vessels in succession continued this service until 1984.
||Loaned to Interior Dept. 7 May 20, transferred 14 May 20.
Compiled: 01 Jan 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013