content="U.S. Battleships of WWII">

Welcome to Scott's U.S. Battleship page.

  The Battleship represents the hitting power of a Navy in its most copious,
compact, and durable form.

  Since its chief purpose is to fight the strongest forces which the enemy 
can send to sea.  The battleship is designed to give and take the heaviest 
blows that modern science can devise and to be able to assert its strength 
almost anywhere on the high sea.

  A Battleship is born, not from a blueprint, but from discussions among the 
experts in the Navy's Bureau of Ships.  After painstaking tests of model 
hulls, the ideas around which she is to be shaped are ready for conversion to 
the blueprint stage.  More than 30,000 plans are drawn before the Battleship 
becomes reality.

  "The primary purpose of a battleship is to carry destruction to the enemy", 
say a Navy Dept. release.  

  Early in the war there were many who believed this concept obsolete, 
arguing that the increased use of the carrier or land-based planes spelled 
the end of the big ships.  This gloomy prediction seemed justified after the 
sinking of Britain's Prince of Wales and Repulse early in 1942.  But ships 
like South Dakota and Washington, operating in a tightly-knit carrier-
destroyer unit, soon proved that the heavily armored battleship, with it's 
formidable array of 148 anti-aircraft guns, was still a vital part of the 
fleet.  Radar, carrier-plane coverage and the proximity fuze (which cause 
shells to explode automatically upon nearing a target) all played important 
roles in this comeback.

  The life span of a battleship is defined by international treaties and by 
the U.S. to be 26 years.  In 1942 several battleships of the various 
belligerents were of that age and even older.

  Did you know? That fifteen battleships of the NORTH CAROLINA Class could 
fire in one hour their entire load of 13,500 large shells of over a ton each, 
or above four time the load of the bombs dropped in the R.A.F. raid on 
Cologne in the May 1942, more than 1000 bombers.

  If anyone has served on or knows someone who has served on any of the ships 
listed below, please E-mail me the name, rank, and the time served and I will 
list it in the Personnel Section of the that ship.
U.S. Battleships of WWII


Built at New York SB Co., Camden, N. J.
Keel Laid 03/15/09, Commissioned 08/31/11
Capt. W. S. Benson commanding
UTAH (Battleship No. 31) was laid down on 9 March 1909 at
Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 23
December 1909; sponsored by Miss Mary Alice Spry, daughter of
Governor William Spry of Utah; and commissioned at the
Philadelphia Navy Yard on 31 'August 1911,
Capt. William S. Benson in command.

Length Overall: 521'6"
Extreme Beam: 88'3"
Displacement: Tons: 21,825 Mean Draft: 28'4"
Complement: Off.: 60 Enl.: 941
Main: (10) 12"/45 cal
Secondary:(16) 5"/51 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 12"
Speed:20.75 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,000
Engines: Mfr.: Parsons (NYSB)
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 12
Drive: TD
Fuel: (coal) Tons: 2,520



Utah BB-31

Utah (Battleship No. 31) was laid down on 9 March 1909 at Camden, N.J., by 
the New York Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 23 December 1909; sponsored by 
Miss Mary Alice Spry, daughter of Governor William Spry of Utah; and 
commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 31 August 1911, Capt. 
William S. Benson in command.

After her shakedown cruise-a voyage that took her to Hampton Roads, Va.; 
Santa Rosa Island and Pensacola, Fla.; Galveston, Tex.; Kingston and 
Portland Bight, Jamaica; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba-Utah was assigned to 
the Atlantic Fleet in March 1912. She operated with the Fleet early that 
spring, conducting exercises in gunnery and torpedo defense, before she 
entered the New York Navy Yard on 16 April for an overhaul.

Departing New York on 1 June, Utah briefly visited Hampton Roads and then 
steamed to Annapolis, Md., where she arrived on the 5th. There, she 
embarked Naval Academy midshipmen and got underway on the 10th for the 
Virginia capes and the open Atlantic. She conducted a midshipmen training 
cruise off the New England seaboard well into the summer before 
disembarking her contingent of officers-to-be back at Annapolis on 24 and 
25 August. Soon thereafter, the battleship headed for the Southern Drill 
Grounds to conduct gunnery exercises.

For a little over two years, the dreadnought maintained that schedule of 
operations off the eastern seaboard, ranging from the New England coast to 
Cuban waters. During that time, she made one cruise to European waters, 
visiting Villefranche, France, from 8 to 30 November 1913.

Utah began the year 1914 at the New York Navy Yard and sailed south on 5 
January. After stopping at Hampton Roads, she reached Cuban waters later 
in the month for torpedo and small arms exercises. However, due to tension 
in Mexico, Utah sailed for Mexican waters in early February and reached 
Vera Cruz on the 16th. She operated off that port until getting underway 
for Tampico on 9 April with several hundred refugees embarked.

Soon thereafter, it was learned that a German steamship, SS Ypiranga, was 
bound for Vera Cruz with a shipment of arms and munitions earmarked for 
the dictator Victoriano Huerta. Utah received orders to search for the 
ship and put to sea and reached Vera Cruz on the 16th. When it appeared 
that the shipment might be landed, the Navy took steps to take the customs 
house at Vera Cruz and stop the delivery. Accordingly, plans were drawn up 
for a landing at Vera Cruz, to commence on 21 April 1914.

Utah consequently landed her "battalion"-17 officers and 367 sailors under 
the command of Lt. Guy W. S. Castle-as well as her Marine detachment, which 
formed part of the improvised "First Marine Brigade," made up of 
detachments of marines from the other ships that had arrived to show 
American determination. In the ensuing fighting, in which the men of Utah's 
bluejacket battalion distinguished themselves, seven won medals of honor. 
Those seven included Lt. Castle, the battalion commander; company commanders 
Ens. Oscar C. Badger and Ens. Paul F. Foster; section leaders, Chief 
Turret Captains Niels Drustrup and Abraham Desomer; Chief Gunner George 
Bradley; and Boatswain's Mate Henry N. Nickerson.

Utah remained at Vera Cruz for almost two months before returning north to 
the New York Navy Yard in late June for an overhaul. Over the next three 
years, the battleship operated on a regular routine of battle practices 
and exercises from off the eastern seaboard into the Caribbean, as the 
United States readied its forces for the possible entry of the United 
States into the worldwide war that broke out in July 1914.
After the United States finally declared war on 6 April 1917, Utah 
operated in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay as an engineering and 
gunnery training ship and continued that duty until 30 August 1918, when 
she sailed for the British Isles with Vice Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander 
in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet, embarked.

Fears of possible attacks by German heavy units upon the large convoys 
crossing the Atlantic with troops and munitions for the western front 
prompted the dispatch, to European waters, of a powerful force of American 
dreadnoughts to Irish waters. Utah-as part of that movement-reached 
Brerehaven, Bantry Bay, Ireland, on 10 September. There, she became the 
flagship of Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rodgers, Commander, Battleship Division 
6. Until the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918, Utah, along with 
the sisterships Oklahoma (Battleship No. 37) and Nevada (Battleship No. 
36), operated from Bantry Bay, covering the Allied convoys approaching 
the British Isles, ready to deal with any surface threat that the German 
Navy could hurl at the valuable transports and supply ships.

After the cessation of hostilities, Utah visited Portland, England, and 
later served as part of the honor escort for the transport George 
Washington (Id. No. 3018), as that ship bore President Woodrow Wilson 
into the harbor of Brest, France, on 13 December 1918. The following day, 
Utah turned homeward and reached New York on Christmas Day 1918.

Utah remained at anchor in the North River, off New York City, until 30 
January 1919. During that time, she half-masted her colors at 1440 on 7 
January due to the death of former President Theodore Roosevelt and, on 
the 8th, fired salutes at half-hour intervals throughout the day in memory 
of the great American statesman.

Utah carried out a regular routine of battle practices and maneuvers, 
ranging from the New England coast to the Caribbean, into mid-1921. During 
that time, she was classified as BB-31 on 17 July 1920, during the Navy-
wide assignment of hull numbers.

Ultimately departing Boston on 9 July 1921, Utah proceeded via Lisbon, 
Portugal, and reached Cherbourg, France, soon thereafter. There, Utah 
became the flagship for the United States naval forces in European 
waters. She "showed the flag" at the principal Atlantic coast ports of 
Europe and in the Mediterranean until relieved by Pittsburgh (CA-4) in 
October 1922.

Returning to the United States on 21 October 1922, Utah then became the 
flagship of Battleship Division (BatDiv) 5, United States Scouting Fleet 
and operated with the Scouting Fleet over the next three and one-half 

Late in 1924, Utah was chosen to carry the United States diplomatic 
mission to the centennial celebration of the Battle of Ayacucho (9 
December 1824), the decisive action in the Peruvian struggle for 
independence. Designated as flagship for the special squadron assigned to 
represent the United States at the festivities, Utah departed New York 
City on 22 November 1924 with General of the Armies John J. Pershing USA, 
and former congressman, the Honorable F C. Hicks, embarked, and arrived at 
Callao on 9 December.

Utah disembarked General Pershing and the other members of the mission on 
Christmas 1924, so that the general and his mission could visit other South 
American cities inland on their goodwill tour. Meanwhile, Utah, in the 
weeks that followed, called at the Chilean ports of Punta Arenas and 
Valparaiso before she rounded Cape Horn and met General Pershing at 
Montevideo, Uruguay. Re-embarking the general and his party there, the 
battleship then visited in succession: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; La 
Guaira, Venezuela; and Havana, Cuba, before ending her diplomatic voyage 
at New York City on 13 March 1925.

Utah spent subsequent summers of 1925 and 1926 with the Midshipman 
Practice Squadron and, after disembarking her midshipmen at the conclusion 
of the 1925 cruise, entered the Boston Navy Yard and was decommissioned 
on 31 October 1925 for modernization. During that period of alterations 
and repairs, the ship's "cage" mainmast was replaced by a lighter pole 
mast; she was fitted to burn oil instead of coal as fuel; and her 
armament was modified to reflect the increased concern over antiaircraft 
defense. Interestingly, Utah and her sistership Florida (BB-30) never 
received the more modern "tripod" masts fitted to other classes.

Utah was placed back in commission on 1 December 1925 and, after local 
operations with the Scouting Fleet, departed Hampton Roads on 21 November 
1928, bound for South America. Reaching Montevideo on 18 December, she 
there embarked President-elect and Mrs. Herbert C. Hoover; the Honorable 
Henry T. Fletcher, Ambassador to Italy; and members of the press. Utah 
transported the President-elect's party to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 
between 21 and 23 December, and then continued her homeward voyage with 
Mr. Hoover embarked. En route, the President-elect inspected the 
battleship's crew while at sea, before the ship reached Hampton Roads on 
6 January 1929.

However, Utah's days as a battleship were numbered. Under the terms of the 
1922 Washington Naval Treaty, Utah was selected for conversion to a mobile 
target, in place of the former battleship North Dakota; and, on 1 July 
1931, Utah's classification was changed to AG-16. Her conversion-carried 
out at the Norfolk Navy Yard-included the installation of a radio-control 
apparatus. After having been decommissioned for the duration of the 
conversion, Utah was re-commissioned at Norfolk on 1 April 1932, Comdr. 
Randall Jacobs in command.

Utah departed Norfolk on 7 April to train her engineers in using the new 
installations and for trials of her radio gear by which the ship could 
be controlled at varying rates of speed and changes of course- maneuvers 
that a ship would conduct in battle. Her electric motors, operated by 
signals from the controlling ship, opened and closed throttle valves, 
moved her steering gear, and regulated the supply of oil to her 
boilers. In addition, a Sperry gyro pilot kept the ship on course.

Returning to port on 21 April, Utah passed her radio control trials off 
the Virginia capes on 5 May. On 1 June, Utah ran three hours under radio 
control, with all engineering stations manned; over the next two days, 
she made two successful runs, each of four hours duration, during which no 
machinery was touched by human hands. Observers, however-two in each fire 
room and two in each boiler room-kept telephone information and recorded 

Her trials completed, Utah departed Norfolk on 9 June. After transiting 
the Panama Canal, she reached San Pedro, Calif., on 30 June, reporting for 
duty with Training Squadron 1, Base Force, United States Fleet. She 
conducted her first target duty, for cruisers of the Fleet, on 25 July, 
and later, on 2 August, conducted rehearsal runs for Nevada (BB-36), Utah 
being controlled from Hovey (DD-208) and Talbot (DD-114).

Over the next nine years, the erstwhile battleship performed a vital 
service to the fleet as a mobile target, contributing realism to the 
training of naval aviators in dive, torpedo, and high level bombing. 
Thus, she greatly aided the development of tactics in those areas. On one 
occasion, she even served as a troop transport, embarking 223 officers and 
men of the Fleet Marine Force at Sand Island, Midway, for amphibious 
operations at Hilo Bay, Hawaii, as part of Fleet Problem XVI in the 
early summer of 1935. She then transported the marines from Hawaii to San 
Diego, Calif., disembarking them there on 12 June 1935.

That same month, June 1935, saw the establishment of a fleet machine gun 
school on board Utah while she continued her mission as a mobile 
target. The former dreadnought received her first instructors on board in 
August 1935, and the first students-drawn from the ships' companies of 
Raleigh (CL-7), Concord (CL-10), Omaha (CL-4), Memphis (CL-13), Milwaukee 
(CL-5), and Ranger (CV-4)-reported aboard for training on 20 September. 
Subsequently, during the 1936 and 1937 gunnery year, Utah was fitted 
with a new quadruple 1.1-inch machine gun mount for experimental test and 
development by the machine gun school. Some of the first tests of that type 
of weapon were conducted on board.

Utah-besides serving as a realistic target for exercises involving 
carrier-based planes-also towed targets during battle practices conducted 
by the Fleet's battleships and took part in the yearly "fleet problems." 
She transited the Panama Canal on 9 January 1939 to participate in Fleet 
Problem XX-part of the maneuvers observed personally by President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt from the heavy cruiser Houston (CA-30).

After providing mobile target services for the submarines of Submarine 
Squadron 6 in the late autumn and early winter of 1939, Utah devoted the 
eight months that followed to special machine gun practices. The following 
summer, Utah sailed for the Hawaiian Islands, reaching Pearl Harbor on 1 
August 1940, and fired advanced antiaircraft gunnery practice in the 
Hawaiian operating area until 14 December 1940, when she sailed for the 
west coast, returning to Long Beach four days before Christmas.

For the next two months, Utah operated as a mobile bombing target off San 
Clemente Island, Calif., for planes from Patrol Wing 1, and from the 
carriers Lexington (CV-2), Saratoga (CV-3), and Enterprise (CV-6). Utah 
returned to Hawaiian waters on 1 April 1941, embarking gunners for the 
Advanced Antiaircraft Gun School, men drawn from West Virginia (BB-48), 
Oklahoma (BB-37), Colorado (BB-45), Phoenix (CL-46), Nashville (CL-43), 
Philadelphia (CL-41), and New Orleans (CA-32).

Over the weeks that followed, she trained her embarked gunnery students 
in control and loading drills for the 5-inch batteries, firing runs on 
radio-controlled drone targets as well as .50-caliber and 1.1-inch firing 
on drones and balloons. Utah put into Los Angeles harbor on 20 May and 
there embarked Fleet Marine Force passengers for transportation to 
Bremerton, Wash. Putting the marines ashore a week later, the ship 
entered the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 31 May 1941.

During the ensuing overhaul, Utah received repairs and alterations 
designed to make her a more effective gunnery training ship. The 
alterations included the addition of 5-inch/38-caliber guns in single 
mounts with gunshields-similar to those fitted on the more modern types 
of destroyers then in service. She also lost her prewar colors, being 
repainted in overall measure one camouflage-dark gray with pale gray tops. 
With war paint thus donned, Utah sailed for Hawaiian waters on 14 
September, after visits to Port Townsend, Wash., and San Francisco and San 
Pedro, Calif. She arrived at Pearl Harbor soon thereafter and carried 
out antiaircraft training and target duties through the late autumn.

Utah completed an advanced antiaircraft gunnery cruise in Hawaiian waters 
shortly before she returned to Pearl Harbor in early December 1941, 
mooring off Ford Island in berth F-ll. On the morning of 7 December 1941, 
the senior officer on board-the captain and executive officer were ashore 
on leave-was Lt. Comdr. Solomon S. Isquith, the engineer officer.

Shortly before 0800, men topside noted three planes- taken for American 
planes on maneuvers-heading in a northerly direction from the harbor 
entrance. They made a low dive at the southern end of Ford Island- where 
the seaplane hangers were situated-and began dropping bombs.

The attack on the fleet at Pearl Harbor lasted a little under two 
hours, but for Utah, it was over in a few minutes. At 0801, soon after 
sailors had begun raising the colors at the ship's fantail, the erstwhile 
battleship took a torpedo hit forward, and immediately started to list to 

As the ship began to roll ponderously over on her beam ends, 6-by-12-inch 
timbers-placed on the decks to cushion them against the impact of the bombs 
used during the ship's latest stint as a mobile target-began to shift, 
hampering the efforts of the crew to abandon ship. Below, men headed 
topside while they could. One, however, Chief Watertender Peter Tomich, 
remained below, making sure that the boilers were secured and that all men 
had gotten out of the engineering spaces. Another man, Fireman John B. 
Vaessen, USNR, remained at his post in the dynamo room, making sure that 
the ship had enough power to keep her lights going as long as possible.

Comdr. Isquith made an inspection to make sure men were out and nearly 
became trapped himself. As the ship began to turn over, he found an 
escape hatch blocked. While he was attempting to escape through a porthole, 
a table upon which he was standing-impelled by the ever-increasing list of 
the ship-slipped out from beneath him. Fortunately, a man outside grabbed 
Isquith's arm and pulled him through at the last instant.

At 0812, the mooring lines snapped, and Utah rolled over on her beam ends; 
her survivors struck out for shore, some taking shelter on the mooring 
quays since Japanese strafers were active.

Shortly after most of the men had reached shore, Comdr. Isquith, and 
others, heard a knocking from within the overturned ship's hull. Although 
Japanese planes were still strafing the area, Isquith called for 
volunteers to return to the hull and investigate the tapping. Obtaining 
a cutting torch from the nearby Raleigh (CL-7)-herself fighting for 
survival after taking early torpedo hits-the men went to work.

As a result of the persistence shown by Machinist S. A. Szymanski; Chief 
Machinist's Mate Terrance MacSelwiney, USNR; and two others whose names were 
unrecorded, 10 men clambered from a would-be tomb. The last man out was 
Fireman Vaessen, who had made his way to the botton of the ship when she 
capsized, bearing a flashlight and wrench.

Utah was declared "in ordinary" on 29 December 1941 and was placed under 
the control of the Pearl Harbor Base Force. Partially righted to clear an 
adjacent berth, she was then declared "out of commission, not in service," 
on 5 September 1944. Utah's name was struck from the Navy list on 13 
November 1944. Her partially submerged hulk still remains, rusting, at 
Pearl Harbor with an unknown number of men trapped inside.

Of Utah's complement, 30 officers and 431 enlisted men survived the ship's 
loss; 6 officers and 58 men died-four of the latter being recovered and 
interred ashore. Chief Watertender Tomich received the Medal of Honor 
posthumously for his selfless act in ensuring the safety of others.

Utah (AG-16) received one battle star for her World War II service.


Click here to return to the top

Built at Wm. Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia,Pa.
Keel Laid 02/09/10, Commissioned 09/25/12
Capt. F. L. Chapin commanding
The third WYOMING (Battleship No. 32) was laid down on 9
February 1910 at Philadelphia, Pa., by William Cramp and Sons;
launched on 25 May 1911; sponsored by Miss Dorothy Eunice
Knight, the daughter of former Chief Justice Jesse Knight of the
Wyoming Supreme Court; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy
Yard on 25 September 1912, Capt. Frederick L. Chapin in command.

Length Overall: 562'
Extreme Beam: 93'3"
Displacement: Tons: 26,000 Mean Draft: 28'6"
Complement: Off.: 58 Enl.: 1,005
Main: (12) 12"/50 cal
Secondary: (21) 5"/51 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 12"
Speed: 20.5 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,000
Engines: Mfr.: Parsons (Cramp) (BB-32)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 12
Drive: TD
Fuel: (coal) Tons: 2,500



The third  Wyoming (Battleship No. 32) was laid down on 9 February 1910 
at Philadelphia, Pa., by William Cramp and Sons; launched on 25 May 1911; 
sponsored by Miss Dorothy Eunice Knight, the daughter of former Chief 
Justice Jesse Knight of the Wyoming Supreme Court; and commissioned at the 
Philadelphia Navy Yard on 25 September 1912, Capt. Frederick L. Chapin in 

Wyoming departed Philadelphia on 6 October and completed the fitting-out 
process at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., before she joined the 
fleet in Hampton Roads, Va. Reaching the Tidewater area on 30 December 
1912, she became the flagship of Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger, Commander, 
United States Atlantic Fleet, soon thereafter. Sailing on 6 January 1913, 
the new battleship visited the soon to be completed Panama Canal and then 
conducted winter fleet maneuvesr off Cuba before she returned to 
Chesapeake Bay on 4 March.

After gunnery practice off the Virginia capes, on the southern drill 
grounds, Wyoming underwent repairs and alterations at the New York Navy 
Yard between 18 April and 7 May. She then participated in war games off 
Block Island between 7 and 24 May-a period of activity broken by repairs to 
her machinery, carried out at Newport, R.I., between 9 and 19 May-before 
she underwent more repairs at Newport. She then visited New York City from 
28 to 31 May for the festivities surrounding the dedication of the monument 
honoring the battleship Maine, destroyed in Havana harbor on 15 February 

Shifting to Annapolis, Md., on 4 June, Wyoming embarked a contingent of 
Naval Academy midshipmen and took the young officers-to-be on a summer 
cruise off the coast of New England that lasted into late August. 
Disembarking the "middies" at Annapolis on 24 and 25 August, Wyoming 
then conducted torpedo and target practices in the southern drill 
grounds, out of Hampton Roads, into the late autumn. She was docked at 
New York for repairs between 16 September and 2 October and then ran a 
full-power trial as she headed south to Norfolk to resume exercises off 
the Virgina capes before sailing for Europe on 25 October.

Reaching Valetta, Malta, on 8 November, the dreadnought-type battleship 
visited Naples, Italy, and Ville-franche, France, during the course of 
her Mediterranean cruise. The battleship then left French waters astern on 
the last day of November and reached New York on 15 December.

Wyoming then underwent voyage repairs at the New York Navy Yard, remaining 
there through the end of 1913. Getting underway on 6 January 1914, the 
battleship reached Hampton Roads on the morrow and spent the next three 
days coaling to prepare for the annual fleet exercises in the warmer 
Caribbean climes.

Wyoming exercised with the fleet, out of Guantanamo Bay and Guacanayabo 
Bay, Cuba, between 26 January and 15 March, before setting her course 
northward for Cape Henry, Va. She then ranged with the fleet from the 
southern drill grounds, off the Virginia capes, to Tangier Sound, for 
gunnery drills and practices. She remained engaged in that routine until 
3 April, when she headed for the New York Navy Yard and an overhaul.

After that period of repairs, which lasted from 4 April to 9 May, 
Wyoming subsequently embarked a draft of men for transport to the fleet, 
departed Hampton Roads on 13 May, and headed for Mexican waters. She 
reached Veracruz on 18 May-less than a month after American sailors and 
marines had occupied that Mexican port.

Wyoming remained at Vera Cruz over the months that ensued, into the late 
autumn of 1914, before she returned northward. After conducting exercises 
off the Virginia capes en route, she put into the New York Navy Yard on 
6 October and then underwent repairs and alterations which lasted until 
17 January 1915.

Shifting down the coast upon completion of that yard period, Wyoming left 
Hampton Roads in her wake on 21 January for the annual exercises in 
Cuban waters and in the Caribbean. Returning to the Tidewater area on 7 
April, the battleship carried out tactical exercises and maneuvers along 
the eastern seaboard-primarily off Block Island and the southern drill 
grounds-into the late autumn, when she again entered the New York Navy 
Yard for an overhaul.

After repairs lasting from 20 December 1915 to 6 January 1916, Wyoming 
got underway on the latter day, bound for war games in the southern 
drill grounds. She subsequently headed farther south, reaching Culebra, 
Puerto Rico, on 16 January. After visiting Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 27 
January, Wyoming put into Guantanamo Bay on the 28th and then operated 
in Cuban waters-off Guantanamo and Guacanayabo Bays and the port of 
Manzanillo-until 10 April, when she sailed for New York.

Wyoming remained in the New York Navy Yard from 16 April to 26 June, 
undergoing repairs; she then operated off the New England coast, out of 
Newport, and off the Virgina capes through the remainder of 1916. 
Departing New York on 9 January 1917, Wyoming then conducted routine 
maneuvers in the Guantanamo Bay region through mid-March. She departed the 
Caribbean on 27 March and was off Yorktown, Va., when the United States 
entered World War I on 6 April 1917.

Over the months that ensued, Wyoming served in the Chasepeake Bay region 
as an engineering ship until until 13 November 1917. On that day, Rear 
Admiral Hugh Rodman broke his flag in New York (Battleship No, 34) as 
Commander, Battleship Division 9. After preparations for "distant 
service," Wyoming, New York, Delaware (Battleship No. 28), and Florida 
(Battleship No. 30) sailed for the British Isles on 25 November and 
reached Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, on 7 December 1917. Although retaining 
their American designation as Battleship Division 9, those four 
dreadnoughts became the 6th Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet 
upon arrival in British waters.

Wyoming carried out maneuvers and tactical exercises with the units of 
the British Grand Fleet until 6 February 1918. On that day, she got 
underway with the other ships of the 6th Battle Squadron and eight 
British destroyers to guard a convoy routed to Stavanger, Norway. En 
route, Wyoming dodged torpedo wakes off Stavanger, on 8 February but 
reached Scapa Flow safely two days later. In the following months, Wyoming 
continued to patrol off the British Isles, guarding the coastwise sea 
lanes against the danger posed by the still-powerful German High Seas 

Between 30 June and 2 July 1918, Wyoming operated with the 6th Battle 
Squadron and a division of British destroyers, guarding Allied minelayers 
as they planted the North Sea Mine Barrage. Later, Wyoming returned to the 
Firth of Forth, where she was inspected by the King of England, His 
Majesty George V, along with other units of the Grand Fleet.

Although American and German capital ships never met in combat on the 
high seas, they nevertheless made rendezvous. On 21 November 1918-10 days 
after the armistice ended World War I-Wyoming, New York, Texas 
(Battleship No. 35), and Arkansas (Battleship No. 33) joined the Grand 
Fleet as it escorted the German High Seas Fleet into the Firth of Forth 
to be interned following the cessation of hostilities.

Later, Wyoming, hoisting the flag of Rear Admiral William S. Sims, 
Commander, Battleship Division 9, sailed on 12 December 1918 from 
Portland, England, bound for France. The following morning, she and other 
battleships rendezvoused with George Washington (Id. No. 3018) off Brest, 
France. Embarked in the transport was the President of the United 
States, Woodrow Wilson, enroute to the Paris Peace Conference.

After serving in the honor escort for the President and his party, 
Wyoming returned Admiral Sims to Plymouth, England, along with the newly 
appointed ambassador to Great Britain. Debarking her distinguished 
passengers on 14 December, the battleship loaded 381 bags of mail and, 
within a few hours, sailed for the United States. Reaching New York City 
on Christmas Day 1918, she remained there through New Year's Day 1919. On 
13 January 1919, she became the flagship of Battleship Division 7, 3d 
Squadron, and broke the flag of Rear Admiral Robert E. Coontz.

Wyoming departed New York on 1 February and, following winter maneuvers in 
Cuban waters, returned north, reaching New York on 14 April. However, she 
stood out to sea soon thereafter, getting underway on 12 May to serve as 
a link in the chain of ships stretching across the Atlantic to guide the 
NC-boats on their flight across that ocean. After completing her duty as 
plane guard and meteorological station, Wyoming returned to Hampton Roads 
on the last day of May.

Later embarking midshipmen and taking them on their southern cruise in 
the Chesapeake Bay-Virginia capes area, Wyoming entered the Norfolk Navy 
Yard on 1 July to prepare for service in the Pacific. On that day, she 
became a unit of the newly designated Pacific Fleet, assigned the duty 
as flagship for Battleship Division 6, Squadron 4. On the morning of 19 
July, the fleet, led by flagship New Mexico (Battleship No. 40), got 
underway for the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal soon thereafter, the 
fleet reached San Diego, Calif., on 6 August.

Shifting to San Pedro, Calif., three days later, Wyoming operated out 
of that port into the autumn. After an overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy 
Yard, Bremerton, Wash., from 15 September 1919 to 19 April 1920, Wyoming 
returned to her base at San Pedro on 4 May. Over the next few months, the 
battleship exercised off the southern California coast. During that time, 
she was reclassified BB-32 on 17 July 1920.

Departing San Diego on the last day of August 1920, Wyoming sailed for 
Hawaiian waters and conducted exercises and maneuvers there through 
September. Returning to San Diego on 3 October, Wyoming subsequently 
conducted tactical evolutions off the western seaboard, ranging north to 
Seattle. Departing San Francisco, Calif., on 5 January 1921, Wyoming, 
over the ensuing weeks, conducted further drills, exercises, and maneuvers 
reaching from Panama Bay to Valparaiso, Chile, and was reviewed by the 
President of Chile on 3 February. Returning north via Panama Bay and San 
Pedro, Wyoming arrived at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 18 March and 
remained there into the summer.

Upon completion of repairs, Wyoming headed south and, on 2 August, reached 
Balboa, Canal Zone, where she embarked Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman and 
members of the commission to Peru for transportation to New York City. 
Reaching her destination on 19 August, she disembarked her passengers and, 
that afternoon, broke the flag of Admiral Hilary P. Jones, the Commander 
in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.

Over the next 41 months, Wyoming operated primarily in the Atlantic, off 
the eastern seaboard of the United States, participating in Atlantic 
Fleet exercises, ranging from the coast of New England to the Virginia 
capes. She took part in the routine winter maneuvers of the fleet in 
Caribbean and Cuban waters, serving at various times as flagship for Vice 
Admiral John D. McDonald, Commander, Battleship Force; and, later, 
Commander, Scouting Fleet, and his successors, Vice Admiral Newton A. 
McCully and Vice Admiral Josiah S. McKean. During that time, the ship 
received routine repairs and alterations at the New York Navy Yard and 
conducted a midshipman's training cruise in the summer of 1924, cruising 
to Torbay, England; Rotterdam, Holland; Gibraltar; and the Azores.

Departing New York on 26 January 1925, the battleship conducted battle 
practice in Cuban waters, out of Guantanamo Bay, and then transited the 
Panama Canal on 14 February to join the Battle Fleet for exercises along 
the coast of California. Wyoming next sailed for Hawaiian waters and 
operated in those climes from late April to early June. After a visit to 
San Diego from 18 to 22 June, the battleship returned to the east coast, 
via the Panama Canal, and arrived back at New \York City on 17 July to 
resume operations off the coast of New England. Following those training
evolutions with a cruise to Cuba and Haiti, Wyoming underwent an overhaul 
at the New York Navy Yard from 23 November 1925 to 26 January 1926. During 
her yard period, Comdr. William F. Halsey, Jr., reported on board as the 
battleship's executive officer. The future fleet admiral served in Wyoming 
until 4 January 1927.

Wyoming subsequently took part in the Fleet's annual winter maneuvers in 
the Caribbean and then returned northward, reaching Annapolis on 29 May to 
embark midshipmen for their summer training cruise. After touching at 
Newport, R.I.; Marblehead, Mass.; Portland, Maine; Charleston, S.C.; and 
Guantanamo Bay, Wyoming returned to Annapolis on 27 August, disembarking 
the officers-to-be upon arrival. The ship then put into the Philadelphia 
Navy Yard for modernization.

Converted from a coal burner to an oil burner, Wyoming also received new 
turbines, blisters for added underwater protection against torpedoes, and 
other alterations. Completing the overhaul on 2 November 1927 and heading 
south for Norfolk, Wyoming then underwent a post-modernization shakedown 
cruise to Cuba and the Virgin Islands before returning to Philadelphia 
on 7 December. Two days later, she hoisted the flag of Commander, 
Scouting Fleet, Vice Admiral Ashley H. Robertson.

Over the next few years, Wyoming operated out of Norfolk, New York, and 
Boston, making training cruises for the Naval Reserve Officers' Training 
Corps (NROTC) units hailing from Yale, Harvard, Georgia Tech, and 
Northwestern. That duty took her from the Gulf of Mexico to Nova Scotia 
and into the Caribbean, as well as to the Azores. During the course of 
that duty, she departed Hampton Roads on 12 November 1928; and, on the 
night of 13 and 14 November, picked up eight survivors of the sunken 
British merchant steamship Vestris; and landed them at Norfolk the 
following day, 15 November.

Relieved as flagship of the Scouting Force on 19 September 1930, Wyoming 
then became the flagship of Rear Admiral Wat T. Cluverius, Commander, 
Battleship Division 2, and performed that duty until 4 November. After 
then hoisting the flag of Rear Admiral H. H. Christy, Commander, Training 
Squadron, Scouting Fleet, the battleship conducted a training cruise 
into the Gulf of Mexico, during which she visited New Orleans.

Returning north after that cruise, Wyoming was placed in reduced 
commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 1 January 1931 to prepare for 
demilitarization and conversion to a training ship in accordance with 
the 1930 London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval 
armaments. During that process, Wyoming lost her blisters, side armor, 
and the removal of guns and turret machinery from three of her six main 
battery turrets. On 21 May 1931, Wyoming was relieved of her duties as 
flagship for the Scouting Force by Augusta (CA-31) and by Arkansas (BB-
33) as flagship of the Training Squadron.

Wyoming subsequently visited Annapolis upon the completion of her 
demilitarization and, between 29 May and 5 June 1931, embarked Naval Academy 
midshipmen for a cruise to European waters. Sailing on 5 June, the ship 
was in the mid-Atlantic 10 days later, when she went to the aid of the 
foundering ice-cutting submarine Nautilus, commanded by the famed British 
Arctic explorer, Sir Hubert Wilkins. Wyoming took the disabled submersible 
in tow and took her to Queenstown, Northern Ireland. Later in the course of 
the cruise, the former battleship visited Copenhagen, Denmark; Greenock, 
Scotland; Cadiz, Spain; and Gibraltar, before she returned to Hampton 
Roads on 13 August. During her cruise, she had been redesignated from a 
battleship, BB-32, to a miscellaneous auxiliary, AG-17, on 1 July 1931.

Over the next four years, Wyoming continued summer practice cruises for 
Naval Academy midshipmen and training cruises for NROTC midshipmen with 
units from various universities. Her service took her throughout the 
Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as to northern European ports 
and into the Mediterranean.

However, there were new jobs for the old campaigner. On 18 January 1935, 
she embarked men of the 2d Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, at Norfolk, for 
the winter-spring landing assault practices at Puerto Rico and the Panama 
Canal Zone. In almost every succeeding year, Wyoming took part in 
amphibious assault exercises, as the elements of the Fleet Marine Force 
and Navy developed tactics for use in possible conflicts of the future.

Departing Norfolk on 5 January 1937, Wyoming transited the Panama Canal; 
headed for San Diego soon thereafter; and spent the following weeks 
engaged in assault landing exercises and gunnery drills at San Clemente 
Island, off the coast of California. On 18 February 1937, during the 
culminating phase of a multi-faceted (land, sea, and air) exercise, a 
shrapnel shell exploded prematurely as it was being rammed into one of the 
ship's 5-inch broadside guns. Six marines were killed, and 11 were 
wounded. Immediately after the explosion, Wyoming sped to San Pedro, where 
she transferred the wounded marines to the hospital ship Relief (AH-1).

Completing her slate of exercises and war games off the California coast 
on 3 March, Wyoming stood out of Los Angeles harbor on that day and headed 
back to the east coast. Returning to Norfolk on the 23d of the same month, 
the ship served as temporary flagship for Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, 
Commander, Training Squadron, from 15 April to 3 June, during the 
preparations for the upcoming Naval Academy practice cruise. Putting to 
sea on 4 June from Hampton Roads, Wyoming reached Kiel, Germany, on 21 
June 1937, where she was visited by officers from the ill-fated German 
"pocket battleship" Admiral Graf Spec. Her embarked midshipmen 
subsequently toured Berlin before Wyoming sailed for home on 29 June, 
touching at Torbay, England, and Funchal, Madeira, before returning to 
Norfolk on 3 August.

After local exercises, Wyoming disembarked her midshipmen at Annapolis on 
26 August. For the next few months, Wyoming continued in her role as 
training ship -first for Naval Reserve units and then for Merchant Marine 
Reserve units, ranging from Boston to the Virgin Islands and from New 
York to Cuba, respectively, before she underwent an overhaul at the 
Norfolk Navy Yard between 16 October 1937 and 14 January 1938.

For the next three years, Wyoming continued her operations out of Norfolk, 
Boston, and New York, visiting Cuban waters, as well as Puerto Rico and New 
Orleans. In addition, she conducted a Naval Academy midshipman's practice 
cruise to European waters in 1938, visiting Le Havre, France; Copenhagen; 
and Portsmouth, England. Ultimately, on 2 January 1941, Wyoming became the 
flagship for Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs, Commander, Training, Patrol 
Force, and continued in her training ship duties into the autumn months.

In November 1941, Wyoming embarked on yet another phase of her career-that 
of a gunnery training ship. She departed Norfolk on 25 November 1941 for 
gunnery training runs out of Newport, R.I., and was off Platt's Bank 
when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 7 
December 1941.

Putting into Norfolk on 28 January 1942, Wyoming sailed out into the lower 
reaches of Chesapeake Bay on 5 February to begin a countless chain of 
gunnery training drills in that area that would carry her through World 
War II. So familiar was her appearance in that area that Wyoming earned 
the nickname of the "Chesapeake Raider." Assigned to the Operational 
Training Command, United States Atlantic Fleet, the former dreadnought 
battleship provided the platform on which thousands of gunners trained in 
guns, ranging from 5-inch to .50-ealiber.

Refitted at Norfolk between 12 January and 3 April 1944, Wyoming took on a 
different silhouette upon emerging from that yard period; the rest of her 
12-inch turrets were removed, and replaced with twin-mount 5-inch guns; in 
addition, newer models of fire control radars were installed. She resumed 
her gunnery training activities on 10 April 1944, operating in the 
Chesapeake Bay region. The extent of her operations can be seen from a 
random sampling of figures; in a single month, November 1944, Wyoming 
trained 133 officers and 1,329 men in antiaircraft gunnery. During that 
month, she fired 3,033 5-inch shells, 849 3-inch; 10,076 40-millimeter; 
32,231 20-millimeter; 66,270 .30-caliber; and 360 1.1-inch ammunition. She 
claimed the distinction of firing off more ammunition than any other ship 
in the fleet, training an estimated 35,000 gunners on some seven different 
types of guns.

On 30 June 1945, Wyoming completed her career as "Chesapeake Raider" when 
she departed Norfolk for the New York Navy Yard and alterations. 
Leaving the yard on 13 July 1945, she entered Casco Bay soon thereafter, 
reporting for duty to Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee, Commander, Composite 
Task Force 69. She fired her first experimental gunnery practice at towed 
sleeves, drone aircraft, and radio-controlled targets, as the largest 
operating unit of the force established to study methods and tactics for 
dealing with the Japanese kamikazes. Subsequently, Composite Task Force 69 
became the Operational Development Force, United States Fleet, on 31 August 
1945. Upon the death of Admiral Lee, the reins of command passed to Rear 
Admiral R. P. Briscoe.

Even after the broadening of the scope of the work of the force to cover 
all the operational testing of new devices of fire control, Wyoming 
remained the backbone of the unit through 1946. On 11 July 1947, Wyoming 
entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and was decommissioned on 1 August 
1947. Her men and materiel were then transferred to Mississippi (AG-128) 

Wyoming's name was struck from the Navy list on 16 September 1947, and 
her hulk was sold for scrapping on 30 October 1947. She was then delivered 
to her purchaser, Lipsett, Inc., of New York City, on 5 December 1947


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Built at New York SB Co., Camden, N. J.
Keel Laid 01/25/10, Commissioned 09/17/12
Capt. R. C. Smith commanding
The third ARKANSAS (Battleship No. 33) was laid down on 25
January 1910 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co.;
launched on 14 January 1911; sponsored by Miss Nancy Louise
Macon; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17
September 1912, Capt. Roy C. Smith in command.

Length Overall: 562'
Extreme Beam: 93'3"
Displacement: Tons: 26,000 Mean Draft: 28'6"
Complement: Off.: 58 Enl.: 1,005
Main: (12) 12"/50 cal
Secondary: (21) 5"/51 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 12"
Speed: 20.5 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,000
Engines: Mfr.: Parsons (NYSB)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 12
Drive: TD
Fuel: (coal) Tons: 2,699 plus 400 fuel oil










Arkansas BB-33

The third Arkansas (Battleship No. 33) was laid down on 25 January 1910 at 
Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 14 January 
1911; sponsored by Miss Nancy Louise Macon; and commissioned at the 
Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 September 1912, Capt. Roy C. Smith in 

The new battleship took part in a fleet review by President William H. 
Taft in the Hudson River off New York City on 14October, and received a 
visit from the Chief Executive that day. She then transported President 
Taft to the Panama Canal Zone for an inspection of the unfinished isthmian 
waterway. After putting the inspection party ashore, Arkansas sailed to 
Cuban waters for shakedown training. She then returned to the Canal Zone 
on 26 December to carry President Taft to Key West, Fla.

Following this assignment, Arkansas joined the Atlantic Fleet for 
maneuvers along the east coast. The battleship began her first overseas 
cruise in late October 1913, and visited several ports in the 
Mediterranean. At Naples, Italy, on 11 November 1913, the ship celebrated 
the birthday of the King of Italy.

Earlier in October 1913, a coup in Mexico had brought to power a dictator, 
Victoriano Huerta. The way in which Huerta had come to power, however, 
proved contrary to the idealism of President Woodrow Wilson, who insisted 
on a representative government, rather than a dictatorial one, south of 
the American-Mexican border. Mexico had been in turmoil for several years, 
and the United States Navy maintained a force of ships in those waters 
ready to protect American lives.

In a situation where tension exists between two powers, incidents are 
bound to occur. One such occurred at Tampico in the spring of 1914, and 
although the misunderstanding was quickly cleared up locally, the 
prevailing state of tension produced an explosive situation. Learning that 
a shipment of arms for Huerta was due to arrive at Veracruz, President 
Wilson ordered the Navy to prevent the landing of the guns by seizing the 
customs house at that port.

While a naval force under Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo was already present 
in Mexican waters, the President directed that the Atlantic Fleet, under 
Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger, proceed to Veracruz. Arkansas participated 
in the landings at Veracruz, contributing a battalion of four companies of 
bluejackets, a total of 17 officers and 313 enlisted men under the command 
of Lt. Comdr. Arthur B. Keating. Among the junior officers was Lt. (jg.) 
Jonas H. Ingram, who would be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at 
Veracruz, as would Lt. John Grady, who commanded the artillery of the 2d 
Seaman Regiment.

Landing on 22 April, Arkansas's men took part in the slow, methodical 
street fighting that eventually secured the city. Two Arkansas sailors, 
Ordinary Seamen Louis 0. Fried and William L. Watson, died of their wounds 
on 22 April. Arkansas's battalion returned to the ship on 30 April, and 
the ship remained in Mexican waters through the summer before setting 
course on 30 September to return to the east coast. During her stay at 
Veracruz, she received calls from Capt. Franz von Papen, the German 
military attache to the United States and Mexico, and Rear Admiral Sir 
Christopher Cradock, on 10 and 30 May 1914, respectively.

The battleship reached Hampton Roads, Va., on 7 October, and after a week 
of exercises, Arkansas sailed to the New York Navy Yard, for repairs and 
alterations. She then returned to the Virginia capes area for maneuvers on 
the Southern Drill Grounds. On 12 December, Arkansas returned to the New 
York Navy Yard for further repairs.

She was underway again on 16 January 1915, and returned to the Southern 
Drill Grounds for exercises there from 19 to 21 January. Upon completion 
of these, Arkansas sailed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for fleet exercises. 
Returning to Hampton Roads on 7 April, the battleship began another 
training period in the Southern Drill Grounds. On 23 April, she headed to 
the New York Navy Yard for a two-month repair period. Arkansas then left 
New York on 25 June bound for Newport, R.I. She conducted torpedo practice 
and tactical maneuvers in Narragansett Bay through late August.

Returning to Hampton Roads on 27 August, the battleship engaged in 
maneuvers in the Norfolk area through 4 October, then sailed once again to 
Newport. There, Arkansas carried out strategic exercises from 5 to 14 
October. On 15 October, the battleship arrived at the New York Navy Yard 
for drydocking. Underway on 8 November, she returned to Hampton Roads. 
After a period of routine operations, Arkansas went back to Brooklyn for 
repairs on 19 October. The ship sailed on 5 January 1916 for Hampton 
Roads. Pausing there only briefly, Arkansas pushed on to the Caribbean for 
winter maneuvers.

She visited the West Indies and Guantanamo Bay before returning to the 
United States on 12 March for torpedo practice off Mobile Bay. The 
battleship then steamed back to Guantanamo Bay on 20 March and remained 
there until mid-April. On 15 April, the battleship was once again at the 
New York Navy Yard for overhaul.

On 6 April 1917, the United States entered World War I on the side of the 
Allied and Associated Powers. The declaration of war found Arkansas 
attached to Battleship Division 7 and patrolling the York River in 
Virginia. For the next 14 months, Arkansas carried out patrol duty along 
the east coast and trained gun crews for duty on armed merchantmen.

In July 1918, Arkansas received orders to proceed to Rosyth, Scotland, to 
relieve Delaware (Battleship No. 28). Arkansas sailed on 14 July. On the 
eve of her arrival in Scotland, the battleship opened fire on what was 
believed to be the periscope wake of a German U-boat. Her escorting 
destroyers dropped depth charges, but scored no hits. Arkansas then 
proceeded without incident and dropped anchor at Rosyth on 28 July.

Throughout the remaining three and one-half months of war, Arkansas and 
the other American battleships in Rosyth operated as part of the British 
Grand Fleet as the 6th Battle Squadron.

The armistice ending World War I became effective on 11 November. The 6th 
Battle Squadron and other Royal Navy units sailed to a point some 40 miles 
east of May Island at the entrance of the Firth of Forth. Arkansas was 
present at the internment of the German High Seas Fleet in the Firth of 
Forth on 21 November 1918.

The American battleships were detached from the British Grand Fleet on 1 
December. From the Firth of Forth, Arkansas sailed to Portland, England, 
thence out to sea to meet the transport George Washington, with President 
Wilson on board. Arkansas-along with other American battleships-escorted 
the President's ship into Brest, France, on 13 December 1918. From that 
French port, Arkansas sailed to New York City, where she arrived on 26 
December to a tumultuous welcome. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels 
reviewed the assembled battleship fleet from the yacht Mayflower.

Following an overhaul at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Arkansas joined the fleet 
in Cuban waters for winter maneuvers. Soonthereafter, the battleship got 
underway to cross the Atlantic. On 12 May 1919, she reached Plymouth, 
England; thence she headed back out in the Atlantic to take weather 
observations on 19 May and act as a reference vessel for the flight of the 
Navy Curtiss (NC) flying boats from Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, to 

Her role in that venture completed, Arkansas proceeded thence to Brest, 
where she embarked Admiral William S. Benson, the Chief of Naval 
Operations, and his wife, on 10 June, upon the admiral's return from the 
Peace Conference in Paris, before departing for New York. She arrived on 
20 June 1919.

Arkansas sailed from Hampton Roads on 19 July 1919, assigned to the 
Pacific Fleet. Proceeding via the Panama Canal, the battleship steamed to 
San Francisco, where, on 6 September 1919, she embarked Secretary of the 
Navy and Mrs. Josephus Daniels. Disembarking the Secretary and his wife at 
Blakely Harbor, Wash., on the 12th, Arkansas was reviewed by President 
Wilson, on the 13th, the Chief Executive having embarked in the famed 
Oregon (Battleship No. 3). On 19 September 1919, Arkansas entered the 
Puget Sound Navy Yard for a general overhaul. Resuming her operations with 
the fleet in May 1920, Arkansas operated off the California coast. On 17 
July 1920, Arkansas received the designation BB-33 as the ships of the 
fleet received alphanumeric designations. That September, she cruised to 
Hawaii for the first time. Early in 1921, the battleship visited 
Valparaiso, Chile, manning the rail in honor of the Chilean president.

Arkansas's peacetime routine consisted of an annual cycle of training 
interspersed with periods of upkeep or overhaul. The battleship's schedule 
also included competitions in gunnery and engineering and an annual fleet 
problem. Becoming flagship for the Commander, Battleship Force, Atlantic 
Fleet, in the summer of 1921, Arkansas began operations off the east coast 
that August.

For a number of years, Arkansas was detailed to take midshipmen from the 
Naval Academy on their summer cruises. In 1923, the battleship steamed to 
Europe, visiting Copenhagen, Denmark (where she was visited by the King of 
Denmark on 2 July 1923); Lisbon, Portugal; and Gibraltar. Arkansas 
conducted another midshipman training cruise to European waters the 
following year, 1924. In 1925, the cruise was to the west coast of the 
United States. During this time, on 30 June 1925, Arkansas arrived at 
Santa Barbara, Calif., in the wake of an earthquake. The battleship, along 
with McCawley (DD-276) and Eagle Sit (PE-34) landed a patrol of 
bluejackets for policing Santa Barbara, and established a temporary radio 
station ashore for the transmission of messages.

Upon completion of the 1925 midshipman cruise, Arkansas entered the 
Philadelphia Navy Yard for modernization. Her coal-burning boilers were 
replaced with oil-fired ones. Additional deck armor was installed, a 
single stack was substituted for the original pair, and the after cage 
mast was replaced by a low tripod. Arkansas left the yard in November 1926 
and, after a shakedown cruise along the eastern seaboard and to Cuban 
waters, returned to Philadelphia to run acceptance trials. Resuming her 
duty with the fleet soon thereafter, she operated from Maine to the 
Caribbean; on 5 September 1927, she was present at ceremonies unveiling a 
memorial tablet honoring the French soldiers and sailors who died during 
the campaign at Yorktown in 1781.

In May 1928, Arkansas again embarked midshipmen for their practice cruise 
along the eastern seaboard and down into Cuban waters. During the first 
part of 1929, she operated near the Canal Zone and in the Caribbean, 
returning in May 1929 to the New York Navy Yard for overhaul. After 
embarking midshipmen at Annapolis, Arkansas carried out her 1929 practice 
cruise to Mediterranean and English waters, returning in August to operate 
with the Scouting Fleet off the east coast.

In 1930 and 1931, Arkansas was again detailed to carry out midshipmen's 
practice cruises; in the former year she visited Cherbourg, France; Kiel, 
Germany; Oslo, Norway; and Edinburgh, Scotland; in the latter her 
itinerary included Copenhagen, Denmark; Greenock, Scotland; and Cadiz, 
Spain, as well as Gibraltar. In September 1931, the ship visited Halifax, 
Nova Scotia. In October, Arkansas participated in the Yorktown 
Sesquicentennial celebrations, embarking President Herbert Hoover and his 
party on 17 October and taking them to the exposition. She later 
transported the Chief Executive and his party back to Annapolis on 19 and 
20 October. Upon her return, the battleship entered the Philadelphia Navy 
Yard, where she remained until January 1932.

Upon leaving the navy yard, Arkansas sailed for the west coast, calling at 
New Orleans, La., en route, to participate in the Mardi Gras celebration. 
Assigned duty as flagship of the Training Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, 
Arkansas operated continuously on the west coast of the United States into 
the spring of 1934, at which time she returned to the east coast.

In the summer of 1934, the battleship conducted a midshipman practice 
cruise to Plymouth, England; Nice, France; Naples, Italy, and to 
Gibraltar, returning to Annapolis in August; proceeding thence to Newport, 
R.I., where she manned the rail for President Franklin D. Roosevelt as he 
passed on board the yacht Nourmalhal, and was present for the 
International Yacht Race. Arkansas' cutter defeated the cutter from the 
British light cruiser HMS Dragon for the Battenberg Cup, and the City of 
Newport Cup.

In January 1935, Arkansas transported the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, to 
Culebra for a fleet landing exercise, and in June conducted a midshipman 
practice cruise to Europe, visiting Edinburgh, Oslo (where King Haakon VII 
of Norway visited the ship), Copenhagen, Gibraltar and Funchal on the 
island of Madeira. After disembarking Naval Academy midshipmen at 
Annapolis in August 1935, Arkansas proceeded to New York. There she 
embarked reservists from the New York area and conducted a Naval Reserve 
cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia in September. Upon completion of that duty, 
she underwent repairs and alterations at the New York Navy Yard that 

In January 1936, Arkansas participated in Fleet Landing Exercise No. 2 at 
Culebra, and then visited New Orleans for the Mardi Gras festivities 
before she returned to Norfolk for a navy yard overhaul which lasted 
through the spring of 1936. That summer she carried out a midshipman 
training cruise to Portsmouth, England; Goteborg, Sweden; and Cherbourg, 
before she returned to Annapolis that August. Steaming thence to Boston, 
the battleship conducted a Naval Reserve training cruise before putting 
into the Norfolk Navy Yard for an overhaul that October.

The following year, 1937, saw Arkansas make a midshipman practice cruise 
to European waters, visiting ports in Germany and England, before she 
returned to the east coast of the United States for local operations out 
of Norfolk. During the latter part of the year, the ship also ranged from 
Philadelphia and Boston to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Cuban waters. 
During 1938 and 1939, the pattern of operations largely remained as it had 
been in previous years, her duties in the Training Squadron largely 
confining her to the waters of the eastern seaboard.

The outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 found Arkansas at Hampton 
Roads, preparing for a Naval Reserve cruise. She soon got underway and 
transported seaplane moorings and aviation equipment from the naval air 
station at Norfolk to Narragansett Bay for the seaplane base that was to 
be established there. While at Newport, Arkansas took on board ordnance 
material for destroyers and brought it back to Hampton Roads.

Arkansas departed Norfolk on 11 January 1940, in company with Texas (BB-
35) and New York (BB-34), and proceeded thence to Guantanamo Bay for fleet 
exercises. She then participated in landing exercises at Culebra that 
February, returning via St. Thomas and Culebra to Norfolk. Following an 
overhaul at the Norfolk Navy Yard (18 March to 24 May), Arkansas shifted 
to the Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, where she remained until 30 
May. Sailing on that day for Annapolis, the battleship, along with Texas 
and New York, conducted a midshipman training cruise to Panama and 
Venezuela that summer. Before the year was out, Arkansas would conduct 
three V-7 Naval Reserve training cruises, these voyages taking her to 
Guantanamo Bay, the Canal Zone, and Chesapeake Bay.

