USS Florida, lead ship of a class of two 21,825-ton battleships, was built at the New York Navy Yard. She was commissioned in September 1911 and operated in the western Atlantic and Caribbean areas for the next six years. In addition to regular fleet maneuvers, gunnery practice and training exercises, Florida took part in the U.S. intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico in April-July 1914. In December 1917, she steamed across the Atlantic to join the British Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow and served in the North Sea for the rest of World War I. In December 1918, she escorted President Woodrow Wilson as he arrived off France, en route to participate in the post-war peace conference. Later in that month, Florida was present in New York Harbor for the Victory Fleet Review.