R.I.P., Old Girl

| May 27, 2020

USS Nevada has been found at 15,000 feet near Bikini Atoll.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/undersea-explorers-find-wreck-of-uss-nevada-the-ship-that-almost-escaped-pearl-harbor/

From the article: The stricken battleship loomed out of the smoke and wreckage that morning, hurrying past sunken and burning ships, straining to get out of Pearl Harbor and into the open sea.

Past the doomed USS Arizona, which exploded in a fireball, the old ship rushed. She had a hole the size of a house in her hull, and her captain was ashore. The frantic crew had chopped the mooring ropes and got the ship underway as Japanese planes swarmed overhead.

The USS Nevada raced to escape the unfolding catastrophe of Dec. 7, 1941. “Out of this pall came a sight so incredible that its viewers could not have been more dumbfounded had it been the legendary Flying Dutchman,” historian Gordon W. Prange wrote.

Earlier this month, undersea explorers announced they had found the wreck of the famous Nevada. She had failed to make good her escape at Pearl Harbor, but she had survived, was repaired and returned to sea to serve out World War II.

Nevada was found in 15,000 feet of water, purposely sunk by the Navy in 1948 after a career that spanned three decades of service, from World War I to the atomic bomb. – article

Once repaired and underway again, Nevada participated in the D-Day operations off the coast of Normandy, with those big guns of hers lobbing shells at the enemy. After that, she participated in the Pacific theater at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the war, Nevada was decommissioned, painted orange and anchored at the nuclear test site at the Bikini atoll. She still wouldn’t sink.

In fact, Nevada stubbornly refused to give up her place on the surface until the Navy decided to use artillery, explosives and finally, an aerial torpedo. Now she rests in peace amongst the critters of the deep at 15,000 feet.


Category: Historical, Navy, No Longer Missing

Comments (31)

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  1. Skippy says:

    I read about this interesting
    Talk about not wanting to sink

    • The Other Whitey says:

      She rivals USS Hornet CV-8 in her stubborn retention of buoyancy.

      • JustALurkinAround says:

        Anyone who has a copy of Richard Rhodes’ Dark Sun can read (pp. 261-262) about the Crossroads Able shot, and specifically the Nevada, which was designated GZ for the drop.

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    Cool as all hell. Thanks for posting Ex. Maybe they should have named that picture show “The Unsinkable USS Nevada” v “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”?

    Better that She Rest in Peace at Sea than be turned into razor blades. The enemy couldn’t take her out and it took a concentrated effort of every weapon we had to do it. And even then, it she’d of been shooting back, we probably couldn’t have sunk Her.

  3. Jay says:

    Chief Edwin Hill received the Medal of Honor at Pearl Harbor and was stationed of the Nevada. He dove off the ship, swam to shore, cut the mooring lines, dove BACK into the water, swam to the ship as it was steaming away and climbed back onto the deck of the ship to continue the fight. He was later instrumental in saving COUNTLESS young sailors aged 18-19 by recognizing that they weren’t ready for such action and would’ve become cannon fodder, so he told them to take cover instead. He was killed shortly after by a bomb blast.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_J._Hill

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Thanks for adding that, Jay! It is important to remember these people.

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Thanks Jay. Did I read about Boatswains Mate Hill on Mason’s Valor Friday? If not we should have. It rang a bell for some reason. Surprised he was able to swim back with those big brass ones weighing him down.

        • Jay says:

          I think so. I was watching a documentary on Pearl Harbor on Monday and went down the interwebz rabbit hole.

          15 Medals of Honor were awarded for action at Pearl Harbor. 10 of those were posthumous. Ranks ranged from Seaman all the way to Rear Admiral.

          US Marine 1st Lt George Cannon also received the Medal of Honor posthumously on December 7th because the Japanese concurrently attacked the Midway Atoll.

          Bravery knew no rank that day. It really was One Team/One Fight.

    • Mason says:

      Equally impressive are the acts of Machinist’s Mate Donald Ross. He took it upon himself to get the ship’s power up, the only battleship in the harbor to do so.

      He forced his men to leave the untenable forward dynamo room of USS Nevada and performed all the duties himself until unconscious, returned to dynamo room after being resuscitated, worked the after dynamo room until unconscious, recovered and returned to his station until directed to abandon it.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_K._Ross

      Also the OOD, Ensign Joe Taussig, led from the bridge during the battle, refusing to leave when severely injured. Lost his leg, but got a Navy Cross. He was back duty three days later.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_K._Taussig_Jr.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Giggles wants a “sign-in” on the Bowfin section.

      • FuzeVT says:

        https://photos.app.goo.gl/5Q8T3g3DVxDqbp2p8

        Didn’t have the right setting – this will work. . .

        Thanks

      • The Other Whitey says:

        I’ve been to Pearl Harbor, but haven’t been aboard the Bowfin. My wife and I went aboard her sister Pampanito in San Francisco a few years back.

        I never could figure out why some US subs had a forward-mounted deck gun and others had an aft mount.

        • 5th/77th FA says:

          Great pics FuzeVT. Thanks.

          Hey TOW, the answer to your question about the placement of those deck guns. Navy has had problems before on placement of equipment. Heck, there’s an aircraft they use that has the wings and engines mounted all weird. Go figure.