Over the months that followed, the United States gradually edged toward 
war in the Atlantic; early the following summer, after the decision to 
occupy Iceland had been reached, Arkansas accompanied the initial 
contingent of marines to that place. That battleship, along with New York, 
and the light cruiser Brooklyn (CL-40) provided the heavy escort for the 
convoy. Following this assignment, Arkansas sailed to Casco Bay, Maine, 
and was present there when the Atlantic Charter conferences took place on 
board Augusta (CA-31) between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British 
Prime Minister Winston Churchill. During the conference, the battleship 
provided accommodations for the Under Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, 
and Mr. Averell Harriman, from 8 to 14 August 1941.

The outbreak of war with the Japanese attack upon the Pacific Fleet at 
Pearl Harbor found Arkansas at anchor in Casco Bay, Maine. One week later, 
on 14 December, she sailed to Hvalfjordur, Iceland. Returning to Boston, 
via Argentia, on 24 January 1942, Arkansas spent the month of February 
carrying out exercises in Casco Bay in preparation for her role as an 
escort for troop and cargo transports. On 6 March, she arrived at Norfolk 
to begin overhaul. Underway on 2 July, Arkansas conducted shakedown in 
Chesapeake Bay, then proceeded to New York City, where she arrived on 27 

The battleship sailed from New York on 6 August, bound for Greenock, 
Scotland. Two days later, the ships paused at Halifax, Nova Scotia, then 
continued on through the stormy North Atlantic. The convoy reached 
Greenock on the 17th, and Arkansas returned to New York on 4 September. 
She escorted another Greenock-bound convoy across the Atlantic, then 
arrived back at New York on 20 October. With the Allied invasion of North 
Africa, American convoys were routed to Casablanca to support the 
operations. Departing New York on 3 November, Arkansas covered a troop 
convoy to Morocco, and returned to New York on 11 December for overhaul.

On 2 January 1943, Arkansas sailed to Chesapeake Bay for gunnery drills. 
She returned to New York on 30 January and began loading supplies for yet 
another transatlantic trip. The battleship made two runs between 
Casablanca and New York City from February through April. In early May, 
Arkansas was drydocked at the New York Navy Yard, emerging from that 
period of yard work to proceed to Norfolk on 26 May.

Arkansas assumed her new duty as a training ship for midshipmen, based at 
Norfolk. After four months of operations in Chesapeake Bay, the battleship 
returned to New York to resume her role as a convoy escort. On 8 October, 
the ship sailed for Bangor, Ireland. She was in that port throughout 
November, and got underway to return to New York on 1 December. Arkansas 
then began a period of repairs on 12 December. Clearing New York for 
Norfolk two days after Christmas of 1943, Arkansas closed the year in that 

The battleship sailed on 19 January 1944 with a convoy bound for Ireland. 
After seeing the convoy safely to its destination, the ship reversed her 
course across the Atlantic and reached New York on 13 February. Arkansas 
went to Casco Bay on 28 March for gunnery exercises, before she proceeded 
to Boston on 11 April for repairs.

On 18 April, Arkansas sailed once more for Bangor, Ireland. Upon her 
arrival, the battleship began a training period to prepare for her new 
role as a shore bombardment ship. On 3 June, Arkansas sailed for the 
French coast to support the Allied invasion of Normandy. The ship entered 
the Baie de la Seine on 6 June, and took up a position 4,000 yards off 
"Omaha" beach. At 0552, Arkansas's guns opened fire. During the day, the 
venerable battleship underwent shore battery fire and air attacks; over 
ensuing days she continued her fire support. On the 13th, Arkansas shifted 
to a position off Grandcamp les Bains.

On 25 June 1944, Arkansas dueled with German shore batteries off 
Cherbourg, the enemy repeatedly straddling the battleship but never 
hitting her. Her big guns helped support the Allied attack on that key 
port, and led to the capture of it the following day. Retiring to 
Weymouth, England, and arriving there at 2220, the battleship shifted to 
Bangor, on 30 June.

Arkansas stood out to sea on 4 July, bound for the Mediterranean. She 
passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and anchored at Oran, Algeria, on 
10 July. On the 18th, she got underway, and reached Taranto, Italy, on 21 
July. The battleship remained there until 6 August, then shifted to 
Palermo, Sicily, on the 7th.

On 14 August, Operation "Anvil" the invasion of the southern French coast 
between Toulon and Cannes, began. Arkansas provided fire support for the 
initial landings on 15 August, and continued her bombardment through 17 
August. After stops at Palermo and Oran, Arkansas set course for the 
United States. On 14 September, she reached Boston, and received repairs 
and alterations through early November. The yard period completed on 7 
November, Arkansas sailed to Casco Bay for three days of refresher 
training. On 10 November, Arkansas shaped a course south for the Panama 
Canal Zone. After transiting the canal on 22 November, Arkansas headed for 
San Pedro, Calif. On 29 November, the ship was again underway for 
exercises held off San Diego. She returned on 10 December to San Pedro.

After three more weeks of preparations, Arkansas sailed for Pearl Harbor 
on 20 January 1945. One day after her arrival there, she sailed for 
Ulithi, the major fleet staging area in the Carolines, and continued 
thence to Tinian, where she arrived on 12 February. For two days, the 
vessel held shore bombardment practice prior to her participation in the 
assault on Iwo Jima.

At 0600 on 16 February, Arkansas opened tire on Japanese strong points on 
Iwo Jima as she lay off the island's west coast. The old battlewagon 
bombarded the island through the 19th, and remained in the fire support 
area to provide cover during the evening hours. During her time off the 
embattled island, Arkansas shelled numerous Japanese positions, in support 
of the bitter struggle by the marines to root out and destroy the stubborn 
enemy resistance. She cleared the waters off Iwo Jima on 7 March to return 
to Ulithi. After arriving at that atoll on the 10th, the battleship 
rearmed, provisioned, and fueled in preparation for her next operation, 
the invasion of Okinawa.

Getting underway on 21 March, Arkansas began her preliminary shelling of 
Japanese positions on Okinawa on 25 March, some days ahead of the assault 
troops which began wading ashore on 1 April. The Japanese soon began an 
aerial onslaught, and Arkansas fended on several kamikazes. For 46 days, 
Arkansas delivered fire support for the invasion of Okinawa. On 14 May, 
the ship arrived at Apra Harpor, Guam, to await further assignment.

After a month at Apra Harbor, part of which she spent in drydock, Arkansas 
got underway on 12 June for Leyte Gulf. She anchored there on the 16th, 
and remained in Philippine waters until the war drew to a close in August. 
On the 20th of that month, Arkansas left Leyte to return to Okinawa, and 
reached Buckner Bay on 23 August. After a month spent in port, Arkansas 
embarked approximately 800 troops for transport to the United States as 
part of the "Magic Carpet" to return American servicemen home as quickly 
as possible. Sailing on 23 September, Arkansas paused briefly at Pearl 
Harbor en route, and ultimately reached Seattle on 15 October. During the 
remainder of the year, the battleship made three more trips to Pearl 
Harbor to shuttle soldiers back to the United States.

During the first months of 1946, Arkansas lay at San Francisco. In late 
April the ship got underway for Hawaii. She reached Pearl Harbor on 8 May, 
and stood out of Pearl Harbor on 20 May, bound for Bikini Atoll, earmarked 
for use as target for atomic bomb testing in Operation "Crossroads." On 25 
July 1946, the venerable battleship was sunk in Test "Baker" at Bikini. 
Decommissioned on 29 July 1946, Arkansas was struck from the Naval Vessel 
Register on 15 August 1946.

Arkansas received four battle stars for her World War II


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Built at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Keel Laid 09/11/11, Commissioned 04/15/14
Capt. T. S. Rogers commanding
The fifth NEW YORK (BB-34) was laid down 11 September 1911 by
Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York; launched 30 October 1912;
sponsored by Miss Elsie Calder; and commissioned 15 April 1914,
Captain Thomas S. Rodgers in command.

Length Overall: 573"
Extreme Beam: 95'3"
Displacement: Tons: 27,000 Mean Draft: 28'6"
Complement: Off.: 58 Enl.: 994
Main: (10) 14"/45 cal
Secondary: (21) 5"/51 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (4) 21" sumberged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 14"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,100
Engines: Mfr.: NYNY
Type: Vert. 3-Exp. Recip.
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 14
Fuel: (coal) Tons: 2,850 plus 400 tons fuel oil










New York BB-34
The fifth New York (BB-34) was laid down 11 September 1911 by Brooklyn 
Navy Yard, New York; launched 30 October 1912; sponsored by Miss Elsie 
Calder; and commissioned 15 April 1914, Captain Thomas S. Rodgers in 

Ordered south soon after commissioning, New York was flagship for Rear 
Admiral Frank Fletcher, commanding the fleet occupying and blockading Vera 
Cruz until resolution of the crisis with Mexico in July 1914. New York 
then headed north for fleet operations along the Atlantic coast as war 
broke out in Europe.

Upon the entry of the United States into the war, New York sailed as 
flagship with Battleship Division 9 commanded by Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman 
to strengthen the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea, arriving Scapa 
Flow 7 December 1917. Constituting a separate squadron in the Grand Fleet, 
the American ships joined in blockade and escort missions and by their 
very presence so weighted the Allies' preponderance of naval power as to 
inhibit the Germans from attempting any major fleet engagements. New 
York twice encountered U-boats.

During her World War I service, New York was frequently visited by royal 
and other high-ranking representatives of the Allies, and she was present 
for one of the most dramatic moments of the war, the surrender of the 
German High Seas Fleet in the Firth of Forth 21 November 1918. As a last 
European mission, New York joined the ships escorting President Woodrow 
Wilson from an ocean rendezvous to Brest en route the Versailles

Returning to a program which alternated individual and fleet exercises 
with necessary maintenance, New York trained in the Caribbean in spring 
1919, and that summer joined the Pacific Fleet at San Diego, her home port 
for the next 16 years. She trained off Hawaii and the West Coast, 
occasionally returning to the Atlantic and Caribbean for brief missions or 
overhauls. In 1937, carrying Admiral Hugh Rodman, the President's personal 
representative for the coronation of King George VI of England, New York 
sailed to take part in the Grand Naval Review of 20 May 1937 as sole U.S. 
Navy representative.

For much of the following 3 years, New York trained Naval Academy 
midshipmen and other prospective officers with cruises to Europe, Canada, 
and the Caribbean, and in mid1941 she joined the Neutrality Patrol. She 
escorted troops to Iceland in July 1941, then served as station ship at 
Argentia, Newfoundland, protecting the new American base there. From 
America's entry into World War II, New York guarded Atlantic convoys to 
Iceland and Scotland when the U-boat menace was gravest. Submarine 
contacts were numerous, but the convoys were brought to harbor intact.

New York brought her big guns to the invasion of North Africa, providing 
crucial gunfire support at Safi 8 November 1942. She then stood by at 
Casablanca and Fedhala before returning home for convoy duty escorting 
critically needed men and supplies to North Africa. She then took up 
important duty training gunners for battleships and destroyer escorts in 
Chesapeake Bay, rendering this vital service until 10 June 1944, when she 
began the first of 3 training cruises for the Naval Academy, voyaging 
to Trinidad on each.

New York sailed 21 November for the West Coast, arriving San Pedro 6 
December for gunnery training in preparation for amphibious operations. 
She departed San Pedro 12 January 1945, called at Pearl Harbor, and was 
diverted to Eniwetok to survey screw damage. Nevertheless, despite 
impaired speed, she joined the Iwo Jima assault force in rehearsals at 
Saipan. She sailed well ahead of the main body to join in preinvasion 
bombardment at Iwo Jima 16 February. During the next 3 days, she fired 
more rounds than any other ship present; and, as if to show what an old-
timer could do, made a spectacular direct 14"-hit on an enemy ammunition 

Leaving Iwo Jima, New York at last repaired her propellers at 'Manus, and 
had speed restored for the assault on Okinawa, which she reached 27 March 
to begin 76 consecutive days of action. She fired preinvasion and 
diversionary bombardments, covered landings, and gave days and nights of 
close support to troops advancing ashore. She did not go unscathed; a 
kamikaze grazed her 14 April, demolishing her spotting plane on its 
catapult. She left Okinawa 11 June to re-gun at Pearl Harbor.

New York prepared at Pearl Harbor for the planned invasion of Japan, and 
after war's end, made a voyage to the West Coast returning veterans and 
bringing out their replacements. She sailed from Pearl Harbor again 29 
September with passengers for New York, arriving 19 October. Here she 
prepared to serve as target ship in operation "Crossroads," the Bikini 
atomic tests, sailing 4 arch 1946 for the West Coast. She left San 
Francisco 1 May, and after calls in Pearl Harbor and Kwajalein, reached 
Bikini 15 June. Surviving the surface blast 1 July and the underwater 
explosion 2.5 July, she was taken into Kwajalein and decommissioned there 
29 August 1946. Later towed to Pearl Harbor, she was studied during the 
next two years, and on 8 July 1948 was towed out to sea some 40 miles and 
there sunk after an 8-hour pounding by ships and planes carrying out full-
scale battle maneuvers with new weapons.

New York received 3 battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at Newport News SB Co., Newport News, Va.
Keel Laid 04/17/11, Commissioned 03/12/14
Capt. A. W. Grant Commanding
The second TEXAS (Battleship No. 35) was laid down on 17 April
1911 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co.;
launched on 18 May 1912; sponsored by Miss Claudia Lyon; and
commissioned on 12 March 1914, Capt. Albert W. Grant in command.

Length Overall: 573"
Extreme Beam: 95'3"
Displacement: Tons: 27,000 Mean Draft: 28'6"
Complement: Off.: 58 Enl.: 994
Main: (10) 14"/45 cal
Secondary: (21) 5"/51 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (4) 21" sumberged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 14"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,100 Engines: Mfr.: NN
Type: Vert. 3-Exp. Recip.
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 14
Fuel: (coal) Tons: 2,850 plus 400 tons fuel oil










Texas BB-35
The second Texas (Battleship No. 35) was laid down on 17 April 1911 at 
Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 18 
May 1912; sponsored by Miss Claudia Lyon; and commissioned on 12 March 
1914, Capt. Albert W. Grant in command.

On 24 March, Texas departed the Norfolk Navy Yard and, after a stop at 
Hampton Roads, set a course for New York. She made an overnight stop at 
Tompkinsville, N.Y., on the night of the 26th and 27th and entered the New 
York Navy Yard on the latter day. She spent the next three weeks there 
undergoing the installation of the fire control equipment.

During her stay in New York, President Woodrow Wilson ordered a number of 
ships of the Atlantic Fleet to Mexican waters in response to tension 
created when an overzealous detail of Mexican Federal troops detained an 
American boat crew at Tampico. The problem was quickly resolved locally, 
but fiery Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo sought further redress by demanding 
an official disavowal of the act by the Huerta regime and a 21-gun salute 
to the American flag.

Unfortunately for Mexican-American relations, President Wilson apparently 
saw in the incident an opportunity to put pressure on a government he felt 
was undemocratic. On 20 April, Wilson placed the matter before the 
Congress and sent orders to Rear Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher, commanding 
the naval force off the Mexican coast, instructing him to land a force at 
Veracruz and to seize the customs house there in retaliation for the 
celebrated "Tampico Incident." That action was carried out on the 21st and 

Due to the intensity of the situation, when Texas put to sea on 13 May, 
she headed directly to operational duty without benefit of the usual 
shakedown cruise and post-shakedown repair period. After a five-day stop 
at Hampton Roads between 14 and 19 May, she joined Rear Admiral Fletcher's 
force off Veracruz on the 26th. She remained in Mexican waters for just 
over two months, supporting the American forces ashore. On 8 August, she 
left Veracruz and set a course for Nipe Bay, Cuba, and thence steamed to 
New York where she entered the Navy Yard on 21 August.

The battleship remained there until 5 September when she returned to sea, 
joined the Atlantic Fleet, and settled into a schedule of normal fleet 
operations. In October, she returned to the Mexican coast. Later that 
month, Texas became station ship at Tuxpan, a duty that lasted until early 
November. The ship finally bade Mexico farewell at Tampico on 20 December 
and set a course for New York. The battleship entered the New York Navy 
Yard on 28 December and remained there undergoing repairs until 16 
February 1915.

Upon her return to active duty with the fleet, Texas resumed a schedule of 
training operations along the New England coast and off the Virginia Capes 
alternated with winter fleet tactical and gunnery drills in the West 
Indies. That routine lasted just over two years until the February-to-
March crisis over unrestricted submarine warfare catapulted the United 
States into war with the Central Powers in April 1917.

The 6 April declaration of war found Texas riding at anchor in the mouth 
of the York River with the other Atlantic Fleet battleships. She remained 
in the Virginia Capes-Hampton Roads vicinity until mid-August conducting 
exercises and training naval armed-guard gun crews for service on board 
merchant ships.

In August, she steamed to New York for repairs, arriving at Base 10 on the 
19th and entering the New York Navy Yard soon thereafter. She completed 
repairs on 26 September and got underway for Port Jefferson that same day. 
During the mid-watch on the 27th, however, she ran hard aground on Block 
Island. For three days, her crew lightened ship to no avail. On the 30th, 
tugs came to her assistance, and she finally backed clear. Hull damaged 
dictated a return to the yard, and the extensive repairs she required 
precluded her departure with Division 9 for the British Isles in November.

By December, she had completed repairs and moved south to conduct war 
games out of the York River. Mid-January 1918 found the battleship back at 
New York preparing for the voyage across the Atlantic. She departed New 
York on 30 January; arrived at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands off the 
coast of Scotland on 11 February; and rejoined Division 9, by then known 
as the 6th Battle Squadron of Britain's Grand Fleet.

Texas service with the Grand Fleet consisted entirely of convoy missions 
and occasional forays to reinforce the British squadron on blockade duty 
in the North Sea whenever German heavy units threatened. The fleet 
alternated between bases at Scapa Flow and at the Firth of Forth in 
Scotland. Texas began her mission only five days after her arrival at 
Scapa Flow where she sortied with the entire fleet to reinforce the 4th 
Battle Squadron, then on duty in the North Sea. She returned to Scapa Flow 
the next day and remained until 8 March when she put to sea on a convoy 
escort mission from which she returned on the 13th. Texas and her division 
mates entered the Firth of Forth on 12 April but got underway again on the 
17th to escort a convoy. The American battleships returned to base on 20 
April. Four days later, Texas again stood out to sea to support the 2d 
Battle Squadron the day after the German High Seas Fleet had sortied from 
Jade Bay toward the Norwegian coast to threaten an Allied convoy. Forward 
units caught sight of the retiring Germans on the 25th but at such extreme 
range that no possibility of bringing the enemy to battle existed. The 
Germans returned to their base that day, and the Grand Fleet, including 
Texas, did likewise on the next.

Texas and her division mates passed a relatively quiescent May in the 
Firth of Forth. On 9 June, she got underway with the other warships of the 
6th Battle Squadron and headed back to the anchorage at Scapa Flow, 
arriving there the following day. Between 30 June and 2 July, Texas and 
her colleagues acted as escort for American minelayers adding to the North 
Sea mine barrage. After a two-day return to Scapa Flow, Texas put to sea 
with the Grand Fleet to conduct two days of tactical exercises and war 
games. At the conclusion of those drills on 8 July, the fleet entered the 
Firth of Forth. For the remainder of World War I, Texas and the other 
battleships of Division 9 continued to operate with the Grand Fleet as the 
6th Battle Squadron. With the German Fleet increasingly more tied to its 
bases in the estuaries of the Jade and Ems Rivers, the American and 
British ships settled more and more into a routine schedule of operations 
with little or no hint of combat operations. That state of affairs lasted 
until the armistice ended hostilities on 11 November 1918. On the night of 
20 and 21 November, she accompanied the Grand Fleet to meet the 
surrendering German Fleet.

The two fleets rendezvoused about 40 miles east of May Island-located near 
the mouth of the Firth of Forth-and proceeded together into the anchorage 
there. Afterward, the American contingent moved to Portland, England, 
arriving there on 4 December.

Eight days later, Texas put to sea with Divisions 9 and 6 to meet 
President Woodrow Wilson embarked in George Washington on his way to the 
Paris Peace Conference. The rendezvous took place at about 0730 the 
following morning and provided an escort for the President into Brest, 
France, where the ships arrived at 1230 that afternoon. That evening, 
Texas and the other American battleships departed Brest for to return to 
the United States. The warships arrived off Ambrose Light on Christmas Day 
1918 and entered New York on the 26th.

Following overhaul, Texas resumed duty with the Atlantic Fleet early in 
1919. On 9 March, while lying at anchor in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she 
became the first American battleship to launch an airplane when Lt. Comdr. 
Edward O. McDonnell flew a British-built Sopwith "Camel" off the warships' 
No. 2 turret. That summer, she was reassigned to the Pacific Fleet. On 17 
July 1920, she was designated BB-35 as a result of the Navy's adoption of 
the alpha-numeric system of hull designations. Texas served in the Pacific 
until 1924 when she returned to the east coast for overhaul and to 
participate in a training cruise to European waters with Naval Academy 
midshipmen embarked. She entered the Norfolk Navy Yard on 31 July 1925 for 
a major modernization overhaul during which her cage masts were replaced 
with a single tripod foremast. She also received the very latest in fire 
control equipment. Following that overhaul, she resumed duty along the 
eastern seaboard and kept at that task until late in 1927 when she did a 
brief tour of duty in the Pacific between late September and early 

Near the end of the year, Texas returned to the Atlantic where she served 
as flagship of the United States Fleet. In January 1928, she transported 
President Calvin Coolidge to Havana for the Pan-American conference and 
then continued on via the Panama Canal and the west coast to maneuvers 
with the fleet near Hawaii.

She returned to New York early in 1929 for her annual overhaul and had 
completed it by March when she began another brief tour of duty in the 
Pacific. She returned to the Atlantic in June and resumed normal duty with 
the Scouting Fleet. In April 1930, she took time from her operating 
schedule to escort SS Leviathan into New York when that ship returned from 
Europe carrying the delegation that had represented the United States at 
the London Naval Conference. In January 1931, she left the yard at New 
York as flagship of the United States Fleet and headed via the Panama 
Canal to San Diego, her homeport for the next six years. During that 
period, she served first as flagship for the entire Fleet and, later, as 
flagship for Battleship Division (BatDiv) 1.

In the summer of 1937, she once more was reassigned to the east coast, as 
the flagship of the Training Detachment, United States Fleet. Late in 1938 
or early in 1939, the warship became flagship of the newly organized 
Atlantic Squadron, built around BatDiv 5. Through both organizational 
assignments, her labors were directed primarily to training missions, 
midshipman cruises, naval reserve drills, and training members of the 
Fleet Marine Force. These missions became more urgent following the 
outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939.

In May 1941, Texas began operating on the "neutrality patrol," established 
to keep the war out of the western hemisphere, though these cruises were 
mainly along the east coast and occasionally into the West Indies. Sunday, 
7 December 1941, found the battleship at Casco Bay, Maine, undergoing a 
rest and relaxation period following three months of watch duty at 
Argentia, Newfoundland. After 10 days of Casco Bay, she returned to 
Argentia and remained there for the holidays. In late January 1942 she got 
underway to escort a convoy to British waters before proceeding to Iceland 
to watch out for German surface raiders. Returning home in March, the 
battleship resumed convoy-escort missions. On one occasion, she escorted 
Guadalcanal-bound marines as far as Panama. On another, the warship 
screened service troops to Freetown, Sierra Leone, on the west coast of 
Africa. More frequently, she made voyages to and from Great Britain 
escorting both cargo- and troop-carrying ships.

On 23 October, Texas embarked upon her first major combat operation when 
she sortied with Task Group (TG) 34.8, the Northern Attack Group for 
Operation "Torch," the invasion of North Africa. The objective assigned to 
this group was Mehedia near Port Lyautey and the port itself. The ships 
arrived off the assault beaches early in the morning of 8 November and 
began preparations for the invasion. When the troops went ashore, Texas 
did not come immediately into action to support them. At that point in the 
war, amphibious warfare doctrine was still embryonic; and many did not 
recognize the value of a pre-landing bombardment. Instead, the Army 
insisted upon attempting surprise. Texas finally entered the fray early in 
the afternoon when the Army requested her to destroy an ammunition dump 
near Port Lyautey. For the next week, she contented herself with cruising 
up and down the Moroccan coast delivering similar, specific, call-fire 
missions. Thus, unlike later operations, she expended only 273 rounds of 
14-inch and 6 rounds of 5-inch. During her short stay, some of her crew 
briefly went ashore to assist in salvaging some of the shipping sunk in 
the harbor. On 15 November, she departed North Africa and headed for home 
in company with Savannah (CL-42), Sangamon (ACV-26), Kennebec (AO-36), 
four transports, and seven destroyers.

Throughout 1943, Texas carried out the familiar role of convoy escort. 
With New York as her home port, she made numerous transatlantic voyages to 
such places as Casablanca and Gibraltar, as well as frequent visits to 
ports in the British Isles. That routine continued into 1944 but ended in 
April of that year when, at the European end of one such mission, she 
remained at the Clyde estuary in Scotland and began training for the 
invasion of Normandy. That warm-up period lasted about seven weeks at the 
end of which she departed Belfast Lough and traveled down the Irish Sea 
and around the southern coast of England to arrive off the Normandy 
beaches on the night of 5 and 6 June.

At about 0440 on the morning of the 6th, the battleship closed the 
Normandy coast to a point some 12,000 yards offshore near Pointe du Hoc. 
At 0550, Texas began churning up the coastal landscape with her 14-inch 
salvoes. Meanwhile, her secondary battery went to work on another target 
on the western end of "Omaha" beach, a ravine laced with strong points to 
defend an exit road. Later, under control of airborne spotters, she moved 
her major-caliber fire inland to interdict enemy reinforcement activities 
and to destroy batteries and other strong points farther inland.

By noon, she closed the beach to about a range of 3,000 yards to fire upon 
snipers and machinegun nests hidden in a defile just off the beach. At the 
conclusion of that mission, the warship took an enemy antiaircraft battery 
located west of Vierville under fire.

The following morning, her main battery rained 14-inch shells on the 
enemy-held town of Trevieres to break up German troop concentrations. That 
evening, she bombarded a German mortar battery which had been shelling the 
beach. Not long after midnight, German planes attacked the ships offshore, 
and one of them swooped in low on Texas' starboard quarter. Her 
antiaircraft batteries opened up immediately but failed to score on the 
intruder. On the morning of 8 June, her guns fired on Isigny, then on a 
shore battery, and finally on Trevieres once more.

After that, she retired to Plymouth to rearm, returning to the French 
coast on the 11th. From then until the 15th, she supported the Army in its 
advance inland. However, by the latter day, the troops had advanced beyond 
the range of her guns; and the battleship moved on to another mission, 
having expended 690 rounds of 14-inch and 272 of 5-inch in the preceding 
twelve days.

On the morning of 25 June, Texas closed in on the vital port of Cherbourg 
and, with Arkansas (BB-33), opened fire upon various fortifications and 
batteries surrounding the town. The guns on shore returned fire 
immediately and, at about 1230, succeeded in straddling Texas. The 
battleship, however, continued her firing runs in spite of shell geysers 
blossoming about her. The enemy gunners were stubborn and good. At 1316 a 
280-millimeter shell slammed into her fire control tower, killed the 
helmsman, and wounded nearly everyone on the navigation bridge. Texas' 
commanding officer, Capt. Baker, miraculously escaped unhurt and quickly 
had the bridge cleared. The warship herself continued to deliver her 14-
inch shells in spite of damage and casualties. Some time later, another 
shell struck the battleship. That one, a 240-millimeter armor-piercing 
shell, crashed through the port bow, entered a compartment located below 
the wardroom, but failed to explode. Throughout the three-hour duel, the 
Germans straddled and near-missed Texas over 65 times, but she continued 
her mission until 1500 when she retired, having expended 208 rounds of 14-
inch in the roughly three-hour action.

Texas steamed to Plymouth, England, where a bomb disposal team carefully 
removed the fuse, detonator and explosives from the unexploded shell, 
allowing its later presentation to the warship as a lucky charm. Following 
damage repairs to the battleship, Texas conducted refresher drills in 
preparation for the invasion of southern France. On 15 July, she departed 
Belfast Lough and headed for the Mediterranean. After stops at Gibraltar 
and Oran in Algeria, the battleship sailed to Taranto, Italy, before 
setting a course for the Riviera coast of France. She arrived off St. 
Tropez during the night of 14 and 15 July. At 0444, she moved into 
position for the pre-landing bombardment and, at 0651, opened up on her 
first target, a battery of five 155-millimeter guns. Due to the fact that 
the troops ashore moved inland rapidly against light resistance, she 
provided fire support for the assault for only the first day. Texas 
departed the southern coast of France on the evening of 16 August, having 
fired 172 rounds of 14-inch and 171 of 3-inch. After a stop at Palermo, 
Sicily, she left the Mediterranean and headed for New York where she 
arrived on 14 September 1944.

At New York, Texas underwent a month-ling repair period during which the 
barrels on her main battery were replaced. After a brief refresher cruise 
to Casco Bay, she departed Maine in November and set a course, via the 
Panama Canal, for the Pacific. She made a stop at Long Beach, Calif., and 
then continued on to Oahu. She spent Christmas at Pearl Harbor and then 
conducted maneuvers in the Hawaiian Islands for two weeks before steaming 
to Ulithi Atoll. She departed Ulithi on 10 February 1945, stopped in the 
Marianas for two days' invasion rehearsals, and then set a course for Iwo 
Jima. She arrived off the target on 16 February, three days before the 
scheduled assault. She spent those three days pounding enemy defenses on 
Iwo Jima in preparation for the landings. After the troops stormed ashore 
on the 19th, Texas switched roles and began delivering support and call 
fire. She remained off Iwo Jima for almost a fortnight, helping the 
marines subdue a well dug-in and stubborn Japanese garrison. The duty kept 
her gunners busier than ever, as the battleship fired 923 rounds of 14-
inch and 967 of 5-inch between 16 February and 7 March.

Texas cleared Iwo Jima on 7 March and returned to Ulithi to prepare for 
the Okinawa operation. She departed Ulithi with TF 54, the gunfire support 
unit, on 21 March and arrived in the Ryukyus on the 25th. Texas did not 
participate in the occupation of the islands and roadstead at Kerama Retto 
carried out on the 26th but moved in on the main objective instead, 
beginning the pre-landing bombardment that same day. For the next six 
days, she delivered 14-inch salvoes to prepare the way for the Army and 
the Marine Corps. Each evening, she retired from her bombardment position 
close to the Okinawan shore only to return the next day and resume her 
poundings. The enemy ashore, preparing for a defense-in-depth strategy as 
at Iwo Jima, made no answer. Only his air units provided a response, 
sending several kamikaze raids to harass the bombardment group. Texas 
escaped damage during those small attacks. After six days of aerial and 
naval bombardment, the ground troops' turn came on 1 April. They stormed 
ashore against initially light resistance. For almost two months, Texas 
remained in Okinawan waters providing gunfire support for the troops 
ashore and fending off the enemy aerial assault. In performing the latter 
mission, she claimed one kamikaze kill on her own and three assists. The 
duration and scale of the operation dwarfed any of her previous gunnery 
efforts, with the battleship expending 2,019 14-inch, 2,640 5-inch and 490 
3-inch rounds in almost seven weeks of action. The warship even expended 
3,100 40mm and 2,275 20mm rounds against air and shore targets.

On 14 May Texas retired to Leyte in the Philippines and remained there 
until after the Japanese capitulation on 15 August. She returned to 
Okinawa toward the end of August and stayed in the Ryukyus until 23 
September. On that day, she set a course for the United States with troops 
embarked. The battleship delivered her passengers to San Pedro, Calif., on 
15 October. She celebrated Navy Day there on 27 October and then resumed 
her mission bringing American troops home. She made two round-trip voyages 
between California and Oahu in November and a third in late December.

On 21 January 1946, the warship departed San Pedro 117 and steamed via the 
Panama Canal to Norfolk where she arrived on 13 February. She soon began 
preparations for inactivation. In June, she was moved to Baltimore, Md., 
where she remained until the beginning of 1948. Texas was towed to San 
Jacinto State Park in Texas where she was decommissioned on 21 April 1948 
and turned over to the state of Texas to serve as a permanent memorial. 
Her name was struck from the Navy list on 30 April 1948.

Texas (BB-35) earned five battle stars during World War II.

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Built at Fore River SB Co., Quincy, Mass.
Keel Laid 11/04/12, Commissioned 03/11/16
Capt. W. S. Sims commanding
The second NEVADA (BB-36) was laid down 4 November l912 by the
Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, Mass.; launched 11 July
1914; sponsored by Miss Eleanor Anne Seibert, niece of Governor
Tasker L. Oddie of Nevada and descendant of Secretary of the
Navy Benjamin Stoddert; and commissioned 11 March 1916, Capt.
William B. Sims in command.
Length Overall: 583'
Extreme Beam: 95'3"
Displacement: Tons: 27,500 Mean Draft: 28'6"
Complement: Off.: 55 Enl.: 809
Main: (10) 14"/45 cal
Secondary: (21) 5"/51 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 20.5 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 26,500
Engines: Mfr.: Curtis (FR)
Type: Turbine Vert. 3-Exp. Recip.
Boilers: Mfr.: Yarrow (FR) No.: 12
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 2,037










Nevada BB-36

The second Nevada (BB-36) was laid down 4 November 1912 by the Fore River 
Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, Mass. launched 11 July 1914; sponsored by Miss 
Eleanor Anne Seibert, niece of Governor Tasker L. Oddie of Nevada and 
descendant of Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert; and commissioned 11 
March 1916, Capt. William S. Sims in command.

Nevada joined the Atlantic Fleet at Newport 26 May 1916 and operated along 
the east coast and in the Caribbean until World War I. After training 
gunners out of Norfolk, she sailed 13 August 1918 to serve with the 
British Grand Fleet, arriving Bantry Bay, Ireland 23 August. She made a 
sweep through the North Sea and escorted transport George Washington, 
President Woodrow Wilson embarked, during the last day of her passage into 
Brest, France, before sailing, for home 14 December.

Nevada served in both Atlantic and Pacific Fleets in the period between 
the wars. In September 1922 she represented the United States in Rio de 
Janeiro for the Centennial of Brazilian Independence. From July to 
September 1925, she participated in the U.S. Fleet's goodwill cruise to 
Australia and New Zealand, which demonstrated to our friends down under, 
and to the Japanese, our ability to make a self-supported cruise to a 
distance equal to that to Japan. Modernized at Norfolk Naval Shipyard 
between August 1927 and January 1930, Nevada served in the Pacific Fleet 
for the next decade.

On 7 December 1941, Nevada was moored singly off Ford Island, and had a 
freedom of maneuver denied the, other 8 battleships present during the 
attack. As her gunners opened fire and her engineers got up steam, she was 
struck by one torpedo and two, possibly three, bombs from the Japanese 
attackers, but was able to get underway. While attempting to leave harbor 
she was struck again. Fearing she might sink in the channel, blocking it, 
she was beached at Hospital Point. Gutted forward, she lost 50 killed and 
109 wounded. 

Re-floated 12 February 1942, Nevada repaired at Pearl Harbor and Puget 
Sound Navy Yard, then sailed for Alaska where she provided fire support 
for the capture of Attu 11 to 18 May. In June she sailed for further 
modernization at Norfolk Navy Yard, and in April 1944 reached British 
waters to prepare for the Normandy Invasion. In action from 6 to 17 June, 
and again 25 June, her mighty guns pounded not only permanent shore 
defenses on the Cherbourg Peninsula, but ranged as far as 17 miles inland, 
breaking up German concentrations and counterattacks. Shore batteries 
straddled her 27 times, but failed to diminish her accurate fire.

Between 15 August and 25 September, Nevada fired in the invasion of 
Southern France, dueling at Toulon with shore batteries of 13.4-inch guns 
taken from French battleships scuttled early in the war. Her gun barrels 
were relined at New York, and she sailed for the Pacific, arriving off Iwo 
Jima 16 February 1945 to give marines invading and fighting ashore her 
massive gunfire support through 7 March.

On 24 March, Nevada massed off Okinawa with the mightiest naval force ever 
seen in the Pacific, as pre-invasion bombardment began. She pounded 
Japanese airfields, shore defenses, supply dumps, and troop concentrations 
through the crucial operation, although 11 men were killed and a main 
battery turret damaged when she was struck by a suicide plane 27 March. 
Another 2 men were lost to fire from a shore battery 5 April. Serving off 
Okinawa until 30 June, from 10 July to 7 August she ranged with the 3rd 
Fleet which not only bombed the Japanese home islands, but came within 
range for Nevada's guns during the closing days of the war.

Returning to Pearl Harbor after a brief occupation duty in Tokyo Bay, 
Nevada was surveyed and assigned as a target ship for the Bikini atomic 
experiments. The tough old veteran survived the atom-bomb test of July 
1946, returned to Pearl Harbor to decommission 29 August, and was sunk by 
gunfire and aerial torpedoes off Hawaii 31 July 1948.

Nevada received 7 battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at New York SB Co., Camden, N. J.
Keel Laid 10/26/12, Commissioned 05/02/16
Capt. R. Welles commanding
OKLAHOMA (BB-37) was laid down 26 October 1912 by New York
Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; launched 23 March 1914;
sponsored by Miss Lorena J. Cruce, and commissioned at
Philadelphia 2 May 1916, Captain Roger Welles in command.
Length Overall: 583'
Extreme Beam: 95'3"
Displacement: Tons: 27,500 Mean Draft: 28'6"
Complement: Off.: 55 Enl.: 809
Main: (10) 14"/45 cal
Secondary: (21) 5"/51 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 20.5 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 24,800
Engines: Mfr.: NYSB
Type: Vert. 3-Exp. Recip.
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 12
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 2,037










Oklahoma BB-37

Oklahoma (BB-37) was laid down 26 October 1912 by New York Shipbuilding 
Corp., Camden, N.J.; launched 23 March 1914; sponsored by Miss Lorena J. 
Cruce, and commissioned at Philadelphia 2 May 1916, Captain Roger Welles 
in command.

Joining the Atlantic Fleet with Norfolk her home port, Oklahoma trained on 
the eastern seaboard until sailing 13 August 1918 with sister ship Nevada 
to join in the task of protecting Allied convoys in European waters. In 
December she was part of the escort as President Woodrow Wilson arrived in 
France, departing the 14th for New York and winter fleet exercises in 
Cuban waters. She returned to Brest 15 June 1919 to escort President 
Wilson in George Washington home from his second visit to France, 
returning to New York 8 July.

A part of the Atlantic Fleet for the next two years, Oklahoma was 
overhauled, trained, and twice voyaged to South America's west coast; 
early in 1921 for combined exercises with the Pacific Fleet, and later 
that year for the Peruvian Centennial. She then joined the Pacific Fleet 
for six years highlighted by the cruise of the Battle Fleet to Australia 
and New Zealand in 1925. Joining the Scouting Fleet in early 1927, 
Oklahoma continued intensive exercises during that summer's Midshipmen 
Cruise, voyaging to the East Coast to embark midshipmen, carrying them 
through the Panama Canal to San Francisco, and returning by the way of 
Cuba and Haiti.

Modernized at Philadelphia between September 1927 and July 1929, Oklahoma 
rejoined the Scouting Fleet for exercises in the Caribbean, and returned 
to the west coast in June 1930 for fleet operations through spring 1936. 
That summer she carried midshipmen on a European training cruise, visiting 
northern ports. The cruise was interrupted with the outbreak of civil war 
in Spain, as Oklahoma sped to Bilbao, arriving 24 July 1936 to rescue 
American citizens and other refugees, whom she carried to Gibraltar and 
French ports. She returned to Norfolk 11 September, and to the West Coast 
24 October.

Oklahoma's Pacific Fleet operations during the next four years included 
joint operations with the Army and the training of reservists.

She was based at Pearl Harbor from 6 December 1940 for patrols and 
exercises, and was moored in Battleship Row 7 December 1941 when the 
Japanese attacked. Outboard alongside Maryland Oklahoma took 3 torpedo 
hits almost immediately after the first Japanese bombs fell. As she began 
to capsize, 2 more torpedoes struck home, and her men were strafed as they 
abandoned ship. Within 20 minutes after the attack began, she had swung 
over until halted by her masts touching bottom, her starboard side above 
water, and a part of her keel clear. Many of her crew, however, remained 
in the fight, clambering aboard Maryland to help serve her antiaircraft 
batteries. Twenty officers and 395 enlisted men were either killed or 
missing, 32 others wounded, and many were trapped within the capsized 
hull, to be saved by heroic rescue efforts. Such an effort was that of 
Julio DeCastro, a civilian yard worker who organized the team which saved 
32 Oklahoma sailors.

The difficult salvage job began in March 1943, and Oklahoma entered 
drydock 28 December. Decommissioning 1 September 1944, Oklahoma was 
stripped of guns and superstructure, and sold 5 December 1946 to Moore 
Drydock Co., Oakland, Calif. Oklahoma parted her tow line and sank 17 May 
1947 540 miles out, bound from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco.

Oklahoma received 1 battle star for World War II service.

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Built at Newport News SB Co., Newport News, Va.
Keel Laid 10/27/13, Commissioned 06/12/16
Capt. H. B. Wilson commanding
The second PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38) was laid down 27 October 1913 by
the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News,
Va.; launched 16 March 1915; sponsored by Miss Elizabeth Kolb;
and commissioned 12 June 19J16, Capt. H. B. Wilson in command.
Length Overall: 608'
Extreme Beam: 97'1"
Displacement: Tons: 31,400 Mean Draft: 28'10"
Complement: Off.: 55 Enl.: 860
Main: (12) 14"/45 cal
Secondary: (22) 5"/51 cal (4) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 31,500
Engines: Mfr.: Curtis (NN)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 12 Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 2,322










Pennsylvania BB-38

The second Pennsylvania (BB-38) was laid down 27 October 1913 by the 
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 16 
March 1915; sponsored by Miss Elizabeth Kolb; and commissioned 12 June 
1916, Capt. H. B. Wilson in command.

Pennsylvania was attached to the Atlantic Fleet. On 12 October 1916 she 
became flagship of Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, when Admiral 
Henry T. Mayo shifted his flag from Wyoming to Pennsylvania. In January 
1917, Pennsylvania steamed for Fleet maneuvers in the Caribbean. She 
returned to her base at Yorktown, Va., 6 April 1917, the day of 
declaration of war against Germany. She did not sail to join the British 
Grand Fleet since she burned fuel oil and tankers could not be spared to 
carry additional fuel to the British Isles. In the light of this 
circumstance, only coal burning battleships were selected for this 
mission. Based at Yorktown, she kept in battle trim with Fleet maneuvers, 
tactics, and training in the areas of the Chesapeake Bay, intervened by 
overhaul at Norfolk and New York, with brief maneuvers in Long Island 

While at Yorktown, 11 August 1917, Pennsylvania manned the rail and 
rendered honors as, with President Wilson aboard, Mayflower stood in and 
anchored. At 12:15 p.m. President Wilson returned the call of Commander, 
Battle Force aboard Pennsylvania and was given full honors.

On 2 December 1918, Pennsylvania steamed to anchorage off Tompkinsville, 
New York. On 4 December, she got underway for Brest, France. At 11:00 
a.m., transport George Washington flying the flag of the President of the 
United States, stood out with an escort of ten destroyers. Pennsylvania 
manned the rail and fired a salute of 21 guns. She took position ahead of 
George Washington as guide for the President's escort. Arriving in Brest 
13 December, the crew manned the rail and cheered as George Washington 
passed and proceeded to her anchorage. On 14 December Pennsylvania 
departed for New York, arriving 25 December.

In February 1919, Pennsylvania steamed for Fleet maneuvers in the 
Caribbean Sea, returning to New York in the late spring. While at New 
York, 30 June 1919, Admiral Mayo was relieved as Commander in Chief, U.S. 
Atlantic Fleet, by Vice Admiral Henry B. Wilson.

At Tompkinsville, New York, 8 July 1919, Pennsylvania embarked Vice 
President Marshall, Cabinet Secretaries Daniels, Glass, Wilson, Baker, 
Lane, and Senator Champ Clark, and then put to sea. At 10:00 a.m. Oklahoma 
was sighted with George Washington flying the President's flag and 
accompanied by her ocean escort. Pennsylvania fired a presidential salute, 
then took position ahead of Oklahoma and steamed to New York, stopping 
enroute to disembark her distinguished guests before proceeding to berth.

On 7 January 1920, she departed New York for Fleet maneuvers, in the 
Caribbean Sea, returning to New York 26 April 1920. She resumed a schedule 
of local training operations until 17 January 1921 when she departed New 
York for the Panama Canal, arriving at Balboa, 20 January, to join units 
of the Pacific Fleet and became flagship of the combined fleets, the 
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet assuming command of the U.S. 
Battle Fleet on orders of the Navy Department. On 21 January 1921, the 
Fleet sailed from Balboa, enroute to Callao, Peru, arriving 31 January 
1921. Departing, 2 February, Pennsylvania returned to Balboa, 14 February, 
then conducted brief exercises while based at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Upon 
return to Hampton Roads, 28 April 1921, she rendered a 21 gun salute as 
she passed Mayflower. The Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval 
Operations, and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy came aboard for a 
reception to the President of the United States. At 11:40 President 
Harding came aboard and his flag was broken at the main.

On 22 August 1922, Pennsylvania departed Lynhaven Roads to join the 
Pacific Fleet. Arriving at San Pedro, Calif., 26 September 1922, her 
principal area of operations until 1929 was along the coast of California, 
Washington, and Oregon, with periodic maneuvers and tactics off the Panama 
Canal, in the Caribbean Sea, and Hawaiian operating areas. She departed 
with the Fleet from San Francisco, 15 April 1925, and after war games in 
the Hawaiian area, departed Honolulu, 1 July, enroute to Melbourne, 
Australia. After a visit to Wellington, New Zealand, she returned to San 
Pedro, Calif., 26 September 1925.

In January 1929, Pennsylvania cruised to Panama, and after training 
maneuvers while based at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, steamed to the Philadelphia 
Navy Yard, arriving 1 June 1929, to undergo overhaul and modernization. 
She remained in the yard for nearly two years. On 8 May 1931, she departed 
for a refresher training cruise to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then 
returned. On 6 August 1931, she again sailed for Guantanamo, and later 
continued on to San Pedro, where she again joined the Battle Fleet.

From August 1931 to 1941, Pennsylvania engaged in Fleet tactics and battle 
practice along the west coast and participated in Fleet problems and 
maneuvers which were held periodically in the Hawaiian area as well as the 
Caribbean Sea. After overhaul in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, 7 January 
1941, she again sailed for Hawaii where she carried out scheduled 
operations with units of Task Forces 1 and 5, throughout that year, making 
one brief voyage to the west coast with Task Force 18.

At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, 
Pennsylvania was in drydock in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. She was one of 
the first ships in the harbor to open fire as enemy dive bombers and 
torpedo planes roared out of the high overcast. They did not succeed in 
repeated attempts to torpedo the cassion of the drydock but Pennsylvania 
and the surrounding dock areas were severely strafed. The crew of one 5-
inch gun mount was wiped out when a bomb struck the starboard side of her 
boat deck and exploded inside casemate 9. Destroyers Cassin and Downes, 
just forward of Pennsylvania in drydock were seriously damaged by bomb 
hits. Pennsylvania was pockmarked by flying fragments. A part of a torpedo 
tube from destroyer Downes, about 1000 pounds in weight, was blown onto 
the forecastle of Pennsylvania. She had 15 men killed, 14 missing in 
action, and 38 men wounded.

On 20 December 1941, Pennsylvania sailed for San Francisco, arriving 29 
December 1941. She underwent repairs until 30 March 1942. From 14 April to 
1 August 1942, Pennsylvania conducted extensive training operations and 
patrol along the coast of California, intervened by overhaul at San 
Francisco. During this duty, 4 June 1942, Admiral Ernest J. King, 
Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, held brief ceremonies 
aboard Pennsylvania to present the Distinguished Service Medal to Admiral 
Chester W. Nimitz for exceptionally meritorious service as Commander in 
Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet since 31 December 1941.

On 1 August 1942, Pennsylvania departed San Francisco for Pearl Harbor, 
arriving 14 August. She conducted gunnery exercises and took part in 
carrier task force guard tactics in the Hawaiian area. On 4 October, 
Pennsylvania returned to San Francisco, remaining for overhaul which was 
completed by 5 February 1943. She then conducted refresher training and 
air defense patrol off the coast of California. On 23 April Pennsylvania 
sailed for Alaska to take part in the Aleutian Campaign.

On 30 April, Pennsylvania arrived at Cold Bay, Alaska. During 11-12 May, 
she engaged in shore bombardment of Holtz Bay and Chicago Harbor, Attu, in 
support of the landings. As she retired from Attu on 12 May, a patrol 
plane warned that a torpedo wake was headed for Pennsylvania. She 
maneuvered at full speed as the torpedo passed safely astern. Destroyer 
Edwards teamed with Farragut to hunt down the attacker. After ten hours of 
relentless depth charge attacks, submarine I-31 was forced to the surface 
and was shelled by gunfire from Edwards. Severely damaged, the enemy 
survived until 13 June, then being sunk by destroyer Frazier. Torpedo 
wakes were again sighted, the morning of 14 May, and destroyers conducted 
a fruitless search for the enemy. That same morning Pennsylvania's 
seaplanes were launched to operate from seaplane tender Casco in making 
strafing attacks on enemy positions on Attu.

The afternoon of 14 May, Pennsylvania conducted her third bombardment 
mission, this time in support of the infantry attack on the west arm of 
Holtz Bay. She then operated to the north and east of Attu until 19 May 
when she steamed for Adak. She departed Adak 21 May and arrived at the 
Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., 28 May. She returned to Adak, 7 
August, and departed 13 August as flagship of Admiral Rockwell, commanding 
the Kiska Attack Force. On 15 August assault troops landed without 
oppositition on the western beaches of Kiska. By the evening of 16 August 
it became apparent the Japanese had evacuated under cover of fog prior to 
the landing. She patrolled off Kiska for a time then returned to Adak, 23 

On 25 August Pennsylvania steamed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 1 September. 
Here she took aboard 790 passengers and departed 19 September for San 
Francisco where she arrived 25 September. She returned to Pearl Harbor, 6 
October, and after debarking passengers, took part in rehearsal and 
bombardment exercises in the Hawaiian areas. She became flagship of Rear 
Admiral Richmond K. Turner, Commander Fifth Amphibious Force, and formed 
part of the Northern Attack Force, departing Pearl Harbor, 10 November, 
for the assault on Makin Atoll, Gilbert Islands.

The Task Force, comprising four battleships, four cruisers, three escort 
carriers, transports and destroyers, approached Makin Atoll from the 
southeast on the morning of 20 November. Pennsylvania opened fire on 
Butaritari Island with her main battery at the initial range of 14,200 
yards and then opened with her secondary battery.

Just before general quarters on the morning of 24 November a tremendous 
explosion took place off the starboard bow as Pennsylvania was returning 
to a screening sector off Makin. At almost the same instant a screening 
destroyer reported sound contact and disposition immediately executed a 
course change. For several minutes after the explosion, a large fire 
lighted up the entire area. Word soon came that escort carrier Liscome 
Bail had been torpedoed. She sank with tremendous loss of life. Determined 
night air attacks were made by enemy torpedo planes on the nights of 25 
and 26 November but were repelled without damage to ships of the Task 

On 31 January 1944, Pennsylvania commenced bombardment of Kawjalein Island 
which was continued throughout the day. Landings were made 1 February, 
with Pennsylvania joining in bombardment support before and after the 
landing operations. On the evening of 3 February, she anchored in the 
lagoon near Kwajalein Island. The success of the Kwajalein operation was 
ensured and Pennsylvania retired to Majuro Atoll to replenish ammunition.

On 12 February Pennsylvania got underway for operations against Eniwetok, 
Marshall Islands. On 17 February, Pennsylvania steamed boldly through the 
deep entrance into Eniwetok Lagoon with her batteries blazing away. She 
steamed up a swept channel in the lagoon to a position off Engebi Island 
and commenced bombardment of enemy installations. On the morning of 18 
February, Pennsylvania bombarded Engebi before and during the approach of 
the assault waves to the beach. When Engebi had been secured, Pennsylvania 
steamed southward through the lagoon to the vicinity of Parry Island, 
where she took part in bombardment 20-21 February, preparatory to the 
landing assaults. At the commencement of bombardment the island had been 
covered with a dense growth of palm trees extending to the waters edge. At 
conclusion of bombardment, not a single tree remained standing. On the 
morning of 22 February, she gave bombardment support prior to the landing 
on Parry Island.

Pennsylvania retired to Majuro, 1 March, then steamed south to Havannah 
Harbor, Efate, New Hebrides Islands. She remained at Efate until late 
April. On 29 April, Pennsylvania arrived in Sydney, Australia. She 
returned to Efate, 11 May, then sailed to Port Purvis, Florida Islands, 
from which she operated to conduct bombardment and amphibious assault 
exercises. She returned to Efate 27 March, and after replenishment of 
ammunition, departed, 2 June, arriving at Roil 3 June.

On 10 June, Pennsylvania formed with a force of battleships, cruisers, 
escort carriers, and destroyers enroute for the assault and occupation of 
the Marianas Islands. That night a destroyer in the screen reported sound 
contact and emergency turn left 90 degrees was ordered. As a result of 
this maneuver, Pennsylvania collided with high-speed transport Talbot and 
sustained minor damage. Talbot put into Eniwetok for emergency repairs.

On 14 June, Pennsylvania took part in the bombardment of Saipan 
preparatory to the assault landings made the next day while she cruised 
off the northeastern shore of Tinian, conducting heavy bombardment of that 
island to neutralize any enemy batteries which might have opened fire on 
the landing beaches of Saipan. On 16 June she conducted bombardment of 
targets on Orote Point, Guam, then retired to cover the Saipan area. 
Pennsylvania departed the Marianas, 25 June, and after a brief stay at 
Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, departed 9 July to resume support of the 
Marianas Campaign.

From 12 through 14 July, Pennsylvania conducted bombardment of Guam in 
preparation for the assault and landings on that island. On completion of 
firing the evening of 14 July, she returned to Saipan to replenish 
ammunition. She returned to Guam, 17 July, and delivered protective fire 
support to demolition parties. At the same time she continued deliberate 
destructive fire on designated targets through 20 July.

On the early morning of 21 July, Pennsylvania took a position between Agat 
Beach and Orote Peninsula, and commenced bombardment of beach areas in 
immediate preparation for the assault while troops and equipment were 
loaded into landing craft and landing waves were being formed. Upon 
establishment of the beachhead she stood by for fire support missions as 
might be called for by shore fire control parties, continuing this duty 
until 3 August. She then steamed to Eniwetok, thence to the New Hebrides 
Islands, and after rehearsal of landing assaults on Cape Esperance, 
Guadalcanal, arrived at Port Purvis, Florida Island. She departed 6 
September as part of the Palau Bombardment and Fire Support Group. From 12 
through 14 September, Pennsylvania took part in intensive bombardment of 
targets on the island of Peleliu. On 15 September, she also furnished 
gunfire support for the landings on that island. She then delivered a 
devastating fire on enemy gun emplacements among the rocks and cliffs 
flanking Red Beach on Angaur Island.

