Many ships in the U.S. Military continue to pass down names to their successors. Historically, the Enterprise is one of the most famous, and has been passed down from Clipper to Space Shuttle (and maybe, one day, starship).

But since 1843, there has only been a small gap in history where a USS Michigan hasn't sailed the seas out of United States Ports. What's strange is, only one of history's "Michigans" ever actually saw the sandy shores of the Mitten State.

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In history, there have been a total of three USS Michigans. The most recent is still in service.

USS Michigan (SSGN-727)

The Current USS Michigan, an Ohio-Class Submarine in the Pacific Theatre.
The Current USS Michigan, an Ohio-Class Submarine in the Pacific Theatre./Wikipedia

This nuclear submarine USS Michigan was ordered in 1975, and launched from its home port of Bangor, Washington in 1980. It was officially commissioned on Sept. 11, 1982.

Built as a ballistic missile submarine, it has the capability of carrying 24 Trident II Submarine-launched ballistic missiles, that could include nuclear warheads. However, in 2007, it was converted to a SSGN ship, capable of launching cruise missiles.

She is a Nuclear-powered ship, but the sad reality is... it's an Ohio-Class Submarine. Such a shame an exception couldn't be made for the USS Michigan to re-classify its designation.

The Sub has had multiple trips around the world for numerous missions, mostly in the Pacific. But because it is an active ship, not much is know about its official trips. However, we do know it has spent time in the waters around South Korea, the Philippines, and the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Sadly, though, she has yet to see her namesake shores of Michigan, and likely never will.

USS Michigan (BB-27)

The second USS Michigan to sail the seas./Wikipedia
The second USS Michigan to sail the seas./Wikipedia

Before the age of nuclear submarines and battleships, the USS Military was fueled on diesel, and manpower. This USS Michigan had plenty of both, AND power.

Launched in May of 1908, THIS USS Michigan was the second of her name, and only the second ever Dreadnaught Battleship built in her class. The South Carolina-Class battleship had a unique look about her with her two wireframe stacks.

She sailed as part of the Atlantic fleet, and had a main battery of eight 12-inch guns with twin gun turrets. She was one of the first dreadnaughts to ever have this feature.

Most of the BB-27's patrol was up and down the Atlantic coast, and in the Caribbean. In 1914, she took part in the US occupation of Veracruz during the Mexican Civil War.

Once America joined World War I, The Michigan was employed as a convoy escort, and training ship for the rapidly expanding US Navy.

The USS Michigan's cage mast topped after high seas. /Wikipedia
The USS Michigan's cage mast topped after high seas. /Wikipedia

However, she suffered a damaged cage mast that collapsed in high seas in 1918. From then on, the Michigan was used as a ferry to bring soldiers back from Europe, and as a training vessel.

In the early 1920s, the South Carolina-Class Battleship Dreadnaughts were all decommissioned, and in February of 1923, the USS Michigan was broken up, and sold for scrap... all without ever seeing the shores of her namesake.

USS Michigan (1843)

The Original USS Michigan./Wikipedia
The Original USS Michigan./Wikipedia

So that leaves, the original USS Michigan, which was a marvel for the US Navy when she was built.

She was the first ever Iron-hulled warship built for the United States Navy. Ordered in 1839, she was finally "launched herself" in December of 1840, and commissioned in 1844.

And while she was a steam engine, she also had sails, and in 1901, with the safeties weighted, the Michigan pushed almost 14 knots on the Great Lakes while sailing to Buffalo to prevent riots after the assassination of President William McKinley.

The ship's soul purpose was to travel, and safeguard passages on the Great Lakes. She also protected American shores during the  She hailed out of Erie, Pennsylvania, but regularly passed through all of the Lakes.

The Michigan was on hand at Beaver Island when "King James" was arrested on Beaver Island for his dissident Mormon colony, and yes, the Michigan regularly sailed through the Straits of Mackinac, which means... she is the only USS Michigan in the United States Military History to have ever seen the shores of her namesake.

In 1902, she was rammed at dock in Erie by an ore carrier, and it severely damaged the ship. So, she was rebuilt, and renamed "Wolverine" as an homage to her previous namesake. But it was good timing, as the military was about to order a new, certain type of dreadnaught battleship, and the name Michigan had just come available.

Shipwrecks in the Straits of Mackinac

20 Michigan Shipwrecks You Can See with Google Earth

Michigan's waters are the final resting place for a LOT of ships. Here are at least 20 you can see with Google Earth

Gallery Credit: Google Earth

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