The first six Washington's were named for George Washington; the seventh and eighth, for Washington state. This history will concentrate on the Ships named for the State of Washington.
Armored Cruiser No. 11 (CA-11)
The first Washington named for the State was laid down on 23 September 1903 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 18 March 1905; sponsored by Miss Helen Stewart Wilson, daughter of United States Senator John L. Wilson of Washington state; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 7 August 1906, Capt. James D. Adams in command.
On 9 November 1916, Washington was renamed Seattle (retaining her classification as Armored Cruiser No. 11). She was simultaneously taken out of reserve and recommissioned for duty as flagship of the Destroyer Force.
On1 July 1931, the ship's designation was changed to "unclassified." As receiving ship, Seattle served as a floating barracks—a "clearance house for personnel"—at New York into the 1940's. She was ultimately placed out of commission and was struck from the Navy list on 19 July of the same year. Sold on 3 December 1946 to Hugo Neu, of New York City, the former flagship of the United States Fleet and receiving ship at New York was subsequently scrapped.
USS Washington (BB-47), a Colorado-class battleship, was the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 42nd state. Her keel was laid down on 30 June 1919 at Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation. She was launched on 1 September 1921, sponsored by Miss Jean Summers, the daughter of Congressman John W. Summers of Washington State. On 8 February 1922, two days after the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armaments, all construction work ceased on the 75.9% completed super-dreadnought. Ultimately, her incomplete hulk was towed out to sea, where she was sunk as a gunnery target on 26 November 1924 by the battleships New York and Texas.
USS Washington (BB-56)
The second Washington was laid down on 14 June 1938 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 1 June 1940; sponsored by Miss Virginia Marshall, of Spokane, Wash., a direct descendant of former Chief Justice Marshall; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 15 May 1941, Capt. Howard H. J. Benson in command.
Washington (BB-56) earned 13 battle stars during World War II in operations that had carried her from the Arctic to the western Pacific.
Assigned to troop transport duty on 2 November 1945 as part of the "Magic Carpet" operations. After a brief stint as a transport, Washington was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 27 June 1947. Assigned to the New York group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Washington remained inactive through the late 1950's, ultimately being struck from the Navy list on 1 June I960. The old warrior was sold on 24 May 1961 to the Lipsett Division, Luria Bros., of New York City, and was scrapped soon thereafter.