On 25 September Pennsylvania steamed for emergency repairs at Manus, 
Admiralty Island, entering floating drydock, 1 October 1944. She departed 
12 October, one of six battleships in Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf's 
Bombardment and Fire Support Group which formed a part of the Central 
Philippine Attack Force under command of Vice Admiral Thomas Cassin 
Kinkaid, enroute to the Philippine Islands.

Pennsylvania reached fire support station on the eastern coast of Leyte, 
18 October, and commenced covering bombardment for beach reconnaissance, 
underwater demolition teams, and minesweeping units operating in Leyte 
Gulf and San Pedro Harbor. She conducted bombardment missions the next day 
and supported the landings on Leyte, 20 October. Gunfire support missions 
continued through 22 October, including harassing and night illumination 

On 24 October, all available United States vessels prepared for action as 
units of the Japanese Fleet closed the Philippines, preliminary to the 
Battle for Leyte Gulf. Pennsylvania and five other battleships, with 
cruisers and destroyers of Rear Admiral Oldendorf's Force, steamed south 
and by nightfall were steaming slowly back and forth across the northern 
entrance of Surigao Strait, awaiting the approach of the enemy. That 
night, American motor torpedo boats stationed well down in Surigao Strait 
made the first encounter with torpedo attacks. Destroyers of the Force, on 
either flank of the enemy's line of approach, followed with torpedo and 
gun attacks. At 0353, 25 October, West Virginia opened fire, joined 
shortly thereafter by other battleships and cruisers. The Japanese had run 
head on into a perfect trap. Rear Admiral Oldendorf had executed the dream 
of every naval tactician by crossing the enemy's "T". The Japanese lost 
two battleships and three destroyers in the Battle of Surigao Strait. 
Cruiser Mogami in company with a destroyer, all that remained of the enemy 
force, managed to escape. Rear Admiral Oldendorf's Force did not suffer 
the loss of a single vessel. Mogami was sunk the next day by carrier 

On 25 October 1944 ten enemy planes made a simultaneous run on a destroyer 
close aboard Pennsylvania which assisted in splashing four and driving off 
the others. On the night of 28 October, she shot down a bomber as it 
attempted a torpedo run.

Remaining on patrol in Leyte Gulf until 25 November, Pennsylvania then 
steamed to Manus, Admiralty Islands, and thence to Kossol Passage where 
she loaded ammunition. She departed 1 January 1945 with Vice Admiral 
Oldendorf's Lingayen Bombardment and Fire Support Group, steaming for 
Lingayen Gulf. The Group came under heavy air attacks 4-5 January and the 
escort carrier Ommaney Bay was hit by a suicide plane and destroyed by the 
resulting fire. Many other ships were damaged.

On the morning of 6 January, Pennsylvania commenced bombardment of target 
areas on Santiago Island at the mouth of Lingayen Gulf. That afternoon she 
entered the Gulf to conduct counter-battery fire in support of 
minesweeping forces, retiring at night. At daybreak, 7 January, the entire 
bombardment force entered Lingayen Gulf to deliver supporting and 
destructive fire. Preliminary assault bombardment was continued the next 
day. On 9 January, Pennsylvania provided gunfire support for the 
protection of the waves of landing troops. Enemy aircraft attacked the 
force in Lingayen Gulf, 10 January. Four bombs landed close by, but 
Pennsylvania was not hit. That afternoon she executed her last call fire 
mission in support of the operation by firing twelve rounds to destroy a 
concentration of enemy tanks which had been located inland by a shore fire 
control party.

From 10 to 17 January, Pennsylvania conducted patrol in the South China 
Sea, off Lingayen Gulf, with other ships of the task group. On 17 January 
she anchored in Lingayen Gulf, remaining until 10 February when she sailed 
for temporary repairs at Manus, Admiralty Islands. Departing 22 February, 
she steamed via the Marshall Islands and Pearl Harbor to San Francisco, 
arriving 13 March. She entered the Hunter's Point Shipyard and underwent 
thorough overhaul. Her main battery turrets and secondary battery mounts 
were re-gunned. Additional close range weapons as well as improved radar 
and fire control equipment were installed.

Upon completion of overhaul, Pennsylvania conducted trial runs out of San 
Francisco, followed by refresher training while based at San Diego, Calif. 
She departed San Francisco 12 July for Pearl Harbor, arriving 18 July. She 
sailed for Okinawa, 24 July. Enroute she took part in the bombardment of 
Wake Island, 1 August, and, after loading ammunition at Saipan the next 
day, resumed her voyage. She anchored in Buckner Bay alongside Tennessee. 
On 12 August a Japanese torpedo plane slipped in over Buckner Bay without 
detection and launched a torpedo at Pennsylvania which lay at anchor. Hit 
well aft, Pennsylvania suffered extensive damage. Twenty men were killed 
and ten injured. Many compartments were flooded and Pennsylvania settled 
heavily by the stern. The flooding was brought under control by efforts of 
Pennsylvania's repair parties and the prompt assistance of two salvage 
tugs. The following day, she was towed to more shallow water where salvage 
operations continued.

On 18 August, Pennsylvania departed Buckner Bay, Okinawa, under tow of two 
tugs. She arrived Apra Harbor, Guam 6 September, and entered drydock where 
a large sheet steel patch was welded over the torpedo hole and repairs to 
permit her to return to the United States under her own power were 
completed. On 4 October, she sailed for the Puget Sound Navy Yard in 
company with destroyer Walke and cruiser Atlanta. On 17 October number 3 
shaft suddenly carried away inside the stern tube and the shaft slipped 
aft. It was necessary to send divers down to cut through the shaft, 
letting the shaft and propeller drop into the sea. Shipping water and with 
only one screw turning, Pennsylvania limped into Puget Sound Navy Yard, 24 

Repairs were made to enable Pennsylvania to steam to the Marshall Islands 
where she was used as a target ship in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini 
during July 1946. She was then towed to Kwajalein Lagoon where she 
decommissioned 29 August 1946. She remained in Kwajalein Lagoon for 
radiological and structural studies until 10 February 1948 when she was 
sunk off Kwajalein. She was struck from the Navy List 19 February 1948.

Pennsylvania received eight battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Keel Laid 03/16/14, Commissioned 10/17/16
Capt. J. D. McDonald commanding
The second ARIZONA (Battleship No. 39) was laid down on 16 March
1914 at the New York Navy Yard; launched on 19 June 1915;
sponsored by Miss Esther Ross, daughter of a prominent ARIZONA
pioneer citizen, Mr. W. W. Ross of Prescott, Ariz.; and
commissioned at her builder's yard on 17 October 1916, Capt.
John D. McDonald in command.
Length Overall: 608'
Extreme Beam: 97'1"
Displacement: Tons: 31,400 Mean Draft: 28'10"
Complement: Off.: 55 Enl.: 860
Main: (12) 14"/45 cal
Secondary: (22) 5"/51 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 34,000
Engines: Mfr.: Parsons (NYNY)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 12 Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 2,321










Arizona BB-39

The second Arizona (Battleship No. 39) was laid down on 16 March 1914 at 
the New York Navy Yard; launched on 19 June 1915; sponsored by Miss Esther 
Ross, daughter of a prominent Arizona pioneer citizen, Mr. W. W. Ross of 
Prescott, Arizona; and commissioned at her builder's yard on 17 October 
1916, Capt. John D. McDonald in command.

Arizona departed New York on 16 November 1916 for shakedown training off 
the Virginia capes and Newport, proceeding thence to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 
She returned to Norfolk on 16 December, and later test fired her battery 
and conducted torpedo-defense exercises in Tangier Sound. The battleship 
returned to her builder's yard the day before Christmas of 1916 for post-
shakedown overhaul. Completing these repairs and alterations on 3 April 
1917, she cleared the yard on that date for Norfolk, arriving there on the 
following day to join Battleship Division 8.

Within days, the United States forsook its tenuous neutrality in the 
global conflict then raging and entered World War I. Arizona operated out 
of Norfolk throughout the war, serving as a gunnery training ship and 
patrolling the waters of the eastern seaboard from the Virginia capes to 
New York. An oil-burner, she had not been deployed to European waters 
owing to a scarcity of fuel oil in the British Isles-the base of other 
American battleships sent to reinforce the Grand Fleet.

A week after the armistice of 11 November 1918 stilled the guns on the 
western front, Arizona stood out of Hampton Roads for Portland, England, 
and reached her destination on 30 November 1918, putting to sea with her 
division on 12 December to rendezvous with the transport George 
Washington, the ship carrying President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace 
Conference. Arizona, one of the newest and most powerful American 
dreadnoughts, served as part of the honor escort convoying the President 
to Brest, France, on 13 December 1918.

Embarking 238 homeward-bound veterans in the precursor of a "Magic Carpet" 
operation of a later war, Arizona sailed from Brest for New York on 14 
December, and arrived off Ambrose Light on the afternoon of Christmas Day, 
1918. The next day, she passed in review before Secretary of the Navy 
Josephus Daniels, who was embarked in the yacht Mayflower off the Statue 
of Liberty, before entering New York Harbor in a great homecoming 
celebration. The battleship then sailed for Hampton Roads on 22 January 
1919, returning to her base at Norfolk on the following day.

Arizona sailed for Guantanamo Bay with the fleet on 4 February 1919, and 
arrived on the 8th. After engaging in battle practices and maneuvers 
there, the battleship sailed for Trinidad on 17 March, arriving there five 
days later for a three-day port visit. She then returned to Guantanamo Bay 
on 29 March for a brief period, sailing for Hampton Roads on 9 April. 
Arriving at her destination on the morning of the 12th, she got underway 
late that afternoon for Brest, France, ultimately making arrival there on 
21 April 1919.

The battleship stood out of Brest harbor on 3 May, bound for Asia Minor, 
and arrived at the port of Smyrna eight days later to protect American 
lives there during the Greek occupation of that port-an occupation 
resisted by gunfire from Turkish nationals. Arizona provided temporary 
shelter on board for a party of Greek nationals, while the battleship's 
marine detachment guarded the American consulate; a number of American 
citizens also remained on board Arizona until conditions permitted them to 
return ashore. Departing Smyrna on 9 June for Constantinople, Turkey, the 
battleship carried the United States consul-at-large, Leland E. Morris, to 
that port before sailing for New York on 15 June. Proceeding via 
Gibraltar, Arizona reached her destination on 30 June.

Entering the New York Navy Yard for upkeep soon thereafter, the battleship 
cleared that port on 6 January 1920 to join Battleship Division 7 for 
winter and spring maneuvers in the Caribbean. She operated out of 
Guantanamo Bay during this period, and also visited Bridgetown, Barbados, 
in the British West Indies, and Colon, in the Panama Canal Zone, before 
she sailed north for New York, arriving there on 1 May 1920. Departing New 
York on 17 May, Arizona operated on the Southern Drill Grounds, and then 
visited Norfolk and Annapolis, before returning to New York on 25 June. 
Over the next six months, the ship operated locally out of New York. 
During this time she was given the alphanumeric hull designation, BB-39, 
on 17 July 1920, and, on 23 August, she became flagship for Commander 
Battleship Division 7, Rear Admiral Edward W. Eberle.

Sailing from New York on 4 January 1921, Arizona joined the fleet as it 
sailed for Guantanamo Bay and the Panama Canal Zone. Arriving at Colon, on 
the Atlantic side of the isthmian waterway, on 19 January, Arizona 
transited the Panama Canal for the first time on that day, arriving at 
Panama Bay on the 20th. Underway for Callao, Peru, on the 22d, the fleet 
arrived there nine days later, on the 31st, for a six-day visit. While she 
was there, Arizona hosted a visit from the President of Peru. Underway for 
Balboa on 5 February 1921, Arizona arrived at her destination on the 14th; 
transiting the canal again the day after Washington's Birthday, the 
battleship reached Guantanamo Bay on the 26th. She operated thence until 
24 April 1921, when she sailed for New York, steaming via Hampton Roads.

Arizona reached New York on 29 April, and remained under overhaul there 
until 15 June. She steamed thence for Hampton Roads on the latter date, 
and on the 21st operated off Cape Charles with Army and Navy observers to 
witness the experimental bombings of the ex-German submarine U-117. 
Returning to New York, the battleship there broke the flag of Vice Admiral 
John D. McDonald (who, as a captain, had been Arizona's first commanding 
officer) on 1 July and sailed for Panama and Peru on 9 July. She arrived 
at the port of Callao on 22 July as flagship for the Battle Force, 
Atlantic Fleet, to observe the celebrations accompanying the centennial 
year of Peruvian independence. On 27 July, Vice Admiral McDonald went 
ashore and represented the United States at the unveiling of a monument 
commemorating the accomplishments of San Martin, who had liberated Peru 
from the Spanish yoke a century before.

Sailing for Panama Bay on 3 August, Arizona became flagship for Battleship 
Division 7 when Vice Admiral McDonald transferred his flag to Wyoming (BB-
33) and Rear Admiral Josiah S. McKean broke his flag on board as commander 
of the division on 10 August at Balboa. The following day, the battleship 
sailed for San Diego, arriving there on 21 August 1921.

Over the next 14 years, Arizona alternately served as flagship for 
Battleship Divisions 2, 3 or 4. Based at San Pedro during this period, 
Arizona operated with the fleet in the operating areas off the coast of 
southern California or in the Caribbean during fleet concentrations there. 
She participated in a succession of fleet problems (the annual maneuvers 
of the fleet that served as the culmination of the training year), ranging 
from the Caribbean to the waters off the west coast of central America and 
the Canal Zone; from the West Indies to the waters between Hawaii and the 
west coast.

Following her participation in Fleet Problem IX (January 1929), Arizona 
transited the Panama Canal on 7 February for Guantanamo Bay, whence she 
operated through April. She then proceeded to Norfolk Navy Yard, entering 
it on 4 May 1929 to prepare for modernization. Placed in reduced 
commission on 15 July 1929, Arizona remained in yard hands for the next 20 
months; tripod masts, surmounted by three-tiered fire control tops, 
replaced the old cage masts; 5-inch, 25-caliber antiaircraft guns replaced 
the 3-inch 50-caliber weapons with which she had been equipped. She also 
received additional armor to protect her vitals from the fall of shot and 
blisters to protect her from torpedo or near-miss damage from bombs. In 
addition, she received new boilers as well as new main and cruising 
turbines. Ultimately, she was placed in full commission on 1 March 1931.

A little over two weeks later, on 19 March 1931, President Herbert C. 
Hoover embarked on board the recently modernized battleship, and sailed 
for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, standing out to sea from Hampton 
Roads that day. Returning on 29 March, Arizona disembarked the Chief 
Executive and his party at Hampton Roads, and then proceeded north to 
Rockland, Maine, to run her post-modernization standardization trials. 
After a visit to Boston, the battleship dropped down to Norfolk, whence 
she sailed for San Pedro on 1 August 1931, assigned to Battleship Division 
3, Battle Force.

Over the next decade, Arizona continued to operate with the Battle Fleet, 
and took part in the succession of fleet problems that took the fleet from 
the waters of the northern pacific and Alaska to those surrounding the 
West Indies, and into the waters east of the lesser Antilles.

On 17 September 1938, Arizona became the flagship for Battleship Division 
1, when Rear Admiral Chester W. Nimitz broke his flag. Detached on 27 May 
1939 to become Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, Nimitz was relieved on 
that day by Rear Admiral Russell Willson.

Arizona's last fleet problem was XXI. At its conclusion, the United States 
Fleet was retained in Hawaiian waters, based at Pearl Harbor. She operated 
in the Hawaiian Operating Area until late that summer, when she returned 
to Long Beach on 30 September 1940. She was then overhauled at the Puget 
Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., into the following year. Her last flag 
change-of-command occurred on 23 January 1941, when Rear Admiral Isaac C. 
Kidd relieved Rear Admiral Willson as Commander, Battleship Division 1.

The battleship returned to Pearl Harbor on 3 February 1941 to resume the 
intensive training maintained by the Pacific Fleet. She made one last 
visit to the west coast, clearing "Pearl" on 11 June 1941 for Long Beach, 
ultimately returning to her Hawaiian base on 8 July. Over the next five 
months, she continued exercises and battle problems of various kinds on 
type training and tactical exercises in the Hawaiian operating area. She 
underwent a brief overhaul at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard commencing on 27 
October 1941, receiving the foundation for a search radar atop her 
foremast. She conducted her last training in company with her division 
mates Nevada (BB-36) and Oklahoma (BB-37), conducting a night firing 
exercise on the night of 4 December 1941. All three ships moored at quays 
("keys") along Ford Island on the 5th, with Arizona mooring at berth F-7.
Scheduled to receive a tender availability, Arizona took the repair ship 
Vestal (AR-l) alongside her port side on Saturday, 6 December. The two 
ships thus lay moored together on the morning of 7 December; among the men 
on board Arizona that morning were Rear Admiral Kidd and the battleship's 
captain, Capt. Franklin van Valkenburgh, and Lt.Col. Daniel R. Fox, USMC, 
the division marine officer.

Shortly before 0800, Japanese aircraft from six fleet carriers struck the 
Pacific Fleet as it lay in port at Pearl Harbor, and in the ensuing two 
attack waves, wreaked devastation on the Battle Line and on air and 
military facilities defending Pearl Harbor.

On board Arizona, the ship's air raid alarm went off about 0755, and the 
ship went to general quarters soon thereafter. Insofar as it could be 
determined soon after the attack, the ship sustained eight bomb hits. The 
one that most likely caused the ship's destruction came from the 800-
kilogram bomb dropped by the Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 carrier attack plane 
commanded by Lt. Comdr. Kasumi Tadashi, of the carrier Hiryu's air unit, 
that glanced off the face plate of Turret II and penetrated the deck to 
explode in the black powder magazine, which in turn set off adjacent 
smokeless powder magazines. A cataclysmic explosion ripped through the 
forward part of the ship, touching off fierce fires that burned for two 
days; debris showered down on Ford Island in the vicinity.

Acts of heroism on the part of Arizona's officers and men, sailors and 
marines, were many, headed by those of Lt. Comdr. Samuel G. Fuqua, the 
ship's first lieutenant and senior surviving officer on board, whose 
coolness in attempting to quell the fires and get survivors off the ship 
earned him the Medal of Honor. Fuqua's "calmness," Sgt. John M. Baker, 
USMC, a survivor of the battleship's marine detachment, later recounted, 
"gave me courage, and I looked around to see if I could help." Posthumous 
awards of the Medal of Honor also went to Rear Admiral Kidd, the first 
flag officer to be killed in the Pacific war, and to Capt. Van 
Valkenburgh, who reached the bridge and was attempting to fight his ship 
when the bomb hit on the magazines destroyed her. Twenty-three ships 
(destroyers, destroyer escorts and high speed transports) honored men from 
Arizona's ship's company who perished that morning.

The blast that destroyed Arizona and sank her at her berth alongside of 
Ford Island consumed the lives of 1,177 of the 1,512 men on board at the 
time-over half of the casualties suffered by the entire fleet on the "Day 
of Infamy."

Placed "in ordinary" at Pearl Harbor on 29 December 1941, Arizona was 
struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 December 1942. Her wreck was 
cut down so that very little of the superstructure lay above water; her 
after main battery turrets and guns were removed to be emplaced as coast 
defense guns. Arizona's wreck remains at Pearl Harbor, a memorial to the 
men of her crew lost that December morn in 1941. On 7 March 1950, Admiral 
Arthur W. Radford, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, instituted the 
raising of colors over Arizona's remains, and legislation during the 
administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy 
designated the wreck a national shrine. A memorial was built spanning the 
ship; it was dedicated on 30 May 1962.

Arizona (BB-39) was awarded one battle star for her service in World War 

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Built at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Keel Laid 10/14/15, Commissioned 05/20/18
Capt. A. H. Robertson commanding
NEW MEXICO (BB-40) was laid down 14 October 1915 by the New York
Navy Yard; launched 13 April 1917; sponsored by Miss Margaret C.
DeBaca, daughter of the Governor of New Mexico; and commissioned
20 May 1918, Capt. Ashley H. Robertson in command.
Length Overall: 624'
Extreme Beam: 97'5"
Displacement: Tons: 32,000 Mean Draft: 30'
Complement: Off.: 58 Enl.: 1,026
Main: (12) 14"/50 cal
Secondary: (14) 5"/51 cal (4) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 27,599
Engines: Mfr.: Curtis (GE)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 9
Drive: TE
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 3,277










New Mexico BB-40

New Mexico (BB-40) was laid down 14 October 1915 by the New York Navy 
Yard: launched 13 April 1917; sponsored by Miss Margaret C. DeBaca, 
daughter of the Governor of New Mexico; and commissioned 20 May 1918, 
Capt. Ashley H. Robertson in command.

After initial training, New Mexico departed New York 15 January 1919 for 
Brest, France, to escort home transport George Washington carrying 
President Woodrow Wilson from the Versailles Peace Conference, returning 
to Hampton Roads 27 February. There on 16 July she became flagship of the 
newly-organized Pacific Fleet, and three days later sailed for the Panama 
Canal and San Pedro, Calif., arriving 9 August. The next 12 years were 
marked by frequent combined maneuvers with the Atlantic Fleet both in the 
Pacific and Caribbean which included visits to South American ports and a 
1925 cruise to Australia and New Zealand.

Modernized and overhauled at Philadelphia between March 1931 and January 
1933, New Mexico returned to the Pacific in October 1934 to resume 
training exercises and tactical development operations. As war threatened, 
her base was Pearl Harbor from 6 December 1940 until 20 May 1941, when she 
sailed to join the Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk 16 June for duty on 
neutrality patrol. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, she returned 
to the west coast, and sailed 1 August 1942 from San Francisco to prepare 
in Hawaii for action. Between 6 December and 22 March 1943, she sailed to 
escort troop transports to the Fijis, then patrolled the southwest 
Pacific, returning to Pearl Harbor to prepare for the campaign against the 
Japanese in the Aleutians. On 17 May she arrived Adak, her base while 
serving on the blockade of Attu, and on 21 July she joined in the massive 
bombardment of Kiska that forced its evacuation a week later.

After refitting at Puget Sound Navy Yard, New Mexico returned to Pearl 
Harbor 25 October to rehearse the assault on the Gilbert Islands. During 
the invasion, begun 20 November, she pounded Butaritari, guarded 
transports during their night withdrawals from the islands, and provided 
antiaircraft cover during unloading operations, as well as screening 
carriers. She returned to Pearl Harbor 5 December.

Underway with the Marshall Islands assault force 12 January 1944, New 
Mexico bombarded Kwajalein and Ebeye 31 January and 1 February, then 
replenished at Majuro. She blasted Wotje 20 February and Kavieng, New 
Ireland 20, March, then visited Sydney before arriving in the Solomons in 
May to rehearse the Marianas operation.

New Mexico bombarded Tinian 14 June, Saipan 15 June, and Guam 16 June, and 
twice helped drive off enemy air attacks 18 June. She protected transports 
off the Marianas while the carrier task force spelled the doom of Japanese 
naval aviation in its great victory, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19-
20 June. New Mexico excorted transports to Eniwetok, then sailed 9 July 
guarding escort carriers until 12 July, when her guns opened on Guam in 
preparation for the landings 21 July. Until 30 July she blasted enemy 
positions and installations on the island.

Overhauled at Bremerton August to October, New Mexico arrived in Leyte 
Gulf 22 November to cover the movement of reinforcement and supply 
convoys, firing in the almost daily air attacks over the Gulf, as the 
Japanese posed desperate resistance to the reconquest of the Philippines. 
She left Leyte Gulf 2 December for the Palaus, where she joined a force 
covering the Mindoro-bound assault convoy. Again she sent up antiaircraft 
fire as invasion troops stormed ashore 15 December, providing cover for 
two days until sailing for the Palaus.

Her next operation was the invasion of Luzon, fought under a sky full of 
would-be suicide planes, against whom she was almost continually at 
general quarters. She fired prelanding bombardment 6 January 1945, and 
that day took a suicide hit on her bridge which killed her commanding 
officer, Captain R. W. Fleming, and 29 others of her crew, with 87 
injured. Her guns remained in action as she repaired damage, and she was 
still in action 9 January as troops went ashore.

After repairs at Pearl Harbor, New Mexico arrived at Ulithi to stage for 
the invasion of Okinawa, sailing 21 March with a heavy fire support group. 
Her guns opened on Okinawa 26 March, and were not silent until 17 April as 
she gave every aid to troops engaged ashore. Again on 21 and 29 April she 
opened fire, and on 11 May she destroyed 8 suicide boats. While 
approaching her berth in Hagushi anchorage just after sunset 12 May, New 
Mexico was attacked by two suicides; one plunged into her, the other 
managed to hit her with his bomb. She was set on fire, and 54 of her men 
were killed, with 119 wounded. Swift action extinguished the fires within 
half an hour, and on 28 May she departed for repairs at Leyte, followed by 
rehearsals for the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands. Word of 
the war's end reached her at Saipan 15 August, and next day she sailed for 
Okinawa to join the occupation force. She entered Sagami Wan 27 August to 
support the airborne occupation of Atsugi Airfield, then next day passed 
into Tokyo Bay to witness the surrender 2 September.

New Mexico was homeward bound 6 September, calling at Okinawa, Pearl 
Harbor, and the Panama Canal before arriving Boston 17 October. There she 
decommissioned 19 July 1946. She was sold for scrapping 13 October 1947 to 
Lipsett, Inc., New York City.

New Mexico received 6 battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at Newport News SB Co., Newport News, Va.
Keel Laid 04/05/15, Commissioned 12/18/17
Capt. J. L. Jayne commanding
MISSISSIPPI (BB-41) was laid down 5 April 1915 by Newport News
Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 25 January 1917;
sponsored by Miss Camelle McBeath; and commissioned 18 December
1917, Capt. J. L. Jayne in command
Length Overall: 624'
Extreme Beam: 97'5"
Displacement: Tons: 32,000 Mean Draft: 30'
Complement: Off.: 55 Enl.: 1,026
Main: (12) 14"/50 cal
Secondary: (14) 5"/51 cal (4) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 32,000
Curtis (NN)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 9
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 3,277










Mississippi BB-41

Mississippi (BB?41) was laid down 5 April 1915 by Newport News 
Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 25 January 1917; sponsored 
by Miss Camelle McBeath; and commissioned 18 December 1917, Capt. J. L. 
Jayne in command.

Following exercises off Virginia, Mississippi steamed 22 March 1918 for 
training in the Gulf of Guacanayabo, Cuba. One month later she returned to 
Hampton Roads and cruised between Boston and New York until departing for 
winter maneuvers in the Caribbean 31 January 1919. On 19 July she left the 
Atlantic seaboard and sailed for the west coast. Arriving at her new base, 
San Pedro, she operated along the west coast for the next 4 years, 
entering the Caribbean during the winter months for training exercises.

During gunnery practice on 12 June 1924 off San Pedro, 48 of her men were 
asphyxiated as a result of an explosion in her No. 2 main battery turret. 
On 15 April 1925 she sailed from San Francisco for war games off Hawaii, 
and then steamed to Australia on a good will tour. She returned to the 
west coast 26 September, and resumed operations there for the next 6 
years. During this period she frequently sailed into Caribbean and 
Atlantic waters for exercises during the winter months.

Mississippi entered Norfolk Navy Yard 30 March 1931 for a modernization 
overhaul, departing once again on training exercises in September 1933. 
Transiting the Panama Canal 24 October 1934, she steamed back to her base 
at San Pedro. For the next 7 years she operated off the west coast, except 
for winter Caribbean cruises.

Returning to Norfolk 15 June 1941, she prepared for patrol service in the 
North Atlantic. Steaming from Newport, R.I., she escorted a convoy to 
Hvalfjordur, Iceland. She made another trip to Iceland 28 September 1941, 
and spent the next 2 month there protecting shipping.

Two days after the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor, Mississippi left 
Iceland for the Pacific. Arriving 22 January 1942 at San Francisco, she 
spent the next 7 months training and escorting convoys along the coast on 
6 December, after participating in exercises off Hawaii, she steamed with 
troop transports to the Fiji Islands, returning to Pearl Harbor 2 March 
1943. On 10 May she sailed from Pearl Harbor to participate in a move to 
restore the Aleutians to their rightful possessors. Kiska Island was 
shelled 22 July, and a few days later the Japanese withdrew. After 
overhaul at San Francisco. Mississippi sailed from San Pedro 19 October to 
take part in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. While bombarding Makin 
20 November, a turret explosion, almost identical to the earlier tragedy, 
killed 43 men.

On 31 January 1944 she took part in the Marshall Islands campaign, 
shelling Kwajalein. She bombarded Taroa 20 February, and struck Wotje the 
next day. On 15 March she pounded Kavieng, New Ireland. Due for an 
overhaul, she spent the summer months at Puget Sound.

Returning to the war zone, Mississippi supported landings on Peleliu, in 
the Palau Islands, on 12 September. After a week of continuous operations 
she steamed to Manus, where she remained until 12 October. Departing 
Manus, she assisted in the liberation of the Philippines, shelling the 
east coast of Leyte on 19 October. On the night of the 24th, as part of 
Admiral Oldendorf's battleline, she helped to destroy a powerful Japanese 
task force at the Battle of Suriago Strait. As a result of the engagements 
at Leyte Gulf, the Japanese navy was no longer able to mount any serious 
offensive threat.

Mississippi continued to support the operations at Leyte Gulf until 16 
November, when she steamed to the Admiralty Islands. She then entered San 
Pedro Bay, Leyte, 28 December, to prepare for the landings on Luzon. On 6 
January 1945 she began bombarding in Lingayan Gulf. Despite damages near 
her waterline received from the crash of a suicide plane, she supported 
the invasion forces until 10 February. Following repairs at Pearl Harbor, 
she sailed to Nakagusuku Wan, Okinawa, arriving 6 May to support the 
landing forces there. Her powerful guns leveled the defenses at Shuri 
Castle, which had stalled the entire offensive. On 5 June, a kamikaze 
crashed into her starboard side, but the fighting ship continued to 
support the troops at Okinawa until 16 June.

After the announced surrender of Japan, Mississippi steamed to Sagami Wan, 
Honshu, arriving 27 August as part of the support occupation force. She 
anchored in Tokyo Bay, witnessed the signing of the surrender documents, 
and steamed for home on 6 September. She arrived 27 November at Norfolk, 
where she underwent conversion to AG?128, effective 15 February 1946. As 
part of the operational development force, she spent the last 10 years of 
her career carrying out investigations of gunnery problems and testing new 
weapons, while based at Norfolk. She helped launch the Navy into the age 
of the guided?missile warship when she successfully test fired the Terrier 
missile on 28 January 1953 off Cape Cod. She also assisted in the final 
evaluation of the Petrel, a radar?homing missile, in February 1956.

Mississippi decommissioned at Norfolk 17 September 1956, and was sold for 
scrapping to the Bethlehem Steel Co., on 28 November, the same year.

Mississippi received eight battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at New York SB Co., Camden, N. J.
Keel Laid 01/20/15, Commissioned 12/18/17
Capt. C. T. Vogelgesang commanding
The fourth IDAHO (BB-42) was launched by New York shipbuilding
Corp., Camden, N.J., 30 June 1917; sponsored by Miss H. A.
Limons, granddaughter of the Governor of IDAHO; and commissioned
24 March 1919, Captain C. T. Vogelgesang In command.
Length Overall: 624'
Extreme Beam: 97'5"
Displacement: Tons: 32,000 Mean Draft: 30'
Complement: Off.:55 Enl.: 1,026
Main: (12) 14"/50 cal
Secondary: (14) 5"/51 cal (4) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower:32,000
Engines: Mfr.:Parsons (NYSB)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 9
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 3,277










Idaho BB-42

The fourth Idaho (BB-42) was launched by New York Shipbuilding Corp., 
Camden, N. J., 30 June 1917 ; sponsored by Miss H. A. Limons, granddaughter 
of the Governor of Idaho; and commissioned 24 March 1919, Captain C. T. 
Vogelgesang in command.

Idaho sailed 13 April for shakedown training out of Guantanamo Bay, and 
after returning to New York received President Pessoa of Brazil for the 
voyage to Rio de Janeiro. Departing 6 July with her escort, the 
battleship arrived Rio 17 July 1919. From there she set course for the 
Panama Canal, arriving Monterey, Calif., in September to join the Pacific 
Fleet. She joined other dreadnaughts in training exercises and reviews, 
including a Fleet Review by President Wilson 13 September 1919. In 1920 
the battleship carried Secretary Daniels and the Secretary of the 
Interior on an inspection tour of Alaska.

Upon her return from Alaska 22 July 1920 Idaho took part in fleet 
maneuvers off the California coast and as far south as Chile. She 
continued this important training until 1925, taking part in numerous 
ceremonies on the West Coast during the interim. Idaho took part in the 
fleet review held by President Harding in Seattle shortly before his death 
in 1923. The battleship sailed 15 April 1925 for Hawaii,, participated in 
war games until 1 July, and then got underway for Samoa, Australia, and 
New Zealand. On the return voyage Idaho embarked gallant Comdr. John 
Rodgers and his seaplane crew after their attempt to fly to Hawaii, 
arriving San Francisco 24 September 1925.

For the next 6 years Idaho operated out of San Pedro on training and 
readiness operations off California and in the Caribbean. She sailed 
from San Pedro 7 September 1931 for the East Coast, entering Norfolk Navy 
Yard 30 September for modernization. The veteran battleship received 
better armor, "blister" antisubmarine protection, better machinery, and 
tripod masts during this extensive overhaul, and was readied for many 
more years of useful naval service. After completion 9 October 1934 the 
ship conducted shakedown in the Caribbean before returning to her home 
port, San Pedro, 17 April 1935.

As war clouds gathered in the Pacific, the fleet increased the tempo of 
its training operations. Idaho carried out fleet tactics and gunnery 
exercises regularly until arriving with the battle fleet at Pearl Harbor 
1 July 1940. The ship sailed for Hampton Roads 6 June 1941 to perform 
Atlantic neutrality patrol, a vital part of U.S. policy in the early days 
of the European fighting. She moved to Iceland in September to protect 
American advance bases and was on station at Hvalfjordur when the 
Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 and catapulted America into 
the war.

Idaho and sister ship Mississippi departed Iceland 2 days after Pearl 
Harbor to join the Pacific Fleet, and arrived San Francisco via Norfolk 
and the Panama Canal 31 January 1942. She conducted additional battle 
exercises in California waters and out of Pearl Harbor until October 
1942, when she entered Puget Sound Navy Yard to be regunned. Upon 
completion of this work Idaho again took part in battle exercises, and 
sailed 7 April 1943 for operations in the bleak Aleutians. There she was 
flagship of the bombardment and patrol force around Attu, where she gave 
gunfire support to the Army landings 11 May 1943. During the months that 
followed she concentrated on Kiska, culminating in an assault 15 August. 
The Japanese were found to have evacuated the island in late July, thus 
abandoning their last foothold in the Aleutians.

Idaho returned to San Francisco 7 September 1943 to prepare for the 
invasion of the Gilbert Islands. Moving to Pearl Harbor, she got 
underway with the assault fleet 10 November and arrived off Makin Atoll 
20 November. She supported the fighting ashore with accurate gunfire 
support and antiaircraft fire, remaining in the Gilberts until sailing 
for Pearl Harbor 5 December 1943.

Next on the Pacific timetable was the invasion of the Marshalls, and the 
veteran battleship arrived off Kwajalein early 31 January to soften up 
shore positions. Again she hurled tons of shells into Japanese 
positions until 5 February, when the outcome was one of certain victory. 
After replenishing at Majuro she bombarded other islands in the group, 
then moved to Kavieng, New Ireland, for a diversionary bombardment 20 
March 1944.

Idaho returned to the New Hebrides 25 March, and after a short stay in 
Australia arrived Kwajalein with a group of escort carriers 8 June. From 
there the ships steamed to the Marianas, where Idaho began a pre-invasion 
bombardment of Saipan 14 June. With this brilliantly executed landing 
assault underway 15 June, the battleship moved to Guam for bombardment 
assignments. As the American fleet decimated Japanese carrier air power 
in the Battle of the Philippine Sea 19 to 21 June, Idaho protected the 
precious transport area and reserve troop convoys. After returning 
briefly to Eniwetok 28 June to 9 July the ship began pre-invasion 
bombardment of Guam 12 July, and continued the devastating shelling until 
the main assault eight days later. As ground troops battled for the 
island, Idaho stood offshore providing vital fire support until anchoring 
at Eniwetok 2 August 1944.

The ship continued to Espiritu Santo and entered a floating dry dock 15 
August for repairs to her "blisters." After landing rehearsals on 
Guadalcanal in early September, Idaho moved to Peleliu 12 September and 
began bombarding the island, needed as a staging base for the invasion of 
the Philippines. Despite the furious bombardment, Japanese entrenchments 
gave assault forces stiff opposition, and the battleship remained off 
Peleliu until 24 September providing the all-important fire support for 
advancing marines. She then sailed for Manus and eventually to 
Bremerton, Wash., where she arrived for needed repairs 22 October 1944. 
This was followed by battle practice off California.

Idaho's mighty guns were needed for the next giant amphibious assault on 
the way to Japan. She sailed from San Diego 20 January 1945 to join a 
battleship group at Pearl Harbor. After rehearsals she steamed from the 
Marianas 14 February for the invasion of Iwo Jima. As marines stormed 
ashore 19 February Idaho was again blasting enemy positions with her big 
guns. She remained off Iwo Jima until 7 March, when she got underway for 
Ulithi and the last of the great Pacific assaults- Okinawa.

Idaho sailed 21 March 1945 as part of Rear Admiral Deyo's Gunfire and 
Covering Group and flagship of Bombardment Unit 4. She arrived offshore 
25 March and began silencing enemy shore batteries and pounding 
installations. The landings began 1 April, and as the Japanese made a 
desperate attempt to drive the vast fleet away with suicide attacks, 
Idaho's gunners shot down numerous planes. In a massed attack 12 April 
the battleship shot down five kamikazes before suffering damage to her 
port blisters from a near-miss. After temporary repairs she sailed 20 
April and arrived Guam five days later.

The veteran of so many of the landings of the Pacific quickly completed 
repairs and returned to Okinawa 22 May to resume fire support. Idaho 
remained until 20 June 1945, then sailed for battle maneuvers in Leyte 
Gulf until hostilities ceased 15 August 1945.

Idaho made her triumphal entry into Tokyo Bay with occupation troops 27 
August, and witnessed the signing of the surrender on board Missouri 2 
September. Four days later she began the long voyage to the East Coast of 
the United States, steaming via the Panama Canal to Norfolk 16 October 
1945. She decommissioned 3 July 1946 and was placed in reserve until sold 
for scrap 24 November 1947 to Lipsett Inc., of New York City.

Idaho received seven battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Keel Laid 05/14/17, Commissioned 06/03/20
Capt. R. H. Leigh commanding
The fifth TENNESSEE was laid down on 14 May 1917 at the New York
Navy Yard; launched on 30 April 1919; sponsored by Miss Helen
Lenore Roberts, daughter of the governor of TENNESSEE; and
commissioned on 3 June 1920, Capt. Richard H. Leigh in command.

Length Overall: 624'6"
Extreme Beam: 97'4" Displacement: Tons: 32,300 Mean Draft: 30'3"
Complement: Off.: 57 Enl.: 1,026
Main: (12) 14"/50 cal Secondary: (14) 5"/51 cal (4) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" sumberged
Armor: Max. Thicness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 26,000
Engines: Mfr.: Wstgh.
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TE
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 4,656










Tennessee BB-43

The fifth Tennessee was laid down on 14 May 1917 at the New York Navy Yard; 
launched on 30 April 1919; sponsored by Miss Helen Lenore Roberts, daughter 
of the governor of Tennessee; and commissioned on 3 June 1920, Capt. 
Richard H. Leigh in command.

Tennessee and her sister ship, California (BB-44), were the first American 
battleships built to a "post-Jutland" hull design. As a result of extensive 
experimentation and testing, her underwater hull protection was much 
greater than that of previous battleships; and both her main and 
secondary batteries had fire-control systems. The Tennessee class, and 
the three ships of the Coforado-class which followed, were identified by 
two heavy cage masts supporting large fire-control tops. This feature was 
to distinguish the "Big Five" from the rest of the battleship force until 
World War II. Since Tennessee's 14-inch turret guns could be elevated to 
30 degrees-rather than to the 15 degrees of earlier battleships-her 
heavy guns could reach out an additional 10,000 yards. Because battleships 
were then beginning to carry airplanes to spot long-range gunfire, 
Tennessee's ability to shoot "over the horizon" had a practical value.

After fitting out, Tennessee conducted trials in Long Island Sound from 15 
to 23 October 1920. While Tennessee was at New York, one of her 300-kilowatt 
ship's-service generators blew up on 30 October, "completely destroying the 
turbine end of the machine" and injuring two men. Undaunted, the ship's 
force, navy yard craftsmen, and manufacturers' representatives labored to 
eliminate the "teething troubles" in Tennessee's engineering system and 
enabled the battleship to depart New York on 26 February 1921 for 
standardization trials at Guantanamo. She next steamed north for the 
Virgina capes and arrived at Hampton Roads on 19 March. Tennessee carried 
out gunnery calibration firing at Dahlgren, Va., and was dry-docked at 
Boston before full-power trials off Rockland, Maine. After touching at New 
York, she steamed south; transited the Panama Canal; and, on 17 June, 
arrived at San Pedro, Calif., her home port for the next 19 years.

Here, she joined the Battleship Force, Pacific Fleet. In 1922, the Pacific 
Fleet was re-designated the Battle Fleet (renamed the Battle Force in 1931), 
United States Fleet. For the next two decades, the battleship divisions of 
the Battle Fleet were to include the preponderance of the Navy's surface 
warship strength; and Tennessee was to serve here until World War II.

Peacetime service with the battleship divisions involved an annual cycle 
of training, maintenance, and readiness exercises. Her yearly schedule 
included competitions in gunnery and engineering performance and an annual 
fleet problem, a large-scale war game in which most or all of the United 
States Fleet was organized into opposing forces and presented with a 
variety of strategic and tactical situations to resolve. Beginning with 
Fleet Problem I in 1923 and continuing through Fleet Problem XXI in April 
1940, Tennessee had a prominent share in these battle exercises. Yet her 
individual proficiency was not neglected. During the competitive year 
1922 and 1923, she made the highest aggregate score in the list of record 
practices fired by her guns of various caliber and won the "E" for 
excellence in gunnery. In 1923 and 1924, she again won the gunnery "E" as 
well as the prized Battle Efficiency Pennant for the highest combined 
total score in gunnery and engineering competition. During 1925, she took 
part in joint Army-Navy maneuvers to test the defenses of Hawaii before 
visiting Australia and New Zealand. Subsequent fleet problems and tactical 
exercises took Tennessee from Hawaii to the Caribbean and Atlantic and from 
Alaskan waters to Panama.

Fleet Problem XXI was conducted in Hawaiian waters during the spring of 
1940. At the end of this problem, the battleship force did not return to 
San Pedro; but, at President Roosevelt's direction, its base of 
operations was shifted to Pearl Harbor in the hope that this move might 
deter Japanese expansion in the Par East. Following an overhaul at the 
Puget Sound Navy Yard after the conclusion of Fleet Problem XXI, Tennessee 
arrived at her new base on 12 August 1940. Due to the increasing 
deterioration of the world situation, Fleet Problem XXII-scheduled for the 
spring of 1941-was cancelled; and Tennessee's activities during these final 
months of peace were confined to smaller scale operations.

On the morning of 7 December 1941, Tennessee was moored starboard side to a 
pair of masonry "mooring quays" on Battleship Row, the name given to a 
line of these deep water berths located along the southeast side of Ford 
Island. West Virginia (BB-48) was berthed alongside to port. Just ahead of 
Tennessee was Maryland (BB-46), with Oklahoma (BB-37) outboard. Arizona 
(BB-39), moored directly astern of Tennessee, was undergoing a period of 
upkeep from the repair ship Vestal (AR-4), berthed alongside her. The 
three "nests" were spaced about 75 feet apart.

At about 0755, Japanese carrier planes began their attack. As the first 
bombs fell on Ford Island, Tennessee went to general quarters and closed 
her watertight doors. In about five minutes, her antiaircraft guns were 
manned and firing. Sortie orders were received, and the battleship's 
engineers began to get steam up. However, this quickly became academic as 
Oklahoma and West Virginia took crippling torpedo hits. Oklahoma capsized 
to port and sank, bottom up. West Virginia began to list heavily, but 
timely counter-flooding righted her. She, nevertheless, also settled on the 
bottom but did so on an even keel. Tennessee, though her guns were firing 
and her engines operational, could not move. The sinking West Virginia had 
wedged her against the two massive concrete quays to which she was moored, 
and worse was soon to come.

As the Japanese torpedo bombers launched their weapons against Battleship 
Row, dive bombers were simultaneously coming in from above. Strafing 
fighters were attacking the ships' antiaircraft batteries and control 
positions as high-level horizontal bombers dropped heavy battleship-
caliber projectiles modified to serve as armor-piercing bombs. Several 
bombs struck Arizona; and, at about 0820, one of them penetrated her 
protective deck and exploded in a magazine detonating black-powder saluting 
charges which, in turn, set off the surrounding smokeless-powder 
magazines. A shattering explosion demolished Arizona's foreport, and fuel 
oil from her ruptured tanks was ignited and began to spread. The 
torpedo hits on West Virginia had also released burning oil, and 
Tennessee's stern and port quarter were soon surrounded by flames and dense 
black smoke. At about 0830, horizontal bombers scored two hits on 
Tennessee. One bomb carried away the after mainyard before passing 
through the catapult on top of Turret III, the elevated after turret, 
breaking up as it partially penetrated the armored turret top. Large 
fragments of the bomb case did some damage inside the turret and put one 
of its three 14-inch guns out of operation. Instead of exploding, the bomb 
filler ignited and burned, setting an intense fire which was quickly 

The second bomb struck the barrel of the center gun of Turret II, the 
forward "high" turret, and exploded. The center gun was knocked out of 
action, and bomb fragments sprayed Tennessee's forward superstructure. 
Capt. Meryyn S. Bennion, the commanding officer of West Virginia, had 
stepped out on to the starboard wing of his ship's bridge only to be 
mortally wounded by one of these fragments.

While her physical hurts were relatively minor, Tennessee was still 
seriously threatened by oil fires raging around her stern. When Arizona's 
magazines erupted, Tennessee's after decks were showered with burning oil 
and debris which started fires that were encouraged by the heat of the 
flaming fuel. Numerous blazes had to be fought on the after portion of 
the main deck and in the officers' quarters on the deck below. Shipboard 
burning was brought under control by 1030, but oil flowing from the tanks 
of the adjacent ships continued to flame.

By the evening of 7 December, the worst was over. Oil was still blazing 
around Arizona and West Virginia and continued to threaten Tennessee for 
two more days while she was still imprisoned by the obstacles around her. 
Although her bridge and foremast had been damaged by bomb splinters, her 
machinery was in full commission; and no serious injury had been done to 
ship or gunnery controls. Ten of her 12 14-inch guns and all of her 
secondary and antiaircraft guns were intact. By comparison with most of 
the battleships around her, Tennessee was relatively unscathed.

The first order of business was now to get Tennessee out of her berth. Just 
forward of her, Maryland-similarly wedged into her berth when Oklahoma 
rolled over and sank-was released and moved away on 9 December. The 
forward most of Tennessee's two concrete mooring quays was next demolished-
a. delicate task since the ship's hull was resting against it-and had 
been cleared away by 16 December. Tennessee carefully crept ahead, past 
Oklahoma's sunken hull, and moored at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard.

Temporary repairs were quickly made. From Turret III to the stern on both 
sides of the ship, Tennessee's hull gave mute evidence of the inferno that 
she had survived. Every piece of hull plating above the water-line was 
buckled and warped by heat; seams had been opened and rivets loosened. 
These seams had to be re-welded and rivets reset, and a considerable 
amount of re-caulking was needed to make hull and weather decks 
watertight. The damaged top of Turret III re-received a temporary armor 

On 20 December, Tennessee departed Pearl Harbor with Pennsylvania (BB-38)
and Maryland-both superficially damaged in the Japanese attack-and a 
screen of four destroyers. From the moment the ships put to sea, 
nervous lookouts repeatedly sounded submarine alarms, making the voyage 
something more than uneventful. Nearing the west coast, Pennsylvania 
headed for Mare Island while Maryland and Tennessee steamed north, arrived 
at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 29 December 1941, and commenced permanent 

Working around the clock during the first two months of 1942, shipyard 
craftsmen repaired Tennessee's after hull plating and replaced electrical 
wiring ruined by heat. To allow her antiaircraft guns a freer field of 
fire, her tall cage mainmast was replaced by a tower similar to that 
later installed in Colorado (BB-45) and Maryland. An air-search radar was 
installed; fire-control radars were fitted to Tennessee's main-battery and 
5-inch antiaircraft gun directors. Her three-inch and .50-caliber 
antiaircraft guns were replaced by 1.1-inch and 20-millimeter automatic 
shell guns, and her 5-inch antiaircraft guns were protected by splinter 
shields. Fourteen-inch Mark-4 turret guns were replaced by improved Mark-
11 models. Other modifications improved the battleship's habitability.

On 25 February 1942, Tennessee departed Puget Sound with Maryland and 
Colorado. Upon arriving at San Francisco, she began a period of intensive 
training operations with Rear Admiral William S. Pye's Task Force 1, made 
up of the Pacific Fleet's available battleships and a screen of 

However, her role in the war was not to be in the line of battle for 
which she had trained for two decades. Most of the great battles of the 
conflict were not conventional surface-ship actions, but long-range duels 
between fast carrier striking forces. Fleet carriers, with their 
screening cruisers and destroyers, could maintain relatively high force 
speeds; and a new generation of fast battleships-beginning with the North 
Carolina (BB-55)-class and continuing into the South Dakota (BB-57)- and 
Iowa (BB-61)-classes-were coming into the fleet and were to prove their 
worth in action with the fast carrier force. But the older battleships-
Tennessee and her kin-simply could not keep up with the carriers. Thus, 
while the air groups dueled for the approaches to Port Moresby and the 
Japanese naval offensive reached its zenith in the waters west of 
Midway, the battleship force found itself steaming restlessly on the 

On 31 May, Admiral Pye sent two of his battleships to search for a 
Japanese carrier erroneously reported approaching the California coast. 
Reports of the battle of Midway came in, and Pye sortied from San Francisco 
on 5 June with the rest of his battleships and destroyers and the escort 
carrier Long Island (AVG-1). The battleship force steamed to an area some 
1,200 miles west of San Francisco and about the same distance northeast of 
Hawaii in the expectation that part of the Japanese fleet might attempt an 
"end run" raid on our Pacific coast. On 14 June, after it had become 
clear that Admiral Yamamoto's fleet-reeling from its loss of four 
carriers 10 days before-had returned to Japanese waters, Pye ordered his 
force back to San Francisco.

On 1 August, Tennessee again sailed from San Francisco with Task Force 1. 
After a week of exercises the battleships joined Hornet (CV-8)-on her way 
to the South Pacific to support the Guadalcanal operation -and escorted 
the carrier as far as Hawaii. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on the 14th, 
Tennessee returned to Puget Sound on the 27th for modernization.

California, Tennessee's sister ship, had been sunk in shallow water during 
the attack on Pearl Harbor. Re-floated, and her hull temporarily patched, 
she returned to Puget Sound in June for permanent repairs which included a 
thorough modernization. It was decided to include Tennessee in this 
program as well.

By the time Tennessee emerged from the navy yard on 7 May 1943, she bore 
virtually no resemblance to her former self. Deep new blisters increased 
the depth of her side protection against torpedoes by eight feet-three 
inches on each side, gradually tapering toward bow and stern. Internal 
compartmentation was rearranged and improved. The most striking innovation 
was made in the battleship's superstructure. The heavy armored conning 
tower, from which Tennessee would have been controlled in a surface gunnery 
action, was removed, as were masts, stacks, and other superstructure. A 
new, compact, superstructure was designed to provide essential ship and 
gunnery control facilities while offering as little interference as 
possible to the fields of fire of the ship's increasingly essential 
antiaircraft guns. A low tower foremast supported a main-battery director 
and bridge spaces; boiler uptakes were trunked into a single fat funnel 
which was faired into the after side of the foremast. Just abaft the 
stack, a lower structure accommodated the after turret-gun director. 
Tennessee's old 5-inch battery, and combination of 5"/25 antiaircraft 
guns and 5"/51 single-purpose "anti-destroyer" guns, was replaced by 
eight 5"/38 twin mounts. Four new directors, arranged around the 
superstructure, could control these guns against air or surface targets. 
All of these directors were equipped with fire-control radars; antennas 
for surface- and air-search radars were mounted at the mastheads. Close-in 
antiaircraft defense was the function of 10 quadruple 40-millimeter gun 
mounts, each with its own optical director, and of 43 20-millimeter guns.

Thus revitalized, and her battle worthiness greatly increased, Tennessee 
ran trials in the Puget Sound area and, on 22 May 1943, sailed for San 
Pedro. The days of seeming purposelessness were over. Though the slow 
battleships were still incapable of serving with the carrier striking 
force, their heavy turret guns could still hit as hard as ever. Naval 
shore bombardment and gunfire support for troops ashore-then coming to be a 
specialty in its own right-was well suited for this the earlier 
generation of battleships which were also still quite usable for patrol 
duty in areas where firepower was more important than speed. The 
refurbished Tennessee's first tour of duty combined both of these missions.

Tennessee departed San Pedro with the cruiser Portland (CA-33) on 31 May, 
bound for the North Pacific, and arrived at Adak, Alaska, on 9 June to 
begin patrol operations with Task Force 16, the North Pacific Force. During 
the Midway operation, the Japanese had occupied the Aleutian islands of 
Attu and Kiska. Attu was recaptured in May 1943; but Kiska was still in 
hostile hands; and Japanese air and naval forces still operated in the 
Aleutians area from bases in the Kuril Islands. Tennessee plied back and 
forth through the legendary fogs and foul weather of the Aleutians, with 
her crew heavily bundled in arctic clothing for protection against intense 
cold and freezing rain as her radars probed for some sign of the enemy. 
There was still much to be learned about radar and its pitfalls; on 
several occasions, convincing images on the radar screens sent patrolling 
forces to general quarters. During one patrol in July, radio messages 
reported a force of nine surface ships 150 miles away, steaming rapidly to 
intercept Tennessee and her consorts. Tension grew as the unknown enemy 
drew closer, and all hands intently prepared for their first action. The 
radar images were only 45 miles away, and Tennessee's crew were at battle 
stations when the enemy suddenly disappeared. Where the screens had been 
displaying what seemed to be a hostile squadron, there was nothing. The 
hostile fleet had been a mere electronic mirage. During this same period, 
another surface force fought a brief, but energetic, gunnery action with 
the same kind of electronic "ghost" force south of Kiska. Distant land 
masses had appeared on ships' early radar sets as ship contacts at much 
closer ranges.

