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The USS Wisconsin Gets a New Home
at Nauticus, Norfolk, Virginia
December 7, 2000
Marines from the Norfolk Naval Base Marine Force
Security Battalion stand at attention on the forward deck of the
Battleship Wisconsin below the 16 inch guns of turret No. 1 photo
by Gary L. Knapp
The battleship Wisconsin, as seen from a
helicopter, moves on the Elizabeth River from Portsmouth toward downtown
Norfolk on Thursday. Photo by Vicki Cronis
Almost there, the Wisconsin is swung around to
line up with it awaiting berth, at left. Photo by
The battleship Wisconsin arrives at Nauticus on
Thursday morning for its berthing and welcoming ceremony
photo by Genevieve Ross
The Battleship Wisconsin looms over Plume Street
after arriving, a former dreadnought, now ready for service as a tourist
attraction photo by Mort Fryman
Photos from the Virginian-Pilot,
December 7, 2000
- Text from The Dictionary
of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval
The second Wisconsin (BB-64) was
laid down on 25 Jan. 1941 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 7
Dec. 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Walter S. Goodland; and commissioned on 16
Apr. 1944, Capt. Earl E. Stone in command.
- After her trials and initial training in the
Chesapeake Bay, Wisconsin departed Norfolk, Va., on 7 Jul.
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 postshakedown
repairs and alterations.
On 24 Sept. 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
art 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
The next day, 18 Dec. 1944, the weather,
however, soon turned sour for Halsey's sailors. A furious typhoon
struck his fleet, catching many ships refueling and with little
ballast in their nearly dry bunkers. Three destroyers — USS
Hull (DD-350), USS Monaghan (DD-354), and USS 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 Jan. 1945, included a thrust into the South China Sea, in the
hope that major units of the Japanese Navy could be drawn into
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 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
Subsequently assigned to the 5th Fleet —
when Admiral Spruance relieved Admiral Halsey as Commander of the
Fleet — Wisconsin moved northward with the redesignated TF
58 as the carriers headed for the Tokyo area. On 16 Feb. 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 or 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 1945, 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 USS
Franklin (CV-13) on the 19th and seriously damaged that
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
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 USS
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 — USS Intrepid
(CV-11), USS Bunker Hill (CV- 17), and USS Enterprise
By 4 Jun. 1945, 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 USS
Wisconsin ultimately put into Leyte
Gulf and dropped anchor there on 18 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 16 Jul. 1945, 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 continue
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 Aug. 1945. Two days
later, the Japanese capitulated. World War II was over at last.
Wisconsin, as port of the occupying
force, arrived at Tokyo Bay on 6 September, three days after the
formal surrender occurred on board the battleship USS
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 GIs 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 state-side bound
voyage. She reached San Francisco on 15 Oct. 1945.
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 Roads, 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
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 Dec. 1946.
Wisconsin spent nearly all of 1947 as
a training ship, taking naval reservists on two-week cruises
through-out 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 Mar. 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 Oct.
1951, bound for the Pacific. She transited the Panama Canal on the
29th and reached. Yokosuka, Japan, on 21 November. There, she
relieved USS New Jersey (BB-62) as flagship for Vice Admiral
H. M. Martin, Commander, 7th Fleet.
On the 26th, with Vice Adm. 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 USS
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 three starshells for the 1st ROK
Corps, illuminating a communist attack that was consequently
repulsed with considerable enemy casualties.
After being relieved on the gunline by the
heavy cruiser USS St. Paul (CA-78) 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 USS Twining (DD-540). The following day, 12
December, saw the embarkation in Wisconsin of Rear Adm. 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 11th ROK invasion 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, Sen. Ferguson, by helicopter to the carrier
USS Valley Forge (CV-45).
Wisconsin next participated in a
coordinated air-surface bombardment of Wonsan to neutralize
pre-selected 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 force.
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 Adm. Martin the ROK Order of the
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 marshaling 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 callfire missions on enemy command
posts, bunkers, and personnel shelters, making numerous cuts on
enemy trench lines in the process.
On 26 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 Mar. 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 USS
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
dry-dock 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 l9 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 Feb. 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
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 Apr. 1954 and returned to the United States soon
thereafter, teaching 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 1955 for
Throughout April and into May, Wisconsin
operated locally off the Virginia capes. On 6 May 1955, the
battleship collided with the destroyer USS 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 New 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 Jun. 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 Jan. 1957.
After local operations off the Virginia
capes from 3 to 4 January and from the 9th to the 11th, Wisconsin
departed Norfolk on the 16th, reporting to Commander, Fleet Training
Group, at Guantanamo Bag. Breaking the two-starred flag of Rear
Admiral Henry Crommelin, Commander, Battleship Division 2, Wisconsin
served as Adm. Crommelin's flagship during the ensuing shore
bombardment practices and other exercises held off the isle of
Culebra, Puerto Rico, from 2 to 4 Feb. 1957. Sailing for Norfolk
upon completion of the training period, the battleship arrived on 7
The warship conducted a brief period of
local operations off Norfolk before she sailed, on 27 March, for the
Mediterranean. Reaching Gibraltar on 6 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 USS Forrestal
(CVA-59). Two days later, Vice Adm. Charles R. Brown, Commander,
Sixth 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 city.
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 1957. 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
Wisconsin's days as an active fleet
unit were numbered, and she prepared to make her last cruise. On 4
Nov. 1967, 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
Mar. 1968, Wisconsin joined the "Mothball Fleet"
there, leaving the United States Navy without an active battleship
for the first time since 1896. Subsequently taken to the
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Wisconsin remained there with USS
Iowa (BB 61) until recommissioned again on 22 Oct. 1988.
USS Wisconsin returned to war when Iraqi
dictator Sadam Hussein invaded Kuwait. In February 1991, Wisconsin
fired her 16-inch guns at targets just north of Khafji, Saudi
Arabia, the ship assisted shore-based ground units in their tasks. Wisconsin
shared gunnery duties with USS
Missouri (BB 63) and the two battleships continued to hammer
at their targets with 16-inch gunnery. Near the end of the month, Wisconsin
turned her big guns on Faylaka Island and Kuwait City in support of
the ground offensive. Iraq agreed to a cease fire agreement on 28
USS Wisconsin was decommissioned for
the final time, on 30 Sept. 1991. After being berthed at the Naval
Station Norfolk, Va., she was moved on 31 May 2000 to the Norfolk
Naval Shipyard. On Pearl Harbor Commemoration Day, 7 December 2000, Wisconsin
moored at the National Maritime Center and the Hampton Roads Naval
Museum in downtown Norfolk to be the centerpiece in a four-part
exhibit featuring the battleship's role in U.S. naval history and
also as an example of the relationship between the Navy and the
Hampton Roads area.
- Wisconsin earned five battle stars
for her World War II service and one for Korea.
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