May 19

USS Birmingham (CL-2) Departs on First Ice Patrol, 19 May 1912

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 2:26 PM


In response to the sinking of the White Star ocean liner Titanic after colliding with an iceberg the previous month, on 15 May 1912 the Hydrographic Office recommended that the Navy establish an ice patrol in the vicinity of the steamer lanes in the North Atlantic. The Navy designated USS Birmingham (CL 2) and USS Chester (CL 1) to alternate on the patrol.

Birmingham departed Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 19 May 1912, marking the first American ice patrol. An International Ice Patrol was established in 1914, with the Coast Guard assuming the responsibility for the United Sates.