At about noon on 1 August, Tennessee was out on what all thought another 
routine patrol when the word was passed to prepare to bombard Kiska. At 
1310, she began a zigzag approach through the usual murk to the island 
with Idaho (BB-42) and three destroyers. As the water grew more shallow, 
the ship slowed down and streamed mine-cutting paravanes from her bows. 
Tennessee approached the island from the east, closing to a range from 
which she could open fire with her 5-inch secondary battery. Her two OS2U 
Kingfisher floatplanes were catapulted to observe fire; and, at 1610, the 
battleship commenced firing from 7,000 yards. Though the island's 
shoreline could be seen, the target area-antiaircraft gun sites on high 
ground-were shrouded in low-hanging clouds and were invisible from the 
ship. Tennessee's aerial spotters caught an occasional glimpse of the 
impact area and reported the ship's fire as striking home.

The task group continued along Kiska's southern coast. Tennessee's 14-
inch guns chimed in at 1624, hitting the location of a submarine base 
and other areas with 60 rounds before firing ceased at 1645. Visibility 
had dropped to zero, and results could not be seen. The battleship 
recovered her floatplanes, and the force turned back toward Adak.

In the early morning hours of 15 August, Tennessee again approached Kiska 
as troops prepared to assault the island. At 0500, the ship's turret 
guns began to fire at coastal-battery sites on nearby Little Kiska as 
the 5-inch guns struck antiaircraft positions on that island. The 14-inch 
guns then shifted their fire to antiaircraft sites on the southern side 
of Kiska, while the secondary battery turned its attention to an 
artillery observation position on Little Kiska and set it on fire. The 
landing force then went ashore, only to discover that nobody was home.

After the loss of Attu, the Japanese, knowing that Kiska's turn would 
soon come, decided to save the island's garrison. A small surface force 
closed the island in dense fog and tight radio silence and, on 27 and 28 
July 1943, succeeded in evacuating 5,183 troops from Kiska.

Arriving at San Francisco on 31 August, Tennessee began an intensive 
period of training and carried out battle exercises off the southern 
California coast before provisioning and shoving off for Hawaii. After a 
week's exercises in the Pearl Harbor operating area, the ship headed for 
the New Hebrides to rehearse for the invasion of the Gilberts.

The Japanese had occupied Betio on Christmas Day 1941. In nearly two years, 
with the help of conscripted Korean laborers, they had done a thorough job 
of digging themselves in. Americans still had a great deal to learn about 
pre-landing bombardment. Air attacks and naval gunfire damaged, but did 
not knock out, the beach defenses; and the landing marines met an intense 
fire from artillery, mortars, and machine guns. Casualties mounted 
rapidly, and the landing force asked for all possible fire support. At 
1034, Tennessee's 14-inch and 5-inch guns reopened fire. The battleship 
continued to shoot until 1138, resuming fire at 1224 and firing until a 
ceasefire order was issued at 1300. The desperately contested struggle went 
on until dark, with close support being provided by destroyers which 
closed the beach to fire their 5-inch guns at short range and by waves of 
carrier planes which bombed and strafed. To reduce the chance of submarine 
or air attack, Tennessee and Colorado withdrew for the night to an area 
southwest of Betio and returned to their fire-support area the next 
morning to provide antiaircraft protection for the transports and to 
await a call for gunfire.

The battleships retired to their night area again at dusk. By this time, 
the battle for the island, its outcome uncertain for the first day and 
one-half of fighting, had taken a definite turn for the better. By 1600, 
the Marine commander ashore, Colonel David Shoup, could radio back that 
"we are winning." Tennessee was back in position south of Betio on the 
morning of the 22d. At 0907, she began to deliver call fire on Japanese 
defenses at the eastern tip of Betio, dropping 70 rounds of 14-inch and 
322 rounds of 5-inch ammunition on gun positions in 17 minutes of shooting.

During the afternoon, the screening destroyers Frazier (DD-607) and 
Meade (DD-602) made a sonar contact. Depth charging drove 7-55, a Japanese 
long-range submarine, to the surface. Her position was hopeless, but the 
enemy crew scrambled to man the undersea boat's single 5.5-inch deck gun as 
Tennessee's secondary guns joined Frazier and Meade in hurling 5-inch 
projectiles. Tennessee swung clear as Frazier rammed the submarine; four 
minutes later, 1-35 went to the bottom.

Betio was secured by the afternoon of 23 November. Tennessee operated in 
the general area of Tarawa and Abemama atolls, alert for possible 
counterattacks by air or sea. At dusk on 3 December, Tennessee departed 
the area for Pearl Harbor and, on the 15th, headed for the United States 
with Colorado and Maryland. On arrival at San Francisco, four days before 
Christmas, she was quickly repainted in a "dazzle" camouflage scheme 
designed to confuse enemy observers. On 29 December, Tennessee began 
intensive bombardment practice, pounding San Clemente Island in rehearsal 
for the invasion of the Marshall Islands.

In the early morning of 13 January 1944, Tennessee set her course for 
Hawaii with Task Unit 53.5.1 and anchored in Lahaina Roads, off Maui, on 
the 21st. That day, the ship was inspected by a group headed by 
Undersecretary of the Navy James Forrestal. On the 29th, Tennessee, with 
Forrestal on board, headed for the Marshalls.

D-Day was set for 31 January 1944. As one attack force landed on the 
unoccupied Majuro atoll, the major force approached Kwajalein. Tennessee, 
Pennsylvania, and two destroyers took up their stations 2,900 yards to 
the east of the atoll. At 0625, Tennessee catapulted off her observation 
floatplanes; and, at 0701, she began throwing 14-inch salvoes at Japanese 
pillboxes on Roi Island. Her two forward turrets were busily engaged 
when fire had to be checked to allow carrier dive bombers to strike the 
island. Japanese antiaircraft guns opened up on the planes. As soon as 
the attackers were clear of the area, the ship demolished the enemy guns 
with two three-gun salvoes. The 5-inch battery then opened up on beach 
defenses. Main and secondary guns continued to pound Roi and adjacent Namur 
until noon, the high point of the morning coming when the guns of Mobile 
(CL-63) detonated a Japanese ammunition dump on Namur and sent an 
enormous mushroom of thick black smoke into the air. At midday, Tennessee 
retired from the firing area to recover and service her spotting planes. 
Following a welcome midday meal served to the crew at their battle 
stations, the battleship returned to the fighting and shelled Roi and 
Namur through the afternoon. At 1700, Tennessee turned away to screen 
supporting escort carriers for the night.

While the fire support ships pounded Roi and Namur on the 31st, marines 
captured five small nearby islands; and the northern passage into 
Kwajalein lagoon was cleared for ships to pass in. On 1 February, 
Tennessee and Colorado, with Mobile and Louisville, were back in their 
assigned area to the eastward and commenced firing at 0708. The ships 
pounded Namur through the morning; marines began to land on both islands 
at about noon; and Tennessee and her unit continued supporting fire until 
1245. Roi fell quickly, but Namur's defenders were well dug in and fought 
fiercely until the early afternoon on 2 February.

Later that day, the battleship entered Kwajalein lagoon. Vice Admiral 
Raymond Spruance and Rear Admiral Richard Conolly, commander of the Roi-
Namur invasion force, visited Mr. Forrestal on board Tennessee; the 
Undersecretary and his party then went ashore to inspect the newly seized 
islands and departed the following day by seaplane.

Useful lessons were learned from this operation. Since the Navy had won 
command of the surface and in the air around the landing area, gunfire 
support ships could close their objective and fire at what was, for a 
battleship, virtually point-blank ranges. The heavy, short-range fire of 
the supporting gunfire ships "met the most sanguine expectations" of the 
assaulting marines and foretold the shape of operations to come.

By 7 February, the whole Kwajalein atoll was in American hands; and 
preparations began for the capture of Eniwetok atoll, at the northwest 
end of the Marshalls group in the direction of the Marianas. Prewar 
Japanese security had been tight, and little was known about the atoll, 
but aerial photographs and a Japanese chart found in a beached enemy ship 
on one of Kwajalein's small islets gave planners enough to work with.

Tennessee arrived at Majuro on 7 February to take on ammunition and 
supplies before returning to Kwajalein. On the afternoon of the 15th, she 
sailed for Eniwetok with Colorado, Pennsylvania, and transports carrying 
Army troops and marines. Ships of the fast carrier force screened their 
approach, and cruisers and destroyers opened the action on the morning 
of 17 February by bombarding Eniwetok island, on the southwest side of the 
circular atoll, and the smaller islands flanking the selected entry to the 
lagoon, Deep Passage. Minesweepers cleared Deep Passage and the nearby, 
though shallower, Wide Passage; and, at 0915, Tennessee led the transport 
convoy into the lagoon and headed for the atoll's northern island of 
Engebi. The battleship bombarded Engebi while landing forces went ashore 
on neighboring islets to site artillery pieces. Her 5-inch guns were 
active during the early evening in support of a marine reconnaissance 
company which approached Engebi to plant marker buoys for the next day's 
assault waves and to acquaint themselves with the beaches. During the 
night, Tennessee drew off into the lagoon as light field pieces from the 
newly captured ground harassed Engebi's defenders. The pre-landing 
bombardment began at 0700 the next morning, and Tennessee joined in at 

The first wave went ashore at 0844 and, with the help of supporting ships 
and planes, had Engebi in their hands by late afternoon.

The atoll was not yet secure. Japanese defenders on Eniwetok and Parry 
Islands had carefully dug in and camouflaged their positions. Transports 
and landing vehicles carried a force of soldiers and marines to the 
southern end of the lagoon and, after a preparatory bombardment, the 
troops went ashore on Eniwetok. There had not been enough time to give the 
island a satisfactory softening, and progress was slow.

Tennessee spent the day anchored 5,500 yards north of the island, but her 
services were not called for until night fell. During the night, Army 
troops called several times for illumination. Destroyers played their 
searchlights over Japanese-held areas, while Tennessee's 5-inch guns fired 
large numbers of star shells. The fight for Eniwetok went on into the 
afternoon of 21 February, but Tennessee's efforts had, by then, been 
diverted to Parry Island.

Parry, at the mouth of Deep Channel, was defended by more than 1,300 well-
trained, carefully-entrenched Japanese troops. The assault plan called for 
a careful preliminary working-over with bombs and gunfire, and marine light 
howitzers began to shell Parry from a nearby islet in the evening of 20 
February while carrier planes carried out repeated attacks. Tennessee 
and Pennsylvania took up positions 900 yards off Parry during the morning 
of the 20th and, at 1204, began to blast the island.

The bombardment continued through the 21st, ships and planes taking their 
turns. Gun crews paused for a "breather" while planes from the escort 
carriers unloaded their ordnance, then resumed their work. Colorado's 16-
inch rifles added to the weight of Tennessee and Pennsylvania's 14-inch 
fire, and Louisville and Indianapolis joined in with their 8-inch turret 
guns. Tennessee was firing at so short a range that, during the 
afternoon of the 20th, she was able to take on beach defenses with her 
40-millimeter guns.

The final shelling, on the morning of 22 February, kicked up a dense 
mixture of smoke and dust as the landing craft went in. Tennessee's heavy 
guns checked fire at 0852 when the first amphibian tractors were 300 
yards from the beach, and her 40-millimeters took up the fire until the 
vehicles landed. Ships' guns continued to provide support during the 
first two hours of land fighting but ceased firing as the troops expanded 
their foothold and advanced across the island. By afternoon, Parry was 
secured, and Eniwetok atoll was securely in American hands.

On 23 February 1944, Tennessee sailed for Majuro. Here, she joined New 
Mexico (BB-40), Mississippi (BB-41), and Idaho (BB-42). Under the command 
of Rear Admiral Robert M. Griffin, the battleships sortied from Majuro on 
15 March with two escort carriers and a screen of 15 destroyers.

Their objective was the Japanese air and naval base at Kavieng, at the 
Northern end of New Ireland. The Bismarck Archipelago-the two large islands 
of New Britain and New Ireland-lie just to the east of New Guinea. Rabaul, 
the by-low legendary Japanese operating base, is at the eastern end of New 
Britain, just across a narrow channel from New Ireland. About 240 miles 
northwest of Rabaul, across the Bismarck Sea, is the small Admiralty 
Island group. Another small island, Emirau, lies northwest of New 
Ireland and east of the Admiralties. Southeast from Rabaul, the Solomons 
chain extended for more than five hundred miles. Since the first landing on 
Guadalcanal in August 1942, the chain had been slowly climbed in a series of 
strongly contested actions by sea, land, and air. By the end of 1943, 
American forces held a strong foothold on Bougainville, little more than 200 
miles from Rabaul.

The final steps in Rabaul's encirclement and isolation were planned for 
the spring of 1944. Kavieng was to have been captured early in April, but 
the success of the land-based air offensive against Rabaul convinced 
Admiral Nimitz that it would be more profitable to occupy undefended Emirau 
instead, sending the bombardment ships against Kavieng to convince the 
Japanese that a landing on New Ireland was planned.

Admiral Griffin, accordingly, headed for Kavieng and, on the morning of 
20 March 1944, approached the harbor. Rain squalls and low-hanging clouds 
shrouded the area as Tennessee and the other gunfire ships zigzagged 
toward New Ireland. The island appeared through the overcast at about 
0700. Tennessee launched her spotting planes an hour later, and they were 
soon out of sight in the rain and mist. By 0905, the range to the target 
was within 15,000 yards, and the battleships opened a deliberate fire. 
Steaming at 15 knots, Tennessee dropped single 14-inch rounds and two- or 
three-gun salvoes on Kavieng as the bombardment force slowly closed the 
range. Poor visibility made gunfire spotting difficult, and the pace of 
firing was held down to avoid wasting ammunition.

Tennessee was about 7,500 yards from the island when her lookouts 
reported gun flashes from the beach, quickly followed by shell splashes 
just off the starboard bow and close to one of her screening destroyers. 
At 0928, Tennessee's port 5-inch guns opened rapid continuous fire at the 
coastal battery, estimated to consist of four to six 4-inch guns. A 180-
degree turn brought the battleship's starboard secondaries to bear, and 
the duel continued. The Japanese gunners began to get the range, and 
some projectiles hit close aboard on the starboard beam while others 
came similarly close to Idaho. Tennessee was straddled several times and 
drew away from the shore at 18 knots before checking fire at 0934. 
Reducing speed to 15 knots and turning back to firing position, Tennessee 
reopened fire at 0936. Her main and secondary batteries pounded the enemy 
guns for 10 minutes, and nothing more was heard from the Japanese guns. 
For the next three hours, the ships steamed back and forth off Kavieng, 
shelling the Japanese airfield and shore facilities. Other coastal gun 
positions were sighted, but the battleship's 14-inch fire silenced them 
before they could get off a round. Visibility continued to be a problem; 
observers in the ships' floatplanes could not get a clear view of the 
targets. When the 5-inch guns were firing at targets in wooded areas, 
spotters in the ship's gun directors could not observe hits in the heavy 
foliage. More than once, rounds had to be dropped in the water to obtain 
a definite point of reference before "walking" fire onto the desired 

The bombardment ended at 1235. Tennessee turned away and made rendezvous 
with the covering escort carriers as Admiral Halsey wired his 
"congratulations on your effective plastering of Kavieng." This diversion 
had had its effect. While Admiral Griffin's battleships blasted Kavieng, 
Emirau had been seized without opposition. Pausing at Purvis Bay and 
Efate, Tennessee arrived at Pearl Harbor on 16 April to refurbish and 
prepare for her next task.

Operation "Forager," the assault on the Marianas, was planned as a two-
pronged thrust. Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner's Task Force 51 was 
organized into a Northern Attack Force (TF 52), under his command, and a 
Southern Attack Force (TF 53) under Rear Admiral Richard Conolly. While TF 
52 attacked Saipan and nearby Tinian, Conolly's TF 52 was aimed at Guam. 
The bombardment and fire support force arrayed for this operation 
included Tennessee and seven other older battleships, 11 cruisers, and 
about 26 destroyers. These ships were divided into two fire support 
groups. Tennessee, with California, Maryland, and Colorado, was assigned to 
Fire Support Group One (TG 52.17) under Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf.

The Northern Attack Force assembled at Hawaii in mid-May 1944. After 
rehearsals off Maui and Kahoplawe, Fire Support Group One sailed for 
Kwajalein while the transports staged at Eniwetok. On 10 June 1944, 
Tennessee and her task group departed Kwajalein, bound for Saipan.

Early on 13 June, as the force approached the Marianas, signs of
Japanese activity began to appear. A patrol plane reported sighting a 
surfaced submarine some 20 miles ahead and attacked it. Another plane 
shot down a land based Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" which had been trailing 
along 10 miles astern of the ships. Another submarine contact was 
reported to port of the formation, and screening destroyers dropped depth 
charges. During the 13th, Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee's Task Group 58.7-
seven new fast battleships of the North Carolina, South Dakota, and Iowa 
classes- temporarily detached from Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher's Task Force 
58-hurled a furious bombardment at Saipan.

Throughout the following night, lookouts reported gun flashes on the 
horizon, and escorting destroyers attacked suspected submarines. General 
quarters was sounded at 0400 on 14 June as the old battleships drew near to 
Saipan. Near the horizon, a Japanese cargo ship, set afire by the guns of 
Melvin (DD-680), burned brightly. Shortly before dawn, Oldendorf's 
battleships passed to the north of Saipan as the second fire-support group 
steamed through Saipan Channel at the southern end of the island. The 
southern group opened fire at 0539. Nine minutes later, Tennessee began a 
methodical bombardment of the selected landing area, the southern portion 
of Saipan's west coast, in support of minesweepers carrying out an assault 
sweep on the landing zone. Enemy coastal guns had fired a few shots at 
Oldendorf's ships as they rounded the northern tip of the island, and 
attacking carrier planes as well as the ships' observation floatplanes 
encountered heavy antiaircraft fire. Maryland drew fire from a battery 
concealed on a tiny islet off Tanapag harbor. She and California turned 
on this foe and soon silenced it.

Released from this duty, Tennessee sailed southward to the area of Agingan 
Point, at the southwest corner of Saipan and the southern end of the 
designated landing area. Underwater demolition teams (UDT) approached the 
beach in small craft to reconnoiter the landing beaches and to plant 
radar beacons which would provide reference points to the next day's 
landing. Tennessee closed to 3,000 yards of Agingan Point and, at 0831, 
opened up with 14-inch, 5-inch, and 40-millimeter batteries. Some 
smoldering powder grains from the 5-inch guns fell on the port side of the 
battleship's quarterdeck and burst into flame, but were quickly 
extinguished. Japanese guns dropped shells near the UDT's as mortars and 
machine guns joined in; at about 0920, projectile splashes began to 
appear near the supporting ships as batteries on nearby Tinian opened 
fire. Cleveland (CL-55) was straddled, and California and Braine (DD-630) 
took hits. Tennessee aimed counter-battery fire at the defenders who were 
opposing the UDT's, and her turret guns fired at Tinian. Shortly before 
noon, she moved to the northwest to bombard Japanese fortifications on 
Afetna Point, near the center of the landing zone. At 1331, the ship 
ceased fire and withdrew from the firing area to recover her seaplanes, 
later closing Wadleigh (DD-689) and Brooks (APD-10) to take on board 
five wounded UDT men for treatment. She joined the rest of her fire 
support group and took up night stations to the west of Saipan.

D-Day on Saipan was 15 June 1944. Circling to the north of the island, 
well out of sight from shore during the last hours of darkness, the 
assault force was off the landing beaches by dawn. Reserve landing forces 
staged an elaborate feint off Tanapag harbor, hoping to induce the Japanese 
to reinforce its defenses before the actual landing took place further 
south. At 0430, the p re-landing bombardment began. Tennessee joined in at 
0540 with a heavy barrage from her main, secondary and 40-millimeter guns 
from 3,000 yards west of Agingan Point. At 0542, the landing craft and 
amphibian tractors of the landing force began to load and assemble for 
the movement to shore. Gunfire was lifted at 0630 to allow carrier planes 
to bombard the island's defenses, resuming at 0700. At 0812, the assault 
waves headed for the beach. The first went ashore at 0844 and met heavy 
opposition. The pre-landing bombardment, though prolonged and intense, had 
left much of the Japanese defenses still able to fight; and, as the 
2d and 4th Marine Divisions landed on a 4-mile front south of Garapan, 
they found that much still remained to be done.

Tennessee's assault station was off the southern end of the landing beach. 
During the first wave's approach, her guns enfiladed that end of the 
objective to prepare the way for the right-hand elements of the 4th 
Division. She checked fire as the troops neared the beach, resuming it a 
few minutes later as the marines fought to establish themselves ashore. 
Japanese 4.7-inch field guns, emplaced in a cave on Tinian, opened on 
Tennessee. The battleship commenced counter-battery fire, but the third 
enemy salvo scored three hits, all of which burst on impact. One 
projectile knocked out a 5-inch twin gun mount; the second struck the 
ship's side, while the third tore a hole in the after portion of main deck 
and sprayed fragments into the wardroom below. An intense fire inside the 
disabled gun mount was subdued in two minutes by repair parties and men 
from nearby gun crews; the hit to the hull damaged external blister 
plating, but was prevented from inflicting further damage by the 
battleship's heavy belt armor. Eight men were killed by projectile 
fragments, while 25 more were wounded by fragments and flash burns. 
Tennessee's damages did not prevent her from delivering call fire to help 
break up a developing Japanese counterattack near Agingan Point before 
leaving the firing line to make emergency repairs. During the afternoon and 
night, she took station to screen assembled transports. Four Japanese dive 
bombers attacked nearby ships at 1845, and Tennessee's, 5-inch guns 
briefly engaged them but claimed no hits. That evening, Tennessee buried her 
dead. Tokyo radio claimed victory in the battle for Saipan, stating that 
they had sunk a battleship which they identified as "probably the New 

The "sunken" Tennessee returned to Saipan Channel early the next day. 
Several Japanese counterattacks had been stopped during the night, and 
Tennessee's supporting fire assisted the marines in organizing and 
consolidating their beachhead. During the evening, the first troops of the 
Army's 27th Infantry Division began to come ashore; another counterattack, 
this one involving tanks, was turned back during the night of 16 and 17 

The original plan had called for landings on Guam on the 18th. However, 
during the afternoon of the 15th and the early hours of the 16th, Admiral 
Spruance was advised that Japanese warships were at sea, off the 
Philippines, heading for the Marianas. The Japanese plan for the defense 
of these vital islands called for their garrison to hold out while a 
naval force mounted a counterstroke to destroy the American invasion 
fleet. By the morning of the 16th, Spruance decided to cancel the attack 
on Guam while continuing the fight for Saipan and disposing his naval 
forces for battle. The fast carrier force was sent to counter the Japanese 
thrust, while the fire-support battleships were to be deployed to the west 
of Saipan in case the Japanese should evade Task Force 58 and direct a 
surface thrust at the island. Tennessee held station west of Saipan with 
the other elderly battleships as the two fleets groped toward each other 
about 150 miles away.

On the 19th, Mitscher's task force clashed with Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's 
Mobile Fleet in what was to be called the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot." 
By this time, American carrier operations had attained a high level of 
excellence while the Japanese air arm, its experienced airmen mostly lost 
during the long campaigns of 1942 and 1943, had to make do with unskilled 
pilots. The result was striking. In more than eight hours of intense aerial 
combat, more than 300 Japanese planes were knocked down, most of these by 
carrier fighters. By the 20th, counterattacking American planes and 
submarines had sent carriers Hiyo, Shokaku, and Taiho to the bottom. Thus, 
Japan's last serious carrier offensive operation ended in disaster.

Ozawa's fleet never got close enough to Saipan for Tennessee and her 
cousins to be called upon. On the 20th, she fueled east of Saipan as the 
Japanese carrier force headed westward. The next day, she was back on 
the gun line to blast gun positions on Manigassa Island, off Tanapag 
harbor. Call fire occupied the afternoon, as she took on several targets 
near Garapan. Tennessee's 14-inch guns commenced firing at 0555 the next 
day, pounding Garapan from 6,000 yards. Shell hits on the battered town 
raised clouds of smoke and dust, reminding the battleship's gunners of 
the Aleutian murk. Fire was shifted onto Mount Tapotchau, east of 
Garapan, before being returned to Garapan to assist the American troops who 
were working their way into the southern part of town.

On the night of 22 June, Tennessee got underway for Eniwetok where Hector 
(AE-7) repaired her battle damage as the fight for Saipan ground to its 
end on 9 July. Her next destination was Guam. Departing Eniwetok on 16 
July with California, she joined Bear Admiral Ainsworth's Southern Fire 
Support Group (TG 53.5) off Guam in the afternoon of the 19th. The next 
day, she joined in a systematic bombardment begun on the 8th which was 
carefully planned to soften up the enemy's defenses while avoiding harm to 
the island's friendly Chamorro population. Tennessee launched her planes; 
and, at 0742, her turret guns opened fire while the 5-inch battery raked 
nearby Cabras Island. The ship slowly maneuvered to a position north of 
Asan Point, several miles north of Apra harbor, where one of two landing 
beaches was sited. UDT's scouted the beaches while planes laid smoke 
screens to cover their movements, and the ships' guns kept the Japanese 
defenders occupied. Firing ceased at midday and resumed late in the 
afternoon, as Tennessee continued to hammer Japanese positions north of 

Shortly after dawn on 21 July, the bombardment ships again took up their 
work. Tennessee renewed her attentions to Cabras Island as the assault 
waves formed and headed for shore and continued to provide support during 
the first stage of the landing. At 1003, she ceased firing. Late that day, 
she put to sea with California and Colorado and returned to Saipan on 22 

Tennessee anchored in Tanapag harbor to replenish ammunition before taking 
up her night position to the west of Tinian. At 0607 on 23 July, she 
opened fire on the waterfront area of Tinian Town, as part of a deception 
scheme intended to convince the strong Japanese garrison that the landing 
would take place at Sunharon Bay, on the southwest coast of the island. 
A UDT even made a daylight reconnaissance of the beaches to strengthen the 
impression, and Tennessee's guns supported the frogmen. Fire paused around 
midday and resumed again in the afternoon before the ship retired to her 
night position off the island.

Early in the morning of the 24th, Tennessee took up her position off 
Tinian's northwest coast with California, Louisville (CA-28), and 
several destroyers. From 2,500 yards offshore, the ships opened fire at 
0532, ceasing fire as the first wave closed the beach at 0747. For the 
rest of the day, the ship stood by to deliver fire if needed, then 
retired for the night. In the morning of 25 July, Tennessee relieved 
California as the "duty ship" to furnish call fire upon request from the 
beach. Through the 25th and 26th, Tennessee delivered supporting fire by 
day and star shell by night. After returning briefly to Saipan to 
replenish on the 27th, the battleship was back on the firing line on the 
28th, and her fire supported the advancing marines through the afternoon. 
Following replenishment at Saipan on the 29th, Tennessee began the 30th 
in support of marines advancing southward through Tinian Town. In the 
early morning, one of her observation planes collided in midair with a 
land based marine OY-1 spotting plane. Both aircraft plummeted to earth 
behind Japanese lines and burst into flames; the crews of both were 

Firing continued through that day and into the 31st, as the marines 
crowded the last defenders into the southern tip of the island. At 0830 
on 31 July, Tennessee's guns fell silent, and she returned to Saipan with 
her task accomplished. On the evening of 2 August, she arrived off Guam to 
resume fire-support duty. Rejoining Ainsworth's gunfire task group, she 
delivered call fire and illumination until 8 August when she joined 
California and Louisville for the voyage to Eniwetok and thence to 
Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides. The ships arrived at Espiritu Santo 
on 24 August. On 2 September, Tennessee arrived at Tulagi for a brief 
period of amphibious support training.

Meanwhile, decisions had been made which would reshape the Allied 
offensive in the western Pacific. Meeting at Pearl Harbor in July 1944, 
President Roosevelt, Admiral Nimitz, and General MacArthur had finally 
reached an agreement that the Philippines were to be liberated, not merely 
bypassed. After further discussions, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved 
landings beginning at Mindanao, continuing north through Leyte, then taking 
either Luzon or Formosa and Amoy. During early September, Task Force 38 
hit Japanese bases from the Palaus to the Visayas, inflicting considerable 
damage. Surprisingly little resistance was encountered by the roving 
carriers, leading to a conclusion that enemy air strength was virtually 
nonexistent. Nimitz, MacArthur, and Halsey agreed that this eliminated any 
need for a network of southern air bases to support the capture of the 
Philippines. Proposed landings on Yap and Mindanao were scrapped, 
although Morotai was invaded in September and preparations were made for 
an assault on the Palaus before bypassing the southern Philippines and 
going into Leyte.

The Palaus were to be Tennessee's next objective. This group is not an 
atoll, but an elongated cluster of islands just north of the Equator and 
at the western end of the Carolines. The group is about 110 miles long 
from small islands and reefs to the north through the large island of 
Babelthuap to the small southern islands of Peleliu and Angaur.

The objectives of the assault force were Kossol Roads, a reef-sheltered 
anchorage at the northern end of the chain, and the two southern islands; 
the large Japanese garrison on Babelthuap was to be isolated and left to 
its own devices. Planes and gunfire ships took turns pounding Peleliu from 
the morning of 12 September until the assault waves went ashore on the 
15th. The battle for that island was to be one of the most bitter of the 
Pacific war, and organized resistance was not eliminated until November, 
at a heavy cost in lives.

Tennessee's target was the smaller island of Angaur, a few miles south of 
Peleliu. On the morning of 12 September, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, with 
four light cruisers and five destroyers, began a prolonged bombardment as 
carrier aircraft did their share.

The flash and roar of bombs and gunfire from ships and planes attacking 
Peleliu were plain on the horizon as Tennessee closed Angaur early on 12 
September. The battleship opened fire at 0632, hurling 14-inch shells at 
targets ashore from 14,000 yards. Through the morning and afternoon, her 
guns hit coast-defense positions and antiaircraft sites. During the 
afternoon, minesweepers cleared the approaches to the beaches. By this 
time, Tennessee was only 3,750 yards from shore, and her 40-millimeters 
had joined in. A prominent masonry lighthouse on the west coast of Angaur 
was ordered destroyed to keep the Japanese from using it as a gunfire 
observation point. Twelve 14-inch rounds were aimed at it, scarring the 
area and scoring three hits, but the tower remained standing. Other 
targets absorbed Tennessee's attention for the next three days. Tennessee 
stood by off Peleliu during the morning of the 15th in case her guns 
should be needed to assist the assault landing. When this work was 
completed, she returned on the evening of 16 September to finish off the 
stubborn tower before the next morning's scheduled landings. As the 
ship's turret guns trained out on the target, a 6-inch projectile from 
Denver (CL-58) screamed in from the far side of the island and sent the 
lighthouse crashing down in a cloud of smoke and dust.

Ships and carrier planes pounded the island for five days before Army 
troops of the 81st Infantry Division went ashore on Angaur on the morning 
of 17 September. Tennessee's guns supported the soldiers through the 19th. 
By the morning of 20 September, organized resistance was at an end; and 
the battleship steamed away from the island to Kossol Roads to refuel and 
to take on ammunition. On 28 September, she arrived at Manus to prepare 
for her next operation.

Tennessee weighed anchor on 12 October and set her course for Leyte 
Gulf. Under the supreme command of General MacArthur, Vice Admiral Thomas 
Kinkaid's 7th Fleet carried two Army corps toward the invasion area. 
Their objectives were two landing zones on the eastern coast of Leyte. A 
Northern Attack Force (TF 78) under Rear Admiral Daniel Barbey was aimed 
at Tacloban, while Vice Admiral Theodore Wilson command TF 79, the 
Southern Attack Force whose target was Dulag. The old battleships were 
divided between two fire-support units. Tennessee, with California and 
Pennsylvania, sailed with the Dulag attack force under Rear Admiral 

During its approach to the Philippines, the invasion force was alert for 
air and submarine attack; but none came. As the ships steamed under hot, 
clear skies, their radios brought news of Task Force 38 as the fast 
carriers ranged an arc from the Ryukyus to Formosa before turning on 
Japanese air bases in Luzon and the central Philippines. Preliminary 
minesweeping and bombardment, to clear the way into Leyte Gulf, began on 
the morning of 17 October 1944. The entrance to the gulf was secured, but 
the approaches to the objective area were partially swept when 
Oldendorf, to avoid delaying the operation, decided to order his ships 
into the gulf. At 0609 on the morning of the 18th, Tennessee, with her 
fire-support unit, entered the channel between Homonhon and Dinagat 
islands. Paravanes streamed from her bows, and marines were stationed in 
her upper works to sink or explode floating mines. The minesweepers 
continued their work as the heavy ships moved slowly up Leyte Gulf.

Tennessee took up her position off Dulag before dawn on 19 October and, at 
0645, began to bombard the landing area north of the town. Her main 
battery opened up from 8,300 yards, and her secondaries chimed in a few 
minutes later as she aimed at fortifications and antiaircraft gun 
emplacements. Catmon Hill, a 1,000-foot elevation just inland, received 
particular attention from the ships. Japanese planes were reported in the 
offing, but the only attack came from a horizontal bomber which dropped one 
bomb into the water near Honolulu (CL-48) before being knocked down by 
gunfire. Heavy shelling continued through the afternoon, and the 
bombardment ships took up night cruising stations off the mouth of Leyte 

The landings were scheduled for 20 October; and, at 0600, Tennessee 
opened neutralization fire on the beaches. As the northern force pounded 
Tacloban and went in to the attack, transports assembled off Dulag and 
put the landing force into the water. Infantry landing craft armed with 
heavy mortars (LCI(M)) began dropping shells on reverse slopes at 0915; 
and, at 0930, the landing waves crossed the line of departure and moved 
for the beach. At 0945, rocket-firing landing craft (LCI(R)) began to 
hurl their masses of explosive bombardment rockets at the beach defenses, 
and the first troops went ashore 15 minutes later. Naval gunfire was 
shifted inland and to the flanks to assist the landing troops as they 
began to carve out a beachhead. The landing went well. During the 
afternoon, Honolulu was again attacked, this time by a torpedo bomber 
which scored a hit and forced the cruiser to withdraw. Night air attacks 
were feared; a screen of destroyers was placed around the ships in the 
gulf, smoke was generated, and much nervous firing flared up in the 
darkness and caused some casualties.

The Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, on noting the scale of the 
operation being mounted against Leyte, had decided to make that island 
the focus of a decisive naval counterstroke. The principal surface 
strength of the Combined Fleet had gone to Lingga Roads, an anchorage in 
the Lingga Archipelago off Sumatra at the southwest end of the South China 
Sea, to be near their fuel supply since American submarines had made it 
increasingly difficult to get oil through to Japan. The surviving 
carriers had returned to the Inland Sea to train aircrews. Under the 
Japanese plan, dictated by a combination of geography, logistics, and the 
lack of adequate carrier aviation, four widely separated forces were to 
converge on the area of Leyte Gulf in an effort to destroy, at whatever 
cost, the American invasion force.

While the Japanese fleet set out for Leyte, Tennessee continued her work 
off the beachhead. Fire support was not required from her for the time 
being, but the increasing tempo of Japanese air activity in the area 
required her to place herself where her antiaircraft guns could assist in 
the defense of the assembled transports and cargo ships. In the evening of 
21 October, while lying dead in the water in a smoke screen laid to protect 
the shipping from attacking planes, Tennessee was rammed near the stern 
by the transport War Hawk (AP-168). No one was injured, and the 
battleship's tough hull was little harmed, but her orders for a night 
fire-support mission were cancelled.

Matters continued to go well ashore, where the town of Tacloban was 
captured and declared a temporary seat of the Philippine government. Air 
defense, rather than shore bombardment, was still Tennessee's mission; on 
the morning of the 24th, enemy planes sank an LCI(L) and damaged a cargo 
ship before being driven off. A larger raid came in from several 
directions before noon, hitting American positions on Leyte. The afternoon 
was mostly quiet. A third attack occurred at 1700. As the enemy aircraft 
drew away, the battleship's executive officer passed the electrifying word 
that a Japanese naval task force was expected to try to enter Leyte Gulf 
that night. The six old battleships of the fire support groups formed 
columns and moved south to take up positions at the mouth of Surigao 
Strait, the body of water between Leyte and Dinagat which formed a 
southern entrance to Leyte Gulf.

The Japanese forces set in motion some days earlier were now approaching 
their objective. A force of four carriers and two converted hermaphrodite 
"battleship-carriers" was steaming south from Japan toward the Philippine 
Sea, while a small surface force under Admiral Shima had sailed from 
Japanese waters heading for the Sulu Sea. Two striking forces of 
battleships, cruisers, and destroyers had sailed from Lingga Roads; north 
of Borneo they separated. The larger force, under Admiral Kurita, passed 
north of Palawan (losing three cruisers to submarine attack) to transit 
the Sibuyan Sea and emerge to the north of Samar. A smaller force, 
commanded by Admiral Nishimura, turned to the south of Palawan and crossed 
the Sulu Sea to pass between Mindanao and Leyte. Shima's orders directed 
him to support Nishimura, and his force followed some miles behind 

If the Sho plan, as it was called, worked properly, Kurita would approach 
Leyte Gulf from the north while Nishimura and Shima came up from the south, 
catching the massed amphibious shipping in the jaws of a vise and 
destroying it. Ozawa's force was toothless since prolonged heavy 
casualties and an inadequate pilot training program had left the Imperial 
Navy with few experienced carrier pilots. The carrier force advancing 
southward from Japan carried only enough planes to make a convincing 
decoy; its job was to lure Halsey's 3d Fleet to the north while the 
converging surface forces did their job.

During the morning of 24 October, carrier planes sighted the three 
Japanese groups in the Sulu and Sibuyan seas. Recognizing Kurita's as the 
most powerful, Halsey directed the fast carriers' air groups against him as 
the Japanese ships steamed across the Sibuyan Sea. With no air cover, 
Kurita had to endure repeated bomb and torpedo attacks which forced one 
of his cruisers to turn back with serious damage and, as the day ended, 
sank the giant battleship Musashi. Complaining of the lack of air support, 
Kurita turned back in midafternoon; and this movement was reported to 
Halsey by his pilots.

Early on the 24th, a Japanese scout plane from Luzon had spotted Task 
Force 38 east of that island. All available land based planes were sent 
against it, mortally wounding the light carrier Princeton (CVL-23). Halsey 
concluded that the attackers were carrier-based. During the morning, 
Ozawa's reconnaissance planes sighted Halsey's carriers; and an 
unproductive air strike was launched against Task Force 38 at 1145. In the 
afternoon, the Japanese carriers were sighted and, in the evening of 24 
October, Halsey ordered the fast carrier force to go after them. Shortly 
before sunset, Kurita had again reversed course and was heading back in the 
direction of Leyte Gulf; Halsey had been informed of this, but 
exaggerated reports of damage inflicted by his planes led him to believe 
that the Japanese force had been more grievously hurt than was the case. 
Judging that Kurita was too badly crippled to do any harm to the ships in 
Leyte Gulf, Halsey continued north through the night. By midnight the 
Japanese Center Force, as the American commanders referred to it, was 
pushing, unobserved, toward San Bernardino Strait before turning south 
toward Leyte Gulf.

Halsey had not sent his planes against the surface forces of Nishimura and 
Shima, believing that Kinkaid's warships would be able to deal with them. 
This was to be Oldendorf's job; and, in the evening of the 24th, he 
deployed his six battleships across the northern end of Surigao Strait. 
Besides his capital ships, Oldendorf had available eight cruisers and 28 
destroyers. These were arranged toward the flanks, the destroyers placed 
in suitable position to launch torpedo attacks. A great deal of shooting 
in support of the landing operation had already occurred, and most of the 
shells remaining in the battleship's magazines were thin-walled, high-
capacity bombardment ammunition rather than armor-piercing projectiles. 
Their handling-room crews carefully arranged the projectile supply so 
that high-capacity shells would be ready for use against anything smaller 
than a battleship. The big ships were directed to hold their fire until 
the enemy was within 20,000 yards to insure as many hits as possible.

The sea was smooth and the moonless night intensely dark as the ships 
steamed slowly to and fro along their assigned lines of position. 
Tennessee quietly awaited her first action against her own kind.

All available 7th Fleet PT boats had been stationed in Surigao Strait 
and along its approaches. At 2236, the first PT's made radar contact 
with Nishimura. Successive torpedo attacks were launched as Nishimura 
entered Surigao Strait and steamed north, with Shima trailing well 
behind; Nishimura was annoyed but not injured, though one of Shima's 
cruisers took a torpedo and had to drop out of the running. Shortly before 
0300, Nishimura was well into the strait and taking up battle formation 
when he was hit by a well-planned torpedo attack by five American 
destroyers. The battleship Fuso was hit and dropped out of formation; other 
torpedo spreads sank two Japanese destroyers and crippled a third. Another 
torpedo struck, but did not stop, Fuso's sistership Yamashiro. Ten minutes 
later, another destroyer attack scored a second hit on Yamashiro. The 
disabled Fuso had apparently been set afire by the torpedo that had hit 
her; her magazines exploded at 0338 as Arizona's had on the morning of 7 
December; and the two shattered halves of the battleship slowly drifted 
back down the strait before sinking.

On board Tennessee, observers had seen distant flashes of gunfire, star 
shells, and searchlights as the torpedo boats and destroyers engaged the 
Japanese. Soon explosions could be heard. At 0302, the battleship's radar 
picked up Nishimura's approach at nearly 44,000 yards and began to track 
the lead ship. This was the flagship, Yamashiro. With the cruiser Mogami 
and destroyer Skigure, she was all that remained of the first Japanese 
force. At 0351 Oldendorf ordered the flanking cruisers to open fire; and, 
at 035B, the battleships let fly from 20,500 yards.

Tennessee's forward turret fired a three-gun salvo, and the rest of her 
14-inch battery joined in. In this duel, Tennessee, California, and the 
recently arrived West Virginia had a considerable advantage over the 
other battleships. During their wartime modernization, all three had 
received new Mark 34 main-battery directors provided with Mark 8 fire-
control radars and associated modern gunfire computing equipment. The main 
batteries of the other ships were still controlled by systems developed 
20 years or more before and were using earlier Mark 3 radars. This 
handicap showed in their shooting. Firing in six-gun salvos to make 
careful use of her limited supply of armor-piercing projectiles, Tennessee 
got off 69 of her big 14-inch bullets before checking fire at 0408. The 
battle line had increased speed to 15 knots before opening fire, and, as 
it drew near the eastern end of its line of position, simultaneous turns 
brought the ships around to a westward heading. California miscalculated 
her turn and came sharply across Tennessee's bow, narrowly avoiding a 
collision and fouling Tenneesee's line of fire for about five minutes.

The effect of this intense bombardment was awesome. As one of Tennessee's 
crew described it, "when a ship fired there would be a terrific whirling 
sheet of golden flame bolting across the sea, followed by a massive 
thunder, and then three red balls would go into the sky; up, arch-over, 
and then down. When the salvoes found the target there would be a huge 
shower of sparks, and after a moment a dull orange glow would appear. This 
glow would increase, brighten, and then slowly dull." Little of the enemy 
could be seen from Tennessee. Occasionally, the vague outline of a ship 
could be seen against the glare of an explosion; and, at one point, the 
single stack and high "pagoda" foremast of Yamashiro could be seen. 
Nishimura's three ships found themselves at the focus of a massive 
crossfire of battleship and cruiser fire. By 0400, both of the larger 
Japanese ships had been hit repeatedly as they gallantly attempted to 
return fire; Mogami, sorely damaged and her engineering plant crippled, 
had turned back, and Yamashiro, burning intensely, came about to follow. 
Oldendorf ordered gunfire to cease at 0409, after hearing that flanking 
destroyers were being endangered by American gunfire. Yamashiro, still 
able to make 15 knots after her frightful beating, was fatally hurt and, 
at 0419, rolled over and sank with all but a few of her crew. Mogami was 
able to draw out of radar range but had been slowed to a crawl. Shigure, 
more or less overlooked and relatively undamaged, escaped southward.

Shima's force, following along in Nishimura's wake, was unaware of what 
had befallen. When they were about halfway up Surigao Strait, they 
sighted what seemed to be two flaming ships; these were the broken halves 
of Fuso. Shima's two cruisers made a radar torpedo attack on what they 
believed to be American ships but was, in fact, Hibuson Island. "The 
island," as Samuel E. Morison remarked, "was not damaged." The Japanese 
admiral decided that Nishimura's force had met with disaster and decided 
on a retreat. As his ships turned to steam back, cruiser Nachi collided 
with limping, burning Mogami, but both vessels were able to continue 
southward. Collecting Shigure, the only other survivor of Nishimura's 
attack, Shima retired back through the strait. Oldendorf sent some of his 
cruisers and destroyers after him, and the patrolling PT's joined in. 
Fire was engaged with the stubborn Mogami, but she continued on her way 
only to be sunk by carrier planes shortly afterward. Destroyer Asagumo, 
her bow blown off by destroyer torpedoes during Nishimura's approach, was 
sighted and sent to the bottom with her guns still firing. Oldendorf now 
received reports that Kurita's "crippled" force had emerged from San 
Bernardino Strait and joined action east of Samar with some of the 
supporting escort carrier force stationed there. Plans were hurriedly 
drawn for another surface battle, and Oldendorf's ships turned toward the 
northern entrance to Leyte Gulf to defend the landing area.

Their services were, however, not needed. In an epic action off Samar, the 
escort carriers, destroyers, and destroyer escorts of Rear Admiral C. A. 
F. Sprague's "Taffy Three" put up so desperate a fight that Kurita judged 
the odds against him hopeless and turned back. Halsey's carrier planes 
and surface ships sank all four of Ozawa's decoy carriers, and a 
submarine finished off a damaged cruiser.

The Battle for Leyte Gulf was over. The last major Japanese naval 
counterstroke had been defeated, and Tennessee had had a share in the 
last naval action fought by a battle line.

The next several days were quiet ones for Tennessee, though the Japanese 
sent numerous land-based air strikes against Leyte Gulf. On 29 October, 
the battle-wagon's crew was told that their next destination was to be 
the Puget Sound Navy Yard. Late that day, she got underway for Ulithi with 
West Virginia, Maryland, and four cruisers. From there, she proceeded to 
Pearl Harbor and thence to Bremerton where she entered the shipyard on 26 

Unlike her last yard overhaul, this refit made no remarkable changes in 
Tennessee's appearance. She retained her battery of 10 40-millimeter 
quadruple antiaircraft mounts and 43 20-millimeter guns, but her main-
battery directors received improved models of the Mark 8 radar, and the 
Mark 4 radars used with the 5-inch gun directors were replaced by the 
newer combination of paired Mark 12 and Mark 22 dual-purpose equipments. 
Tennessee's usefulness as an antiaircraft ship was enhanced by the 
addition of a model SP height-finding radar. Her pattern camouflage 
scheme was replaced by a dark gray finish which was calculated to provide a 
less conspicuous aiming point for kamikaze suicide planes, introduced 
during the recapture of the Philippines and becoming more and more of a 
fact of naval life during the winter of 1944 and 1945.

On 2 February 1945, Tennessee headed back toward the western Pacific. 
While she was being refitted, landings had been made in the Central 
Philippines and on Luzon; and the liberation of the Philippines was 
nearly accomplished. From its base in the Marianas, the 20th Army Air 
Force was hitting Japan with B-29s. Their track led past the Benin 
Islands, whose garrison could send an early warning to Japanese airfields 
and gunners in the home islands. To eliminate this danger, provide an 
advanced base for fighter escorts, and obtain an emergency landing field 
for damaged bombers, Nimitz had been directed to capture Iwo Jima before 
going on to the Ryukyus to seize Okinawa as an advanced base for the 
assault on Japan proper. Japanese resistance on Leyte delayed the 
landing on Luzon from 20 December 1944 to 9 January 1945, while the landing 
in the Bonins, scheduled for 20 January 1945, had to be deferred until 19 
February. The schedule for landings in the new year was tight; but 
planners deemed it essential to move as expeditiously as possible since the 
invasion of southern Japan, scheduled for the fall, depended on the use 
of Iwo Jima and Okinawa as bases for a long and intensive aerial 

The Japanese had predicted that a landing would be made on Iwo Jima, 
and a large garrison of good troops under Lieutenant General Tadanichi 
Kuribayashi had done a thorough job of digging themselves in. The volcanic 
island's rugged terrain was heavily fortified with strongly built firing 
positions supported by a deep and intricate network of tunnels.

B-24 Liberators of the 7th Army Air Force bombed Iwo Jima for 74 
consecutive days to soften it up for an assault, and five naval 
bombardments were delivered. This pounding had no significant effect 
except to accelerate the work of the defenders.

Steaming by way of Pearl Harbor and Saipan, Tennessee was just in time to 
join Rear Admiral W. H. P. Blandy's bombardment force. Blandy, an ordnance 
specialist, had been Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance earlier in the war. 
With the expert help of Lt. Col. Donald Weller, USMC, the pre-invasion 
bombardment was thoroughly planned and was modified to meet immediate needs 
as the shelling progressed. The Japanese defensive tactic called for the 
landing troops to be stopped on the beaches before they could move inland, 
and a heavy belt of defenses extended along the shoreline. The mission of 
the bombarding ships and planes was to break down the Japanese cordon and 
permit the landing marines to push through before they could be cut to 

Blandy's gunfire force arrived off Iwo Jima early on 16 February 1945. The 
morning was cool, with occasional rain squalls, and low cloud cover 
hindered spotting planes. Shortly after daybreak, the warships deployed to 
their stations, with escort carriers in the near distance providing air 
coyer. Minesweepers began to clear the approaches to the island at 0645, 
and gunfire opened at 0707. Tennessee's assigned firing course took her 
along the southeastern shore of Iwo Jima, and her 14-inch guns struck the 
slopes of Mount Suribachi while the secondaries aimed at the high ground 
at the north end of the beach. Floatplanes and fighters observing gunfire 
over the island were followed by dark puffs of antiaircraft fire. Blandy 
ordered the ships to fire only when air spot could function effectively in 
the intermittent visibility. Whenever the airplanes could observe the 
results, the ships kept their fire up through the day. During the 
afternoon, an OS2U Kingfisher seaplane from the cruiser Pensacola (CA-24) 
found a Japanese "Zeke" on its tail. The observation pilot, determined to 
put up all the fight he could, went at the fighter though his plane was 
much slower and less maneuverable, and armed only with one .30-caliber 
forward-firing machine gun plus a second flexible gun in the observer's 
cockpit. Against all the odds, the "Zeke" went down in flames.

Visibility was better the next day, and the ships began to approach 
beaches at 0803. Beginning at 10,000 yards, Tennessee, with Idaho and 
Nevada, soon closed to 3,000 yards and delivered heavy direct fire to 
assigned targets while assault minesweeping went on. At 1025, the 
battleships were ordered to retire to make way for UDT's supported by 
LCI(G)'s. The defenders concluded that this was the beginning of the actual 
landing and unmasked guns and mortars in a heavy fire on the gunboats and 
frogmen. Casualties mounted; one gunboat was sunk, another set afire. The 
other LCI's returned fire but had to withdraw as the bombardment ships 
resumed firing against the defenses. Three damaged gunboats came alongside 
Tennessee to transfer their wounded to the battleship's sick bay.

Bombardment continued through the 18th under orders prescribing 
concentrated hammering of the landing beaches. Once more, Tennessee's big 
guns pounded Suribachi while her secondaries attacked gun positions 
overlooking the right flank of the objective area. While the heavier guns 
fired from ranges varying between 2,200 and 6,000 yards, the 40-millimeter 
battery raked other targets on cliffs at the north end of the beach and 
shot up the wrecks of several Japanese ships beached near the shore; 
these had been used as havens for snipers and machine gunners at Tarawa 
and in later landings, and were always treated as potential threats. 
Several fires were started ashore; an ammunition dump exploded 
spectacularly and burned for several hours. Coastal guns and antiaircraft 
weapons were still firing when Tennessee retired for the night, even though 
she and Idaho had been able to demolish many massive masonry pillboxes with 
direct hits.

Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner arrived off Iwo Jima at 0600 on the 
morning of 19 February with the main body of the invasion force and assumed 
command. Transports formed up in the darkness and, at daybreak, put their 
landing craft into the water as troops clambered down the ship's cargo 
nets. The loaded landing craft circled near the transports as they 
awaited the signal to land. Tank landing ships moved closer to shore, 
opened their bow doors, and launched LVT's carrying the first wave of 
assault troops. Shortly after daylight, a heavy bombardment was opened by 
the ships of Task Force 54 reinforced by the newer battleships North 
Carolina (BB-55), Washington (BB-56), and three cruisers lent for the 
occasion by Task Force 58. A total of seven battleships, four 8-inch gun 
heavy cruisers, and three light cruisers armed with 6-inchers laid their 
fire on the landing areas. At first, the fire was slow and deliberate. 
It was checked for an air strike, as planes from the fast carrier force 
delivered bombs, rockets, and napalm before the ships resumed a heavier 
fire. Beginning at 0850, fire was so adjusted that carrier fighters could 
strafe the beaches during the last few minutes before H-hour. One minute 
before H-hour, the turret guns ceased firing, and the secondary guns 
began to drop a rolling barrage just ahead of the marines as they landed 
and moved inland. Shore fire control parties (SFCP) accompanied the marines 
ashore; one SFCP was assigned to work with each of the supporting 
battleships and cruisers.

The first wave crossed the line of departure at 0830 and landed only a 
fraction before the scheduled 0900 H-hour. As the troops landed, the 
Japanese, who had waited out the bombardment in their deep tunnels, 
manned guns and mortars in protected emplacements and opened an 
increasingly heavy fire. The ships' guns were kept busy; main batteries 
took on gun positions as they were located while the lighter guns kept 
up their barrage ahead of the men on the ground. Tennessee's station was 
3,000 yards from Suribachi at the southern end of the landing area, and the 
water around her was churned by hundreds of vehicles and landing craft as 
the successive waves moved in. By the end of the day, some 30,000 marines 
were on Iwo Jima, and some tanks and artillery had been landed.

Ground fighting on Iwo Jima continued until 26 March, as the stubborn 
Japanese were slowly rooted out of the positions that they continued to 
defend to the last. Even before the struggle ended, though, Army engineers 
had patched up the island's battered airstrip; and damaged B-29s were able 
to seek refuge on dry land instead of ditching. Tennessee was a part of 
this struggle until 7 March, when she sailed for Ulithi. The days after 
the landing were a steady routine of call fire and counter-battery work 
as Japanese guns continued to reveal themselves by opening fire on the 
hovering support ships before being located and taken out. For this 
purpose, it had been found that single-gun salvoes at close range, using 
"pointer fire" (in which the gun is directly aimed by telescopic sight), 
were the most precise and effective. The notion of using a 14-inch naval 
gun for sniping was rather new, but it seemed to work very well.