          • FuzeVT says:

            One of the stranger engine configurations has to be the Convair B-36. Convair made some cool aircraft in the early Cold War period.

            • SFC D says:

              B-36 was the first thing I thought of after I read KoB’s description. One of many bombers my dad crewed on, and I daresay one of his favorites. If he had to pick his favorite from B-52’s, B-36’s, or us kids, there would be a lot of pondering…

            • The Other Whitey says:

              The B-36 was a beautiful plane, and the Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major was an incredible engine, but the pusher configuration didn’t do it any favors cooling-wise. Hence, “Six turnin’, four burnin’” often became “Two turnin’, two burnin’, two smokin’ two jokin’, and two unaccounted for.”

        • rgr769 says:

          The Bowfin is the only sub I‘ve ever been on or in. I was shocked at how cramped it was below deck. I am amazed that men could live in those subs for weeks and sometimes months on end. The scenes we see in movies don’t portray how small the spaces are in these old diesel boats.

          • 11B-Mailclerk says:

            Can’t get old-style movie cameras into real size sub sets to film.

            Ever notice how wide were the corridors on mid-60s TV’s starship Enterprise? It was to fit standard TV camera wheeled platforms.

        • FuzeVT says:

          Interesting anecdote about my trip to the Bowfin. I visited it a couple of times while I was on Marine related travel from Okinawa. One time I was there I bought a “Pride Runs Deep; USS Bowfin” t-shirt.
          Flash forward a few months and my wife and I went to a WWII memorial site in Okinawa we had never visited before. It was the Tsushima Maru memorial. Turns out it was leaving Oki with refugees in July of 44 with a bunch of civilian refugees going to the mainland. Turns out it was torpedoed with great loss of life of women and children. And who sunk it? You saw it coming, didn’t you – the Bowfin! I saw the ship logs from the Bowfin that were on the wall in the memorial and I whispered to my wife, “Glad you didn’t wear that submarine shirt today!!”

          Tsushima Maru Memorial photos:
          https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipN2gGCeH7U7iFHC95uBHRRTgV-8JLxl3NOeri-27q_BowHi-oovDbHm7lRAV7NZcg?key=Q3lkVGN2c2ZFcTUxaGRCSHZ4WHFvVmlkLWhpVmpB

          More Bowfin Museum pictures:
          https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipN3y8SOXkPLL4Sk608VymRD_WrghRbUtgGdkutt

          • FuzeVT says:

            Drat more issues with the bottom link. This one will work for the Bowfin Museum.
            https://photos.app.goo.gl/6tuPNUzKx7gBAfCB8

            I also apologize for my reuse of “turns out” above. I always regret not proofreading my writing!

          • The Other Whitey says:

            Sad, but the japs made no attempt to observe any international laws at sea. Multiple “hell ships” full of POWs were torpedoed because they weren’t marked as they were supposed to be, and the IJN’s record was far from clean on the treatment of men in the water. Plus that little detail about how they started the war.

            The Tsushima Maru tragedy could’ve been avoided a dozen ways by Japan. Bowfin’s crew had nothing to be ashamed of.

            That’s just one more example of the Japanese ducking responsibility for the war and its consequences.

            • FuzeVT says:

              You’re absolutely right. They were running blacked out at night with military convoy – all the things you do if you want to make sure you are perceived as a military target.
              Of all places, however, Okinawa is probably the one place in Japan that will talk openly about how badly the Japanese acted. This may have been the case here, but I don’t sprechen the Japanese. At the Peace Memorial Park Museum they absolutely do place blame on the Japanese – and Americans too, of course.
              Pictures (sadly, none allowed inside):
              https://photos.app.goo.gl/dWuQv1GKDp5UtTwD9

            • Thunderstixx says:

              The best example of the treatment of downed US Airmen came in the 2019 release “Midway”, which I like, BTW, and Bruno Gaido.
              Bruno Gaido was the airman that saved the USS Enterprise in a Japanese bomber suicide attack by jumping in the backseat of a TBD, manning the .30 cal machine gun and changing the trajectory of the incoming wounded but still very dangerous Japanese plane.
              It was the incident that made him a hero and got him promoted to Machinists mate 3’Rd Class to Machinists mate First Class by none other than William, “The Bull” Halsey himself !!!
              The movie accurately portrays the incident of when Gaido and the pilot were dropped overboard bound and attached to a significant weight and now rest at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
              I might have the rank of Mr Gaido wrong, but, the movie keeps that incident in front and center.
              That such men have lived.
              It just keeps me in awe at the selflessness of the men and women that fight our wars for us…
              The USS Cobia is currently stationed as a museum piece in Manitowoc Wisconsin and is a great place to see her.
              The museum is open during the Summer and well worth the price of admission !!!
              This is a piece on the part that WWII submarines played in the large battles of the War in the Pacific. It’s not what they were designed for, but as with so many other things that happen in our world, they filled the bill and saved many downed airmen of the US Fleets through the war.
              https://www.htrnews.com/story/entertainment/2020/04/15/wwii-miracle-pacific-uss-cobia-submarine-rescues-downed-airmen/5132827002/

  4. SFC D says:

    This is the textbook definition of “Tough Old Broad”.

  5. Slow Joe says:

    We are but a shadow of our forebears.