Six ships in the United States Navy have had the name USS Memphis. In 1858 and 1859 the first ship to be named the Memphis was used in river expedition to Paraguay to demand an apology for an unprovoked attack on another US ship.
The second USS Memphis, built in 1861, was a seven gun steamer used by the Confederate navy to run Union blockades. In 1862, the Union captured the ship and brought it into the service of the US navy. It was decommissioned in 1867.
The third was originally commissioned as the USS Tennessee in 1906; the ship was re-christened in 1916 as the USS Memphis. Only three months after its renaming, it was destroyed by a tsunami.
The fourth USS Memphis was an Omaha-class light cruiser commissioned in 1925. It served until 1946. Although the ship saw action in World War II, it is mostly remembered for one single voyage in 1927. On June 3 that year, the ship carried Charles A. Lindbergh and his airplane “The Spirit of St. Louis” back to the United States after the historic solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.
The fifth USS Memphis, a Cumberland-Class fleet oiler, served during the Cold War. The sixth USS Memphis, a Los Angeles-Class submarine, still serves today. Commissioned in 1977, it has had an active career most recently deployed to Iraq.
Despite her long career, her history will forever be connected to the fate of the Russian submarine Kursk. Present at the Russian War games in 2000 in which the Kursk sank and conspiracy theorists claim that Memphis may have been responsible for the sinking.