Tennessee left the area, having deposited 1,370 rounds of main-battery 
fire on Iwo Jima along with 6,380 5-inch and 11,481 40-millimeter 
projectiles. At Ulithi, she began to prepare for the Okinawa operation. 
Supplies and ammunition were loaded, and the tired sailors stretched 
their legs and drank beer on tiny Mog Mog Island, whose principal 
selling point as a vacation resort seemed to be that it did not move 

Everyone involved knew that this job would be attended by special 
hazards. Censorship had prevented any mention of the Japanese kamikaze 
weapon in the American press, but it was much in the mind of the Fleet. 
Admiral Oldendorf, injured and hospitalized shortly after reaching Ulithi, 
was replaced by Rear Admiral Morton Deyo, who broke his flag in Tennessee 
on 15 March. On the 21st, Task Force 54, the gunfire force, was underway 
for the Ryukyus. As Kerama Retto, a small cluster of islands near 
Okinawa, was taken for use as an advanced base, the battleships arrived 
off the main island. With Tennessee were Colorado, Maryland, West Virginia, 
New Mexico, and Idaho, as well as Nevada, New York, Texas, and the 

Arkansas (BB-33), first commissioned in 1912 and still pulling her 
weight; she was the only battleship in the fleet still armed with 12-
inch guns. With the capital ships came 10 cruisers, 32 destroyer and 
destroyer escorts, and numerous gun- and rocket-firing LCI's and LSM's.

Shortly after midnight on 26 March 1945, Task Force 54 approached Okinawa 
with its crews at general quarters in the darkness. At daylight, it 
deployed; the bombardment began at long range since the nearer waters had 
not yet been swept for mines. The minesweepers began to work as the ships 
fired on targets located by previous aerial reconnaissance. No enemy fire 
answered the American guns though antiaircraft shells pecked at spotting 
planes. Japanese submarines were in the area, and a number of ships 
sighted torpedo wakes, but no damage resulted. Planes from the escort 
carriers and from Task Force 58 mounted strikes on the island, took 
detailed photographs, and flew air cover for the surface ships. The need 
for this became quite evident early on the next morning, when a number 
of kamikazes came in at a time when no combat air patrol (CAP) was 
overhead. One suicider hit Nevada, knocking out one of her turrets; 
another damaged Biloxi (CL-80) at the waterline, while a third went into 
the water to port of Tennessee. The converted "flush-decker" Dorsey (DMS-1) 
was hit by a kamikaze which glanced off the ship, damaging, but not 
crippling, her.

This was to be the pattern of life off Okinawa during the grueling weeks 
to come, as the "fleet that came to stay" battled to see the land battle 
through while keeping itself alive. Long hours at general quarters kept 
all hands tense and tired as the ships prowled off the island firing at 
every likely target while reports of suicide attacks piled up.

The day of the landing-1 April 1945, Easter Sunday-was bright and fair, 
with a gentle breeze. At 0600, Admiral Turner assumed overall command of 
the operation as Deyo continued to direct the gunfire ships. After a 
morning bombardment which Morison described as "the most impressive gunfire 
support that any assault troops had ever had," the landing began. H-Hour 
was 0830, preceded by the by-now customary intense battering by everything 
from battleships and carrier planes to sheaves of rockets from flat-
bottomed landing craft. As the troops hit the beach, the bombardment was 
lifted. Early progress was good, meeting surprisingly light opposition. 
Veterans of earlier landings, and even the intelligence staffs, were 
puzzled at not having to fight the usual savage struggle to get ashore. 
Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, commanding nearly 100,000 defenders-
three-quarters of whom were regular Army troops-had decided to make no 
attempt to stop the landing at the beaches. Instead, he dug his main 
strength into the hilly southern end of Okinawa, thoroughly fortified as 
Iwo Jima had been but on a much larger scale. Japanese artillery held its 
fire during the pre-landing bombardment so that their positions would 
not be given away; instead of dueling with the ships, they would save 
their fire for the landing troops. His general idea was to pin down the 
invasion force and delay it as long as possible, while a massive suicide 
air offensive wore down the supporting naval forces.

By 18 April, all of northern and central Okinawa was in American hands. 
The long fight for the Japanese citadel around the old island capital of 
Naha was to last much longer, and the island was not secured until 21 
June. In the meanwhile, the Navy battled by day and night against the 
unremitting kamikaze offensive. On the afternoon of 12 April, Tennessee- 
instead of taking up a fire-support station-was steaming- in air-defense 
formation. Deyo had been warned that a heavy air attack was on the way 
and, during the afternoon, it arrived. Some suiciders were knocked down by 
picket destroyers or splashed by CAP; others, though, got through and aimed 
themselves at the firing, maneuvering ships. More bandits were shot down 
by antiaircraft fire, but Zellars (DD-777) was set ablaze by a crashing 
plane. Five more picked Tennessee and came in through puffs of shell 
bursts and the heavy smoke from Zellars. Four were shot down, the last 
three only hundreds of yards from the battleship. The last diver came down 
on the bow at a 45-degree angle, was set aflame by 5-inch fire, and 
plunged into the water. At the same time, an Aichi A6M "Val" dive-bomber, 
flying low on the starboard bow, headed directly for Tennessee's bridge. 
Lookouts spotted the "Val" at 2,500 yards, and every automatic weapon that 
could bear opened up. One of the plane's fixed wheels was torn off, and 
its engine began to smoke. Heading at first for Tennessee's tower 
foremast, the Japanese pilot swerved slightly and crashed into the 
signal bridge. The burning wreck slid aft along the superstructure, 
crushing antiaircraft guns and their crews, and stopped next to Turret 
Three. It had carried a 250-pound bomb which, with what was left of the 
plane, went through the wooden deck and exploded. Twenty-two men were killed 
or fatally wounded, with another 107 injured.

This was not enough to put Tennessee out of action. The dead were buried 
at sea, and the wounded transferred the following day to the casualty-
evacuation transport Pinkney (APH-2). The ship's company turned to on 
emergency repairs; and, by 14 April, the ship was back on the firing 
line. Tennessee remained off Okinawa for two more weeks. On 1 May, Admiral 
Deyo shifted his flag to a cruiser, and Tennessee set her course for 
Ulithi. Here, the repair ship Ajax (AR-6) made repairs, cutting away 
damaged plating and installing new guns to replace those lost. On 3 
June, the ship sailed for Okinawa, arriving on the 9th. By now, the worst 
was over. Army troops were making a final drive to clear the island, and 
Tennessee's gunfire again helped to clear the way. With the other old 
battlewagons, she remained in support until organized resistance was 
declared at an end on 21 June. By this time, the scene in the air was 
different. Besides Navy carrier planes, large numbers of Army Air Force 
fighters were now flying from Okinawan fields; and the days when everything 
that flew was a cause for alarm had ended-for the time being.

Vice Admiral Oldendorf was subsequently placed in command of naval forces 
in the Ryukyus, and Tennessee flew his flag as she covered minesweeping 
operations in the East China Sea and patrolled the waters off Shanghai 
for Japanese shipping as escort carriers sent strikes against the China 
coast. This was Tennessee's station until V-J Day brought an end to the 
war in the Pacific. When this glad day came, the big ship was operating 
out of Okinawa and preparing to take part in the planned invasion of 

The battleship's final assignment of the war was to cover the landing of 
occupation troops at Wakayama, Japan. She arrived there on 23 September, 
then went on to Yokosuka. Tennessee's crew had the chance to look over 
the Imperial Navy's big shipyard and operating base and do some 
sightseeing before she got underway for Singapore on 15 October. At 
Singapore, Oldendorf shifted his flag to the cruiser Springfield (CL-66), 
and Tennessee continued her long voyage home by way of the Cape of Good 

On the fourth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the old veteran moored at the 
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. During those years, she had hurled 9,347 14-
inch rounds at the enemy, with 46,341 shells from her 5-inch guns and more 
than 100,000 rounds from her antiaircraft battery.

The process of trimming the wartime Navy down to postwar size was already 
well underway. Tennessee was one of the older, yet still useful, ships 
selected for inclusion in the "mothball fleet;" and, during 1946, she 
underwent a process of preservation and preparation for inactivation. 
The work went slowly; there were many ships to lay up and not too many 
people to do it. Finally, on 14 February 1947, Tennessee's ensign was 
hauled down for the last time as she was placed out of commission.

Tennessee remained in the inactive fleet for another 12 years. By then, 
time and technology had passed her by; and, on 1 March 1959, her name 
was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. On 10 July of that year, 
she was sold to the Bethlehem Steel Company for scrapping.

Tennessee earned a Navy Unit Commendation and 10 battle stars for 
World War II service.

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Built at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Ca.
Keel Laid 10/25/16, Commissioned 08/10/21
Capt. H. J. Ziegemeier commanding
The fifth CALIFORNIA (BB- 41) was launched 20 November 1919 by
Mare Island Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. R. T. Zane; and
commissioned 10 August 1921, Captain H. J. Ziegemeier in
command; and reported to the Pacific Fleet as flagship.

Length Overall: 624'6"
Extreme Beam: 97'4"
Displacement: Tons: 32,300 Mean Draft: 30'3"
Complement: Off.: 57 Enl.: 1,026
Main: (12) 14"/50 cal
Secondary: (14) 5"/51 cal (4) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" sumberged
Armor: Max. Thicness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,500
Engines: Mfr.: Curtis (GE)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: Bureau Express No.: 8
Drive: TE
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 4,656










California BB-44
The fifth California (BB-44) was launched 20 November 1919 by Mare Island 
Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. R. T. Zane; and commissioned 10 August 1921, 
Captain H. J. Ziegemeier in command; and reported to the Pacific Fleet 
as flagship.

For 20 years from 1921 until 1941, California served first as flagship of 
the Pacific Fleet, then as flagship of the Battle Fleet (Battle Force), 
U.S. Fleet. Her annual activities included joint Army-Navy exercises, 
tactical and organizational development problems, and fleet 
concentrations for various purposes. Intensive training and superior 
performance won her the Battle Efficiency Pennant for 1921-22, and the 
Gunnery "E" for 1925-26.

In the summer of 1925 California led the Battle Fleet and a division of 
cruisers from the Scouting Fleet on a very successful good-will cruise to 
Australia and New Zealand. She took part in the Presidential reviews of 
1927, 1930, and 1934. She was modernized in late 1929 and early 1930 and 
equipped with an improved antiaircraft battery.

In 1940 California switched her base to Pearl Harbor. On 7 December 1941 
she was moored at the southernmost berth of "Battleship Row" and was with 
other dreadnoughts of the Battle Force when the Japanese launched their 
aerial attack. As she was about to undergo a material inspection, 
watertight integrity was not at its maximum; consequently the ship 
suffered great damage when hit. At 0805 a bomb exploded below decks, 
setting off an antiaircraft ammunition magazine and killing about 50 
men. A second bomb ruptured her bow plates. Despite valiant efforts to 
keep her afloat, the inrushing water could not be isolated and 
California settled into the mud with only her superstructure remaining 
above the surface. When the action ended, 98 of her crew were lost and 
61 wounded.

On 25 March 1942 California was re-floated and dry-docked at Pearl 
Harbor for repairs. On 7 June she departed under her own power, for Puget 
Sound Navy Yard where a major reconstruction job was accomplished, 
including improved protection, stability, AA battery, and fire control 

California departed Bremerton 31 January 1944 for shakedown at San Pedro, 
and sailed from San Francisco 5 May for the invasion of the Marianas. Off 
Saipan in June, she conducted effective shore bombardment and call fire 
missions. On 14 June she was hit by a shell from an enemy shore battery 
which killed one man and wounded nine. Following Saipan, her heavy guns 
helped blast the way for our assault force in the Guam and Tinian 
operations (18 July-9 August). On 24 August she arrived at Espiritu 
Santo for repairs to her port bow damaged in a collision with Tennessee 

On 17 September 1944 California sailed to Manus to ready for the invasion 
of the Philippines. From 17 October to 20 November she played a key role 
in the Leyte operation, including the destruction of the Japanese fleet in 
the Battle of Surigao Strait (25 October). On 1 January 1945 she 
departed the Palaus for the Luzon landings. Her powerful batteries were 
an important factor in the success of these dangerous operations driven 
home into the heart of enemy-held territory under heavy air attack. On 6 
January while providing shore bombardment at Lingayen Gulf she was hit by 
a kamikaze plane; 44 of her crew were killed and 155 were wounded. 
Undeterred she made temporary repairs on the spot and remained carrying 
out her critical mission of shore bombardment until the job was done. She 
departed 23 January for Puget Sound Navy Yard, arriving 15 February, 
for permanent repairs.

California returned to action at Okinawa 15 June 1945 and remained in 
that embattled area until 21 July. Two days later she joined TF 95 to 
cover the East China Sea minesweeping operations. After a short voyage to 
San Pedro Bay, P.I., in August, the ship departed Okinawa 20 September 
to cover the landing of the 6th Army occupation force at Wakanoura Wan, 
Honshu. She remained supporting the occupation until 15 October, then 
sailed via Singapore, Colombo, and Capetown, to Philadelphia, arriving 7 
December. She was placed in commission in reserve there 7 August 1946: 
out of commission in reserve 14 February 1947; and sold 10 July 1959.

California received seven battle stars for World War II service. 

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Built at New York SB Co., Camden, N. J.
Keel Laid 05/29/19, Commissioned 08/30/23
Capt. R. R. Belknap commanding
The third COLORADO (BB-45) was launched 22 March 1921 by New
York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J., sponsored by Mrs. M. Melville;
and commissioned 30 August 1923, Captain R. R. Belknap in command.
Length Overall: 624'6"
Extreme Beam: 97'6"
Displacement: Tons: 32,600 Mean Draft: 30'6"
Complement: Off.: 58 Enl.: 1,022
Main: (8) 16"/45
Secondary: (12) 5"/51
(8) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Catapults: 2
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,900
Engines: Mfr.: Wstgh.
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TE
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 4,570










Colorado BB-45

The third Colorado (BB-45) was launched 22 March 1921 by New York 
Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J., sponsored by Mrs. M. Melville; and 
commissioned 30 August1923, Captain R. R. Belknap in command.

Colorado sailed from New York 29 December 1923 on a maiden voyage that took 
her to Portsmouth, England; Cherbourg and Villefranche, France; Naples, 
Italy; and Gibraltar before returning to New York 15 February 1924. After 
repairs and final tests she sailed for the west coast 11 July and 
arrived at  San  Francisco 15 September 1924.

From 1924 to 1941 Colorado operated with the Battle Fleet in the Pacific, 
participating in fleet exercises and various ceremonies, and returning to 
the east coast from time to time for fleet problems in the Caribbean. She 
also cruised to Samoa, Australia and New Zealand (8 June-26 September 1925) 
to show the flag in the far Pacific. She aided in earthquake relief at Long 
Beach, Calif., from 10 to 11 March 1933 and during an NROTC cruise from 11 
June to 22 July 1937 she assisted in the search for the missing Amelia 

Based on Pearl Harbor from 27 January 1941, Colorado operated in the 
Hawaiian training area in intensive exercises and war games until 25 June 
when she departed for the west coast and overhaul at Puget Sound Navy 
Yard which lasted until 31 March 1942.

After west coast training, Colorado returned to Pearl Harbor 14 August 1942 
to complete her preparations for action. She operated in the vicinity of 
the Fiji Islands and New Hebrides from 8 November 1942 to 17 September 
1943 to prevent further Japanese expansion. She sortied from Pearl Harbor 
21 October to provide pre-invasion bombardment and fire support for the 
invasion of Tarawa, returning to port 7 December 1943. After west coast 
overhaul, Colorado returned to Lahaina Roads, Hawaiian Islands, 21 January 
1944 and sortied the next day for the Marshall Islands operation, 
providing pre-invasion bombardment and fire support for the invasions of 
Kwajalein and Eniwetok until 23 February when she headed for Puget Sound 
Navy Yard and overhaul.

Joining other units bound for the Mariana Islands operation at San 
Francisco, Colorado sailed on 5 May 1944 by way of Pearl Harbor and 
Kwajalein for pre-invasion bombardment and fire support duties at Saipan, 
Guam, and Tinian from 14 June. On 24 July during the shelling of Tinian, 
Colorado received 22 shell hits from shore batteries but continued to 
support the invading troops until 3 August. After repairs on the west 
coast, Colorado arrived in Leyte Gulf 20 November 1944 to support American 
troops fighting ashore. A week later she was hit by two kamikazes which 
killed 19 of her men, wounded 72, and caused moderate damage. Nevertheless 
as planned she bombarded Mindoro between 12 and 17 December before 
proceeding to Manus Island for emergency repairs. Returning to Luzon 1 
January 1945, she participated in the pre-invasion bombardments in Lingayen 
Gulf. On 9 January accidental gunfire hit her superstructure killing 18 
and wounding 51.

After replenishing at Ulithi, Colorado joined the pre-invasion bombardment 
group at Kerama Retto 25 March 1945 for the invasion of Okinawa. She 
remained there supplying fire support until 22 May when she cleared for 
Leyte Gulf.

Returning to occupied Okinawa 6 August 1945, Colorado sailed from there for 
the occupation of Japan, covering the airborne landings at Atsugi Airfield, 
Tokyo. 27 August. Departing Tokyo Bay 20 September 1945 she arrived at San 
Francisco 15 October, then steamed to Seattle for the Navy Day celebration 
27 October. Assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty she made three runs to Pearl 
Harbor to transport 6,357 veterans home before reporting to Bremerton Navy 
Yard for inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve there 7 
January 1947, and sold for scrapping 23 July 1959.

Colorado received seven battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at Newport News SB Co., Newport News, Va.
Keel Laid 04/24/17, Commissioned 07/21/21
Capt. C. F. Preston commanding
MARYLAND (BB-46) was laid down 24 April 1917 by Newport News
Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 20 March 1920;
sponsored by Mrs. E. Brook Lee, wife of the Comptroller of the
State of Maryland; and commissioned 21 July 1921, Capt. C. F. Preston In command.
Length Overall: 624'
Extreme Beam: 97'6"
Displacement: Tons: 32,600 Mean Draft: 30'6"
Complement: Off.: 62 Enl.: 1,022
Main: (8) 16"/45
Secondary: (14) 5"/51 cal
(4) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Catapults: 2
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,900
Engines: Mfr.: Curtis (GE)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TE
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 4,570










Maryland BB-46

Maryland (BB?46) was laid down 24 April 1917 by Newport News Shipbuilding 
Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 20 March 1920; sponsored by Mrs. E. Brook 
Lee, wife of the Comptroller of the State of Maryland; and commissioned 21 
July 1921, Capt. C. F. Preston in command.

With a new type seaplane catapult and the first 16?inch guns mounted on a 
U.S. ship, Maryland was the pride of the Navy. Following an east coast 
shakedown she found herself in great demand for special occasions. She 
appeared at Annapolis for the 1922 Naval Academy graduation and at Boston 
for the anniversary of Bunker Hill and the Fourth of July. Between 18 
August and 25 September she paid her first visit to a foreign port 
transporting Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes to Rio de Janeiro for 
Brazil's Centennial Exposition. The next year, after fleet exercises off 
the Panama Canal Zone. Maryland transited the canal in the latter part of 
June to join the battle fleet stationed on the west coast.

She made a good will voyage to Australia and New Zealand in 1925, and 
transported President?elect Herbert Hoover on the Pacific leg of his tour 
of Latin America in 1928. Throughout these years and the 1930's she served 
as a mainstay of fleet readiness through tireless training operations. In 
1940 Maryland and the other battleships of the battle force changed their 
bases of operations to Pearl Harbor. She was present at battleship row 
along Ford Island when Japan struck 7 December 1941.

A gunner's mate striker, writing a letter near his machinegun, brought the 
first of his ship's guns into play, shooting down one of two attacking 
torpedo planes. Inboard of Oklahoma and thus protected from the initial 
torpedo attack, Maryland managed to bring all her antiaircraft batteries 
into action. Despite two bomb hits she continued to fire and, after the 
attack, sent firefighting parties to assist her sister ships. The Japanese 
announced that she had been sunk, but 30 December, battered yet sturdy, 
she entered the repair yard at Puget Sound Navy Yard.

She emerged 26 February 1942 not only, repaired but modernized and ready 
for great service. During the important Battle of Midway, the old 
battleships, not fast enough to accompany the carriers, operated as a 
backup force. Thereafter Maryland engaged in almost constant training 
exercises until 1 August, when she returned to Pearl Harbor.

Assigned sentinel duty along the southern supply routes to Australia and 
the Pacific fighting fronts, Maryland and Colorado operated out of the 
Fiji Islands in November and advanced to the New Hebrides in February 
1943. Her return to Pearl Harbor after 10 months in the heat of the South 
Pacific brought the installation of additional 40mm. antiaircraft 

In the vast amphibious campaigns of the Pacific the firepower of Maryland 
and her sister ships played a key role. Departing the Hawaiian Islands 20 
October for the South Pacific, Maryland became flagship for Rear Adm. 
Harry W. Hill's Southern Attack Force in the Gilberts invasion, with Maj. 
Gen. Julian C. Smith, Commander, 2d Marine Division, embarked. Early on 20 
November her big guns commenced 5 days of shore bombardment and call fire 
assignment in support of one of the most gallant amphibious assaults in 
history, at Tarawa. After the island's capture, she remained in the area 
protecting the transports until she headed back to the United States 7 

Maryland steamed from San Pedro 13 January 1944, rendezvoused with TF 53 
at Hawaii, and sailed in time to be in position off the well fortified 
Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshalls on the morning of the 31st. Assigned to 
reduce pillboxes and blockhouses on Roi Island, the old battleship fired 
splendidly all day and again the following morning until the assault waves 
were within 500 yards of the beach. Following the operation she steamed 
back to Bremerton, Wash., for new guns and an overhaul.

Two months later Maryland, again readied for battle, sailed westward 5 May 
to participate in the biggest campaign yet attempted in the Pacific war-
Saipan. Vice Adm. R. K. Turner allotted TF 52.3 days to soften up the 
island before the assault. Firing commenced 0545 on 14 June. Silencing two 
coastal guns, Maryland encountered little opposition as she delivered one 
devastating barrage after another. The Japanese attempted to strike back 
through the air. On the 18th the ship's guns claimed their first victim 
but 4 days later a Betty sneaked in flying low over the still?contested 
Saipan hills and found two anchored battleships. Crossing the bow of 
Pennsylvania, she dropped a torpedo which opened a gaping hole in 
Maryland's bow, portside. Casualties were light and in 15 minutes she was 
underway for Eniwetok, and shortly thereafter to the repair yards at Pearl 

With an around?the?clock effort by the shipyard workers, on 13 August, 34 
days after arrival, the ship again steamed forth for the war zone. 
Rehearsing briefly in the Solomons, she joined Rear Adm. J. B. Oldendorf's 
Western Fire Support Group (TG 32.5) bound for the Palau Islands. Firing 
first on 12 September to cover minesweeping operations and underwater 
demolition teams, she continued the shore bombardment until the landing 
craft approached the beaches on the 15th. Four days later organized 
resistance collapsed, permitting the fire support ships to retire to the 
Admiralty Islands.

Reassigned to the 7th Fleet, Maryland sortied 12 October to cover the 
important initial landings in the Philippines at Leyte. Despite floating 
mines, the invasion force entered Leyte Gulf on the 18th. The bombardment 
the following day and the landings of the 20th went well, but the Japanese 
decided to contest this success with both kamikazes and a three?pronged 
naval attack.

Forewarned by submarines and scout planes, the American battleship?cruiser 
force steamed 24 October to the southern end of Leyte Gulf to protect 
Surigao Strait. Early on the 25th the enemy battleships Fuso and Yamishiro 
led the Japanese advance into the Strait. The waiting Americans pounded 
the enemy ships severely. First came torpedoes from the fleeting PT boats, 
then more torpedoes from the daring destroyers. Next came gunfire from the 
cruisers. Finally, at 0355 the readied guns of the battleship line opened 
fire. Thunderous salvos of heavy caliber fire slowed the enemy force and 
set the Japanese battleships on fire. Leaving their doomed battleships 
behind, the decimated enemy ships fled; only a remnant of the original 
force escaped subsequent naval air attacks. Similarly other U.S. forces 
blunted and repulsed attacks by the center and northern enemy forces 
during the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf.

In the aftermath of this important victory, Maryland patrolled the 
southern approaches to Surigao Strait until 29 October; after 
replenishment at Manus, Admiralties, she resumed patrol duty 16 November. 
Japanese air attacks continued to pose a definite threat. During a raid on 
27 November, guns of TG 77.2 splashed 11 of the attacking planes. Shortly 
after sunset 2 days later, 9 determined suicide plane dove through the 
clouds and crashed Maryland between turrets Nos. 1 and 2. Thirty?one 
sailors died in the explosion and fire that followed; however, the sturdy 
battleship continued her patrols until relieved 2 December. She reached 
Pearl Harbor 19 December and during the next 2 months workmen repaired and 
refitted "Fighting Mary."

After refresher training, Maryland headed for the western Pacific 4 March 
1945, arriving Ulithi the 16th. There she joined Rear Adm. M. L. Deyo's TF 
54 and on 21 March departed for the invasion of Okinawa. She closed the 
coast of Okinawa 25 March and began pounding assigned targets along the 
southeastern part of the Japanese island fortress. In addition, she 
provided fire support during a diversionary raid on the southeast coast 
drawing enemy defenses from the main amphibious landings on the western 
beaches. On 3 April she received a fire support call from Minneapolis 
(CA?36). The cruiser was unable to silence entrenched shore batteries with 
8?inch fire and called on "Fighting Mary's" mighty 16?inch guns for aid. 
The veteran battleship hurled six salvos which destroyed the enemy 

Maryland continued fire support duty until 7 April when she sailed with TF 
54 to intercept a Japanese surface force to the northward. These ships, 
including mighty battleship Yamato, came under intense air attacks that 
same day, and planes of the Fast Carrier Task Force sank six of 10 ships 
in the force. At dusk on the 7th Maryland took her third hit from enemy 
planes in 10 months. A suicide plane loaded with a 500?pound bomb crashed 
the top of turret No. 3 from starboard. The explosion wiped out the 20mm. 
mounts, causing 53 casualties. As before, however, she continued to blast 
enemy shore positions with devastating 16?inch fire. While guarding the 
western transport area 12 April, she splashed two planes during afternoon 

On 14 April Maryland left the firing line as escort for retiring 
transports. Steaming via the Marianas and Pearl Harbor, she reached Puget 
Sound 7 May and entered the Navy Yard at Bremerton the next day for 
extensive overhaul. Completing repairs in August, she now entered the 
"Magic Carpet" fleet. During the next 4 months she made five voyages 
between the west coast and Pearl Harbor, returning more than 9,000 combat 
veterans to the United States.

Arriving Seattle, Wash., 17 December, she completed "Magic Carpet" duty. 
She entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 15 April 1946 and was placed in 
commission in reserve on an inactive basis 15 July. She decommissioned aft 
Bremerton 3 April 1947 and remained there as a unit of the Pacific Reserve 
Fleet. Maryland was sold for scrapping to Learner Co. of Oakland, Calif., 
8 July 1959.

On 2 June 1961 the Honorable J. Millard Tawes, Governor of Maryland, 
dedicated a lasting monument to the memory of the venerable battleship and 
her fighting men. Built of granite and bronze and incorporating the bell 
of "Fighting Mary," this monument honors a ship and her men whose service 
to the Nation reflected the highest traditions of the naval service. This 
monument is located on the grounds of the State House, Annapolis, Md.

Maryland received seven battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at Newport News SB Co., Newport News, Va.
Keel Laid 04/12/20, Commissioned 12/01/23
Capt. T. J. Senn commanding
The second WEST VIRGINIA (Battleship No. 48) was laid down on 12
April 1920 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. of
Newport News, Va.; reclassified to BB-48 on 17 July 1920;
launched on 17 November 1921; sponsored by Miss Alice Wright
Mann, daughter of Isaac T. Mann, a prominent West Virginian; and
commissioned on 1 December 1923, Capt. Thomas J. Senn in command.
Length Overall: 624'
Extreme Beam: 97'6"
Displacement: Tons: 32,600 Mean Draft: 30'6"
Complement: Off.: 62 Enl.: 1,022
Main: (8) 16"/45
Secondary: (12) 5"/51 cal
(8) 3"/50 cal
Torpedo Tubes: (2) 21" submerged
Catapults: 2
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 21 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 28,900
Engines: Mfr.: Curtis (GE)
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TE
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 4,570










West Virginia BB-48

The second West Virginia (Battleship No. 48) was laid down on 12 April 
1920 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. of Newport News, Va.; 
reclassified to BB-48 on 17 July 1920; launched on 17 November 1921; 
sponsored by Miss Alice Wright Mann, daughter of Issac T. Mann, a prominent 
West Virginian; and commissioned on 1 December 1923, Capt. Thomas J. Senn in 

The most recent of the "super-dreadnoughts," West Virginia embodied the 
latest knowledge of naval architecture; the water-tight compartmentation 
of her hull and her armor protection marked an advance over the design of 
battleships built or on the drawing boards before the Battle of Jutland.

In the months that followed, West Virginia ran her trials and shakedown 
and underwent post-commissioning alterations. After a brief period of 
work at the New York Navy Yard, the ship made the passage to Hampton 
Roads, although experiencing trouble with her steering gear while en 
route. Overhauling the troublesome gear thoroughly while in Hampton Roads, 
West Virginia put to sea on the morning of 16 June 1924. At 1010, while 
the battleship was steaming in the center of Lynnhaven Channel, the 
quartermaster at the wheel  reported  that the  rudder  indicator would 
not answer. The ringing of the emergency bell to the steering motor room 
produced no response; Capt. Senn quickly ordered all engines stopped, but 
the engine room telegraph would not answer-it was later discovered that 
there was no power to the engine room telegraph or the steering 

The captain then resorted to sending orders down to main control via the 
voice tube from the bridge. He ordered full speed ahead on the port 
engine; all stop on the starboard. Efforts continued apace over the 
ensuing moments to steer the ship with her engines and keep her in the 
channel and, when this failed, to check headway from the edge of the 
channel. Unfortunately, all efforts failed; and, as the ship lost headway 
due to an engine casualty, West Virginia grounded on the soft mud bottom. 
Fortunately, as Comdr. (later Admiral) Harold R. Stark, the executive 
officer, reported: ". . . not the slightest damage to the hull had been 

The court of inquiry, investigating the grounding, found that inaccurate 
and misleading navigational data had been supplied the ship. The legends 
on the charts provided were found to have indicated uniformly greater 
channel width than actually existed. The findings of the court thus 
exonerated Capt. Senn and the navigator from any blame.

After repairs had been effected, West Virginia became flagship for the 
Commander, Battleship Divisions, Battle Fleet, on 30 October 1924, thus 
beginning her service as an integral part of the "backbone of the 
fleet" as the battleships were regarded. She soon proved her worth under 
a succession of commanding officers-most of whom later attained flag 
rank. In 1925, for example, under Capt. A. J. Hepburn, the comparative 
newcomer to battleship ranks scored first in competitive short range 
target practices. During Hepburn's tour, West Virginia garnered two 
trophies for attaining the highest merit in the category.

The ship later won the American Defense Cup- presented by the American 
Defense Society to the battleship obtaining the highest merit with all 
guns in short-range firing-and the Spokane Cup, presented by that city's 
Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the battleship's scoring the 
highest merit with all guns at short range. In 1925, West Virginia won 
the Battle Efficiency Pennant for battleships-the first time that the 
ship had won the coveted "Meatball." She won it again in 1927, 1932, and 

During this period, West Virginia underwent a cycle of training, 
maintenance, and readiness exercises, taking part in engineering and 
gunnery competitions and the annual large-scale exercises, or "Fleet 
Problems." In the latter, the Fleet would be divided up into opposing 
sides, and a strategic or tactical situation would be played out, with 
the lessons learned becoming part and parcel of the development of 
doctrine that would later be tested in the crucible of combat.

During 1925, the battleship took part in the joint Army-Navy maneuvers to 
test the defenses of the Hawaiian Islands and then cruised with the Fleet 
to Australia and New Zealand. In fleet exercises subsequent to the 1925 
cruise, West Virginia ranged from Hawaii to the Caribbean and the 
Atlantic, and from Alaskan waters to Panama.

In order to keep pace with technological developments in ordnance, 
gunnery, and fire control as well as engineering and aviation-the ship 
underwent modifications designed to increase the ship's capacity to 
perform her designed function. Some of the alterations effected included 
the replacement of her initial 3-inch antiaircraft battery with 5-inch/25-
caliber dual-purpose guns; the addition of platforms for .50-caliber 
machine guns at the foremast and maintop; and the addition of catapults on 
her quarterdeck, aft, and on her number III, or "high" turret.

In the closing years of the decade of the 1930's, however, it was 
becoming evident to many that it was only a matter of time before the 
United States became involved in yet another war on a grand scale. The 
United States Fleet thus came to be considered a grand deterrent to the 
country's most probable enemy- Japan. This reasoning produced the 
hurried dispatch of the Fleet to Pacific waters in the spring of 1939 and 
the retention of the Fleet in Hawaiian waters in 1940, following the 
conclusion of Fleet Problem XXI in April.

As the year 1941 progressed, West Virginia carried out a schedule of 
intensive training, basing on Pearl Harbor and operating in various task 
forces and groups in the Hawaiian operating area. This routine continued 
even through the unusually tense period that began in late November and 
extended into the next month. Such at-sea periods were usually followed by 
in-port upkeep, with the battleships mooring to masonry "quays" along the 
southeast shores of Ford Island in the center of Pearl Harbor.

On Sunday, 7 December 1941, West Virginia lay moored outboard of 
Tennessee (BB-43) at berth F-6 with 40 feet of water beneath her keel. 
Shortly before 0800, Japanese planes, flying from a six-carrier task 
force, commenced their well-planned attack on the Fleet at Pearl Harbor. 
West Virginia took five 18-inch aircraft torpedoes in her port side and 
two bomb hits those bombs being 15-inch armor-piercing shells fitted with 
fins. The first bomb penetrated the superstructure deck, wrecking the 
port casemates and causing that deck to collapse to the level of the 
galley deck below.

Four casemates and the galley caught fire immediately, with the subsequent 
detonation of the ready-service projectiles stowed in the casemates.

The second bomb hit further aft, wrecking one Vought OS2U Kingfisher 
floatplane atop the "high" catapult on Turret III and pitching the second 
one on her top on the main deck below. The projectile penetrated the 4-
inch turret roof, wrecking one gun in the turret itself. Although the bomb 
proved a dud, burning gasoline from the damaged aircraft caused some 

The torpedoes, though, ripped into the ship's port side; only prompt 
action by Lt. Claude V. Ricketts, the assistant fire control officer who 
had some knowledge of damage control techniques, saved the ship from the 
fate that befell Oklahoma (BB-37) moored ahead. She, too, took torpedo 
hits that flooded the ship and caused her to capsize.

Instances of heroic conduct on board the heavily damaged battleship 
proliferated in the heat of battle. The ship's commanding officer, Capt. 
Mervyn S. Bennion, arrived on his bridge early in the battle, only to 
be struck down by a bomb fragment hurled in his direction when a 15-inch 
"bomb" hit the center gun in Tennessee's Turret II, spraying that ship's 
superstructure and West Virginia's with fragments. Bennion, hit in the 
abdomen, crumpled to the deck, mortally wounded, but clung tenaciously to 
life until just before the ship was abandoned, involved in the conduct of 
the ship's defense up to the last moment of his life. For his conspicuous 
devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own 
life, Capt. Bennion was awarded a Medal of Honor, posthumously.

West Virginia was abandoned, settling to the harbor bottom on an even 
keel, her fires fought from on board by a party that volunteered to 
return to the ship after the first abandonment. By the afternoon of the 
following day, 8 December, the flames had been extinguished. The garbage 
lighter, YG-17, played an important role in assisting those efforts 
during the Pearl Harbor attack, remaining in position alongside despite 
the danger posed by exploding ammunition on board the battleship.

Later examination revealed that West Virginia had taken not five, but 
six, torpedo hits. With a patch over the damaged areas of her hull, the 
battleship was pumped out and ultimately re-floated on 17 May 1942. Docked 
in Drydock Number One on 9 June, West Virginia again came under 
scrutiny, and it was discovered that there had been not six, but seven 
torpedo hits.

During the ensuing repairs, workers located 70 bodies of West Virginia 
sailors who had been trapped below when the ship sank. In one 
compartment, a calendar was found, the last scratch-off date being 23 
December. The task confronting the nucleus crew and shipyard workers was a 
monumental one, so great was the damage on the battleship's port side. 
Ultimately, however, West Virginia departed Pearl Harbor for the west 
coast and a complete rebuilding at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at 
Bremerton, Wash.

Emerging from the extensive modernization, the battleship that had risen, 
Phoenix-like, from the destruction at Pearl Harbor looked totally 
different from the way she had appeared prior to 7 December 1941. Gone 
were the "cage" masts that supported the three-tier fire-control tops, as 
well as the two funnels, the open-mount 5-inch/25's and the casemates with 
the single-purpose 5-inch/51's. A streamlined superstructure now gave the 
ship a totally new silhouette; dual-purpose 5-mch/38-caliber guns, in gun 
houses, gave the ship a potent antiaircraft battery. In addition, 40-
millimeter Bofors and 20-millimeter Oerlikon batteries studded the decks, 
giving the ship a heavy "punch" for dealing with close-in enemy planes.

West Virginia remained at Puget Sound until early July 1944. Loading 
ammunition on the 2d, the battleship got underway soon thereafter to 
conduct her sea trials out of Port Townsend, Wash. She ran a full
power trial on the 6th, continuing her working-up until the 12th. 
Subsequently returning to Puget Sound for last-minute repairs, the 
battleship headed for San Pedro and her post-modernization shakedown.

Finally ready to rejoin the Fleet from which she had been away for two 
years, West Virginia sailed for the Hawaiian Islands on 14 September. 
Escorted by two destroyers, she made landfall on Oahu on the 23d. 
Ultimately pushing on for Manus, in the Admiralities, in company with the 
fleet carrier Hancock (CV-19), West Virginia, as a unit of Battleship 
Division (Bat Div) 4, reached Seeadler Harbor on 5 October. The next 
day, she again became a flagship when Rear Admiral Ruddock shifted his 
flag from Maryland (BB-46) to the "Wee Vee" as Commander, BatDiv 4.

Underway on 12 October to participate in the invasion of the Philippine 
Islands, West Virginia sailed as part of Task Group (TG) 77.2, under the 
overall command of Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf. On 18 October, the 
battle line passed into Leyte Gulf, West Virginia steaming astern of 
California (BB-44).

At 1645, California cut loose a mine with her paravanes; West Virginia 
successfully dodged the horned menace, it being destroyed a few moments 
later by gunfire from one of the destroyers in the screen. On 19 
October, West Virginia steamed into her assigned station in San Pedro Bay 
at 0700 to stand by off shore and provide shore bombardment against 
targets in the Tacloban area of Leyte. Retiring to sea that evening, the 
battleship and her consorts returned the next morning to lay down heavy 
gunfire on Japanese installations in the vicinity of the town of 

On the 19th, West Virginia's gunners sent 278 16-inch and 1,586 5-inch 
shells against Japanese installations, silencing enemy artillery and 
supporting the UDT (underwater demolition teams) preparing the beaches 
for the assault that came on the 20th. On the latter day, enemy planes 
made many appearances over the landing area. West Virginia took those 
within range under fire but did not down any.

On the 21st, as she was proceeding to her fire support area to render 
further gunfire support for the troops still pouring ashore, West 
Virginia touched bottom, slightly damaging three of her four screws. The 
vibrations caused by the damaged blades limited sustained speeds to 16 
knots-18 in emergencies.

For the next two days, West Virginia, with her augmented antiaircraft 
batteries, remained off the beachhead during the daylight hours, retiring 
to seaward at night, providing antiaircraft covering fire for the 
unfolding invasion operations. Meanwhile, the Japanese, seeing that 
American operations against Leyte were on a large scale, decided to strike 
back. Accordingly, the enemy, willing to accept the heavy risks involved, 
set out in four widely separated forces to destroy the American invasion 

Four carriers and two "hermaphrodite" battleship-carriers (Ise and Hyuga) 
sailed toward the Philippine Sea from Japanese home waters; a small 
surface force under Admiral Shima headed for the Sulu Sea; two striking 
forces consisting of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers sortied from 
Lingga Roads, Sumatra, before separating north of Borneo. The larger of 
those two groups, commanded by Admiral Kurita, passed north of the island 
of Palawan to transit the Sibuyan Sea.

American submarines Darter (SS-247) and Dace (SS-227) drew first blood in 
what would become known as the Battle for Leyte Gulf on 23 October when 
they sank, respectively, two of Kurita's cruisers-Maya and Atago. 
Undeterred, Kurita continued the transit, his force built around the 
giant battleship Musashi.

The smaller of the two forces, under Admiral Nishi-mura, turned south of 
Palawan and transited the Sulu Sea to pass between the islands of Mindanao 
and Leyte. Shima's forces obediently followed Nishimura's, heading for Leyte 
Gulf as the southern jaw of a pincer designed to hit the assemblage of 
amphibious ships and transports unloading off the Leyte beachhead.

Detailed to deal with the force heading in his direction, Admiral 
Oldendorf accordingly deployed his sizeable force-six battleships, eight 
cruisers, and 28 destroyers-across the northern end of Surigao Strait. 
The American men-of-war steamed along their assigned courses, their bows 
cleaving through the smooth sea.

At 2236 on 24 October 1944, the American PT boats deployed in the strait 
and its approaches made radar contact with Nishimura's force, conducting a 
harassing attack that annoyed, but did not stop, the oncoming enemy. Well 
into the strait by 0300 on the 25th, Nishi-mura took up battle formation 
when five American destroyers launched a well-planned torpedo attack. 
Caught in the spread of torpedoes, the battleship Fuso took hits and 
dropped out of the formation; other spreads of "fish" dispatched a pair 
of Japanese destroyers and crippled a third.

Fuso's sistership Yamashiro, meanwhile, had taken one hit and was slowed 
down, only to be hit again within 15 minutes' time. Fuso herself, 
apparently ravaged by fires ignited by the torpedo hits, blew up with a 
tremendous explosion at 0338.

West Virginia, meanwhile, was maintaining her position ahead of Maryland, 
Mississippi (BB-41), Tennessee, California, and Pennsylvania (BB-38)-four 
of these ships, like West Virginia, veterans of Pearl Harbor. From 0021 
on the 25th, the battleship had picked up reports on the PT boat and 
destroyer attacks; finally at 0316, West Virginia's radar picked up 
Nishimura's force at a range of 42,000 yards. She tracked them as they 
approached in the pitch black night.

At 0352, West Virginia unleashed her 16-inch main battery; she fired 16 
salvoes in the direction of Nishimura's ships as Oldendorf crossed the 
Japanese "T" and thus achieved the tactical mastery of a situation that 
almost every surface admiral dreams of. At 0413, the "Wee Vee" ceased 
fire; the Japanese remnants proceeded in disorder down the strait from 
whence they had come. Several burning Japanese ships littered the strait; 
West Virginia had contributed to Yamashiro's demise, thus averaging her 
own crippling in the Pearl Harbor attack.

West Virginia had thus taken part in the last naval engagement fought by 
line-of-battle ships and, on the 29th, departed the Philippines for 
Ulithi, in company with Tennessee and Maryland. Subsequently heading for 
Espiritu Santo, in the New Hebrides, after Admiral Ruddock had shifted 
his flag back from West Virginia to Maryland, the former underwent a 
period of upkeep in the floating drydock, ABSD-1, for her damaged 

The "Wee Vee" returned to the Philippines, via Manus, on 25 November, 
resuming her patrols in Leyte Gulf and serving as part of the 
antiaircraft screen for the transports and amphibious ships. At 1139 on 
the 27th, West Virginia's antiaircraft guns splashed a suicider and 
assisted in downing others while on duty the next day.

Rear Admiral Ruddock shifted back on board on the 30th, West Virginia 
maintaining her operations off Leyte until 2 December, when the 
battleship headed for the Palaus. The battlewagon was then made the 
flagship for the newly formed TG 77.12 and proceeded toward the Sulu Sea 
to cover the landings made by the Southwest Pacific Force on the island 
of Mindoro. Entering Leyte Gulf late on the evening of 12 December, West 
Virginia transited the Surigao Strait on the 13th and steamed into the 
Sulu Sea with a carrier force to provide cover for the transports in TG 

She subsequently covered the retirement of the transports on 15 December, 
later fueling in Leyte Gulf before she returned to Kossol Roads, Palaus, 
at mid-day on the 19th. There, West Virginia spent the Christmas of 1944.

There was more work to be done, however, for the battleship, as the 
"return" to the Philippines continued apace. On New Year's Day, Rear 
Admiral Ingram C. Sowell relieved Rear Admiral Ruddock as Commander, BatDiv 
4, and the ship got underway for Leyte Gulf as part of TG 77.2.

Entering the gulf during the pre-dawn hours of 3 January, West Virginia 
proceeded into the Sulu Sea. Japanese air opposition, intensifying since 
the early part of the Philippine campaign, was becoming more deadly. West 
Virginia's men saw evidence of that when a twin-engined "Frances" crashed 
the escort carrier Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) at 1712 on the 4th. Fires and 
explosions ultimately forced the "jeep carrier's" abandonment, her 
survivors being picked up by other ships in the screen. Burns (DD-588) 
dispatched the blazing CVE with torpedoes.

Taking on board survivors from Ommaney Bay from the destroyer Twiggs (DD-
591), West Virginia entered the South China Sea on the morning of the 
following day, 5 January 1945, defending the carriers during the day from 
Japanese air attacks. Subsequently, the battleship moved close inshore 
with the carriers outside to carry out a bombardment mission on San 
Fernando Point. West Virginia hammered Japanese installations ashore with 
her 16-inch rifles.

Suiciders, however, kept up their attacks in the face of heavy 
antiaircraft barrages and combat air patrol (CAP) fighters. Losses among 
Allied shipping continued to mount; kamikazes claimed damage to HMAS 
Australia and the battleships California and New Mexico (BB-40) on the 
5th. West Virginia participated in putting up volumes of antiaircraft 
fire during those attacks, emerging unscathed herself.

West Virginia in addition to the Ommaney Bay sailors on board-soon took 
on board another group of survivors from yet another ship: the men from 
the high-speed minesweeper Hovey (DMS-11) which had been sunk by a 
Japanese torpedo on the 6th. Before she could transfer the escort 
carrier's and minesweeper's sailors elsewhere, though, she had to carry 
out her assigned tasks first. Accordingly, West Virginia's 16-inch rifles 
again hammered Japanese positions ashore at San Fabian on the 8th and 
9th, as troops went ashore on the latter day. It was not until the night 
of 9 January that the battleship finally transferred her passengers off 
the ship.

After providing call fire support all day on the 10th, West Virginia 
patrolled off Lingayen Gulf for the next week before proceeding to an 
anchorage where she replenished her ammunition. During her shore 
bombardment tours off San Fabian, West Virginia had proved herself most 
helpful, covering UDT operations, destroying mortar positions, 
entrenchments, gun emplacements, and leveling the town of San Fabian. In 
addition, "Wee Vee" destroyed ammunition dumps, railway and road 
junctions, and machine gun positions and warehouses. During that time, 
the ship expended 395 16-inch shells and over 2,800 5-inch projectiles.

Underway again at 0707 on the 21st, West Virginia commenced call fire 
support duties at 0815, operating in readiness for cooperation with the 
Army units ashore in the vicinity of the towns of Rosario and Santo Tomas. 
After a few more days of standing ready to provide call fire support when 
needed, West Virginia anchored in Lingayen Gulf on 1 February.

Subsequently, as part of TG 77.2, West Virginia protected the shipping 
arriving at the Lingayen beachheads and stood ready to provide call fire 
for the Army when needed. She later departed Lingayen Gulf, her duty 
completed there, on 10 February, bound for Leyte Gulf. Before her 
departure, she received 79 bags of United States mail the first she had 
received since the day before Christmas.

After touching first at San Pedro Bay, Leyte, West Virginia arrived at 
Ulithi on 16 February, reporting for duty with the 5th Fleet upon 
arrival. Ordered to prepare in all haste for another operation, the 
battleship provisioned and refueled with the highest priority. The ship 
completed loading some 300 tons of stores by 0400 on the 17th. At 0730 on 
the 17th, West Virginia got underway, bound for Iwo Jima in company with 
the destroyers Izard (DD-589) and McCall (DD-400). As she headed off to 
Iwo Jima to join TF 51, West Virginia received a "Well-done" from Admiral 
Chester W. Nimitz for the manner in which she had readied herself for 
her new duty after being released from the 7th Fleet such a short time 

West Virginia sighted Iwo Jima at a range of 32 miles at 0907 on 19 
February. As she drew nearer, she saw several ships bombarding the isle 
from all sides and the initial landings taking place. At 1125, she 
received her operations orders, via dispatch boat and,20 minutes later, 
proceeded to her fire support station off the volcanic sand beaches. At 
1245, her big guns bellowed to lend support to the marines ashore-gun 
positions, revetments, blockhouses, tanks, vehicles, caves and supply 
dumps-all came under her heavy guns. On 21 February, the ship returned 
and, at 0800, commenced her support duties afresh.

Her 16-inch shells sealed caves, destroyed antiaircraft gun positions and 
blockhouses; one salvo struck an ammunition or fuel dump, explosions 
occurring for about two hours thereafter. On the 22d, a small-caliber 
shell hit the battleship near turret II, wounding one enlisted man. That 
same day, another significant event occurred ashore-marines took Mount 
Suribachi, the prominent landmark on one end of Iwo Jima. From their 
position offshore, West Virginia's sailors could see the flag flying from 
the top.

For the remainder of February, West Virginia continued her daily fire-
support missions for the marines ashore. Again, Japanese positions felt 
the heavy blows of the battleship's 16-inch shells. She hit troop 
concentrations and trucks, blockhouses, trenches, and houses. During the 
course of that time spent off the beaches on 27 February, she spotted a 
Japanese shore battery firing upon Bryant (DD-665). West Virginia closed 
the range and, when about 600 yards from shore, opened fire with her 
secondary (5-inch) battery, silencing the enemy guns.

Replenishing her depleted ammunition stocks early on 28 February, West 
Virginia was back on the line again that afternoon, firing continuous 
night harassing and interdiction rounds, silencing enemy batteries with 
air bursts from her secondary batteries. For the first three days of 
March, West Virginia continued her fire-support missions, primarily off 
the northeastern shore of Iwo Jima. Finally, on 4 March, the ship set 
sail for the Caroline Islands, reaching Ulithi on 6 March.

Joining TF 54 for the invasion of the Okinawa Gunto area, West Virginia 
sailed on 21 March, reaching her objective four days later on the 25th. 
In fire support section one, West Virginia spent the ensuing days 
softening up Okinawa for the American landings slated to commence on 1 
April. At 1029 on 26 March, lookouts reported a gun flash from shore, 
followed by a splash in the water some 5,000 yards off the port bow. 
Firing her first salvoes of the operation, West Virginia let fly 28 
rounds of 16-inch gunfire against the pugnacious Japanese batteries.

The following day, the "Wee Vee" fought against enemy air opposition, 
taking a "Frances" under fire at 0520. The twin-engined bomber crashed off 
the battleship's port quarter-the victim of West Virginia's antiaircraft 
guns. Over the days that followed, enemy opposition continued in the form 
of suicide attacks by Japanese planes. Mines, too, began making themselves 
felt; one sank the minesweeper Skylark (AM-63), 3,000 yards off West 
Virginia's port bow at 0930 on the 28th.

After taking on ammunition at Kerama Retto the island seized to provide an 
advance base for the armada massing against Okinawa-West Virginia sailed 
for Okinawa to give direct gunfire support to the landings. Scheduled to 
fire at 0630, the battleship headed for her assigned zone off the 
Okinawa beaches. While en route, though, at 0455, she had to back down all 
engines when an unidentified destroyer stood across her bow, thus 
avoiding a collision.

As she prepared to commence her bombardment, West Virginia spotted a 
Japanese plane off her port quarter; her antiaircraft batteries tracked 
the target and opened fire, downing the enemy aircraft 200 yards away. 
Four more enemy planes passed  Within her vicinity soon thereafter West 
Virginia claimed one of them.

Finally, at 0630, West Virginia opened fire as landing craft dotted the 
sea as far as the eye could reach, all heading for the shores of Okinawa. 
West Virginia's sailors, some 900 yards off the beaches, could see the 
craft heading shoreward like hundreds of tadpoles; at 0842, lookouts 
reported seeing some of the first troops going ashore. The battle for 
Okinawa was underway.

West Virginia continued her bombardment duties throughout the day, on the 
alert to provide counter-battery fire in support of the troops as they 
advanced rapidly inland. There appeared to be little resistance on 1 
April, and West Virginia lay to offshore, awaiting further orders. At 
1903, however, an enemy plane brought the war down on West Virginia.

The battleship picked up three enemy planes on her radar and tracked them 
as they approached; flak peppered the skies but still they came. One 
crossed over the port side and then looped over and crash-dived into West 
Virginia, smashing into a superstructure deck just forward of secondary 
battery director number two. Four men were killed by the blast, and seven 
were wounded in a nearby 20-millimeter gun gallery. The bomb carried by 
the plane broke loose from its shackle and penetrated to the second deck. 
Fortunately, it did not explode and was rendered harmless by the 
battleship's bomb disposal officer. Although her galley and laundry looked 
hard-hit, West Virginia-reporting her damage as repairable by ship's 
force-carried on, rendering night illumination fire to the marines 

West Virginia buried her dead at sea in the wake of the kamikaze attack 
of 1 April and resumed her gunfire support duties soon thereafter. In 
the course of her tour offshore in early April, she shot down a "Val" 
on the 6th.

In early April, the Japanese attempted to strike at the invasion fleet 
in a last-gasp offensive formed around the super-battleship Yamato. On the 
night of 7 and 8 April, West Virginia steamed north and south in the 
waters west of Okinawa ready to intercept and engage the Japanese surface 
force headed her way. The next morning, 8 April, Commander, TF 58, 
reported that most of the ships in that enemy force had been sunk- 
including Yamato, whose last sortie had been made with enough fuel to 
get her to Okinawa-but not to return. Thus, the Japanese Navy's largest 
kamikaze perished-many miles short of her objective.

