Mighty Mo and O’Ryan’s Roughnecks: Hail, Hail, the Gang’s all here

The original caption of this Underwood and Underwood news service photo received 3 May 1919:

U.S.S. Missouri steaming into her berth at Hoboken with last of 27th Division, namely the 106th Machine Gun Battalion. Red Cross women at left nearest the river’s bank are waiting for the ship to dock so as to distribute delicacies to the men, a regimental band playing, “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s all here,” and shows the men getting their first eyeful at the rail of the ship, of New York and the skyline of the city with the Metropolitan tower in bold relief against the eastern sky.”

War Department Archives, LOC 165-WW-138A-119

USS Missouri (BB-11), was the middle child in the three-ship Maine-class of pre-dreadnoughts ordered during the Spanish-American War. Commissioned 1 December 1903, she was obsolete just three years after she joined the fleet. A veteran of the circumnavigating Great White Fleet, she would spend most of her career alternating between ordinary and training cruises. Speaking of which, her Great War experience was spent in the Chesapeake, schooling new gunners and firemen. Once the war ended, she transitioned to what would have been termed “Magic Carpet” duty in the next World War, shuttling back and forth to Europe to bring 3,278 Doughboys back from “Over There” across four runs.

She would decommission 8 September 1919, at the ripe old age of 16 years old, and be sold for scrap three years later to comply with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. Her name would be recycled in the 1940s for a “fast battleship” that you may have heard of.

As for the 27th ID, the Division was formed from NY Army National Guard units in 1917 and put under the command of Maj. Gen. John F. O’Ryan, an NYC attorney and politician who later went on to be Fiorello LaGuardia’s Police Commissioner. “O’Ryan’s Roughnecks” arrived at Brest, France, 10 May 1918 and by July were in action, seeing heavy losses along the St. Quentin Canal before going on to break the Hindenburg Line.

After WWII service in the Pacific from Makin Atoll to Okinawa, the 27th was later downgraded to an infantry brigade in 1986, the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (“Empire”) of the NYANG, and has recently seen action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One comment

  • I got to go aboard BB-63 20+ years ago when it was docked at Astoria, before heading out to Pearl Harbor. Got a cap, too.

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