For West Virginia, however, her duties went on, providing illumination and 
counter-battery fire with both main and secondary batteries and giving 
her antiaircraft gunners a good workout due to the heavy presence of many 
suiciders. Her TBS crackled with reports of ships under attack and 
damaged Zellars (DD-777), Tennessee, Salt Lake City (CA-24), Stanley (DD-
478) and others, all victims of the "divine wind," or kamikaze. Her shore 
bombardments elicited nothing but praise from those enjoying the 
benefits of the ship's firing; one spotter reported happily on 14 
April: "You're shooting perfectly, you could shoot no better, no change, 
no change," and, "Your shooting is strictly marvelous. I cannot express 
just how good it is." She delivered sterling support fire for the 6th 
Marines upon that occasion; later, she continued in that fine tradition 
for the 10th Army and the XXIVth Army Corps.

West Virginia continued fire support for the Army until 20 April, at 
which point she headed for Ulithi, only to turn back to Okinawa, 
hurriedly recalled because of Colorado's (BB-45) suffering damage when a 
powder charge exploded while she was loading powder at Kerama Retto. 
Returning to Hagushi beach, West Virginia fired night harassment and 
interdiction fire for the 10th Army and the XXIVth Army Corps. 
Ultimately, West Virginia sailed for Ulithi, in company with San 
Francisco (CA-38) and Hobson (DD-464), reaching her destination-this 
time without a recall en route-on 28 April.

Returning to Okinawa after a brief sojourn at Ulithi, West Virginia 
remained in support of the Army and the Marines on the embattled island 
into the end of June. There were highlights of the tour-on 1 June, she 
sent her spotting plane aloft to locate a troublesome enemy blockhouse 
reportedly holding up an Army advance. A couple of rounds hurled in the 
enemy's direction produced no results; she had to settle for obliterating 
some of the enemy's motor transport and troop concentrations during the 
day instead. The next day, 2 June, while in support of the Army's XXIVth 
Corps, West Virginia scored four direct hits and seven near-misses on the 
blockhouse that had been hit the day before.

West Virginia then operated off the southeast coast of Okinawa, breaking 
up Japanese troop concentrations and destroying enemy caves. She also 
disrupted Japanese road traffic by scoring a direct hit on a road 
intersection and blasted a staging area. On 16 June, she was firing an 
assignment for the 1st Marines off southwestern Okinawa when her spotting 
plane, a Vought OS2U Kingfisher, took hits from Japanese antiaircraft 
fire and headed down in flames, her pilot and observer bailing out over 
enemy-held territory. Within a short time, aided by Putnam (DD-757) and 
an LCI, West Virginia closed and blasted enemy guns in an attempt to 
rescue her plane crew who had "dug in for the day" to await the arrival 
of the rescuers. The attempt to recover her aircrew, however, was not 
successful. Loaned a Kingfisher from Tennessee, West Virginia kept up her 
gunfire support activities for the balance of June.

Shifting to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, at the end of June, the battleship 
reached her destination on 1 July, escorted by Connolly (DE-306). There, 
on the morning of 5 July, she received her first draft of replacements 
since Pearl Harbor in 1944. After loading ammunition, West Virginia 
commenced training in the Philippine area, an activity she carried out 
through the end of July.

Sailing on 3 August for Okinawa, West Virginia reached Buckner Bay on the 
6th, the same day that the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of 
Hiroshima. Thee days later, a second bomb obliterated the greater part of 
the city of Nagasaki. Those two events hastened Japan's collapse. On 10 
August, at 2115, West Virginia picked up a garbled report on radio that 
the Japanese government had agreed to surrender under the terms of the 
Potsdam Declaration, provided that they could keep the Emperor as their 
ruler. The American ships in Buckner Bay soon commenced celebrating-the 
indiscriminate use of antiaircraft fire and pyrotechnics (not only from 
the naval vessels in the bay but from marines and Army troops ashore) 
endangering friendly planes. Such celebrations, however, proved premature-
at 2004 on 12 August, West Virginia sailors felt a heavy underwater 
explosion; soon thereafter, at 2058, the battleship intercepted a radio 
dispatch from Pennsylvania (BB-38) reporting that she had been torpedoed. 
West Virginia sent over a whaleboat at 0023 on the 13th with pumps for the 
damaged Pennsylvania.

The war ended on 15 August 1945. West Virginia drilled her landing force 
in preparation for the upcoming occupation of the erstwhile enemy's 
homeland and sailed for Tokyo Bay on the 24th as part of TG 35.90. She 
reached Tokyo Bay on the last day of August and was thus present at the 
time of the formal surrender on 2 September 1945. For that occasion, five 
musicians from West Virginia's band were transferred temporarily to 
Missouri (BB-63) to play at the ceremonies.

West Virginia, played her part in the occupation, remaining in Tokyo Bay 
into September of 1945, weathering a storm on the 15th that had winds 
clocked at 65 knots at one point. On 14 September, she received on board 
270 passengers for transportation to the west coast of the United 
States. She got underway at midnight on the 20th, bound for Okinawa as 
part of TG 30.4. Shifting to Buckner Bay on the 23d, the battleship 
sailed for Pearl Harbor soon thereafter, reaching her destination on 4 

There, the crew painted ship and kept on board only those passengers 
slated for transportation to San Diego, Calif. Bound for that port on the 
9th, West Virginia moored at the Navy Pier at San Diego at 1328 on 22 
October. Two days later, Rear Admiral I. C. Sowell hauled down his flag as 
Commander, BatDiv 4.

On Navy Day-27 October-25,554 visitors (more the next day) came on board 
the ship. Three days later, on the 30th, she got underway for Hawaiian 
waters to take her place as part of the "Magic Carpet" operation 
returning veteran soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen home to the 
states. After one run between San Diego and Pearl Harbor, West Virginia 
made another, the second time embarking Rear Admiral William W. Smith, 
who broke his flag in the battleship for the return voyage to San 
Francisco, Calif.

After making yet another run between the west coast and Hawaii, West 
Virginia reached San Pedro, Calif., on 17 December. There, she spent 
Christmas debarking her third draft of passengers. The veteran battlewagon 
upped-anchor on 4 January 1946 and sailed for Bremerton, Wash. She reached 
her destination on the 12th and commenced inactivation soon thereafter, 
shifting to Seattle, Wash., on the 16th, where she moored alongside 
sister-ship Colorado.

West Virginia entered her final stages of inactivation in the latter part 
of February 1946 and was decommissioned on 9 January 1947 and placed in 
reserve, as part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She never again received 
the call to active duty, remaining inactive until struck from the Navy 
list on 1 March 1959. On 24 August 1959, she was sold for scrapping to the 
Union Minerals and Alloys Corp. of New York City.

West Virginia (BB-48), although heavily damaged at Pearl Harbor and 
missing much of the war, nevertheless earned five battle stars

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Built at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Authorized 03/27/34, Keel Laid 10/27/37,
Commissioned 04/09/41. Capt. O. M. Hustvedt commanding
The third NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55) was laid down 27 October 1937
by New York Naval Shipyard; launched 13 June 1940 sponsored by
Miss Isabel Hoey, daughter of Governor of North Carolina; and
commissioned at New York 9 April 1941, Captain Olaf M. Hustvedt in command.
Length Overall: 728'9"
Extreme Beam: 108'4"
Displacement: Tons: 35,000 Mean Draft: 26'8"
Complement: Off.: 108 Enl.: 1,772
Main: (9) 16"/45 cal
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal (4) quad 1.1"
AA: (12) .50 cal m.g.
Catapults: (2) aft.
Armor: Max. Thickness"18
Speed: 27 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 121,000
Engines: Mfr.: (3) GE (9) NYNY
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 6,592










North Carolina BB-55

The third North Carolina (BB-55) was laid down 27 October 1937 by New York 
Naval Shipyard; launched 13 June 1940; sponsored by Miss Isabel Hoey, 
daughter of Governor of North Carolina; and commissioned at New York 9 
April 1941, Captain Olaf M. Hustvedt in command.

First commissioned of the Navy's modern battleships, North Carolina 
received so much attention during her fitting out and trials that she won 
the enduring nickname "Showboat". North Carolina completed her shakedown 
in the Caribbean prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, and after intensive war 
exercises, entered the Pacific 10 June 1942.

North Carolina and the Navy began the long island-hopping campaign for 
victory over the Japanese by landing marines on Guadalcanal and Tulagi 7 
August 1942. After screening Enterprise (CV-6) in the Air Support Force 
for the invasion, North Carolina guarded the carrier during operations 
protecting supply and communication lines southeast of the Solomons. Enemy 
carriers were located 24 August, and the Battle of the Eastern Solomons 
erupted. The Americans struck first, sinking carrier Ryujo; Japanese 
retaliation came as bombers and torpedo planes, covered by fighters, 
roared in on Enterprise and North Carolina. In an 8-minute action, North 
Carolina shot down between 7 and 14 enemy aircraft, her gunners standing 
to their guns despite the jarring detonation of 7 near-misses. One man was 
killed by a strafer, but the ship was undamaged. The protection North 
Carolina could offer Enterprise was limited as the speedy carrier drew 
ahead of her. Enterprise took three direct hits while her aircraft 
severely damaged sea-plane carrier Chitose and hit other Japanese ships. 
Since the Japanese lost about 100 aircraft in this action, the United 
States won control of the air and averted a threatened Japanese 
reinforcement of Guadalcanal.

North Carolina now gave her mighty strength to protect Saratoga (CV-3). 
Twice during the following weeks of support to marines ashore on 
Guadalcanal, North Carolina was attacked by Japanese submarines. On 6 
September, she maneuvered successfully, dodging a torpedo which passed 300 
yards off the port beam. Nine days later, sailing with Hornet (CV-8), 
North Carolina took a torpedo portside, 20 feet below her waterline, and 5 
of her men were killed. But skillful damage control by her crew and the 
excellence of her construction prevented disaster; a 5.5 degree list was 
righted in as many minutes, and she maintained her station in a formation 
at 25 knots.

After repairs at Pearl Harbor, North Carolina screened Enterprise and 
Saratoga and covered supply and troop movements in the Solomons for much 
of the next year. She was at Pearl Harbor in March and April 1943 to 
receive advanced fire control and radar gear, and again in September, to 
prepare for the Gilbert Islands operation.

With Enterprise, in the Northern Covering Group, North Carolina sortied 
from Pearl Harbor 10 November for the assault on Makin, Tarawa, and 
Abemama. Air strikes began 19 November, and for 10 days mighty air blows 
were struck to aid marines ashore engaged in some of the bloodiest 
fighting of the Pacific War. Supporting the Gilberts campaign and 
preparing the assault on the Marshalls, North Carolina's highly accurate 
big guns bombarded Nauru 8 December, destroying air facilities, beach 
defense revetments, and radio installations. Later that month, she 
protected Bunker Hill (CV-17) in strikes against shipping and airfields at 
Kavieng, New Ireland and in January 1944 joined Fast Carrier Striking 
Force 58, Rear Admiral Marc Mitscher in command, at Funafuti, Ellice 

During the assault and capture of the Marshall Islands, North Carolina 
illustrated the classic battleship functions of World War II. She screened 
carriers from air attack in pre-invasion strikes as well as during close 
air support of troops ashore, beginning with the initial strikes on 
Kwajalein 29 January. She fired on targets at Namur and Roi, where she 
sank a cargo ship in the lagoon. The battlewagon then protected carriers 
in the massive air strike on Truk, the Japanese fleet base in the 
Carolines, where 39 large ships were left sunk, burning, or uselessly 
beached, and 211 planes were destroyed, another 104 severely damaged. Next 
she fought off an air attack against the flattops near the Marianas 21 
February, splashing an enemy plane, and the next day again guarded the 
carriers in air strikes on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. During much of this 
period she was flagship for Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Willis A. 
Lee, Jr., Commander Battleships Pacific.

With Majuro as her base, North Carolina joined in the attacks on Palau and 
Woleai 31 March-1 April, shooting down another enemy plane during the 
approach phase. On Woleai, 150 enemy aircraft were destroyed along with 
ground installations. Support for the capture of the Hollandia area of New 
Guinea followed (13-24 April), then another major raid on Truk (29-30 
April), during which North Carolina splashed yet another enemy aircraft. 
At Truk, North Carolina's planes were catapulted to rescue an American 
aviator downed off the reef. After one plane had turned over on landing 
and the other, having rescued all the airmen, had been unable to take off 
with so much weight, Tang (SS-306) saved all involved. The next day North 
Carolina destroyed coast defense guns, antiaircraft batteries, and 
airfields at Ponape. The battleship then sailed to repair her rudder at 
Pearl Harbor.

Returning to Majuro, North Carolina sortied with the Enterprise group 6 
June for the Marianas. During the assault on Saipan, North Carolina not 
only gave her usual protection to the carriers, but starred in 
bombardments on the west coast of Saipan covering minesweeping operations, 
and blasted the harbor at Tanapag, sinking several small craft and 
destroying enemy ammunition, fuel, and supply dumps. At dusk on invasion 
day, 15 June, the battleship downed one of the only two Japanese aircraft 
able to penetrate the combat air patrol.

On 18 June, North Carolina cleared the islands with the carriers to 
confront the Japanese 1st Mobile Fleet, tracked by submarines and aircraft 
for the previous four days. Next day began the Battle of the Philippine 
Sea, and she took station in the battle line that fanned out from the 
carriers. American aircraft succeeded in downing most of the Japanese 
raiders before they reached the American ships, and North Carolina shot 
down two of the few which got through.

On that day and the next American air and submarine attacks, with the 
fierce antiaircraft fire of such ships as North Carolina, virtually ended 
any future threat from Japanese naval aviation: three carriers were sunk, 
two tankers damaged so badly they were scuttled, and all but 35 of the 430 
planes with which the Japanese had begun the battle were destroyed. The 
loss of trained aviators was irreparable, as was the loss of skilled 
aviation maintenance men in the carriers. Not one American ship was lost, 
and only a handful of American planes failed to return to their carriers.

After supporting air operations in the Marianas for another two weeks, 
North Carolina sailed for overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard. She rejoined 
the carriers off Ulithi 7 November as a furious typhoon struck the group. 
The ships fought through the storm, and carried out air strikes against 
western Leyte, Luzon, and the Visayas to support the struggle for Leyte. 
During similar strikes later in the month, North Carolina fought off her 
first kamikaze attack.

As the pace of operations in the Philippines intensified, North Carolina 
guarded carriers while their planes kept the Japanese aircraft on Luzon 
airfields from interfering with the invasion convoys which assaulted 
Mindoro, 15 December. Three days later the task force again sailed through 
a violent typhoon, which capsized several destroyers. With Ulithi now her 
base, North Carolina screened wide-ranging carrier strikes on Formosa, the 
coast of Indo-China and China, and the Ryukyus in January, and similarly 
supported strikes on Honshu the next month. Hundreds of enemy aircraft 
were destroyed which might otherwise have resisted the assault on Iwo 
Jima, where North Carolina bombarded and provided call fire for the 
assaulting Marines through 22 February.

Strikes on targets in the Japanese home islands laid the ground-work for 
the Okinawa assault, in which North Carolina played her dual role of 
bombardment and carrier screening. Here, on 6 April, she downed three 
kamikazes, but took a 5-inch hit from a friendly ship during the melee of 
antiaircraft fire. Three men were killed and 44 wounded. Next day came the 
last desperate sortie of the Japanese Fleet, as Yamato, the largest 
battleship in the world, came south with her attendants. Yamato, a 
cruiser, and a destroyer were sunk, three other destroyers damaged so 
badly that they were scuttled, and the remaining four destroyers returned 
to the fleet base at Sasebo badly damaged. On the same day North Carolina 
splashed an enemy plane, and she shot down two more 17 April.

After overhaul at Pearl Harbor, North Carolina rejoined the carriers for a 
month of air strikes and naval bombardment on the Japanese home islands. 
Along with guarding the carriers, North Carolina fired on major industrial 
plants near Tokyo, and her scout plane pilots performed a daring rescue of 
a downed carrier pilot under heavy fire in Tokyo Bay.

North Carolina sent both sailors and members of her Marine Detachment 
ashore for preliminary occupation duty in Japan immediately at the close 
of the war, and patrolled off the coast until anchoring in Tokyo Bay 5 
September to re-embark her men. Carrying passengers from Okinawa, North 
Carolina sailed for home reaching the Panama Canal 8 October. She anchored 
at Boston 17 October, and after overhaul at New York exercised in New 
England waters and carried Naval Academy midshipmen for a summer training 
cruise in the Caribbean.

After inactivation, she decommissioned at New York 27 June 1947. Struck 
from the Navy List 1 June 1960, North Carolina was transferred to the 
people of North Carolina 6 September 1961. On 29 April 1962 she was 
dedicated at Wilmington, N.C., as a memorial to North Carolinans of all 
services killed in World War II. Here splendidly maintained and most 
appropriately displayed-including a spectacular "sound and light" 
presentation-"Showboat" still serves mightily to strengthen and inspire 
the nation.

North Carolina received 12 battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa.
Authorized 03/27/34, Keel Laid 06/14/38,
Commissioned 05/15/41.
Capt. H. H. J. Benson commanding
The eighth WASHINGTON (BB-56) was laid down on 14 June 1938 at
the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 1 June 1940; sponsored
by Miss Virginia Marshall, of Spokane, Wash., a direct
descendant of former Chief Justice Marshall; and commissioned at
the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 15 May 1941, Capt. Howard H. J. Benson in command.
Length Overall: 729'
Extreme Beam: 108'
Displacement: Tons: 35,000 Mean Draft: 26'8"
Complement: Off.: 108 Enl.: 1,772
Main: (9) 16"/45 cal
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal (4) quad 1.1"
AA: (12) .50 cal m.g.
Catapults: (2) aft.
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18
Speed: 27 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 121,000
Engines: Mfr.: (3) GE (9) NYNY
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 6,583










Washington BB-56

The eighth Washington (BB-56) was laid down on 14 June 1938 at the 
Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 1 June 1940; sponsored by Miss 
Virginia Marshall, of Spokane, Wash., a direct descendant of former Chief 
Justice Marshall; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 15 May 
1941, Capt. Howard H. J. Benson in command.

Her shakedown and underway training ranged along the eastern seaboard and 
into the Gulf of Mexico and lasted through American entry into World War 
II in December 1941. Sometimes operating in company with her sistership 
North Carolina (BB-55) and the new aircraft carrier Hornet (CV-8), 
Washington became the flagship for Rear Admiral John W. Wilcox, Commander, 
Battleship Division (ComBatDiv) 6, and Commander, Battleships, Atlantic 

Assigned duty as flagship for Task Force (TF) 39 on 26 March 1942 at 
Portland, Maine, Washington again flew Admiral Wilcox' flag as she sailed 
for the British Isles that day. Slated to reinforce the British Home 
Fleet, the battleship, together with the carrier Wasp (CV-7) and the 
heavy cruisers Wichita (CA-45) and Tuscaloosa (CA-37), headed for Scapa 
Flow, the major British fleet base in the Orkney Islands.

While steaming through moderately heavy seas the following day, 27 March, 
the "man overboard" alarm sounded on board Washington, and a quick muster 
revealed that Admiral Wilcox was missing. Tuscaloosa, 1,000 yards astern, 
maneuvered and dropped life buoys while two destroyers headed for 
Washington's wake to search for the missing flag officer. Planes from 
Wasp, despite the foul weather, also took off to aid in the search.

Lookouts in the destroyer Wilson (DD-408)  spotted Wilcox' body in the 
water, face down, some distance away, but could not pick it up. The 
circumstances surrounding Wilcox being washed overboard from his flagship 
have never been fully explained to this day; one school of thought has 
it that he had suffered a heart attack.

At 1228 on the 27th, the search for Wilcox was abandoned, and command of 
the task force devolved upon the next senior officer, Rear Admiral Robert 
C. Giffen, whose flag flew in the cruiser Wichita. On 4 April, the task 
force reached Scapa Flow, joining the British Home Fleet under the overall 
command of Sir John Tovey, whose flag flew in the battleship HMS King 
George V.

Washington engaged in maneuvers and battle practice with units of the 
Home Fleet, out of Scapa Flow, into late April, when TF 39 was 
redesignated as TF 99 with Washington as flagship. On the 28th, the force 
got underway to engage in reconnaissance for the protection of the vital 
convoys running lend lease supplies to Murmansk in the Soviet Union.

During those operations, tragedy befell the group. On 1 May 1942, HMS King 
George V collided with a "Tribal" class destroyer. HMS Punjabi, cut in 
two, sank quickly directly in the path of the oncoming Washington. 
Compelled to pass between the halves of the sinking destroyer, the 
battleship proceeded ahead, Punjabi's depth charges exploding beneath 
her hull as she passed.

Fortunately for Washington, she suffered no major hull damage nor 
developed any hull leaks from the concussion of the exploding depth 
charges. She did, however, sustain damage to some of her delicate fire 
control systems and radars; and a diesel oil tank suffered a small leak.

Two destroyers, meanwhile, picked up Punjabi's captain, four other 
officers and 182 men; HMS King George V then proceeded back to Scapa Flow 
for repairs. Washington and her escorts remained at sea until 5 May, when 
TF 99 put into the Icelandic port of Hvalfjordur to provision from the 
supply ship Mizar (AF-12). While at Hvalfjordur, the American and Danish 
ministers to Iceland called upon Admiral Giffen and inspected his flagship 
on 12 May.

Task Force 99 subsequently sortied on the 15th to rendezvous with units of 
the Home Fleet and returned to Scapa Flow on 3 June. The next day, Admiral 
Harold R. Stark, Commander, Naval Forces, Europe, came on board and broke 
his flag in Washington, establishing a temporary administrative 
headquarters on board. The battleship played host to His Majesty, King 
George VI, at Scapa Flow on the 7th, when the King came on board to 
inspect the ship.

Soon after Admiral Stark left Washington, the battleship resumed her 
operations with the Home Fleet, patrolling part of the Allied shipping 
lanes leading to Russian ports. On 14 July 1942, Admiral Giffen hauled 
down his flag in the battleship at Hvalfjordur and shifted to Wichita. 
That same day, Washington, with a screen of four destroyers, upped 
anchor and put to sea, leaving Icelandic waters in her wake. She reached 
Gravesend Bay, N.Y., on 21 July; two days later, she shifted to the New 
York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., for a thorough overhaul.

Upon completion of her refit, Washington sailed for the Pacific on 23 
August, escorted by three destroyers. Five days later, she transited the 
Panama Canal and, on 14 September, reached Nukualofa Anchorage, 
Tongatabu, Tonga Island. On that day, Rear Admiral Willis A. "Ching" Lee, 
Jr., broke his flag in Washington as Commander, Battleship Division 
(BatDiv) 6, and Commander, Task Group 12.2.

The next day, 15 September, Washington put to sea bound for a rendezvous 
with TF 17, the force formed around the aircraft carrier Hornet. 
Washington then proceeded to Noumea, New Caledonia, and supported the 
ongoing Solomons campaign, providing escort services for various 
reinforcement convoys proceeding to and from Guadalcanal. During those 
weeks, the battleship's principal bases of operation were Noumea and 
Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.

By mid-November, the situation in the Solomons was far from good for the 
Allies, who were now down to one aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6)-
after the loss of Wasp in September and Hornet in October, and Japanese 
surface units were subjecting Henderson Field on Guadalcanal to heavy 
bombardments with disturbing regularity. Significantly, however, the 
Japanese only made their moves at night, since Allied planes controlled the 
skies during the day. That meant that the Allies had to move their 
replenishment and reinforcement convoys into Guadalcanal during the 
daylight hours.

Washington performed those vital duties into mid-November of 1942. On 13 
November, she learned that three groups of Japanese ships -one consisting 
of about 24 transports, with escort were steaming toward Guadalcanal. 
One enemy force sighted that morning was reported as consisting of two 
battleships, a light cruiser, and 11 destroyers.

At sunset on the 13th, Rear Admiral Lee took Washington, South Dakota (BB-
57), and four destroyers and headed for Savo Island-the scene of the 
disastrous night action of 8 and 9 August-to be in position to intercept 
the Japanese convoy and its covering force. Lee's ships, designated as TF 
64, reached a point about 50 miles south by west from Guadalcanal late in 
the forenoon on the 14th and spent much of the remainder of the day 
trying unsuccessfully to avoid being spotted by Japanese reconnaissance 

Approaching on a northerly course, nine miles west of Guadalcanal, TF 64-
reported by the Japanese reconnaissance planes as consisting of a 
battleship, a cruiser, and four destroyers-steamed in column formation. 
Walke (DD-416) led, followed by Benham (DD-397), Preston (DD-377), Gwin 
(DD-433), and the two battleships, Washington and South Dakota.

As the ship steamed through the flat calm sea beneath the scattered 
cirrus cumulus clouds in the night sky, Washington's radar picked up a 
contact, bearing to the east of Savo Island, at 0001 on 15 November. 
Fifteen minutes later, at 0016, Washington opened fire with her 16-inch 
main battery. The fourth battle of Savo Island was underway.

The Japanese force proved to be the battleship Kirishima, the heavy 
cruisers Atago and Takao, the light cruisers Sendai and Nagara, and a 
screen of nine destroyers escorting four transports. Planning to conduct a 
bombardment of American positions on Guadalcanal to cover the landing of 
troops, the Japanese force ran head on into Lee's TF 64.

For the next three minutes, Washington's 16-inchers hurled out 42 rounds, 
opening at 18,500 yards range, her fire aimed at the light cruiser 
Sendai. Simultaneously, the battleship's 5-inch battery was engaging 
another ship also being engaged by South Dakota.

As gun flashes split the night and the rumble of gunfire reverberated like 
thunder off the islands nearby, Washington continued to engage the Japanese 
force. Between 0025 and 0034, the ship engaged targets at 10,000 yards 
range with her 5-inch battery.

Most significantly, however, Washington soon engaged Kirishima, in the 
first head to head confrontation of battleships in the Pacific war. In 
seven minutes, tracking by radar, Washington sent 75 rounds of 16-inch 
and 107 rounds of 5-inch at ranges from 8,400 to 12,650 yards, scoring at 
least nine hits with her main battery and about 40 with her 5-inchers, 
silencing the enemy battleship in short order. Subsequently, Washington's 
5-inch batteries went to work on other targets spotted by her radar 

The battle, however, was not all one sided. Japanese gunfire proved 
devastating to the four destroyers of TF 64, as did the dreaded and 
effective "long lance" torpedoes. Walke and Preston both took numerous 
hits of all calibers and sank; Benham sustained heavy damage to her bow, 
and Gwin sustained shell hits aft.

South Dakota had maneuvered to avoid the burning Walke and Preston but 
soon found herself the target of the entire Japanese bombardment group. 
Skewered by searchlight beams, South Dakota boomed out salvoes at the 
pugnacious enemy, as did Washington which was proceeding, at that point, 
to deal out severe punishment upon Kirishima one of South Dakota's 

South Dakota, the recipient of numerous hits, retired as Washington 
steamed north to draw fire away from her crippled sister battleship and 
the two crippled destroyers, Benham and Gwin. Initially, the remaining 
ships of the Japanese bombardment group gave chase to Washington but 
broke off action when discouraged by the battleship's heavy guns. 
Accordingly, they withdrew under cover of a smokescreen.

After Washington skillfully evaded torpedoes fired b" the retiring 
Japanese destroyers in the van of the enemy force, she joined South 
Dakota later in the morning, shaping course for Noumea. In the battleship 
action, Washington had done well and had emerged undamaged. South Dakota 
had not emerged unscathed, however, sustaining heavy damage to her 
superstructure; 38 men had died; 60 lay wounded. The Japanese had lost 
the battleship Kirishima. Left burning and exploding, she later had to be 
abandoned and scuttled. The other enemy casualty was the destroyer 
Ayanami, scuttled the next morning.

Washington remained in the South Pacific there after, basing on New 
Caledonia and continuing as flagship for Rear Admiral "Ching" Lee. The 
battleship protected carrier groups and task forces engaged in the 
ongoing Solomons campaign until late in April of 1943, operating 
principally with TF 11, which included the repaired Saratoga (CV-3), and 
with TF 16, built around Enterprise.

Washington departed Noumea on 30 April 1943, bound for the Hawaiian 
Islands. While en route, TF 16 joined up; and, together, the ships 
reached Pearl Harbor on 8 May. Washington, as a unit of, and as flagship 
for, TF 60, carried out battle practice in Hawaiian waters until 28 May 
1943, after which time she put into the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for 

Washington resumed battle practice in the Hawaiian operating area upon 
conclusion of those repairs and alterations and joined a convoy on 27 
July to form Task Group (TG) 56.14, bound for the South Pacific. Detached 
on 5 August, Washington reached Havannah Harbor, at Efate, in the New 
Hebrides, on the 7th. She then operated out of Efate until late in 
October, principally engaged in battle practice and tactics with fast 
carrier task forces.

Departing Havannah Harbor on the last day of October, Washington sailed 
as a unit of TG 53.2- four battleships and six destroyers. The next day, 
the carriers Enterprise, Essex (CV-9), and Independence (CVL-22), as well 
as the other screening units of TG 53.3, joined TG 53.2 and came under 
Rear Admiral Lee. The ships held combined maneuvers until 5 November, 
when the carriers departed the formation. Washington, with her escorts, 
steamed to Viti Levu, in the Fiji Islands, arriving on the 7th.

Four days later, however, the battleship was again underway, with Rear 
Admiral Lee-by that point Commander, Battleships, Pacific-embarked, in 
company with other units of BatDivs 8 and 9. On the 15th, the 
battlewagons and their screens joined Rear Admiral C. A. "Baldy" Pownall's 
TG 50.1, Rear Admiral Pownall flying his two starred flag in Yorktown (CV-
10), the namesake of the carrier lost at Midway. The combined force then 
proceeded toward the Gilbert Islands to join in the daily bombings of 
Japanese positions in the Gilberts and Marshalls softening them up for 
impending assault.

On the 19th, the planes from TG 50.1 attacked Mili and Jaluit in the 
Marshalls, continuing those strikes through 20 November, the day upon 
which Navy, Marine, and Army forces landed on Tarawa and Makin in the 
Gilberts. On the 22d, the task group sent its planes against Mili in 
successive waves; subsequently, the group steamed to operate north of 

Washington rendezvoused with other carrier groups that composed TF 50 on 
25 November and, during the reorganization that followed, was assigned to 
TG 50.4, the last carrier task group under the command of Hear Admiral 
Frederick C. "Ted" Sherman. The carriers comprising the core of the group 
were Bunker Hill (CV-17) and Monterey (CVL-26); the battleships 
screening them were Alabama (BB-50) and South Dakota. Eight destroyers 
rounded out the screen.

The group operated north of Makin, providing air, surface, and 
antisubmarine protection for the unfolding unloading operations at Makin, 
effective on 26 November. Enemy planes attacked the group on the 27th 
and 28th but were driven off without inflicting any damage on the fast 
carrier task forces.

As the Gilbert Islands campaign drew to a close, TG 50.8 was formed on 
6 December, under Rear Admiral Lee, in Washington. Other ships of that 
group included sistership North Carolina (BB-55), Massachusetts (BB-59), 
Indiana (BB-58), South Dakota, and Alabama (BB-60) and the Fleet 
carriers Bunker Hill and Monterey. Eleven destroyers screened the heavy 

The group first steamed south and west of Ocean Island to take position 
for the scheduled air and surface bombardment of the island of Nauru. 
Before dawn on 8 December, the carriers launched their strike groups 
while the bombardment force formed in column; 135 rounds of 16-inch fire 
from the six battleships fell on the enemy installations on Nauru; and, 
upon completion of the shelling, the battleships' secondary batteries took 
their turn; two planes from each battleship spotted the fall of shot.

After a further period of air strikes had been flown off against Nauru, 
the task group sailed for Efate, where they arrived on 12 December. On 
that day, due to a change in the highest command echelons, TF 57 became TF 

Washington tarried at Efate for less than two weeks. Underway on Christmas 
Day, flying Rear Admiral Lee's flag, the battleship sailed in company with 
her sister-ship North Carolina and a screen of four destroyers to 
conduct gunnery practice, returning to the New Hebrides on 7 January 

Eleven days later, the battleship departed Efate for the Ellice Islands. 
Joining TG 37.2-carriers Monterey and Bunker Hill and four destroyers-en 
route, Washington reached Funafuti, Ellice Islands, on 20 January. Three 
days later, the battleship, along with the rest of the task group, put to 
sea to make rendezvous with elements of TF 58, the fast carrier task 
force under the overall command of Vice Admiral Marc A. "Pete" Mitscher. 
Becoming part of TG 58.1, Washington screened the fast carriers in her 
group as they launched air strikes on Taroa and Kwajalein in the waning 
days of January 1944. Washington, together with Massachusetts and Indiana, 
left the formation with four destroyers as screen and shelled Kwajalein 
Atoll on the 30th. Further air strikes followed the next day.

On 1 February, however, misfortune reared her head; Washington, while 
maneuvering in the inky darkness, rammed Indiana as she cut across 
Washington's bow while dropping out of formation to fuel escorting 
destroyers. Both battleships retired for repairs; Washington having 
sustained 60 feet of crumpled bow plating. Both ships put into the lagoon 
at Majuro the next morning. Subsequently, after reinforcing the damaged 
bow, Washington departed Majuro on 11 February, bound for the Hawaiian 

With a temporary bow fitted at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, Washington 
continued on for the west coast of the United States. Reaching the Puget 
Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., the battleship received a new bow over 
the weeks that followed her arrival. Joining BatDiv 4 at Port Townsend, 
Wash., Washington embarked 500 men as passengers and sailed for Pearl 
Harbor, reaching her destination on 13 June and disembarking her 

Arriving back at Majuro on 30 May, Washington again flew Admiral Lee's 
flag as he shitted on board the battleship soon after her arrival. Lee, 
now a vice admiral, rode in the battleship as she headed out to sea 
again, departing Majuro on 7 June and joining Mitscher's fast carrier TF 

Washington supported the air strikes pummeling enemy defenses in the 
Marianas on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Rota, and Pagan. Task 
Force 58's fliers also attacked twice and damaged a Japanese convoy in the 
vicinity on 12 June. The following day, Vice Admiral Lee's battleship 
destroyer task group was detached from the main body of the force and 
conducted shore bombardment against enemy installations on Saipan and 
Tinian. Relieved on the 14th by two task groups under Rear Admirals J. 
B. Oldendorf and W. L. Ainsworth, Vice Admiral Lee's group retired 

On 15 June, Admiral Mitscher's TF 58 planes bombed Japanese installations 
on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands and Chichi Jima and Haha Jima in the 
Bonins. Meanwhile, marines landed on Saipan under cover of intensive naval 
gunfire and carrier based planes.

That same day, Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa, commanding the main body of the 
Japanese Fleet, was ordered to attack and destroy the invasion force in 
the Marianas. The departure of his carrier group, however, came under the 
scrutiny of the submarine Redfin (SS-272), as it left Tawi Tawi, the 
westernmost island in the Sulu Archipelago.

Flying Fish (SS-229) also sighted Ozawa's force as it entered the 
Philippine Sea. Cavalla (SS-244) radioed a contact report on an enemy 
refueling group on 16 June and continued tracking it as it headed for 
the Marianas. She again sighted Japanese Combined Fleet units on 18 June.

Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, commanding the 5th Fleet, had meanwhile 
learned of the Japanese movement and accordingly issued his battle plan. 
Vice Admiral Lee's force formed a protective screen around the vital 
fleet carriers. Washington, six other battleships, four heavy cruisers, 
and 14 destroyers deployed to cover the flattops; on 19 June, the ships 
came under attack from Japanese carrier based and land based planes as 
the Battle of the Philippine Sea commenced.

The tremendous firepower of the screen, however, together with the 
aggressive combat air patrols flown from the American carriers, proved 
too much for even the aggressive Japanese. The heavy loss of Japanese 
aircraft, sometimes referred to as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot," caused 
serious losses in the Japanese naval air arm. During four massive raids, 
the enemy launched 373 planes-only 130 returned.

In addition, 50 land based bombers from Guam fell in flames. Over 300 
American carrier planes were involved in the aerial action; their losses 
amounted to comparatively few: 23 shot down and six lost operationally 
without the loss of a single ship in Mitscher's task force.

Only a few of the enemy planes managed to get through the barrage of 
flak and fighters, one scoring a direct hit on South Dakota-killing 27 
and wounding 23. A bomb burst over the flight deck of the carrier Wasp 
(CV-18), killing one man, wounding 12, and covering her flight deck with 
bits of phosphorus. Two planes dove on Bunker Hill, one scoring a near 
miss and the other a hit that holed an elevator, knocking put the hanger 
deck gasoline system temporarily; killing three and wounding 73. Several 
fires started were promptly quenched. In addition, Minneapolis (CA-36) and 
Indiana also received slight damage.

Not only did the Japanese lose heavily in planes; two of their carriers 
were soon on their way to the bottom Taiho, torpedoed and sunk by 
Albacore (SS-218); and Shokaku, sunk by Cavalla. Admiral Ozawa, his 
flagship, Taiho, sunk out from under him, transferred his flag to Zuikaku.

As the Battle of the Philippine Sea proceeded to a close, the Japanese 
Mobile Fleet steamed back to its bases, defeated. Admiral Mitscher's task 
force meanwhile retired to cover the invasion operations proceeding in the 
Marianas. Washington fueled east of that chain of islands and then 
continued her screening duties with TG 58.4 to the south and west of 
Saipan, supporting the continuing air strikes on islands in the Marianas, 
the strikes concentrated on Guam by that point.

On 25 July, aircraft of TG 58.4 conducted air strikes on the Palaus and on 
enemy shipping in the vicinity, continuing their schedule of strikes 
through 6 August. On that day, Washington, with Iowa (BB-61), Indiana, 
Alabama, the light cruiser Birmingham (CL-62), and a destroyer screen, 
was detached from the screen of TG 58.4, forming TG 58.7, under Vice 
Admiral Lee.

That group arrived at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshalls to refuel and 
replenish on 11 August and remained there for almost the balance of the 
month. On 30 August, that group departed, headed for, first, the Admiralty 
Islands, and ultimately, the Palaus.

Washington's heavy guns supported the taking of Peleliu and Angaur in the 
Palaus and supported the carrier strikes on Okinawa on 10 October, on 
northern Luzon and Formosa from 11 to 14 October, as well as the Visayan 
air strikes on 21 October. From 5 November 1944 to 17 February 1945, 
Washington, as a vital unit of the fast carrier striking forces, supported 
raids on Okinawa, in the Ryukyus; Formosa; Luzon; Camranh Bay, French 
Indochina; Saigon, French Indochina; Hong Kong; Canton; Hainan Island; 
Nansei Shoto; and the heart of the enemy homeland-Tokyo itself.

From 19 to 22 February 1945, Washington's heavy rifles hurled 16-inch 
shells shoreward in support of the landings on Iwo Jima. In preparation 
for the assault, Washington's main and secondary batteries destroyed gun 
positions, troop concentrations, and other ground installations. From 23 
February to 16 March, the fast battleship supported the unfolding invasion 
of Iwo Jima, including a carrier raid upon Tokyo on 25 February. On 18, 
19, and 29 March, Washington screened the Fleet's carriers as they 
launched air strikes against Japanese airfields and other installations 
on the island of Kyushu. On 24 March, and again on 19 April, Washington 
lent her support to the shellings of Japanese positions on the island of 

Anchoring at San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 1 June 1945 after an almost 
ceaseless slate of operations, Washington sailed for the west coast of 
the United States on 6 June, making stops at Guam and Pearl Harbor 
before reaching the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 23 June.

As it turned out, Washington would not participate in active combat in 
the Pacific theater again. Her final wartime refit carried on through V-J 
Day in mid-August of 1945 and the formal Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay 
on 2 September. She completed her post repair trials and conducted 
underway training out of San Pedro, Calif., before she headed for the 
Panama Canal, returning to the Atlantic Ocean. Joining TG 11.6 on 6 
October, with Vice Admiral Frederick C. Sherman in overall command, she 
soon transited the Panama Canal and headed for Philadelphia, the place 
where she had been "born." Arriving at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 
17 October, she participated in Navy Day ceremonies there on the 27th.

Assigned to troop transport duty on 2 November 1945 as part of the "Magic 
Carpet" operations- Washington went into dockyard hands on that day, 
emerging on the 15th with additional bunking facilities below and a crew 
that now consisted of only 84 officers and 835 men. Sailing on 15 November 
for the British Isles, Washington reached Southampton, England, on 22 

After embarking 185 army officers and 1,479 enlisted men, Washington 
sailed for New York. She completed that voyage and, after that brief 
stint as a transport, was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 27 
June 1947. Assigned to the New York group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, 
Washington remained inactive through the late 1950's, ultimately being 
struck from the Navy list on 1 June I960. The old warrior was sold on 24 
May 1961 to the Lipsett Division, Luria Bros., of New York City, and was 
scrapped soon thereafter.

Washington (BB-56) earned 13 battle stars during World War II in 
operations that had carried her from the Arctic Circle to the western 

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Built at New York SB Co., Camden, N. J.
Authorized 03/27/34, Keel Laid 07/05/29,
Commissioned 03/20/42.
Capt. T. L. Gatch commanding
The second SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) was laid down on 5 July 1939 at
Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 7
June 1941; sponsored by Mrs. Harlan J. Bushfield; and
commissioned on 20 March 1942, Capt. Thomas L. Gatch in command.
Length Overall: 680'
Extreme Beam: 108'2"
Displacement: Tons: 35,000 Mean Draft: 29'3"
Complement: Off.: 115 Enl.: 1,678
Main: (9) 16"/45 cal
Secondary: (16) 5"/38 cal
AA: (7) quad 1.1"
Catapults: (2) aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 27 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 130,000
Engines: Mfr.: GE
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 6950










South Dakota BB-57

The second South Dakota (BB-57) was laid down on 5 July 1939 at Camden, 
N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 7 June 1941; 
sponsored by Mrs. Harlan J. Bushfield; and commissioned on 20 March 1942, 
Capt. Thomas L. Gatch in command.

After fitting out at Philadelphia, South Dakota held shakedown training 
from 3 June to 26 July. She stood out of Philadelphia Navy Yard on 16 
August and headed for Panama. The battleship transited the Panama 
Canal on 21 August and set course for the Tonga Islands, arriving at 
Nukualofa, Tongatabu, on 4 September. Two days later, she struck an 
uncharted coral pinnacle in Lahai Passage and suffered extensive damage to 
her hull. On 12 September, the ship sailed for the Pearl Harbor Navy 
Yard and repairs.

South Dakota was ready for sea again on 12 October and began training 
with Task; Force (TF) 16 which was built around aircraft carrier 
Enterprise (CV-6). The task force sortied from Pearl Harbor on 16 
October to join TF 17, which was centered on carrier Hornet (CV-8), 
northeast of Espiritu Santo. The rendezvous was made on the 24th; and the 
combined force, now operating as TF 61 under Rear Admiral T. C. Kinkaid, 
was ordered to make a sweep of the Santa Cruz Islands and then move 
southwest to block any Japanese forces approaching Guadalcanal.

"Catalina" patrol bombers sighted a Japanese carrier force at noon on 
the 25th, and TF 61 steamed northwest to intercept it. Early the next 
morning, when all carrier forces were within striking range, a Japanese 
snooper spotted the American force, triggering the Battle of Santa Cruz. 
South Dakota and the Enterprise group were approximately 10 miles from 
the Hornet group when the air battle began.

The first enemy attack was concentrated against Hornet. At 1045, South 
Dakota was operating near Enterprise to provide protective fire from her 
numerous antiaircraft guns when their group was attacked by dive 
bombers. Approximately an hour later, about 40 torpedo planes struck at 
the two ships. A third aerial assault, made by dive bombers and torpedo 
planes, came in at 1230. South Dakota sustained a 500-pound bomb hit on 
top of her number one turret. When the action was broken off that 
evening, the American forces retired toward Noumea, New Caledonia, with 
the battleship credited with downing 26 enemy planes.

At 0414 on 30 October, while avoiding a submarine contact, South Dakota and 
Mahan (DD-364) collided, causing damage to both ships. Mahan's bow was 
turned to port and crumpled to frame 14, and a fire, soon brought under 
control, started in her forward hold. Both ships continued to Noumea 
where Vestal (AR-4) repaired South Dakota's collision and battle damage.

On 11 November, South Dakota, as part of TF 16, sortied from Noumea for 
Guadalcanal. On 13 November, she joined battleship Washington (BB-56) and 
destroyers Preston (DD-379), Walke (DD-418), Benham (DD-397), and Gwin 
(DD-433) to form TF 64 under command of Rear Admiral W. A. Lee. The next 
evening at 2330, the force was operating 50 miles southwest of Guadalcanal 
when Lee learned that an enemy convoy was coming through the passage off 
Savo sometime between 0030 and 0230. This was Admiral Kondo's 
bombardment group consisting of battleship Kirishima; heavy cruisers 
Takao and Atago; and a destroyer screen.

Admiral Kondo's forces were divided into three sections: the bombardment 
group; a close screen of cruiser Nagara and six destroyers; and a 
distant screen of cruiser Sendai and three destroyers in the van of the 
other forces. A quarter moon assured good visibility. Three ships were 
visually sighted from the bridge of South Dakota, range 18,100 yards. 
Washington fired on the leading ship, thought to be a battleship or heavy 
cruiser; and, a minute later, South Dakota's main battery opened on the 
ship nearest to her. Both initial salvos started fires on the targets. 
South Dakota then fired on another target and continued firing until it 
disappeared from her radar screen. Turret No. 3-firing over her stern and 
demolishing her own planes in the process-opened on another target and 
continued firing until the target was thought to sink. Her secondary 
batteries were firing at eight destroyers close to the shore of Savo 

A short lull followed after which radar plot showed four enemy ships, 
just clear of the left tangent of Savo, approaching from the starboard 
bow; range 5,800 yards. Searchlights from the second ship in the enemy 
column illuminated South Dakota. Washington opened with her main battery 
on the leading, and largest, Japanese ship. South Dakota's secondary 
batteries put out the lights; and she shifted all batteries to bear on 
the third ship, believed to be a cruiser, which soon gushed smoke. South 
Dakota, which had been under fire from at least three of the ships, had 
taken 42 hits which caused considerable damage. Her radio communications 
failed; radar plot was demolished; three fire control radars were damaged; 
there was a fire in her foremast; and she had lost track of Washington. 
As she was no longer receiving enemy fire and there were no remaining 
targets, she withdrew; met Washington at a prearranged rendezvous; and 
proceeded to Noumea. Of the American destroyers, only Gwin returned to 
port. The other three had been severely damaged early in the engagement. 
Walke and Preston were sunk. Benham had part of her bow blown off by a 
torpedo and, while en route to Noumea with the damaged Gwin as her 
escort, had to be abandoned. Gwin then sank her by gunfire. On the enemy 
side, hits had been scored on Takao and Atago; Kirishima and destroyer 
Ayanami, severely damaged by gunfire, were abandoned and scuttled.

Prometheus (AR-3) repaired some of the damage inflicted on South Dakota at 
Noumea, enabling the battleship to sail on the 25th for Tongatabu and 
thence for home. South Dakota arrived at New York on 18 December 1942 for 
an overhaul and the completion of repairs to her battle damage. She was 
back at sea on 25 February 1943 and, following sea trials, operated with 
Ranger (CV-4) in the North Atlantic until mid-April.

The battleship next operated with the British Home Fleet, based at Scapa 
Flow, until 1 August when she returned to- Norfolk. On 21 August, South 
Dakota stood out of Norfolk en route to Efate Island, arriving at 
Havannah Harbor on 14 September. She moved to Fiji on 7 November and 
sortied from there four days later with Battleship Divisions (BatDiv) 8 
and 9 in support of Task Group (TG) 50.1, the Carrier Interceptor Group 
for Operation "Galvanic," the Gilbert Islands assault. The carriers 
launched attacks against Jaluit and Mili atolls, Marshall Islands, on 19 
November, to neutralize enemy airfields there. The force then provided air 
support for the amphibious landings on Makin and Tarawa, Gilbert Islands.

South Dakota, with five other battleships, formed another task group on 6 
December to bombard Nauru Island. A joint aerial attack and shore 
bombardment severely damaged enemy shore installations and airfields 
there. South Dakota retired to Efate on 12 December 1943 for upkeep and 
rearming. Her next action occurred on 29 January 1944 when the carriers 
launched attacks against Roi and Namur, Marshall Islands. The next day, 
the battleship moved in to shell enemy positions on Roi and Namur and then 
rejoined the carriers as they provided air support for the amphibious 
landings on Kwajalein, Majuro, Roi, and Namur.

South Dakota departed the Marshall Islands on 12 February with the Truk 
striking force which launched attacks against that Japanese stronghold on 
17 and 18 February. Six days later, she was in the screen for the 
carriers which launched the first air attacks against the Marianas. The 
force was under constant enemy air attack, and South Dakota splashed 
four Japanese planes. She returned to Majuro from 26 February until 22 
March when she sailed with the fast carrier forces of the of the 5th 
Fleet. Air strikes were delivered from 30 March until 1 April against 
Palau, Yap, Woleai, and Ulithi in the Western Caroline Islands.

South Dakota returned to Majuro on 6 April and sailed the following week, 
again accompanying the fast carriers. On 21 April, strikes were launched 
against Hpllandia, New Guinea, and the following day against Aitape, 
Tanahmerah, and Humboldt Bays to support the Army landings. On 29 and 30 
April, the carriers, with South Dakota, still in the screen, returned 
to Truk and bombed that base. The next day, the battleship was part of a 
surface bombardment group that shelled Ponape Island in the Carolines. 
She returned to Majuro for upkeep from 4 May to 5 June when she got 
underway with TF 58 to participate in Operation "Forager," the landings 
on Saipan and Tinian. The carriers began launching attacks on the llth 
against enemy installations throughout the islands. On the 13th, South 
Dakota and six other battleships were detached from the fast carrier 
groups to bombard Saipan and Tinian. South Dakota shelled the northwest 
coast of Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, for over six hours with both her 
primary and secondary batteries.

On the evening of the 15th, 8 to 12 enemy fighters and bombers broke 
through the combat air patrol and attacked the task group. South Dakota 
fired at four and splashed one; and the remaining 11 were shot down by 
fire from other ships. On 19 June, the battleship was again operating 
with the fast carriers. It was known that a major Japanese force was 
approaching from the west, and the American capital ships were placed so 
that they could continue to support the ground forces on Saipan and also 
intercept this enemy force.

At 1012, a large group of bogies was reported coming in from the west. 
At 1049, a "Judy" dropped a 500-pound bomb on South Dakota's main deck 
where it blew a large hole, cut wiring and piping, but inflicted no 
other serious material damage. However, personnel losses were heavy: 24 
killed and 27 wounded. The ship continued to fight throughout the day as 
air attacks were continuous. This was the first day of the Battle of the 
Philippine Sea and was called the "Marianas Turkey Shoot" as the Japanese 
lost over 300 aircraft. The air battle continued throughout the 20th. 
When it ended, the badly mauled Japanese fleet no longer posed a threat 
to the American conquest of the Marianas. The task group returned to 
Ulithi on 27 June, and South Dakota sailed via Pearl Harbor to the west 
coast, arriving at Puget Sound on 10 July.

The battleship was overhauled at the navy yard there; and, after sea 
trials, sailed on 26 August for Pearl Harbor. South Dakota was routed to 
Ulithi and, upon her arrival, was attached to TG 38.3; one of four task 
groups of formed Task Force 38, the Fast Carrier Task Force. The task 
force sortied on 6 October and, four days later, launched air attacks 
against Okinawa. On the 12th and 13th, attacks were flown against 
shipping and installations in Formosa. Three of the groups, including 
South Dakota's, retired and operated east of the Phillippine Islands 
until 24 December. During the operation, carriers of the group flew 
strikes against targets on Manila and Luzon to support the landings on 
Mindoro. From 30 December 1944 through 26 January 1945, the fast carriers 
alternated strikes between Formosa on 3, 4, 9, 15, and 21 January; Luzon 
on the 6th and 7th; Cape San Jacques and Camranh Bay on the 12th; Hong 
Kong and Hainan on the 16th; and against Okinawa on 22 January.

South Dakota operated with the fast carriers in their strikes against 
the Tokyo area on 17 February and against Iwo Jima on the 19th and 20th 
in support of amphibious landings there. Tokyo again was the target on 
the 25th, and Okinawa's turn came on 1 March. After rearming at 
Ulithi, the task groups sailed toward Japan again and pounded targets in 
the Kobe, Kure, and Kyushu areas on 18 and 19 March. They launched 
strikes against Okinawa on the 23d; and, on the 24th, the battleship 
joined a bombardment group which shelled southeastern Okinawa. She 
rejoined her task group which, after bombing Okinawa, struck enemy 
airfields in southern Kyushu on the 29th and then, from 31 March through 
3 April, again pounded targets on Okinawa. On 7 April, all fast 
carriers launched attacks against an enemy fleet off southwest Kyushu, 
sinking Japan's fast super battleship Yamato, two cruisers, and four 

South Dakota once more participated in shore bombardment on southeastern 
Okinawa on 19 April in support of an all-out offensive by the XXIV Army 
Corps against enemy lines.

While rearming from Wrangell (AE-12) on 6 May, a tank of 16-inch high 
capacity powder exploded, causing a fire and exploding four more tanks. 
Turret No. 2 magazines were flooded and the fires put out. The ship lost 
three men killed instantly; eight more died of injuries; and 24 others 
suffered non-fatal wounds. The ship retired to Guam from 11 to 29 May 
when she sailed for Leyte, arriving on 1 June.

South Dakota departed Leyte on 1 July, supporting the carriers of TG 38.1 
which attacked the Tokyo area on the 10th. On 14 July, as part of a 
bombardment group, she participated in the shelling of the Kamaishi Steel 
Works, Kamaishi, Honshu, Japan. This was the first gunfire attack on the 
Japanese home islands by heavy warships. From 15 through 28 March, South 
Dakota again supported the carriers as they launched strikes against 
Honshu and Hokkaido. On the night of 29 and 30 July, she participated in 
the shore bombardment of Hamamatsu, Honshu, and, on the 9th, again shelled 
Kamaishi. The battleship supported the carriers in strikes against 
northern Honshu on 10 August, and in the Tokyo area on the 13th and 
15th. The latter was the last strike of the war for, later that day, 
Japan capitulated.

She anchored in Sagami Wan, Honshu, on 27 August and entered Tokyo Bay 
on the 29th. South Dakota steamed out of Tokyo Bay on 20 September and 
proceeded, via Okinawa and Pearl Harbor, to the west coast of the United 
States. On 29 October, she moved down the coast from San Francisco to 
San Pedro. She sailed from the west coast on 3 January 1946 for 
Philadelphia and a yard overhaul. In Jun% she was attached to the 
Atlantic Reserve Fleet. On 31 January 1947, she was placed in reserve, out 
of commission. The battleship remained in that status until she was 
struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1962. On 25 October 1962, she was 
sold to Lipsett Division, Luria Bros, and Co., Inc., for scrap.

South Dakota received 13 battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at Newport News SB Co., Newport News, Va.
Authorized 03/27/34, Keel Laid 11/20/39,
Commissioned 04/30/42.
Capt. A. S. Merrill commanding
INDIANA (BB-58) was launched by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry
Dock Co., Newport News, Va., 21 November 1941; sponsored by
Mrs. Lewis C. Robbins, daughter of Indiana governor Henry F.
Schricker; and commissioned 30 April 1942, Captain A. A. Merrill in command
Length Overall: 680'
Extreme Beam: 108'2"
Displacement: Tons: 35,000 Mean Draft: 29'3"
Complement: Off.: 115 Enl.: 1,678
Main: (9) 16"/45 cal
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal
AA: (6) quad 40mm / (16) 20mm
Catapults: (2) aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 27 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 130,000
Engines: Mfr.: Wstgh.
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: FW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 7,340










Indiana BB-58

Indiana (BB-58) was launched by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry 
Dock Co., Newport News, Va., 21 November 1941; sponsored by Mrs. 
Lewis C. Bobbins, daughter of Indiana governor Henry F. 
Schricker; and commissioned 30 April 1942, Captain A. S. Merrill 
in command.

Following shakedown in Casco Bay, Maine, the new battleship 
steamed through the Panama Canal to bolster U.S. fleet units in 
the Pacific during the critical early months of World War II. 
She Joined Hear Admiral Lee's carrier screening force 28 
November 1942..For the next 11 months, Indiana helped protect 
carriers Enterprise and Saratoga, then supporting American 
advances in the Solomons.

Indiana steamed to Pearl Harbor 21 October 1943, and departed 11 
November with the support forces designated for the invasion of 
the Gilbert Islands. The battleship protected the carriers which 
supported the Marines during the bloody fight for Tarawa. Then 
late in January 1944 she bombarded Kwajalein for 8 days prior to 
the Marshall Island landings, 1 February. While maneuvering to 
refuel destroyers that night, Indiana collided with battleship 
Washington. Temporary repairs to her starboard side were made 
at Majuro, and she arrived Pearl Harbor 13 February for 
additional work.

Indiana joined famed Task Force 58 for the Truk raid 29-30 
April and bombarded Ponape Island 1 May. In June the 
battlewagon proceeded to the Marianas with a giant American 
fleet for the invasion of that strategic group. She bombarded 
Saipan 13-14 June and brought down several enemy aircraft while 
fighting off concentrated air attacks June 15. As the Japanese 
fleet closed the Marianas for a decisive naval battle, Indiana 
steamed out to meet them as part of Rear Admiral Lee's battle 
line. The great fleets approached each other 19 June for the 
biggest carrier engagement of the war, and as four large air 
raids hit the American formations, Indiana, aided by other 
ships in the screens and carrier planes, downed hundreds of the 
attackers. With able assistance from submarines, Mitscher sank 
two Japanese carriers in addition to inflicting fatal losses 
on the enemy naval air arm during "The Great Marianas Turkey 
Shoot." Indiana shot down several planes, and sustained only 
two near torpedo misses. The issue decided, the battleship 
resumed her screening duties- around the carriers, and stayed 
at sea 64 days in daily support of the Marianas invasion.

In August the battleship began operations as a unit of Task 
Group 38.3, bombarding the Palaus, and later the Philippines. 
She screened strikes on enemy shore installations 12-30 
September 1944, helping to prepare for the coming invasion of 
Leyte. Indiana departed for Bremerton, Wash., arriving 23 

Reaching Pearl Harbor 12 December, the battleship immediately 
began underway training preparedness. She sailed 10 January 
1945 and with a fleet of battleships and cruisers bombarded Iwo 
Jima 24 January. Indiana then joined Task Force 58 at Ulithi 
and sortied 10 February for the invasion of that strategic 
island, next step on the island road to Japan. She supported 
the carriers during a raid on Tokyo 17 February and again on 25 
February, screening strikes on Iwo Jima in the interval. 
Indiana, arrived Ulithi for replenishment 5 March 1945, having 
just supported a strike on the next target- Okinawa.

Indiana steamed out of Ulithi 14 March for the massive Okinawa 
invasion, and until June 1945 steamed in support of carrier 
operations against Japan and Okinawa. These devastating strikes 
did much to aid the ground campaign and lower Japanese morale 
at home. During this period she often repelled enemy suicide 
plane attacks as the Japanese tried desperately but vainly to 
stem the mounting tide of defeat. In early June she rode out 
a terrific typhoon, and sailed to San Pedro Bay, Philippines, 13 

As a member of Task Group 38.1 Indiana operated from 1 July to 
15 August supporting air strikes against Japan and bombarded 
coastal targets with her big guns. The veteran battleship 
arrived Tokyo Bay 5 September and 9 days later sailed for San 
Francisco, where she arrived 29 September 1945. She was placed 
in reserve in commission at Bremerton 11 September 1946. She 
decommissioned 11 September 1947, and entered the Pacific 
Reserve Fleet. She was stricken from the Navy List 1 June 1962 
and sold for scrap. Indiana's mast is erected at the 
University of Indiana at Bloomington; her anchor rests at 
Fort Wayne; and other relics are on display in various 
museums and schools throughout the State.

Indiana received nine battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.
Authorized 03/27/34, Keel Laid 07/20/39,
Commissioned 05/12/42. Capt. F. E. M. Whiting commanding
MASSACHUSETTS, (BB-59) was laid down 20 July 1939 by Bethlehem
Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; launched 23 September 1941; sponsored
by Mrs. Charles Francis Adams; and commissioned 12 May 1942 at
Boston, Capt. Francis E. M. Whiting in command.
Length Overall: 680'10"
Extreme Beam: 108'2"
Displacement: Tons: 35,000 Mean Draft: 29'3"
Complement: Off.: 115 Enl.: 1,678
Main: (9) 16"/45 cal
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal
AA: (6) quad 40mm / (35) 20mm
Catapults: (2) aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 27 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 130,000
Engines: Mfr.: GE
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 6950










Massachusetts BB-59

Massachusetts (BB?59) was laid down 20 July 1939 by Bethlehem Steel Co., 
Quincy, Mass.; launched 23 September 1941; sponsored by Mrs. Charles 
Francis Adams; and commissioned 12 May 1942 at Boston, Capt. Francis E. M. 
Whiting in command.

After shakedown, Massachusetts departed Casco Bay, Maine, 24 October 1942 
and 4 days later made rendezvous with the Western Naval Task Force for the 
invasion of north Africa, serving as flagship for Adm. H. Kent Hewitt. 
While steaming off Casablanca 8 November, she came under fire from French 
battleship Jean Bart's 15?inch guns. She returned fire at 0740, firing the 
first 16?inch shells fired by the U.S. against the European Axis Powers. 
Within a few minutes she silenced Jean Bart's main battery; then she 
turned her guns on French destroyers which had joined the attack, sinking 
two of them. She also shelled shore batteries and blew up an ammunition 
dump. After a cease?fire had been arranged with the French, she headed for 
the United States 12 November, and prepared for Pacific duty.

Massachusetts arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 March 1943. For the next 
months she operated in the South Pacific, protecting convoy lanes and 
supporting operations in the Solomons. Between 19 November and 21 
November, she sailed with a carrier group striking Makin, Tarawa, and 
Abemama in the Gilberts; on 8 December she shelled Japanese positions on 
Nauru; and on 29 January 1944 she guarded carriers striking Tarawa in the 

The Navy now drove steadily across the Pacific. On 30 January 
Massachusetts bombarded Kwajalein, and she covered the landings there 1 
February. With a carrier group she struck against the Japanese stronghold 
at Truk 17 February. That raid not only inflicted heavy damage on Japanese 
aircraft and naval forces, but also proved to be a stunning blow to enemy 
morale. On 21 to 22 February, Massachusetts helped fight off a heavy air 
attack on her task group while it made raids on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. 
She took part in the attack on the Carolines in late March and 
participated in the invasion at Hollandia 22 April which landed 60,000 
troops on the island. Retiring from Hollandia, her task force staged 
another attack on Truk.

Massachusetts shelled Ponape Island 1 May, her last mission before sailing 
to Puget Sound to overhaul and reline her gun barrels, now well?worn. On 1 
August she left Pearl Harbor to resume operations in the Pacific war zone. 
She departed the Marshall Islands 6 October, sailing to support the 
landings in Leyte Gulf. In an effort to block Japanese air attacks in the 
Leyte conflict, she participated in a fleet strike against Okinawa 10 
October. Between 12 and 14 October, she protected forces hitting Formosa. 
While part of TG 38.3 she took part in the Battle for Leyte Gulf 22 to 27 
October, during which planes from her group sank four Japanese carriers 
off Cape Engano.

Stopping briefly at Ulithi, Massachusetts returned to the Philippines as 
part of a task force which struck Manila 14 December while supporting the 
invasion of Mindoro. Massachusetts sailed into a howling typhoon 17 
December, with winds estimated at 120 knots. Three destroyers sank at the 
height of the typhoon's fury. Between 30 December and 23 January 1945, she 
sailed as part of TF 38, which struck Formosa and supported the landing at 
Lingayen. During that time she turned into the South China Sea, her task 
force destroying shipping from Saigon to Hong Kong, concluding operations 
with air strikes on Formosa and Okinawa.

From 10 February to 3 March, with the 5th Fleet, Massachusetts guarded 
carriers during raids on Honshu. Her group also struck Iwo Jima by air for 
the invasion of that island. On 17 March, the carriers launched strikes 
against Kyushu while Massachusetts fired in repelling enemy attacks, 
splashing several planes. Seven days later she bombarded Okinawa. She 
spent most of April fighting off air attacks, while engaged in the 
operations at Okinawa, returning to the area in June, when she passed 
through the eye of a typhoon with 100?knot winds 5 June. She bombarded 
Minami Daito Jima in the Ryukyus 10 June.

Massachusetts sailed 1 July from Leyte Gulf to join the 3d Fleet's final 
offensive against Japan. After guarding carriers launching strikes against 
Tokyo, she shelled Kamaishi, Honshu, 14 July, thus hitting Japan's second 
largest iron and steel center. Two weeks later she bombarded the 
industrial complex at Hamamatsu, returning to blast Kamaishi 9 August. It 
was here that Massachusetts fired what was probably the last 16?inch shell 
fired in combat in World War II.

Victory won, the fighting battleship sailed for Puget Sound and overhaul 1 
September. She left there 28 January 1946 for operations off the 
California coast, until leaving San Francisco for Hampton Roads, arriving 
22 April. She decommissioned 27 March 1947 to enter the Atlantic Reserve 
Fleet at Norfolk, and was struck from the Naval Register 1 June 1962.

"Big Mamie," as she was affectionately known, was saved from the scrap 
pile when she was transferred to the Massachusetts Memorial Committee 8 
June 1965. She was enshrined at Fall River, Mass., 14 August 1965, as the 
Bay State's memorial to those who gave their lives in World War II.

Massachusetts received 11 battle stars for World War II service.

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Built at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va.
Authorized 03/27/34, Keel Laid 02/01/40,
Commissioned 08/16/42. Capt. G. B. Wilson commanding
The third ALABAMA (BB-60) was laid down on 1 February 1940 by
the Norfolk (Va.) Navy Yard; launched on 16 February 1942;
sponsored by Mrs. Lister Hill, wife of the senior Senator from ALABAMA;
and commissioned on 16 August 1942, Capt. George B. Wilson in command.
Length Overall: 680'
Extreme Beam: 108'2"
Displacement: Tons: 35,000 Mean Draft: 29'3"
Complement: Off.: 115 Enl.: 1,678
Main: (9) 16"/45 cal
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal
AA: (6) quad 40mm / (22) 20mm
Catapults: (2) aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 18"
Speed: 27 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 130,000
Engines: Mfr.: Wstgh.
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: FW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons:7,340










Alabama BB-60

The third Alabama (BB-60) was laid down on 1 February 1940 by the Norfolk 
(Virginia.) Navy Yard; launched on 16 February 1942; sponsored by Mrs. 
Lister Hill, wife of the senior Senator from Alabama; and commissioned on 
16 August 1942, Capt. George B. Wilson in command.

After fitting out, Alabama commenced her shakedown cruise in Chesapeake 
Bay on Armistice Day (11 November) 1942. As the year 1943 began, the new 
battleship headed north to conduct operational training out of Casco Bay, 
Maine. She returned to Chesapeake Bay on 11 January 1943 to carry out the 
last week of shakedown training. Following a period of availability and 
logistics support at Norfolk, Alabama was assigned to Task Group (TG) 
22.2, and returned to Casco Bay for tactical maneuvers on 13 February 

With the movement of substantial British strength toward the Mediterranean 
theater, to prepare for the invasion of Sicily, the Royal Navy lacked the 
heavy ships necessary to cover the northern convoy routes. The British 
appeal for help on those lines soon led to the temporary assignment of 
Alabama and South Dakota (BB-57) to the Home Fleet.

On 2 April 1943, Alabama-as part of Task Force (TF) 22- sailed for the 
Orkney Islands with her sister ship and a screen of five destroyers. 
Proceeding via Little Placentia Sound, Argentia, Newfoundland, the 
battleship reached Scapa Flow on 19 May 1943, reporting for duty with TF 61 
and becoming a unit of the British Home Fleet. She soon embarked on a period 
of intensive operational training to coordinate joint operations.

Early in June, Alabama and her sister ship, along with British Home Fleet 
units, covered the reinforcement of the garrison on the island of 
Spitzbergen, which lay on the northern flank of the convoy route to Russia, 
in an operation that took the ship across the Arctic Circle. Soon after her 
return to Scapa Flow, she was inspected by Admiral Harold R. Stark, 
Commander, United States Naval Forces, Europe.

Shortly thereafter, in July, Alabama participated in Operation "Governor," 
a diversion aimed toward southern Norway, to draw German attention away from 
the real Allied thrust, toward Sicily. It had also been devised to attempt 
to lure out the German battleship Tirpitz, the sister ship of the famed, 
but short lived, Bismarck, but the Germans did not rise to the challenge, 
and the enemy battleship remained in her Norwegian lair.

Alabama was detached from the British Home Fleet on 1 August 1943, and, in 
company with South Dakota and screening destroyers, sailed for Norfolk, 
arriving there on 9 August. For the next ten days, Alabama underwent a 
period of overhaul and repairs. This work completed, the battleship 
departed Norfolk on 20 August 1943 for the Pacific. Transiting the Panama 
Canal five days later, she dropped anchor in Havannah Harbor, at Efate, in 
the New Hebrides, on 14 September.

Following a month and a half of exercises and training, with fast carrier 
task groups, the battleship moved to Fiji on 7 November. Alabama sailed on 
11 November to take part in Operation "Galvanic", the assault on the 
Japanese-held Gilbert Islands. She screened the fast carriers as they 
launched attacks on Jaluit and Mille atolls, Marshall Islands, to neutralize 
Japanese airfields located there. Alabama supported landings on Tarawa on 
20 November and later took part in the securing of Betio and Makin. On the 
night of 26 November, Alabama twice opened fire to drive off enemy aircraft 
that approached her formation.

On 8 December 1943, Alabama, along with five other fast battleships, carried 
out the first Pacific gunfire strike conducted by that type of warship. 
Alabama's guns hurled 535 rounds into enemy strong points, as she and her 
sister ships bombarded Nauru Island, an enemy phosphate-producing center, 
causing severe damage to shore installations there. She also took the 
destroyer Boyd (DD-544), alongside after that ship had received a direct hit 
from a Japanese shore battery on Nauru, and brought three injured men on 
board for treatment.

She then escorted the carriers Blinker Hill (CV-17) and Monterey (CVL-26) 
back to Efate, arriving on 12 December. Alabama departed the New Hebrides 
for Pearl Harbor on 5 January 1944, arrived on the 12th, and underwent a 
brief drydocking at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. After replacement of her 
port outboard propeller, and routine maintenance, Alabama was again 
underway to return to action in the Pacific.

Alabama reached Funafuti, Ellice Islands, on 21 January 1944, and there 
rejoined the fleet. Assigned to Task Group (TG) 58.2, which was formed 
around Essex (CV-9), Alabama left the Ellice Islands on 25 January to help 
carry out Operation "Flintlock," the invasion of the Marshall Islands. 
Alabama, along with sister ship South Dakota and the fast battleship North 
Carolina (BB-55), bombarded Roi on 29 January and Namur on 30 January; she 
hurled 330 rounds of 16-inch and 1,562 of 5-inch toward Japanese targets, 
destroying planes, airfield facilities, blockhouses, buildings, and gun 
emplacements. Over the following days of the campaign, Alabama patrolled 
the area north of Kwajalein Atoll. On 12 February 1944, Alabama sortied 
with the Bunker Hill task group to launch attacks on Japanese 
installations, aircraft and shipping at Truk. Those raids, launched on 16 and 
17 February, caused heavy damage to enemy shipping concentrated at that 
island base.

Leaving Truk, Alabama began steaming toward the Marianas to assist in 
strikes on Tinian, Saipan and Guam. During this action, while repelling 
enemy air attacks on 21 February 1944, 5-inch mount no. 9 accidentally fired 
into mount no. 5. Five men died, and 11 were wounded in the mishap.

After the strikes were completed on 22 February, Alabama conducted a sweep 
looking for crippled enemy ships southeast of Saipan, and eventually 
returned to Majuro on 26 February 1944. There she served temporarily as 
flagship for Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, Commander, TF 58, from 3 to 8 

Alabama's next mission was to screen the fast carriers as they hurled air 
strikes against Japanese positions on Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai, 
Caroline Islands. She steamed from Majuro on 22 March 1944 with TF 58 in the 
screen of Yorktown (CV-10). On the night of 29 March, about six enemy planes 
approached TG 58.3, in which Alabama was operating, and four broke off to 
attack ships in the vicinity of the battleship. Alabama downed one 
unassisted, and helped in the destruction of another.

On 30 March, planes from TF 58 began bombing Japanese airfields, shipping, 
fleet servicing facilities, and other installations on the islands of 
Palau, Yap, Ulithi and Woleai. During that day, Alabama again provided 
antiaircraft fire whenever enemy planes appeared. At 2045 on the 30th, a 
single plane approached TG 58.3, but Alabama and other ships drove it off 
before it could cause any damage.

The battleship returned briefly to Majuro, before she sailed on 13 April 
with TF 58, this time in the screen of Enterprise (CV-6). In the next three 
weeks, TF 58 hit enemy targets on Hollandia, Wakde, Sawar, and Sarmi along 
the New Guinea coast; covered Army landings at Aitape, Tanahmerah Bay, and 
Humboldt Bay; and conducted further strikes on Truk.

As part of the preliminaries to the invasion of the Marianas, Alabama, in 
company with five other fast battleships, shelled the large island of 
Ponape, in the Carolines, the site of a Japanese airfield and seaplane 
base. As Alabama's Capt. Fred T. Kirtland subsequently noted, the 
bombardment, of 70 minutes' duration, was conducted in a "leisurely manner." 
Alabama then returned to Majuro on 4 May 1944 to prepare for the invasion of 
the Marianas.

After a month spent in exercises and refitting, Alabama again got under way 
with TF 58 to participate in Operation "Forager." On 12 June, Alabama 
screened the carriers striking Saipan. On 13 June, Alabama took part in a 
six-hour preinvasion bombardment of the west coast of Saipan, to soften the 
defenses and cover the initial minesweeping operations. Her spotting planes 
reported that her salvoes had caused great destruction and fires in Garapan 
town. Though the shelling appeared successful, it proved a failure due to 
the lack of specialized training and experience required for successful 
shore bombardment. Strikes continued as troops invaded Saipan on 15 June.

On 19 June, during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Alabama operated with 
TG 58.7, and provided the first warning to TF 58 of the incoming Japanese 
air strike when she reported having detected a large bogie "bearing 268º 
true, distance 141 miles, angels 24 or greater, closing…" on her air 
search radar at 1006. In response to Commander Task Force 58 (Vice Admiral 
Marc A. Mitscher's immediate request for confirmation: battleship Iowa 
(BB-61) substantiated Alabama's report. 

Beginning at 1046 and continuing over the course of the next five hours, 
the Japanese hurled repeated strikes against Vice Admiral Mitscher's fast 
carrier force, seven raids in all. Three of those involved TG 58.7, and 
two of which saw Alabama opening fire.

In the first instance, only two planes managed to penetrate the formation 
to attack South Dakota, but her sister ship suffered one bomb hit that 
killed one officer and 20 enlisted men and wounded an additional 23. An 
hour later a second wave, composed largely of torpedo bombers, bore in, 
but Alabama's barrage discouraged two planes from attacking the already 
bloodied South Dakota. The intense concentration paid to the incoming 
torpedo planes left one dive bomber nearly undetected, and it managed to 
drop its load near Alabama; the two small bombs were near-misses, and 
caused no damage.

What U.S. Navy pilots came to call the "Marianas Turkey Shoot" severely 
depleted Japanese naval air power, and Alabama had had a hand in it, as 
Commander TG 58.7 (Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee) recognized in his TBS (low-
frequency voice radio) message at 1247: "In the matter of reporting 
initial bogies, to IOWA well done, to ALABAMA very well done." Alabama's 
"early warning" had allowed the carriers to scramble their fighters and 
intercept the in-bound enemy "at a considerable distance" from TF 58 than 
would otherwise have been possible.

Alabama continued patrolling areas around the Marianas to protect the 
American landing forces on Saipan, screening the fast carriers as they 
struck enemy shipping, aircraft, and shore installations on Guam, Tinian, 
Rota, and Saipan. She then retired to the Marshalls for upkeep.

Alabama as flagship for Rear Admiral E. W. Hanson, Commander, Battleship 
Division 9-left Eniwetok on 14 July 1944, sailing with the task group 
formed around Bunker Hill. She screened the fast carriers as they 
conducted preinvasion attacks and support of the landings on the island of 
Guam on 21 July. She returned briefly to Eniwetok on 11 August. On 30 
August she got underway in the screen of Essex_ to carry out Operation 
"Stalemate II," the seizure of Palau, Ulithi, and Yap. On 6 through 8 
September, the forces launched strikes on the Carolines.

Alabama departed the Carolines to sail to the Philippines and provided 
cover for the carriers striking the islands of Cebu, Leyte, Bohol, and 
Negros from 12 to 14 September. The carriers launched strikes on snipping 
and installations in the Manila Bay area on 21 and 22 September, and in the 
central Philippines area on 24 September. Alabama retired briefly to 
Saipan on 28 September, then proceeded to Ulithi on 1 October 1944.

On 6 October 1944, Alabama sailed with TF 38 to support the liberation of 
the Philippines. Again operating as part of a fast carrier task group, 
Alabama protected the flattops while they launched strikes on Japanese 
facilities at Okinawa, in the Pescadores, and Formosa.

Detached from the Formosa area on 14 October to sail toward Luzon, the fast 
battleship again used her antiaircraft batteries in support of the 
carriers as enemy aircraft attempted to attack the formation. Alabama's 
gunners claimed three enemy aircraft shot down and a fourth damaged. By 15 
October, Alabama was supporting landing operations on Leyte. She then 
screened the carriers as they conducted air strikes on Cebu, Negros, 
Panay, northern Mindanao, and Leyte on 21 October 1944.

Alabama, as part of the Enterprise screen, supported air operations 
against the Japanese Southern Force in the area off Surigao Strait, then 
moved north to strike the powerful Japanese Central Force heading for San 
Bernardino Strait. After receiving reports of a third Japanese force, the 
battleship served in the screen of the fast carrier task force as it sped 
to Cape Engano. On 24 October, although American air strikes destroyed four 
Japanese carriers in the Battle off Cape Engano, the Japanese Central Force 
under Admiral Kurita had transited San Bernardino Strait and emerged off 
the coast of Samar, where it fell upon a task group of American escort 
carriers and their destroyer and destroyer escort screen. Alabama reversed 
her course and headed for Samar to assist the greatly outnumbered American 
forces, but the Japanese had retreated by the time she reached the scene. 
She then joined the protective screen for the Essex task group to hit enemy 
forces in the central Philippines before retiring to Ulithi on 30 October 
1944 for replenishment.

Underway again on 3 November 1944, Alabama screened the fast carriers as 
they carried out sustained strikes against Japanese airfields, and 
installations on Luzon to prepare for a landing on Mindoro Island. She spent 
the next few weeks engaged in operating against the Visayas and Luzon before 
retiring to Ulithi on 24 November.

The first half of December 1944 found Alabama engaged in various training 
exercises and maintenance routines. She left Ulithi on 10 December, and 
reached the launching point for air strikes on Luzon on 14 December, as the 
fast carrier task forces launched aircraft to carry out preliminary strikes 
on airfields on Luzon that could threaten the landings slated to take place 
on Mindoro. From 14 to 16 December, a veritable umbrella of carrier 
aircraft covered the Luzon fields, preventing any enemy planes from getting 
airborne to challenge the Mindoro bound convoys. Having completed her 
mission, she left the area to refuel on 17 December; but, as she reached 
the fueling rendezvous, began encountering heavy weather. By daybreak on 
the 18th, rough seas and harrowing conditions rendered a fueling at sea 
impossible; 50 knot winds caused ships to roll heavily. Alabama 
experienced rolls of 30 degrees, had both her Vought "Kingfisher" 
floatplanes so badly damaged that they were of no further value, and 
received minor damage to her structure. At one point in the typhoon, 
Alabama, recorded wind gusts up to 83 knots. Three destroyers, Hull (DD-
350), Mcmagkan (DD-354), and Spence (DD-512), were lost to the typhoon. By 
19 December, the storm had run its course; and Alabama, arrived back at 
Ulithi on 24 December. After pausing there briefly, Alabama continued on to 
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, for overhaul.

The battleship entered drydock on 18 January 1945, and remained there until 
25 February. Work continued until 17 March, when Alabama got underway for 
standardization trials and refresher training along the southern 
California coast. She got underway for Pearl Harbor on 4 April, arrived 
there on 10 April, and held a week of training exercises. She then continued 
on to Ulithi and moored there on 28 April 1945.

Alabama departed Ulithi with TF 58 on 9 May 1945, bound for the Ryukyus, to 
support forces which had landed on Okinawa on 1 April 1945, and to protect 
the fast carriers as they launched air strikes on installations in the 
Ryukyus and on Kyushu. On 14 May, several Japanese planes penetrated the 
combat air patrol to get at the carriers; one crashed Vice Admiral 
Mitscher's flagship. Alabama's guns splashed two, and assisted in 
splashing two more.

Subsequently, Alabama rode out a typhoon on 4 and 5 June, suffering only 
superficial damage while the nearby heavy cruiser Pittsburgh (CA-70) lost 
her bow. Alabama subsequently bombarded the Japanese island of Minami Daito 
Shima, with other fast battleships, on 10 June 1945 and then headed for 
Leyte Gulf later in June to prepare to strike at the heart of Japan with 
the 3d Fleet.

On 1 July 1945, Alabama and other 3d Fleet units got underway for the 
Japanese home islands. Throughout the month of July 1945, Alabama carried 
out strikes on targets in industrial areas of Tokyo and other points on 
Honshu, Hokkaido, and Kyushu; on the night of 17 and 18 July, Alabama, and 
other fast battleships in the task group, carried put the first night 
bombardment of six major industrial plants in the Hitachi-Mito area of 
Honshu, about eight miles northeast of Tokyo. On board Alabama to observe the 
operation was retired Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the famed polar 

On 9 August, Alabama transferred a medical party to the destroyer Ault 
(DD-698), for further transfer to the destroyer Borie (DD-704). The latter 
had been kamikazied on that date and required prompt medical aid on her 
distant picket station.

The end of the war found Alabama still at sea, operating off the southern 
coast of Honshu. On 15 August 1945, she received word of the Japanese 
capitulation. During the initial occupation of the Yokosuka-Tokyo area, 
Alabama transferred detachments of marines and bluejackets for temporary 
duty ashore; her bluejackets were among the first from the fleet to land. 
She also served in the screen of the carriers as they conducted 
reconnaissance flights to locate prisoner-of-war camps.

Alabama entered Tokyo Bay on 5 September to receive men who had served with 
the occupation forces, and then departed Japanese waters on 20 September. 
At Okinawa, she embarked 700 sailors-principally members of Navy 
construction battalions (or "Seabees")-for her part in the "Magic Carpet" 
operations. She reached San Francisco at mid-day on 15 October, and on Navy 
Day (27 October 1945) hosted 9,000 visitors. She then shifted to San Pedro, 
Calif., on 29 October. Alabama remained at San Pedro through 27 February 
1946, when she left for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for inactivation 
overhaul. Alabama was decommissioned on 9 January 1947, at the Naval 
Station, Seattle, and was assigned to the Bremerton Group, United States 
Pacific Reserve Fleet. She remained there until struck from the Naval 
Vessel Register on 1 June 1962.

Citizens of the state of Alabama had formed the "USS Alabama Battleship 
Commission" to raise funds for the preservation of Alabama as a memorial to 
the men and women who served in World War II. The ship was awarded to that 
state on 16 June 1964, and was formally turned over on 7 July 1964 in 
ceremonies at Seattle. Alabama was then towed to her permanent berth at 
Mobile, Ala., arriving in Mobile Bay on 14 September 1964.

Alabama received nine battle stars for her World War II service.

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Built at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Authorized 05/17/38, Keel Laid 06/27/40,
Commissioned 02/22/43. Capt. J. L. McCrea commanding
The third IOWA (BB-61) was laid down at New York Navy Yard, 27
June 1940; launched 27 August 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Henry A.
Wallace, wife of Vice President Wallace, and commissioned 22
February 1943, Capt. John L. McCrea in command.
Length Overall: 887'3"
Extreme Beam: 108'2"
Displacement: Tons: 45,000 Mean Draft: 28'11"
Complement: Off.: 117 Enl.: 1,804
Main: (9) 16"/50
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal
AA: (15) quad 40mm / (60) 20mm
Catapults: (2) aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 17"
Speed: 33 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 212,000
Engines: Mfr.: GE
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 7,073










Iowa BB-61

The third Iowa (BB-61) was laid down at New York. Navy Yard, 27 June 1940; 
launched 27 August 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Henry A. Wallace, wife of Vice 
President Wallace, and commissioned 22 February 1943, Capt. John L. McCrea 
in command.

On 24 February, Iowa put to sea for shakedown in Chesapeake Bay and along 
the Atlantic coast. She got underway, 27 August for Argentia, Newfoundland 
to neutralize the threat of German Battleship Tirpitz which was reportedly 
operating in Norwegian waters.

In the fall, Iowa carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Casablanca, 
French Morocco on the first leg of his journey to the Teheran Conference 
in November. After the conference she returned the President to the 
United States.

As Flagship of Battleship Division 7, Iowa departed the United States 2 
January 1944 for the Pacific Theatre and her combat debut in the campaign 
for the Marshalls. From 29 January to 3 February, she supported carrier 
air strikes made by Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman's task group 
against Kwajalein and Eniwetok Atolls in the Marshall Islands. Her next 
assignment was to support air strikes against the Japanese Naval base at 
Truk, Caroline Islands. Iowa, in company with other ships was detached 
from the support group 16 February, 1944 to conduct an anti-shipping sweep 
around Truk to destroy enemy naval vessels escaping to the north. On 21 
February, she was underway with Fast Carrier Task Force 58 while it 
conducted the first strikes against Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Guam in 
the Marianas.

On 18 March, Iowa, flying the flag of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee, Commander 
Battleships, Pacific, joined in the bombardment of Mili Atoll in the 
Marshall Islands. Although struck by two Japanese 4.7" projectiles during 
the action, I own suffered negligible damage. She then rejoined Task Force 
58, 30 March, and supported air strikes against the Palau Islands and 
Woleai of the Carolines which continued for several days.

From 22 to 28 April 1944, Iowa supported air raids on Hollandia, Aitape, 
and Wakde Islands to support Army forces on Aitape, Tanahmerah Bay, and 
Humboldt Bay in New Guinea. She then joined the Task Force's second strike 
on Truk, 29-30 April, and bombarded Japanese facilities on Ponape in the 
Carolines, 1 May.

In the opening phases of the Marianas campaign, Iowa protected the flattops 
during air strikes on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Rota, and 
Pagan, 12 June. Iowa was then detached to bombard enemy installations on 
Saipan and Tinian, 13-14 June. On 19 June, in an engagement known as the 
Battle of the Philippine Sea, Iowa, as part of the battle line of Fast 
Carrier Task Force 58, helped repel four massive air raids launched by the 
Japanese Middle Fleet. This resulted in the almost complete destruction of 
Japanese carrier-based aircraft. Iowa then joined in the pursuit of the 
fleeing enemy Fleet, shooting down one torpedo plane and assisting in 
splashing another.

Throughout July, Iowa remained off the Marianas supporting air strikes on 
the Palaus and landings on Guam. After a month's rest, Iowa sortied from 
Eniwetok as part of the 3d Fleet, and helped support the landings on 
Peleliu, 17 September. She then protected the carriers during air strikes 
against the Central Philippines to neutralize enemy air power for the long 
awaited invasion of the Philippines. On 10 October, Iowa arrived off 
Okinawa for a series of air strikes on the Ryukyus and Formosa. She then 
supported air strikes against Luzon, 18 October and continued this vital 
duty during General MacArthur's landing on Leyte 20 October.

In a last ditch attempt to halt the United States campaign to recapture 
the Philippines, the Japanese Navy struck back with a three-pronged attack 
aimed at the destruction of American amphibious forces in Leyte Gulf. Iowa 
accompanied TF-38 during attacks against the Japanese Central Force as it 
steamed through the Sibuyan Sea toward San Bernardino Strait The reported 
results of these attacks and the apparent retreat of the Japanese Central 
Force led Admiral Halsey to believe that this force had been ruined as 
an effective fighting group. Iowa, with Task Force 38, steamed after the 
Japanese Northern Force off Cape Engano, Luzon. On 25 October 1944, when 
the ships of the Northern Force were almost within range of Iowa's guns, 
word arrived that the Japanese Central Force was attacking a group of 
American escort carriers off Samar. This threat to the American beachheads 
forced her to reverse course and steam to support the vulnerable "baby 
carriers." However, the valiant fight put up by the escort carriers and 
their screen had already caused the Japaneses to retire and Iowa was 
denied a surface action. Following the Battle for Leyte Gulf, Iowa 
remained in the waters off the Philippines screening carriers during 
strikes against Luzon and Formosa. She sailed for the West Coast late in 
December 1944.

Iowa arrived San Francisco, 15 January 1945, for overhaul. She sailed 19 
March 1945 for Okinawa, arriving 15 April 1945. Commencing 24 April 1945, 
Iowa supported carrier operations which assured American troops vital air 
superiority during their struggle for that bitterly contested island. She 
then supported air strikes off southern Kyushu from 25 May to 13 June 
1945. Iowa participated in strikes on the Japanese homeland 14-15 July 
and bombarded Muroran, Hokkaido, destroying steel mills and other targets. 
The city of Hitachi on Honshu was given the same treatment on the night 
of 17-18 July 1945. Iowa continued to support fast carrier strikes until 
the cessation of hostilities, 15 August 1945.

Iowa entered Tokyo Bay with the occupation forces, 29 August 1945. After 
serving as Admiral William F. Halsey's flagship for the surrender 
ceremony, 2 September 1945, Iowa departed Tokyo Bay 20 September 1945 for 
the United States.

Arriving Seattle, Wash., 15 October 1945, Iowa returned to Japanese waters 
in January 1946 and became flagship of the 5th Fleet. She continued this 
role until she sailed for the United States 25 March 1946. From that time 
on, until September 1948, Iowa operated from West Coast ports, on Naval 
Reserve and at sea training and drills and maneuvers with the Fleet. 
Iowa, decommissioned 24 March 1949. After Communist aggression in Korea 
necessitated an expansion of the active fleet, Iowa recommissioned 25 
August 1951, Captain William R. Smedberg III in command. She operated off 
the West Coast until March 1952, when she sailed for the Far East. On 1 
April 1952, Iowa became the flagship of Vice Admiral Robert T. Briscoe, 
Commander, 7th Fleet, and departed Yokosuka, Japan to support United 
Nations Forces in Korea. From 8 April to 16 October 1952, Iowa was 
involved in combat operations off the East Coast of Korea. Her primary 
mission was to aid ground troops, by bombarding enemy targets at Songjin, 
Hungnam, and Kojo, North Korea. During this time, Admiral Briscoe was 
relieved as Commander, 7th Fleet. Vice Admiral J. J. Clark, the new 
commander, continued to use Iowa as his flagship until 17 October 1952. 
Iowa departed Yokosuka, Japan 19 October 1952 for overhaul at Norfolk and 
training operations in the Caribbean Sea.

Iowa embarked midshipmen for at sea training to Northern Europe, July 
1953, and immediately after took part in Operation "Mariner," a major 
NATO exercise, serving as flagship of Vice Admiral E. T. Woolfidge, 
commanding the 2d Fleet. Upon completion of this exercise, until the fall 
of 1954, Iowa operated in the Virginia Capes area. In September 1954, she 
became the flagship of Rear Admiral R. E. Libby, Commander, Battleship-
Cruiser Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

From January to April 1955, Iowa made an extended cruise to the 
Mediterranean as the first battleship regularly assigned to Commander, 
6th Fleet. Iowa, departed on a midshipman training cruise 1 June 1955 and 
upon her return, she entered Norfolk for a 4-mouth overhaul. Following 
refit, Iowa continued intermittent training cruises and operational 
exercises, until 4 January 1957 when she departed Norfolk for duty with 
the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. Upon completion of this deployment, 
Iowa embarked midshipmen for a South American training cruise and joined 
in the International Naval Review off Hampton Roads, Va., 13 June 1957.

On 3 September 1957, Iowa sailed for Scotland for NATO Operation 
"Strikeback." She returned to Norfolk, 28 September 1957 and departed 
Hampton Roads for the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 22 October 1957. She 
decommissioned 24 February 1958 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at 
Philadelphia, where she remains.

Iowa earned nine battle stars for World War II service and two for Korean 

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Built at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa.
Authorized 05/17/38, Keel Laid 09/16/40,
Commissioned 05/23/43. Capt. C. F. Holden commanding
The second NEW JERSEY (BB-62) was launched 7 December 1942 by
the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard; sponsored by Mrs. Charles
Edison, wife of Governor Edison of New Jersey, former Secretary
of the Navy; and commissioned at Philadelphia 23 May 1943,
Captain Carl F. Holden in command.
Length Overall: 887'7"
Extreme Beam: 108'1"
Displacement: Tons: 45,000 Mean Draft: 28'11"
Complement: Off.: 117 Enl.: 1,804
Main: (9) 16"/50
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal
AA: (15) quad 40mm / (60) 20mm
Catapults: (2) aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 17"
Speed: 33 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 212,000
Engines: Mfr.: Wstgh.
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 7,251










New Jersey BB-62

The second New Jersey (BB-62) was launched 7 December 1942 by the 
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard; sponsored by Mrs. Charles Edison, wife of 
Governor Edison of New Jersey, former Secretary of the Navy; and 
commissioned at Philadelphia 23 May 1943, Captain Carl F. Holden in 

New Jersey completed fitting out and trained her initial crew in the 
Western Atlantic and Caribbean. On 7 January 1944 she passed through the 
Panama Canal war-bound for Funafuti, Ellice Islands. She reported there 22 
January for duty with the Fifth Fleet, and three days later rendezvoused 
with Task Group 58.2 for the assault on the Marshall Islands. New Jersey 
screened the carriers from enemy attack as their aircraft flew strikes 
against Kwajalein and Eniwetok 29 January-2 February, softening up the 
latter for its invasion and supporting the troops who landed 31 January.

New Jersey began her distinguished career as a flagship 4 February in 
Majuro Lagoon when Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, commanding the Fifth 
Fleet, broke his flag from her main. Her first action as a flagship was a 
bold two-day surface and air strike by her task force against the 
supposedly impregnable Japanese fleet base on Truk in the Carolines. This 
blow was coordinated with the assault on Kwajalein, and effectively 
interdicted Japanese naval retaliation to the conquest of the Marshalls. 
On 17 and 18 February, the task force accounted for two Japanese light 
cruisers, four destroyers, three auxiliary cruisers, two submarine 
tenders, two submarine chasers, an armed trawler, a plane ferry, and 23 
other auxiliaries, not including small craft. New Jersey destroyed a 
trawler and, with other ships, sank destroyer Maikaze, as well as firing 
on an enemy plane which attacked her formation. The task force returned to 
the Marshalls 19 February.

Between 17 March and 10 April, New Jersey first sailed with Rear Admiral 
Marc A. Mitscher's flagship Lexington (CV-16) for an air and surface 
bombardment of Mille, then rejoined Task Group 58.2 for a strike against 
shipping in the Palaus, and bombarded Woleai. Upon his return to Majuro, 
Admiral Spruance transferred his flag to Indianapolis (CA35).

New Jersey's next war cruise, 13 April-4 May, began and ended at Majuro. 
She screened the carrier striking force which gave air support to the 
invasion of Aitape, Tanahmerah Bay and Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, 22 April, 
then bombed shipping and shore installations at Truk 29-30 April. New 
Jersey and her formation splashed two enemy torpedo bombers at Truk. Her 
sixteen-inch salvos pounded Ponape 1 May, destroying fuel tanks, badly 
damaging the airfield, and demolishing a headquarters building.

After rehearsing in the Marshalls for the invasion of the Marianas, New 
Jersey put to sea 6 June in the screening and bombardment group of Admiral 
Mitscher's Task Force. On the second day of preinvasion air strikes, 12 
June, New Jersey downed an enemy torpedo bomber, and during the next two 
days her heavy guns battered Saipan and Tinian, throwing steel against the 
beaches the marines would charge 15 June.

The Japanese response to the Marianas operation was an order to its Mobile 
Fleet; it must attack and annihilate the American invasion force. 
Shadowing American submarines tracked the Japanese fleet into the 
Philippine Sea as Admiral Spruance joined his task force with Admiral 
Mitscher's to meet the enemy. New Jersey took station in the protective 
screen around the carriers on 19 June as American and Japanese pilots 
dueled in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. That day and the next were to 
pronounce the doom of Japanese naval aviation; in this "Marianas Turkey 
Shoot," the Japanese lost some 400 planes. This loss of trained pilots and 
aircraft was equaled in disaster by the sinking of three Japanese 
carriers by submarines and aircraft, and the damaging of two carriers and 
a battleship. The anti-aircraft fire of New Jersey and the other screening 
ships proved virtually impenetrable. Only two American ships were damaged, 
and those but slightly. In this overwhelming victory but 17 American 
planes were lost to combat.

New Jersey's final contribution to the conquest of the Marianas was in 
strikes on Guam and the Palaus from which she sailed for Pearl Harbor, 
arriving 9 August. Here she broke the flag of Admiral William F. Halsey, 
Jr., 24 August, becoming flagship of the Third Fleet. For the eight months 
after she sailed from Pearl Harbor 30 August, New Jersey was based at 
Ulithi. In this climactic span of the Pacific War, fast carrier task 
forces ranged the waters off the Philippines, Okinawa, and Formosa, 
striking again and again at airfields, shipping, shore bases, invasion 
beaches. New Jersey offered the essential protection required by these 
forces, always ready to repel enemy air or surface attack.

In September the targets were in the Visayas and the southern Philippines, 
then Manila and Cavite, Panay, Negros, Leyte, and Cebu. Early in October 
raids to destroy enemy air power based on Okinawa and Formosa were begun 
in preparation for the Leyte landings 20 October.

This invasion brought on the desperate, almost suicidal, last great sortie 
of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Its plan for the Battle for Leyte Gulf 
included a feint by a northern force of planeless heavy attack carriers to 
draw away the battleships, cruisers and fast carriers with which Admiral 
Halsey was protecting the landings. This was to allow the Japanese Center 
Force to enter the gulf through San Bernadino Strait. At the opening of 
the battle, planes from the carriers guarded by New Jersey struck hard at 
both the Japanese Southern and Center Forces, sinking a battleship 23 
October. The next day Halsey shaped his course north after the decoy force 
had been spotted. Planes from his carriers sank four of the Japanese 
carriers, as well as a destroyer and a cruiser, while New Jersey steamed 
south at flank speed to meet the newly developed threat of the Center 
Force. It had been turned back in a stunning defeat when she arrived.

New Jersey rejoined her fast carriers near San Bernadino 27 October for 
strikes on central and southern Luzon. Two days later, the force was under 
suicide attack. In a melee of anti-aircraft fire from the ships and combat 
air patrol, New Jersey shot down a plane whose pilot maneuvered it into 
Intrepid's (CV-11) port gun galleries, while machine gun fire from 
Intrepid wounded three of New Jersey's men. During a similar action 25 
November three Japanese planes were splashed by the combined fire of the 
force, part of one flaming onto Hancock's (CV-19) flight deck. Intrepid 
was again attacked, shot down one would-be suicide, but was crashed by 
another despite hits scored on the attacker by New Jersey gunners. New 
Jersey shot down a plane diving on Cabot (CVL-28) and hit another which 
smashed into Cabot's port bow.

In December, New Jersey sailed with the Lexington task group for air 
attacks on Luzon 14-16 December, then found herself in the furious typhoon 
which sank three destroyers. Skillful seamanship brought her through 
undamaged. She returned to Ulithi on Christmas Eve to be met by Fleet 
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

New Jersey ranged far and wide from 30 December to 25 January 1945 on her 
last cruise as Admiral Halsey's flagship. She guarded the carriers in 
their strikes on Formosa, Okinawa, and Luzon, on the coast of Indo-China, 
Hong Kong, Swatow and Amoy, and again on Formosa and Okinawa. At Ulithi 27 
January Admiral Halsey lowered his flag in New Jersey, but it was replaced 
two days later by that of Rear Admiral Oscar Badger commanding Battleship 
Division Seven.

In support of the assault on Iwo Jima, New Jersey screened the Essex (CV-
9) group in air attacks on the island 19-21 February, and gave the same 
crucial service for the first major carrier raid on Tokyo 25 February, a 
raid aimed specifically at aircraft production. During the next two days, 
Okinawa was attacked from the air by the same striking force.

New Jersey was directly engaged in the conquest of Okinawa from 14 March 
until 16 April. As the carriers prepared for the invasion with strikes 
there and on Honshu, New Jersey fought off air raids, used her seaplanes 
to rescue downed pilots, defended the carriers from suicide planes, 
shooting down at least three and assisting in the destruction of others. 
On 24 March she again carried out the vital battleship role of heavy 
bombardment, preparing the invasion beaches for the assault a week later.

During the final months of the war, New Jersey was overhauled at Puget 
Sound Naval Shipyard, from which she sailed 4 July for San Pedro, Pearl 
Harbor, and Eniwetok bound for Guam. Here on 14 August she once again 
became flagship of the Fifth Fleet under Admiral Spruance. Brief stays at 
Manila and Okinawa preceded her arrival in Tokyo Bay 17 September, where 
she served as flagship for the successive commanders of Naval Forces in 
Japanese waters until relieved 28 January 1946 by Iowa (BB-61). New Jersey 
took aboard nearly a thousand homeward-bound troops with whom she arrived 
at San Francisco 10 February.

After west coast operations and a normal overhaul at Puget Sound, New 
Jersey's keel once more cut the Atlantic as she came home to Bayonne, New 
Jersey, for a rousing fourth birthday party 23 May 1947. Present were 
Governor Alfred E. Driscoll, former Governor Walter E. Edge and other 

Between 7 June and 26 August 1 NT Jersey formed part of the first training 
squadron to cruise Northern European waters since the beginning of World 
War II. Over two thousand Naval Academy and NROTC midshipmen received 
seagoing experience under the command of Admiral Richard L. Connoly, 
Commander Naval Forces Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, who broke his 
flag in New Jersey at Rosyth, Scotland 23 June. She was the scene of 
official receptions at Oslo, where King Haakon VII of Norway inspected the 
crew 2 July, and at Portsmouth, England. The training fleet was westward 
bound 18 July for exercises in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic.

After serving at New York as flagship for Rear Admiral Heber H. McClean, 
Commander, Battleship Division One, 12 September-18 October, New Jersey 
was inactivated at the New York Naval Shipyard. She was decommissioned at 
Bayonne 30 June 1948 and assigned to the New York Group, Atlantic Reserve 

New Jersey was recommissioned at Bayonne 21 November 1950, Captain David 
M. Tyree in command. In the Caribbean she welded her crew into an 
efficient body which would meet with distinction the demanding 
requirements of the Korean War. She sailed from Norfolk 16 April 1951 and 
arrived from Japan off the east coast of Korea 17 May. Vice Admiral Harold 
M. Martin, commanding the Seventh Fleet, placed his flag in New Jersey for 
the next six months.

New Jersey's guns opened the first shore bombardment of her Korean career 
at Wonsan 20 May. During her two tours of duty in Korean waters, she was 
again and again to play the part of seaborne mobile artillery. In direct 
support to United Nations troops, or in preparation for ground actions, in 
interdicting Communist supply and communication routes, or in destroying 
supplies and troop positions, New Jersey hurled a weight of steel fire far 
beyond the capacity of land artillery, moved rapidly and free from major 
attack from one target to another, and at the same time could be 
immediately available to guard aircraft carriers should they require her 
protection. It was on this first such mission at Wonsan that she received 
her only combat casualties of the Korean War. One of her men was killed 
and two severely Wounded when she took a hit from a shore battery on her 
number one turret and received a near miss aft to port.

Between 23 and 27 May, and again 30 May New Jersey pounded targets near 
Yangyang and Kansong, dispersing troop concentrations, dropping a bridge 
span, and destroying three large ammunition dumps. Air spotters reported 
Yangyang abandoned at the end of this action, while railroad facilities 
and vehicles were smashed at Kansong. On 24 May, she lost one of her 
helicopters when its crew pushed to the limit of their fuel searching for 
a downed aviator. They themselves were able to reach friendly territory 
and were later returned to their ship.

With Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, and Vice 
Admiral C. Turner Joy, Commander Naval Forces Far East aboard, New Jersey 
bombarded targets at Wonsan 4 June. At Kansong two days later she fired 
her main battery at an artillery regiment and truck encampment, with 
Seventh Fleet aircraft spotting targets and reporting successes. On 28 
July off Wonsan the battleship was again taken under fire by shore 
batteries. Several near misses splashed to port, but New Jersey's 
precision fire silenced the enemy and destroyed several gun emplacements.

Between 4 and 12 July, New Jersey supported a United Nations push in the 
Kansong area, firing at enemy buildup and reorganization positions. As the 
Republic of Korea's First Division hurled itself on the enemy, shore fire 
control observers saw New Jersey's salvos hit directly on enemy mortar 
emplacements, supply and ammunition dumps, and personnel concentrations. 
New Jersey returned to Wonsan 18 July for an exhibition of perfect firing: 
five gun emplacements demolished with five direct hits.

New Jersey sailed to the aid of troops of the Republic of Korea once more 
17 August, returning to the Kansong area where for four days she provided 
harassing fire by night, and broke up counterattacks by day, inflicting a 
heavy toll on enemy troops. She returned to this general area yet again 29 
August, when she fired in an amphibious demonstration staged behind enemy 
lines to ease pressure on the Republic of Korea's troops. The next day she 
began a three-day saturation of the Changjon area, with one of her own 
helicopters spotting the results: four buildings destroyed, road junctions 
smashed, railroad marshalling yards afire, tracks cut and uprooted, coal 
stocks scattered, many buildings and warehouses set blazing.

Aside from a brief break in firing 23 September to take aboard wounded 
from the Korean frigate Apnok (PF-62), damaged by gunfire, New Jersey was 
heavily engaged in bombarding the Kansong area, supporting the movement of 
the U.S. Tenth Corps. The pattern again was harassing fire by night, 
destruction of known targets by day. Enemy movement was restricted by the 
fire of her big guns. A bridge, a dam, several gun emplacements, mortar 
positions, pillboxes, bunkers, and two ammunition dumps were demolished.

On 1 October, General Omar Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 
and General Matthew B. Ridgeway, Commander in Chief Far East, came on 
board to confer with Admiral Martin.

Between 1 and 6 October New Jersey was in action daily at Kansong, 
Hamhung, Hungnam, Tanchon, and Songjin. Enemy bunkers and supply 
concentrations provided the majority of the targets at Kansong; at the 
others New Jersey fired on railroads, tunnels, bridges, an oil refinery, 
trains, and shore batteries, destroying with five-inch fire a gun that 
straddled her. The Kojo area was her target 16 October, as she sailed in 
company with HMS Belfast, pilots from HMAS Sydney spotting. The operation 
was well-planned and coordinated and excellent results were obtained.

Another highly satisfactory day was 16 October, when the spotter over the 
Kansong area reported "beautiful shooting every shot on target-most 
beautiful shooting I have seen in five years." This five hour bombardment 
leveled ten artillery positions, and in smashing trenches and bunkers 
inflicted some 500 casualties.

New Jersey dashed up the North Korean coast raiding transportation 
facilities from 1 to 6 November. She struck at bridges, road and rail 
installations at Wonsan, Hungnam, Tanchon, lowon, Songjin, and Chongjin, 
and left smoking behind her four bridges destroyed, others badly damaged, 
two marshalling yards badly torn up, and many feet of track destroyed. 
With renewed attacks on Kansong and near the Chang-San-Got Peninsula 11 
and 13 November, New Jersey completed this tour of duty.

Relieved as flagship by Wisconsin (BB-64), New Jersey cleared Yokosuka for 
Hawaii, Long Beach and the Panama Canal, and returned to Norfolk 20 
December for a six month overhaul. Between 19 July 1952 and 5 September, 
she sailed as flagship for Rear Admiral H. R. Thurber, who commanded the 
NROTC midshipman training cruise to Cherbourg, Lisbon, and the Caribbean. 
Now New Jersey prepared and trained for her second Korean tour, for which 
she sailed from Norfolk 5 March 1953.

Shaping her course via the Panama Canal, Long Beach, and Hawaii, New 
Jersey reached Yokosuka 5 April, and next day relieved Missouri (BB-63) as 
flagship of Vice Admiral Joseph H. Clark, Commander Seventh Fleet. 
Chongjin felt the weight of her shells 12 April, as New Jersey returned to 
action; in seven minutes she scored seven direct hits, blowing away half 
the main communications building there. At Pusan two days later, New 
Jersey manned her rails to welcome the President of the Republic of Korea 
and Madame Rhee, and American Ambassador Ellis O. Briggs.

New Jersey fired on coastal batteries and buildings at Kojo 16 April; on 
railway track and tunnels near Hungnam 18 April; and on gun emplacements 
around Wonsan Harbor 20 April, silencing them in five areas after she had 
herself taken several near misses. Songiin provided targets 23 April. Here 
New Jersey scored six direct 16-inch hits on a railroad tunnel, and 
knocked out two rail bridges.

New Jersey added her muscle to a major air and surface strike on Wonsan 1 
May, as Seventh Fleet planes both attacked the enemy and spotted for the 
battleship. She knocked out eleven Communist shore guns that day, and four 
days later destroyed the key observation post on the island of Hodo Pando, 
commanding the harbor. Two days later Kalmagak at Wonsan was her target.

Her tenth birthday, 23 May, was celebrated at Inchon, with President and 
Madame Rhee, Lieutenant General Maxwell D. Taylor, and other dignitaries 
on board. Two days later New Jersey was all war once more, returning to 
the west coast at Chinampo to knock out harbor defense positions.

The battleship was under fire at Wonsan 27-29 May, but her five-inch guns 
silenced the counter-fire, and her 16-inch shells destroyed five gun 
emplacements and four gun eaves. She also hit a target that flamed 
spectacularly: either a fuel storage area or an ammunition dump.

New Jersey returned to the key task of direct support to troops at Kosong 
7 June. On her first mission, she completely destroyed two gun positions, 
an observation post, and their supporting trenches, then stood by on call 
for further aid. Then it was back to Wonsan for a day-long bombardment 24 
June, aimed at guns placed in eaves. The results were excellent, with 
eight direct hits on three eaves, one cave demolished, and four others 
closed. Next day she returned to troop support at Kosong, her assignment 
until 10 July, aside from necessary withdrawal for replenishment.

At Wonsan 11-12 July, New Jersey fired one of the most concentrated 
bombardments of her Korean duty. For nine hours the first day, and for 
seven the second, her guns slammed away on gun positions and bunkers on 
Hodo Pando and the mainland, with telling effect. At least ten enemy guns 
were destroyed, many damaged, and a number of eaves and tunnels sealed. 
New Jersey smashed radar control positions and bridges at Kojo 13 July, 
and was once more on the east coast bombline 22-24 July to support South 
Korean troops near Kosong. These days found her gunners at their most 
accurate and the devastation wrought was impressive. A large cave, housing 
an important enemy observation post was closed, the end of a month-long 
United Nations effort. A great many bunkers, artillery areas, observation 
posts, trenches, tanks and other weapons were destroyed.

At sunrise 25 July New Jersey was off the key port, rail and 
communications center of Hungnam, pounding coastal guns, bridges, a 
factory area, and oil storage tanks. She sailed north that afternoon, 
firing at rail lines and railroad tunnels as she made for Tanchon, where 
she launched a whaleboat in an attempt to spot a train known to run 
nightly along the coast. Her big guns were trained on two tunnels between 
which she hoped to catch the train, but in the darkness she could not see 
the results of her six-gun salvo.

New Jersey's mission at Wonsan, next day, was her last. Here she destroyed 
large-caliber guns, bunkers, caves and trenches. Two days later, she 
learned of the truce. Her crew celebrated during a seven day visit at Hong 
Kong, where she anchored 20 August. Operations around Japan and off 
Formosa were carried out for the remainder of her tour, which was 
highlighted by a visit to Pusan. Here President Rhee came aboard 16 
September to present the Korean Presidential Unit Citation to the Seventh 

Relieved as flagship at Yokosuka by Wisconsin 14 October, New Jersey was 
homeward bound the next day, reaching Norfolk 14 November. During the next 
two summers she crossed the Atlantic with midshipmen on board for 
training, and during the rest of the year sharpened her skills with 
exercises and training maneuvers along the Atlantic coast and in the 

New Jersey stood out of Norfolk 7 September 1955 for her first tour of 
duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Her ports of call included 
Gibraltar, Valencia, Cannes, Istanbul, Suda Bay, and Barcelona. She 
returned to Norfolk 17 January 1956 for the spring program of training 
operations. That summer she again carried midshipmen to Northern Europe 
for training, bringing them home to Annapolis 31 July. New Jersey sailed 
for Europe once more 27 August as flagship of Vice Admiral Charles 
Wellborn, Jr., Commander Second Fleet. She called at Lisbon, participated 
in NATO exercises off Scotland, and paid an official visit to Norway where 
Crown Prince Olaf was a guest. She returned to Norfolk 15 October, and 14 
December arrived at New York Naval Shipyard for inactivation. She was 
decommissioned and placed in reserve at Bayonne 21 August 1957.

New Jersey's third career began 6 April 1968 when she recommissioned at 
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Captain J. Edward Snyder in command. Fitted 
with improved electronics and a helicopter landing pad and with her 40-
millimeter battery removed, she was tailored for use as a heavy 
bombardment ship. Her 16-inch guns, it was expected, would reach targets 
in Vietnam inaccessible to smaller naval guns and, in foul weather, safe 
from aerial attack.

New Jersey, now the world's only active battleship, departed Philadelphia 
16 May, calling at Norfolk and transiting the Panama Canal before arriving 
at her new home port of Long Beach, California, 11 June. Further training 
off Southern California followed. On 24 July New Jersey received 16-inch 
shells and powder tanks from Mount Katmai (AE-16) by conventional highline 
transfer and by helicopter lift, the first time heavy battleship 
ammunition had been transferred by helicopter at sea.

Departing Long Beach 3 September, New Jersey touched at Pearl Harbor and 
Subic Bay before sailing 25 September for her first tour of gunfire 
support duty along the Vietnamese coast. Near the 17th Parallel on 30 
September, the dreadnought fired her first shots in battle in over sixteen 
years. Firing against Communist targets in and near the so-called 
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), her big guns destroyed two gun positions and two 
supply areas. She fired against targets north of the DMZ the following 
day, rescuing the crew of a spotting plane forced down at sea by 
antiaircraft fire.

The next six months fell into a steady pace of bombardment and fire 
support missions along the Vietnamese coast, broken only by brief visits 
to Subic Bay and replenishment operations at sea. In her first two months 
on the gun line, New Jersey directed nearly ten thousand rounds of 
ammunition at Communist targets; over 3,000 of these shells were 16-inch 

Her first Vietnam combat tour completed, New Jersey departed Subic Bay 3 
April 1969 for Japan. She arrived at Yokosuka for a two-day visit, sailing 
for the United States 9 April. Her homecoming, however, was to be delayed. 
On the 15th, while New Jersey was still at sea, North Korean jet fighters 
shot down an unarmed EC-121 "Constellation" electronic surveillance plane 
over the Sea of Japan, killing its entire crew. A carrier task force was 
formed and sent to the Sea of Japan, while New Jersey was ordered to come 
about and steam toward Japan. On the 22nd she arrived once more at 
Yokosuka, and immediately put to sea in readiness for what might befall. 
As the crisis lessened, New Jersey was released to continue her 
interrupted voyage. She anchored at Long Beach 5 May 1969, her first visit 
to her homeport in eight months.

Through the summer months, New Jersey's crew toiled to make her ready for 
another deployment. Deficiencies discovered on the gun line were remedied, 
as all hands looked forward to another opportunity to prove the mighty 
warship's worth in combat. Reasons of economy were to dictate otherwise. 
On 22 August 1969 the Secretary of Defense released a list of names of 
ships to be inactivated; at the top of the list was New Jersey. Five days 
later, Captain Snyder was relieved of command by Captain Robert C. 

Assuming command of a ship already earmarked for the "mothball fleet," 
Captain Peniston and his crew prepared for their melancholy task. New 
Jersey got underway on her last voyage 6 September, departing Long Beach 
for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She arrived on the 8th, and began 
preinactivation overhaul to ready herself for decommissioning. On 17 
December 1969 New Jersey's colors were hauled down and she entered the 
inactive fleet, still echoing the words of her last commanding officer: 
"Rest well, yet sleep lightly; and hear the call, if again sounded, to 
provide fire power for freedom."

New Jersey earned the Navy Unit Commendation for Vietnam service. She has 
received nine battle stars for World War II; four for the Korean conflict; 
and two for Vietnam.

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Built at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Authorized 05/17/38, Keel Laid 01/06/41,
Commissioned 06/11/44. Capt. W. M. Callaghan commanding
The fourth MISSOURI (BB-B3), the last battleship completed by
the United States, was laid down 6 January 1941 by New York
Naval Shipyard; launched 29 January 1944; sponsored by Miss
Margaret Truman, daughter of then Senator from Missouri Harry S
Truman, later President; and commissioned 11 June 1944, Capt.
William M. Callaghan in command.
Length Overall: 887'3"
Extreme Beam: 108'2"
Displacement: Tons: 45,000Mean Draft: 28'11"
Complement: Off.: 117 Enl.: 1,804
Main: (9) 16"/50
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal
AA: (20) quad 40mm / (49) 20mm
Catapults: (2) aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 17"
Speed: 33 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 212,000
Engines: Mfr.: GE
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 7,251










Missouri BB-63

The fourth Missouri (BB?63), the last battleship completed by the United 
States, was laid down 6 January 1941 by New York Naval Shipyard; launched 
29 January 1944; sponsored by Miss Margaret Truman, daughter of then 
Senator from Missouri Harry S Truman, later President; and commissioned 11 
June 1944, Capt. William M. Callaghan in command.

After trials off New York and shakedown and battle practice in Chesapeake 
Bay, Missouri departed Norfolk 11 November 1944, transited the Panama 
Canal 18 November and steamed to San Francisco for final fitting out as 
fleet flagship. She stood out of San Francisco Bay 14 December and arrived 
Ulithi, West Caroline Islands, 13 January 1945. There she was temporary 
headquarters ship for Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher. The battleship put to 
sea 27 January to serve in the screen of the Lexington carrier task group 
of Mitscher's TF 58, and on 16 February her flattops launched the first 
airstrikes against Japan since the famed Doolittle raid that had been 
launched from carrier Hornet in April 1942.

Missouri then steamed with the carriers to Iwo Jima where her 16-inch guns 
provided direct and continuous support to the invasion landings begun 19 
February. After TF 58 returned to Ulithi 5 March, Missouri was assigned to 
the Yorktown carrier task group. On 14 March Missouri departed Ulithi in 
the screen of the fast carriers and steamed to the Japanese mainland. 
During strikes against targets along the coast of the Inland Sea of Japan 
beginning 18 March, Missouri helped splash four Japanese aircraft.

Raids against airfields and naval bases near the Inland Sea and 
southwestern Honshu continued, provoking a savage response by Japanese 
aircraft. While carrier Wasp, crashed by an enemy suicide plane on 19 
March, resumed flight operations within an hour, a separate attack 
penetrated Franklin's hangar deck with two bombs, setting off explosions 
that left the warship dead in the water a mere 50 miles of the Japanese 
mainland. Cruiser Pittsburgh took Franklin in tow until she gained speed 
to 14 knots. Missouri's carrier task group provided cover for Franklin's 
retirement toward Ulithi until 22 March, then set course for preinvasion 
strikes and bombardment of Okinawa.

Missouri joined the fast battleships of TF 58 in bombarding the southeast 
coast of Okinawa 24 March, an action intended to draw enemy strength from 
the west coast beaches that would be the actual site of invasion landings. 
Missouri rejoined the screen of the carriers as Marine and Army units 
landed on the morning of 1 April. Following a sortie by a Japanese surface 
force led by battleship Yamato 7, carrier aircraft sank Japanese 
battleship Yamato , a cruiser and four destroyers. Four remaining 
destroyers, sole survivors of the attacking fleet, were damaged and 
retired to Sasebo.

On 11 April Missouri opened fire on a low?flying suicide plane which 
penetrated the curtain of her shells to crash just below her main deck 
level. The starboard wing of the plane was thrown far forward, starting a 
gasoline fire at 5?inch Gunmount No. 3. Yet the battleship suffered only 
superficial damage, and the fire was brought quickly under control.

About 2305 on 17 April, Missouri detected an enemy submarine 12 miles from 
her formation. Her report set off a hunter?killer operation by carrier 
Bataan and four destroyers which sank Japanese submarine I?56.

Missouri was detached from the carrier task force off Okinawa 5 May and 
sailed for Ulithi. During the Okinawa campaign she had shot down five 
enemy planes, assisted in the destruction of six others, and scored one 
probable kill. She helped repel 12 daylight attacks of enemy raiders and 
fought off four night attacks on her carrier task group. Her shore 
bombardment destroyed several gun emplacements and many other military, 
governmental, and industrial structures.

Missouri arrived Ulithi 9 May and thence proceeded to Apra Harbor, Guam, 
18 May. That afternoon Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander 3d Fleet, 
broke his flag in Missouri. She passed out of the harbor 21 May, and by 27 
May was again conducting shore bombardment against Japanese positions on 
Okinawa. Missouri now led the mighty 3d Fleet in strikes on airfields and 
installations on Kyushu 2 and 3 June. She rode out a fierce storm 5 and 6 
June that wrenched off the bow of cruiser Pittsburgh. Some topside 
fittings were smashed, but Missouri suffered no major damage. Her task 
force again struck Kyushu 8 June, then hit hard in a coordinated 
air?surface bombardment before retiring towards Leyte. She arrived San 
Pedro, Leyte, 13 June, after almost three months of continuous operations 
in support of the Okinawa campaign.

Here she prepared to lead the 3d Fleet in strikes at the heart of Japan 
from within its home waters. The task force set a northerly course 8 July 
to approach the Japanese mainland. Raids took Tokyo by surprise 10 July, 
followed by more devastation at the Juncture of Honshu and Hokkaido 13 and 
14 July. For the first time, a naval gunfire force wrought destruction on 
a major installation within the home islands when Missouri closed the 
shore to join in a bombardment 15 July that damaged the Nihon Steel Co. 
and the Wanishi Ironworks at Muroran, Hokkaido.

During the night of 17?18 July Missouri bombarded industrial targets in 
the Hichiti area. Honshu. Inland Sea aerial strikes continued through 25 
July, and Missouri guarded the carriers as they struck hard blows at the 
Japanese capital. Strikes on Hokkaido and northern Honshu resumed 9 
August, the day the second atomic bomb was dropped. Next day, at 2054, 
Missouri's men were electrified by the unofficial news that Japan was 
ready to surrender, provided that the Emperor's prerogatives as a 
sovereign ruler were not compromised. Not until 0745, 15 August, was word 
received that President Truman had announced Japan's acceptance of 
unconditional surrender.

Adm. Sir Bruce Fraser, RN (Commander, British Pacific Fleet) boarded 
Missouri 16 August, and conferred the order Knight of the British Empire 
upon Admiral Halsey. Missouri transferred a landing party of 200 officers 
and men to battleship Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation 
force for Tokyo 21 August. Missouri herself entered Tokyo Bay early 29 
August to prepare for the normal surrender ceremony.

High?ranking military officials of all the Allied Powers were received on 
board 2 September. Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz boarded shortly after 0800, 
and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (Supreme Commander for the 
Allies) came on board at 0843. The Japanese representatives, headed by 
Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, arrived at 0856. At 0902 General 
MacArthur stepped before a battery of microphones and the 23?minute 
surrender ceremony was broadcast to the waiting world. By 0930 the 
Japanese emissaries had departed.

The afternoon of 5 September Admiral Halsey transferred his flag to 
battleship South Dakota. Early next day Missouri departed Tokyo Bay to 
receive homeward bound passengers at Guam, thence sailed unescorted for 
Hawaii. She arrived Pearl Harbor 20 September and flew Admiral Nimitz' 
flag on the afternoon of 28 September for a reception.

The next day Missouri departed Pearl Harbor bound for the eastern seaboard 
of the United States. She reached New York City 23 October and broke the 
flag of Adm. Jonas Ingram, commander in chief, Atlantic Fleet, Missouri 
boomed out a 21?gun salute 27 October as President Truman boarded for Navy 
day ceremonies. In his address the President stated that "control of our 
sea approaches and of the skies above them is still the key to our freedom 
and to our ability to help enforce the peace of the world."

After overhaul in the New York Naval Shipyard and a training cruise to 
Cuba, Missouri returned to New York. The afternoon of 21 March 1946 she 
received the remains of the Turkish Ambassador to the United States, 
Melmet Munir Ertegun. She departed 22 March for Gibraltar and 5 April 
anchored in the Bosphorus off Istanbul. She rendered full honors, 
including the firing of a 19?gun salute during both the transfer of the 
remains of the late Ambassador and the funeral ashore.

Missouri departed Istanbul 9 April and entered Phaleron Bay, Piraeus, 
Greece, the following day for an overwhelming welcome by Greek government 
officials and people. She had arrived in a year when there were ominous 
Soviet activities in the entire Balkan area. Greece had become the scene 
of a communist?inspired civil war, as Russia sought every possible 
extension of Soviet influence throughout the Mediterranean region. Demands 
were made that Turkey grant the Soviets a base of seapower in the 
Dodecanese Islands and joint control of the Turkish Straits leading from 
the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.

The voyage of Missouri to the eastern Mediterranean gave comfort to both 
Greece and Turkey. News media proclaimed her a symbol of U.S. interest in 
preserving Greek and Turkish liberty. With an August decision to deploy a 
strong fleet to the Mediterranean, it became obvious that the United 
States intended to use her naval sea and air power to stand firm against 
the tide of Soviet subversion.

Missouri departed Piraeus 26 April, touching at Algiers and Tangiers 
before arriving Norfolk 9 May. She departed for Culebra Island 12 May to 
join Admiral Mitscher's 8th Fleet in the Navy's first large?scale postwar 
Atlantic training maneuvers. The battleship returned to New York City 27 
May, and spent the next year steaming Atlantic coastal waters north to the 
Davis Straits and south to the Caribbean on various Atlantic command 
training exercises.

Missouri arrived Rio de Janeiro 30 August 1947 for the Inter?American 
Conference for the Maintenance of Hemisphere Peace and Security. President 
Truman boarded 2 September to celebrate the signing of the Rio Treaty 
which broadened the Monroe Doctrine, stipulating that an attack on one of 
the signatory American States would be considered an attack on all.

The Truman family boarded Missouri 7 September to return to the United 
States and debarked at Norfolk 19 September. Overhaul in New York (23 
September to 10 March 1948) was followed by refresher training at 
Guantanamo Bay. Summer 1948 was devoted to midshipman and reserve training 
cruises. The battleship departed Norfolk I November for a second 3?week 
Arctic cold weather training cruise to the Davis Straits. The next 2 years 
Missouri participated in Atlantic command exercises ranging from the New 
England coast to the Caribbean, alternated with two midshipman summer 
training cruises. She was overhauled at Norfolk Naval Shipyard 23 
September 1949 to 17 January 1950.

Now the only U.S. battleship in commission, Missouri was proceeding 
seaward on a training mission from Hampton Roads early 17 January when she 
ran aground at a point 1.6 miles from Thimble Shoals Light, near Old Point 
Comfort. She traversed shoal water a distance of three ship lengths from 
the main channel. Lifted some 7 feet above waterline, she stuck hard and 
fast. With the aid of tugs, pontoons, and an incoming tide, she was 
refloated 1 February.

From mid?February until 15 August Missouri conducted midshipman and 
reserve training cruises out of Norfolk. She departed Norfolk 19 August to 
support U.N. forces in their fight against Communist aggression in Korea.

Missouri joined the U.N. just west of Kyushu 14 September, becoming 
flagship of Rear Adm. A. E. Smith. The first American battleship to reach 
Korean waters, she bombarded Samchok 15 September in a diversionary move 
coordinated with the Inchon landings. In company with cruiser Helena and 
two destroyers, she helped prepare the way for the 8th Army offensive.

Missouri arrived Inchon 19 September, and 10 October became flagship of 
Rear Adm. J. M. Higgins, commander, Cruiser Division 5. She arrived Sasebo 
14 October, where she became flagship of Vice Adm. A. D. Struble, 
Commander, 7th Fleet. After screening carrier Valley Forge along the east 
coast of Korea, she conducted bombardment missions 12 to 26 October in the 
Chonjin and Tanchon areas, and at Wonsan. After again screening carriers 
eastward of Wonsan she moved into Hungnam 23 December to provide gunfire 
support about the Hungnam defense perimeter until the last U.N. troops, 
the U.S. 3d Infantry Division, were evacuated by way of the sea on 
Christmas Eve.

Missouri conducted additional operations with carriers and systematic 
shore bombardments off the east coast of Korea until 19 March 1951. She 
arrived Yokosuka 24 March, and 4 days later was relieved of duty in the 
Far East. She departed Yokosuka 28 March, and upon arrival Norfolk 27 
April became flagship of Rear Adm. J. L. Holloway, Jr., commander, Cruiser 
Force, Atlantic Fleet. Summer 1951 she engaged in two midshipman training 
cruises to northern Europe. Missouri entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard 18 
October for overhaul until 30 January 1952.

Following winter and spring training out of Guantanamo Bay, Missouri 
visited New York, then set course from Norfolk 9 June for another 
midshipman cruise. She returned to Norfolk 4 August and entered Norfolk 
Naval Shipyard to prepare for a second tour in the Korean Combat Zone.

Missouri stood out of Hampton Roads 11 September and arrived Yokosuka 17 
October. She broke the flag of Vice Adm. J. J. Clark, commander of the 7th 
Fleet, 19 October. Her primary mission was to provide seagoing artillery 
support by bombarding enemy targets in the Chaho?Tanchon area, at 
Chongjin, In the Tanchon?Sonjin area, and at Chaho, Wonsan, Hamhung, and 
Hungnam during the period 25 October through 2 January 1953.

Missouri put in to Inchon 5 January 1953 and sailed thence to Sasebo, 
Japan. Gen. Mark Clark, Commander in Chief, U.N. Command, and Adm. Sir Guy 
Russell, RN, commander of the British Far East Station, visited the 
battleship 23 January. In the following weeks, Missouri resumed "Cobra" 
patrol along the east coast of Korea in direct support of troops ashore. 
Repeated strikes against Wonsan, Tanchon, Hungnam, and Kojo destroyed main 
supply routes along the eastern seaboard.

The last gun strike mission by Missouri was against the Kojo area 25 
March. She sustained a grievous casualty 26 March, when her commanding 
officer Capt. Warner R. Edsall suffered a fatal heart attack while conning 
her through the submarine net at Sasebo. She was relieved as 7th Fleet 
flagship 6 April by battleship New Jersey.

Missouri departed Yokosuka 7 April and arrived Norfolk 4 May, to become 
flagship for Rear Adm. E. T. Woolridge, commander, Battleships?Cruisers, 
Atlantic Fleet. 14 May. She departed 8 June on a midshipman training 
cruise, returned to Norfolk 4 August, and was overhauled in Norfolk Naval 
Shipyard 20 November to 2 April 1954.

Now the flagship of Rear Adm. R. E. Kirby, who had relieved Admiral 
Woolridge, Missouri departed Norfolk 7 June as flagship of the midshipman 
training cruise to Lisbon and Cherbourg. She returned Norfolk 3 August and 
departed the 23d for inactivation on the west coast. After calls at Long 
Beach and San Francisco, Missouri arrived Seattle 15 September. Three days 
later she entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she decommissioned 26 
February 1955, entering the Bremerton group, Pacific Reserve Fleet. The 
battleship remained in reserve for the next thirty years, visited by 
100,000 people on an annual basis.

As the Cold War heated up in the 1980s, the battleship received a new 
lease on life and was modernized and recommissioned at San Francisco on 10 
May 1986, Capt. Albert L. Kaiss in command.

Activated as part of the Navy's new maritime strategy -- which was 
intended to send offense-oriented aircraft carrier and battleship task 
groups into Soviet waters in the event of a future global conflict - 
Missouri conducted refresher and fleet operations training until departing 
10 September for a circumnavigation of the world, the first voyage by an 
American battleship since the Great White Fleet of 1907-09. Following a 
stop at Pearl Harbor, Missouri visited Sydney, Hobart, Albany and 
Fremantle in Australia in October before sailing on to Diego Garcia in the 
Indian Ocean. The battleship then transited the Suez canal on 7 November 
and sailed north to Istanbul, Turkey, arriving there 11 November to mark 
the 40th anniversary of her previous trip to that city in 1947. The 
battleship then made diplomatic port visits at Naples, Italy; Palma, 
Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal; before crossing the Atlantic in early 
December. She transited the Panama Canal on the 10th and arrived home in 
Long Beach on 19 December.

Following local operations and battle group training in early 1987, the 
battleship got underway on 25 July for a western Pacific and Indian Ocean 
deployment. She stopped at Subic Bay in the Philippines before conducting 
an exercise with Singapore Navy units in mid-August. Transiting the Strait 
of Malacca on 25-26 August, Missouri sailed to the north Arabian Sea for 
operations with the Ranger (CV-61) battlegroup. The battleship operated in 
support of tanker convoy operations in the region for the next three 
months, pausing only for short port visits for maintenance at Masirah, 
Oman. After turnover on 24 November, Missouri steamed home via Diego 
Garcia, Fremantle, Sydney and Pearl Harbor, arriving at Long Beach on 19 
January 1988.

In early March, the battleship visited Vancouver, British Columbia, before 
shifting south to San Diego for gunnery, cruise missile and other war at 
sea evolutions. The crew also conducted the first Tomahawk cruise missile 
launch from the battleship on 25 May. Missouri then participated in Rim 
Pac '88, a large 40-ship multi-national exercise in Hawaiian waters in 
July, before spending the rest of the year conducting various inspections 
and readiness exercises out of Long Beach. After a dry dock maintenance 
period between February and April 1989, the battleship prepared for 
another deployment, and departed California for the western Pacific on 18 
September. After a voyage north to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, the 
battleship dropped down for exercises in Japanese and Korean waters, 
visiting the port of Pusan 21-25 October before returning home on 9 
November. The warship then conducted a short cruise to Mazatlan, Mexico, 
in early December.

Missouri's next major operation took place in March 1990, when she sailed 
to Hawaii on the 27th to take part in Rim Pac '90, remaining in Hawaiian 
waters until returning home on 23 May. After local operations during the 
summer, and the news that Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army had invaded Kuwait 
in August, the battleship's crew conducted security drills, installed more 
point defense weapons and began preparations for a Persian Gulf 
deployment, including familiarizing the crew with a newly embarked 
remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) drone.

Underway 13 November, the battleship conducted intensive training in 
between stops at Pearl Harbor, Subic Bay and a liberty port visit to 
Pattaya Beach, Thailand, before transiting the Strait of Hormuz on 3 
January 1991. During subsequent operations leading up to Operation Desert 
Storm, Missouri prepared to launch Tomahawk missiles and provide on-call 
naval gunfore support. She fired her first Tomahawk missile at Iraqi 
targets at 0140 on 17 January, followed by 27 additional missiles over the 
next five days. In addition, the battleship bombarded Iraqi beach defenses 
in occupied Kuwait on the night of 3 February, firing 112 16-inch rounds 
over the next three days until relieved by Wisconsin (BB-64). Missouri 
then fired another 60 rounds off Khafji on 11-12 February before steaming 
north to near Faylaka Island. After minesweepers cleared a lane through 
Iraqi defenses, Missouri fired 133 rounds during four shore bombardment 
missions as part of the amphibious landing feint against the Kuwaiti shore 
line the morning of 23 February. The heavy pounding attracted Iraqi 
attention, who fired an HY-2 Silkworm missile at the battleship. The 
cruise missile was then shot down by GWS-30 Sea Dart missiles launched 
from the British frigate HMS Gloucester.

With combat operations past the reach of the battleship's guns on the 
26th, Missouri conducted patrol and armistice enforcement operations in 
the northern Persian Gulf until sailing for home on 21 March. Following 
stops at Fremantle and Hobart, Australia, the warship visited Pearl Harbor 
before arriving home in April. She spent the remainder of the year 
conducting type training and other local operations, the latter including 
the 7 December 1941 "voyage of remembrance" to mark the 50th anniversary 
of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. During that ceremony, Missouri hosted 
President George H. W. Bush, the first such Presidential visit for the 
warship since Harry Truman boarded the battleship in September 1947.

After returning to Long Beach on 20 December, the battleship's crew began 
the long process of deactivating the battleship. Missouri decommissioned 
on 31 March 1992 and was layed up as part of the inactive fleet at Puget 
Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington. She remained part of the 
reserve fleet until 12 January 1995 when she was struck from the Navy 
list. Donated as a museum and memorial ship on 4 May 1998, she was later 
transferred to Pearl Harbor where the old battleship rests near the 
Arizona (BB-39) memorial and is open for tours by the public.

Missouri received three battle stars for World War II service and five for 
Korean service.

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Built at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa.
Authorized 03/27/34, Keel Laid 01/25/41,
Commissioned 04/16/44. Capt. E. E. Stone commanding
The second WISCONSIN (BB-64) was laid down on 25 January 1941 at
the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 7 December 1943;
sponsored by Mrs. Walter S. Goodland; and commissioned on 16
April 1944, Capt. Earl E. Stone in command.
Length Overall: 887'3"
Extreme Beam: 108'3"
Displacement: Tons: 45,000 Mean Draft: 28'11"
Complement: Off.: 117 Enl.: 1,804
Main: (9) 16"/50
Secondary: (20) 5"/38 cal
AA:(20) quad 40mm / (49) 20mm
Catapults: (2) aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 17"
Speed: 33 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower: 212,000
Engines: Mfr.: Wstgh.
Type: Turbine
Boilers: Mfr.: BW No.: 8
Drive: TDR
Fuel: (oil) Tons: 7,251










Wisconsin BB-64

The second Wisconsin (BB-64) was laid down on 25 January 1941 at the 
Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 7 December 1943; sponsored by Mrs. 
Walter S. Goodland; and commissioned on 16 April 1944, Capt. Earl E. 
Stone in command.

After her trials and initial training in the Chesapeake Bay, Wisconsin 
departed Norfolk, Va., on 7 July 1944, bound for the British West Indies. 
Following her shakedown, conducted out of Trinidad, the third of the Iowa-
class battleships to join the Fleet returned to her builder's yard for 
post-shakedown repairs and alterations.

On 24 September 1944, Wisconsin sailed for the west coast, transited the 
Panama Canal, and reported for duty with the Pacific Fleet on 2 October. 
The battleship later moved to Hawaiian waters for training exercises and 
then headed for the Western Carolines. Upon reaching Ulithi on 9 
December, she joined Admiral William F. Halsey's 3d Fleet.

The powerful new warship had arrived at a time when the reconquest of 
the Philippines was well underway. As a part of that movement, the 
planners had envisioned landings on the southwest coast of Mindoro, south 
of Luzon. From that point, American forces could threaten Japanese 
shipping lanes through the South China Sea.

The day before the amphibians assaulted Mindoro, the 3d Fleet's Fast 
Carrier Task Force (TF) 38-supported in part by Wisconsin-rendered 
Japanese facilities at Manila largely useless. Between 14 and 16 
December, TF 38's naval aviators secured complete tactical surprise and 
quickly won complete mastery of the air and sank or destroyed 27 Japanese 
vessels; damaged 60 more; destroyed 269 planes; and bombed miscellaneous 
ground installations.

The next day the weather, however, soon turned sour for Halsey's sailors. 
A furious typhoon struck his fleet, catching many ships refuelling and 
with little ballast in their nearly dry bunkers. Three destroyers- Hull 
(DD-350), Monaghan (DD-354), and Spence (DD-512)-capsized and sank. 
Wisconsin proved her seaworthiness as she escaped the storm unscathed.

As heavily contested as they were, the Mindoro operations proved only the 
introduction to another series of calculated blows aimed at the occupying 
Japanese in the Philippines. For Wisconsin, her next operation was the 
occupation of Luzon. By-passing the southern beaches, American amphibians 
went ashore at Lingayen Gulf-the scene of the Japanese landings nearly 
three years before.

Wisconsin armed with heavy antiaircraft batteries -performed escort duty 
for TF 38's fast carriers during air strikes against Formosa, Luzon, and 
the Nansei Shoto, to neutralize Japanese forces there and to cover the 
unfolding Lingayen Gulf operations. Those strikes, lasting from 3 to 22 
January 1945, included a thrust into the South China Sea, in the hope 
that major units of the Japanese Navy could be drawn into battle.

Air strikes between Saigon and Camranh Bay, Indochina, on 12 January 
resulted in severe losses for the enemy. TF 38's warplanes sank 41 ships 
and damaged 31 in two convoys they encountered. In addition, they heavily 
damaged docks, storage areas, and aircraft facilities. At least 112 enemy 
planes would never again see operational service. Formosa, already struck 
on 3 and 4 January, again fell victim to the marauding American airmen, 
being smashed again on 9, 15, and 21 January. Soon, Hong Kong, Canton, and 
Hainan Island felt the brunt of TF 38's power. Besides damaging and sinking 
Japanese shipping, American planes from the task force set the Canton oil 
refineries afire and blasted the Hong Kong Naval Station. They also raided 
Okinawa on 22 January, considerably lessening enemy air activities that 
could threaten the Luzon landings.

Subsequently assigned to the 5th Fleet-when Admiral Spruance relieved 
Admiral Halsey as Commander of the Fleet-Wisconsin moved northward with the 
re-designated TF 58 as the carriers headed for the Tokyo area. On 16 
February 1945, the task force approached the Japanese coast under cover of 
adverse weather conditions and achieved complete tactical surprise. As a 
result, they shot down 322 enemy planes and destroyed 177 more on the 
ground. Japanese shipping-both naval and merchant-suffered drastically, 
too, as did hangars and aircraft installations. Moreover, all this damage 
to the enemy had cost the American Navy only 49 planes.

The task force moved to Iwo Jima on 17 February to provide direct support 
for the landings slated to take place on that island on the 19th. It 
revisited Tokyo on the 25th and, the next day, hit the island of Hachino 
off the coast of Honshu. During these raids, besides causing heavy damage 
on ground facilities, the American planes sent five small vessels to the 
bottom and destroyed 158 planes.

On 1 March, reconnaissance planes flew over the island of Okinawa, taking 
last minute intelligence photographs to be used in planning the assault on 
that island. The next day, cruisers from TF 58 shelled Okino Daito Shima in 
training for the forthcoming operation. The force then retired to Ulithi 
for replenishment.

Wisconsin's  task  force stood out of Ulithi on 14 March, bound for Japan. 
The mission of that group was to eliminate airborne resistance from the 
Japanese homeland to American forces off Okinawa. Enemy fleet units at 
Kure and Kobe, on southern Honshu, reeled under the impact of the 
explosive blows delivered by TF 58's airmen. On 18 and 19 March, from a 
point 100 miles southwest of Kyushu, TF 58 hit enemy airfields on that 
island. However, the Japanese drew blood during that action when kamikazes 
crashed into Franklin (CV-17) on the 19th and seriously damaged that fleet 

That afternoon, the task force retired from Kyushu, screening the blazing 
and battered flattop. In doing so, the screen downed 48 attackers. At the 
conclusion of the operation, the force felt that it had achieved its 
mission of prohibiting any large-scale resistance from the air to the 
slated landings on Okinawa.

On the 24th, Wisconsin trained her 16-inch rifles on targets ashore on 
Okinawa. Together with the other battlewagons of the task force, she 
pounded Japanese positions and installations in preparation for the 
landings. Although fierce, Japanese resistance was doomed to fail by 
dwindling numbers of aircraft and trained pilots to man them. In 
addition, the Japanese fleet, steadily hammered by air attacks from 5th 
Fleet aircraft, found itself confronted by a growing, powerful, and 
determined enemy. On 17 April, the undaunted enemy battleship Yamato, 
with her 18.1-inch guns, sortied to attack the American invasion fleet 
off Okinawa. Met head-on by a swarm of carrier planes, Yamato, the light 
cruiser Yahagi, and four destroyers went to the bottom, the victims of 
massed air power. Never again would the Japanese fleet present a major 
challenge to the American fleet in the war in the Pacific.

While TF 58's planes were off dispatching Yamato and her consorts to the 
bottom of the South China Sea, enemy aircraft struck back at American 
surface units. Combat air patrols (CAP) knocked down 15 enemy planes, 
and ships' gunfire accounted for another three, but not before one 
kamikaze penetrated the CAP and screen to crash on the flight deck of the 
fleet carrier Hancock (CV-19). On 11 April, the "Divine Wind" renewed its 
efforts; and only drastic maneuvers and heavy barrages of gunfire saved 
the task force. None of the fanatical pilots achieved any direct hits, 
although near misses, close aboard, managed to cause some minor damage. 
Combat air patrols bagged 17 planes, and ships' gunfire accounted for an 
even dozen. The next day, 151 enemy aircraft committed hara-kiri into TF 
58, but Wisconsin, bristling with 5-inch, 40-millimeter and 20-millimeter 
guns, together with other units of the screens for the vital carriers, 
kept the enemy at bay or destroyed him before he could reach his 

Over the days that ensued, American task force planes hit Japanese 
facilities and installations in the enemy's homeland. Kamikazes, 
redoubling their efforts, managed to crash into three carriers on 
successive days -Intrepid (CV-11), Bunker Hill (CV-17), and Enterprise 

By 4 June, a typhoon was swirling through the Fleet. Wisconsin rode out 
the storm unscathed, but three cruisers, two carriers, and a destroyer 
suffered serious damage. Offensive operations were resumed on 8 June, with 
a final aerial assault on Kyushu. Japanese aerial response was pitifully 
small; 29 planes were located and destroyed. On that day, one of 
Wisconsin's floatplanes landed and rescued a downed pilot from the 
carrier Shangri-La (CV-38).

Wisconsin ultimately put into Leyte Gulf and dropped anchor there on 13 
June for repairs and replenishment. Three weeks later, on 1 July, the 
battleship and her consorts sailed once more for Japanese home waters for 
carrier air strikes on the enemy's heartland. Nine days later, carrier 
planes from TF 38 destroyed 72 enemy aircraft on the ground and smashed 
industrial sites in the Tokyo area. So little was the threat from the 
dwindling Japanese air arm that the Americans made no attempt whatever 
to conceal the location of their armada which was operating off her 
shores with impunity.

On the 15th, Wisconsin again unlimbered her main battery, hurling 16-inch 
shells shoreward at the steel mills and oil refineries at Muroran, 
Hokkaido. Two days later, she wrecked industrial facilities in the 
Hitachi Miro area, on the coast of Honshu, northeast of Tokyo itself. 
During that bombardment, British battleships of the Eastern Fleet 
contributed their heavy shellfire. By that point in the war, Allied 
warships were able to shell the Japanese homeland almost at will.

Task Force 38's planes subsequently blasted the Japanese naval base at 
Yokosuka, and put one of the two remaining Japanese battleships-the 
former fleet flagship Nagato out of action. On 24 and 25 July, American 
carrier planes visited the Inland Sea region, blasting enemy sites on 
Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Kure then again came under attack. Six 
major fleet units were located there and badly damaged, marking the 
virtual end of Japanese sea power.

Over the weeks that ensued, TF 38 continued its raids on Japanese 
industrial facilities, airfields, and merchant and naval shipping. Admiral 
Halsey's airmen visited destruction upon the Japanese capital for the 
last time on 13 August 1945. Two days later, the Japanese capitulated. 
World War II was over at last.

Wisconsin, as part of the occupying force, arrived at Tokyo Bay on 5 
September, three days after the formal surrender occurred on board the 
battleship Missouri (BB-63). During Wisconsin's brief career in World 
War II, she had steamed 105,831 miles since commissioning; had shot down 
three enemy planes; had claimed assists on four occasions; and had fueled 
her screening destroyers on some 250 occasions.

Shifting subsequently to Okinawa, the battleship embarked homeward-bound 
GI's on 22 September, as part of the "Magic Carpet" operation staged to 
bring soldiers, sailors, and marines home from the far-flung battlefronts 
of the Pacific. Departing Okinawa on 23 September, Wisconsin reached Pearl 
Harbor on 4 October, remaining there for five days before she pushed on 
for the west coast on the last leg of her stateside-bound voyage. She 
reached San Francisco on 15 October.

Heading for the east coast of the United States soon after the start of 
the new year, 1946, Wisconsin transited the Panama Canal between 11 and 
13 January, and reached Hampton Eoads, Va., on the 18th. Following a 
cruise south to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the battleship entered the Norfolk 
Naval Shipyard for overhaul. After repairs and alterations that consumed 
the summer months, Wisconsin sailed for South American waters.

Over the weeks that ensued, the battleship visited Valparaiso, Chile, from 
1 to 6 November; Callao, Peru, from 9 to 13 November; Balboa, Canal Zone, 
from 16 to 20 November; and La Guajira, Venezuela, from 22 to 26 
November, before returning to Norfolk on 2 December 1946.

Wisconsin spent nearly all of 1947 as a training ship, taking naval 
reservists on two-week cruises throughout the year. Those voyages 
commenced at Bayonne, N.J., and saw visits conducted at Guantanamo Bay, 
Cuba, and the Panama Canal Zone. While underway at sea, the ship would 
perform various drills and exercises before the cruise would end where it 
had started, at Bayonne. During June and July of 1947, Wisconsin took Naval 
Academy midshipmen on cruises to northern European waters.

In January 1948, Wisconsin joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Norfolk, 
for inactivation. Placed out of commission, in reserve, on 1 July 1948, 
Wisconsin was assigned to the Norfolk group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Her sojourn in "mothballs," however, was comparatively brief because of 
the North Korean invasion of South Korea in late June 1950. Wisconsin was 
recommissioned, on 3 March 1951, Capt. Thomas Burrowes in command. After 
shakedown training, the revitalized battleship conducted two midshipmen 
training cruises, taking the officers-to-be to Edinburgh, Scotland; 
Lisbon, Portugal; Halifax, Nova Scotia; New York City; and Guantanamo 
Bay, Cuba, before she returned to Norfolk.

Wisconsin departed Norfolk on 25 October 1951, bound for the Pacific. She 
transited the Panama Canal on the 29th and reached Yokosuka, Japan, on 21 
November. There, she relieved New Jersey (BB-62) as flagship for Vice 
Admiral H. M. Martin, Commander, 7th Fleet.

On the 26th, with Vice Admiral Martin and Rear Admiral F. P. Denebrink, 
Commander, Service Force, Pacific, embarked, Wisconsin departed Yokosuka 
for Korean waters to support the fast carrier operations of TF 77. She 
left the company of the carrier force on 2 December and, screened by the 
destroyer Wiltsie (DD-716), provided gunfire support for the Republic of 
Korea (ROK) Corps in the Kasong-Kosong area. After disembarking Admiral 
Denebrink on 3 December at Kangnung, the battleship resumed station on 
the Korean "bombline," providing gunfire support for the American 1st 
Marine Division. Wisconsin's shellings accounted for a tank, two gun 
emplacements, and a building. She continued her gunfire support task for 
the 1st Marine Division and 1st ROK Corps through 6 December, accounting 
for enemy bunkers, artillery positions, and troop concentrations. On one 
occasion during that time, the battleship received a request for call-fire 
support and provided tnree starshells for the 1st ROK Corps, illuminating 
a communist attack that was consequently repulsed with considerable enemy 

After being relieved on the gunline by the heavy cruiser St. Paul (CA-73) 
on 6 December, Wisconsin retired only briefly from gunfire support duties. 
She resumed them, however, in the Kasong-Kosong area on 11 December, 
screened by the destroyer Twining (DD-540). The following day, 12 December, 
saw the embarkation in Wisconsin of Rear Admiral H. R. Thurber, Commander, 
Battleship Division 2. The admiral came on board via helicopter, incident 
to his inspection trip in the Far East.

The battleship continued naval gunfire support duties on the "bombline," 
shelling enemy bunkers, command posts, artillery positions, and trench 
systems through 14 December. She departed the "bombline" on that day to 
render special gunfire support duties in the Kojo area, blasting coastal 
targets in support of United Nations (UN) troops ashore. That same day, 
she returned to the Kasong-Kosong area. On the 15th, she disembarked 
Admiral Thurber by helicopter. The next day, Wisconsin departed Korean 
waters, heading for Sasebo to rearm.

Returning to the combat zone on the 17th, Wisconsin embarked United States 
Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan on the 18th. That day, the battleship 
supported the llth ROK division with night illumination fire that 
enabled the ROK troops to repulse a communist assault with heavy enemy 
casualties. Departing the "bombline" on the 19th, the battleship later 
that day transferred her distinguished passenger, Senator Ferguson, by 
helicopter to the carrier Valley Forge (CVT45).

Wisconsin next participated in a coordinated air-surface bombardment of 
Wonsan to neutralize preselected targets. She shifted her bombardment 
station to the western end of Wonsan harbor, hitting boats and small craft 
in the inner swept channel during the afternoon. Such activities helped to 
forestall any communist attempts to assault the friendly-held islands in 
the Wonsan area. Wisconsin then made an anti-boat sweep to the north, 
utilizing her 5-inch batteries on suspected boat concentrations. She then 
provided gunfire support to UN troops operating at the "bombline" until 
three days before Christmas 1951. She then rejoined the carrier task 

On 28 December, Francis Cardinal Spellman on a Korean tour over the 
Christmas holidays-visited the ship, coming on board by helicopter to 
celebrate Mass for the Catholic members of the crew. The distinguished 
prelate departed the ship by helicopter off Pohang. Three days later, on 
the last day of the year, Wisconsin put into Yokosuka.

Wisconsin departed that Japanese port on 8 January 1952 and headed for 
Korean waters once more. She reached Pusan the following day and 
entertained the President of South Korea, Syngman Rhee, and his wife, on 
the 10th. President and Mrs. Rhee received full military honors as they 
came on board, and he reciprocated by awarding Vice Admiral Martin the 
ROK Order of the Military Merit.

Wisconsin returned to the "bombline" on 11 January and, over the ensuing 
days, delivered heavy gunfire support for the 1st Marine Division and the 
1st ROK Corps. As before, her primary targets were command posts, 
shelters, bunkers, troop concentrations, and mortar positions. As before, 
she stood ready to deliver call-fire support as needed. One such occasion 
occurred on 14 January when she shelled enemy troops in the open at the 
request of the ROK 1st Corps.

Rearming at Sasebo and once more joining TF 77 off the coast of Korea soon 
thereafter, Wisconsin resumed support at the "bombline" on 23 January. 
Three days later, she shifted once more to the Kojo region, to participate 
in a coordinated air and gun strike. That same day, the battleship 
returned to the "bombline" and shelled the command post and 
communications center for the 15th North Korean Division during call-fire 
missions for the 1st Marine Division.

Returning to Wonsan at the end of January, Wisconsin bombarded enemy guns 
at Hodo Pando before she was rearmed at Sasebo. The battleship rejoined 
TF 77 on 2 February and, the next day, blasted railway buildings and 
marshalling yards at Hodo Pando and Kojo before rejoining TF 77. After 
replenishment at Yokosuka a few days later, she returned to the Kosong 
area and resumed gunfire support. During that time, she destroyed railway 
bridges and a small shipyard besides conducting call fire missions on enemy 
command posts, bunkers, and personnel shelters, making numerous cuts on 
enemy trench lines in the process.

On 25 February, Wisconsin arrived at Pusan where Vice Admiral Shon, the 
ROK Chief of Naval Operations; United States Ambassador J. J. Muccio; 
and Rear Admiral Scott Montcrief, Royal Navy, Commander, Task Group 
95.12, visited the battleship. Departing that South Korean port the 
following day, Wisconsin reached Yokosuka on 2 March. A week later, she 
shifted to Sasebo to prepare to return to Korean waters.

Wisconsin arrived off Songjin, Korea, on 15 March 1952 and concentrated 
her gunfire on enemy railway transport. Early that morning, she destroyed 
a communist troop train trapped outside of a destroyed tunnel. That 
afternoon, she received the first direct hit in her history, when one of 
four shells from a communist 155-millimeter gun battery struck the shield 
of a starboard 40-millimeter mount. Although little material damage 
resulted, three men were injured. Almost as if the victim of a personal 
affront, Wisconsin subsequently blasted that battery to oblivion with a 
16-inch salvo before continuing her mission. After lending a hand to 
support once more the 1st Marine Division with her heavy rifles, the 
battleship returned to Japan on 19 March.

Relieved as flagship of the 7th Fleet on 1 April by sistership Iowa (BB-
61), Wisconsin departed Yokosuka, bound for the United States. En route 
home, she touched briefly at Guam, where she took part in the successful 
test of the Navy's largest floating drydock on 4 and 5 April, marking the 
first time that an Iowa-class battleship had ever utilized that type of 
facility. She continued her homeward-bound voyage, via Pearl Harbor, and 
arrived at Long Beach, Calif., on 19 April. She then sailed for the east 
coast; her destination: Norfolk.

Early in June 1952, Wisconsin resumed her role as a training ship, taking 
midshipmen to Greenock, Scotland; Brest, France; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 
before returning to Norfolk. She departed Hampton Roads on 25 August and 
participated in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise, 
Operation "Mainbrace" which commenced at Greenock and extended as far 
north as Oslo, Norway. After her return to Norfolk, Wisconsin underwent an 
overhaul in the naval shipyard there. She then engaged in local training 
evolutions until 11 February 1953, when she sailed for Cuban waters for 
refresher training. She visited Newport, R.I., and New York City before 
returning to Norfolk late in April.

Following another midshipman's  training cruise to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; and Guantanamo Bay, Wisconsin put into the Norfolk 
Naval Shipyard on 4 August for a brief overhaul. A little over a month 
later, upon conclusion of that period of repairs and alterations, the 
battleship departed Norfolk on 9 September, bound for the Far East.

Sailing via the Panama Canal to Japan, Wisconsin relieved New Jersey (BB-
62) as 7th Fleet flagship on 12 October. During the months that followed, 
Wisconsin visited the Japanese ports of Kobe, Sasebo, Yokosuka, Otaru, and 
Nagasaki. She spent Christmas at Hong Kong and was ultimately relieved of 
flagship duties on 1 April 1954 and returned to the United States soon 
thereafter, reaching Norfolk, via Long Beach and the Panama Canal, on 4 
May 1954.

Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 11 June, Wisconsin underwent a 
brief overhaul and commenced a midshipman training cruise on 12 July. 
After revisiting Greenock, Brest, and Guantanamo Bay, the ship returned to 
the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for repairs. Shortly thereafter, Wisconsin 
participated in Atlantic Fleet exercises as flagship for Commander, 2d 
Fleet. Departing Norfolk in January 1955, Wisconsin took part in 
Operation "Springboard," during which time she visited Port-au-Prince, 
Haiti. Then, upon returning to Norfolk, the battleship conducted another 
midshipman's cruise that summer, visiting Edinburgh; Copenhagen, Denmark; 
and Guantanamo Bay before returning to the United States.

Upon completion of a major overhaul at the New York Naval Shipyard, 
Wisconsin headed south for refresher training in the Caribbean, later 
taking part in another "Springboard" exercise. During that cruise, she 
again visited Port-au-Prince and added Tampico, Mexico, and Cartagena, 
Colombia, to her list of ports of call. She returned to Norfolk on the 
last day of March 1956 for local operations.

Throughout April and into May, Wisconsin operated locally off the Virginia 
capes. On 6 May, the battleship collided with the destroyer Eaton (DDE-510) 
in a heavy fog. Wisconsin put into Norfolk with extensive damage to her 
bow and, one week later, entered drydock at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. A 
novel expedient speeded her repairs and enabled the ship to carry out 
her scheduled midshipman training cruise that summer. A 120-ton, 68-foot 
long section of the bow of the uncompleted battleship Kentucky was 
transported, by barge, in one section, from the Newport News 
Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp., Newport News, Va., across Hampton Roads to 
the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Working round-the-clock, Wisconsin's ship's 
force and shipyard personnel completed the operation which grafted the 
new bow on the old battleship in a mere 16 days. On 28 June 1956, the ship 
was ready for sea.

Embarking 700 NROTC midshipmen, representing 52 colleges and 
universities throughout the United States, Wisconsin departed Norfolk on 
9 July, bound for Spain. Reaching Barcelona on the 20th, the battleship 
next called at Greenock and Guantanamo Bay before returning to Norfolk on 
the last day of August. That autumn, Wisconsin participated in Atlantic 
Fleet exercises off the coast of the Carolinas, returning to port on 8 
November 1956. Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard a week later, the 
battleship underwent major repairs that were not finished until 2 
January 1957.

After local operations off the Virginia capes from 3 to 4 January and 
from the 9th to the llth, Wisconsin departed Norfolk on the 15th, 
reporting to Commander, Fleet Training Group, at Guantanamo Bay. Breaking 
the two-starred flag of Rear Admiral Henry Crommelin, Commander, Battleship 
Division 2, Wisconsin served as Admiral Crommelin's flagship during the 
ensuing shore bombardment practices and other exercises held off the 
isle of Culebra, Puerto Rico, from 2 to 4 February 1957. Sailing for 
Norfolk upon completion of the training period, the battleship arrived on 
7 February.

The warship conducted a brief period of local operations off Norfolk 
before she sailed, on 27 March, for the Mediterranean. Reaching Gibraltar 
on 5 April, she pushed on that day to rendezvous with TF 60 in the Aegean 
Sea. She then proceeded with that force to Xeros Bay, Turkey, arriving 
there on 11 April for NATO Exercise "Red Pivot."

Departing Xeros Bay on 14 April, she arrived at Naples four days later. 
After a week's visit-during which she was visited by Italian dignitaries-
Wisconsin conducted exercises in the eastern Mediterranean. In the course 
of those operational training evolutions, she rescued a pilot and crewman 
who survived the crash of a plane from the carrier Forrestal (CVA-59). 
Two days later, Vice Admiral Charles R. Brown, Commander, 6th Fleet, came 
on board for an official visit by high-line and departed via the same 
method that day. Wisconsin reached Valencia, Spain, on 10 May and, three 
days later, entertained prominent civilian and military officials of the 

Departing Valencia on the 17th, Wisconsin reached Norfolk on 27 May. On 
that day, Rear Admiral L. S. Parks relieved Rear Admiral Crommelin as 
Commander, Battleship Division 2. Departing Norfolk on 19 June, the 
battleship, over the ensuing weeks, conducted a midshipman training cruise 
through the Panama Canal to South American waters. She transited the 
canal on 26 June; crossed the equator on the following day; and reached 
Valparaiso, Chile, on 3 July. Eight days later, the battleship headed 
back to the Panama Canal and the Atlantic.

After exercises at Guantanamo Bay and off Culebra, Wisconsin reached 
Norfolk on 5 August and conducted local operations that lasted into 
September. She then participated in NATO exercises which took her across 
the North Atlantic to the British Isles. She arrived in the Clyde on 14 
September and subsequently visited Brest, France, before returning to 
Norfolk on 22 October.

Wisconsin's days as an active fleet unit were numbered, and she prepared 
to make her last cruise. On 4 November 1957, she departed Norfolk with a 
large group of prominent guests on board. Reaching New York City on 6 
November, the battleship disembarked her guests and, on the 8th, headed 
for Bayonne, N.J., to commence pre-inactivation overhaul.

Placed out of commission at Bayonne on 8 March 1958, Wisconsin joined the 
"Mothball Fleet" there, leaving the United States Navy without an active 
battleship for the first time since 1895. Subsequently taken to the 
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Wisconsin remained there with her 
sistership Iowa into 1981.

Wisconsin earned five battle stars for her World War II service and 
one for Korea.

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Bless 'em all, Bless 'em all,
The long and the short and the tall;
Bless all the Admirals in the U.S. Navy:
They don't care if we ever get back.
So we're waving goodbye to them all
As back to our foxholes we crawl.
There' ll be no promotions this side the ocean,
So, cheer up, my lads, Bless 'em all!


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