Reunion Information
Patch
Duty Station Details

Strength
Battleship
 
Type
Surface Vessels
 
Existing/Disbanded
Decommissioned
Year
1923 - 1947

Description
Original photo pre-Pearl Harbor


















The fourth and final ship of the 
Colorado Class Battleship, USS West Virginia (BB-48) was laid down at Newport News Shipbuilding on April 12, 1920.  Construction moved forward and on November 19, 1921, it slid down the ways with Alice W. Mann, daughter of West Virginia coal magnate Isaac T. Mann, serving as sponsor.  After another two years of work, West Virginia was completed and entered commission on December 1, 1923, with Captain Thomas J. Senn in command. 

: Displacement 32,600 Tons, Dimensions, 624' (oa) x 97' 4" x 31' 4" (Max). Armament 8 x 16"/45 14 x 5"/51, 4 x 3"/50AA 2 x 21" tt.Armor, 13 1/2" Belt, 18" Turrets, 3 1/2" + 1 1/2" Decks, 16" Conning Tower. Machinery, 28,900 SHP; Turbines with Electric Drive, 4 screws. Speed, 21 Knots, Crew 1080. Operational and Building Data: Laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, VA, April 12, 1920.
Launched November 19, 1921. Commissioned December 1, 1923. Decommissioned January 9, 1947. Stricken March 1, 1959. Fate: Sold August 2, 1959 and broken up for scrap.
 

USS West Virginia (BB-48) - Pearl Harbor:

On the morning of December 7, 1941, West Virginia was moored along Pearl Harbor's Battleship Row, outboard of USS Tennessee (BB-43), when the Japanese attacked and pulled the United States into World War II.  In a vulnerable position with its port side exposed, West Virginia sustained seven torpedo hits (six exploded) from Japanese aircraft.  Only rapid counter-flooding by the battleship's crew prevented it from capsizing.  The damage from the torpedoes was exacerbated by two armor-piercing bomb hits as well as a massive oil fire started following the explosion of USS Arizona(BB-39) which was moored aft.  Severely damaged, West Virginia sank upright with little more than its superstructure above the water.  In the course of that attack, the battleship's commander, Captain Mervyn S. Bennion, was mortally wounded.  He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his defense of the ship.  

USS West Virginia (BB-48) - Rebirth:

In the weeks after the attack, efforts to salvage West Virginia commenced.  After patching the massive holes in the hull, the battleship was refloated on May 17, 1942 and later moved to Drydock Number One.  As work commenced 66 bodies were found trapped in the hull.  Three located in a storeroom appear to have survived until at least December 23.

  After extensive repairs to the hull, West Virginia departed for Puget Sound Navy Yard on May 7, 1943.  Arriving, it underwent a modernization program that dramatically altered the battleship's appearance.  This saw the construction of a new superstructure which included trunking the two funnels into one, a greatly enhanced anti-aircraft armament, and elimination of the old cage masts.  In addition, the hull was widened to 114 feet which precluded it from passing through the Panama Canal. When complete, West Virginia looked more similar to the modernized Tennessee-class battleships than those from its own Colorado-class.

Rebuilt view 1944.

 



Notable Persons
None
 
Reports To
Colorado-class
 
Active Reporting Duty Station
None
 
Inactive Reporting Duty Station
None
 
207 Members Who Served in This Duty Station


 

  • AUBRY, RONALD, S1c, (1943-1946)
  • Banzuelo, Antonio, MCPO, (1930-1960)
  • Beyer, Paul W., PO3, (1942-1944)
  • Delano, Victor, CAPT, (1937-1969)
 

 Image
  American Defense Service Medal - 2003
 



Name of Award
American Defense Service Medal

Devices
Star in Lieu of the following Clasps Star in Lieu of the following Clasps  Fleet Clasp for US Navy, US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard for service on the high seas while regularly attached to any vessels of the Atlantic, Pacific, or Asiatic fleets as well as vessels of the Naval Transport Service and vessels operating directly under the Chief of Naval Operations Base Clasp for US Navy and US Marine Corps for service outside the continental limits of the United States (service in either Alaska or Hawaii qualified Sea Clasp for US Coast Guard for all other vessels and aircraft, not qualifying for the Fleet Clasp, which regularly conducted patrols at sea Foreign Service Class for US Army for military service outside the continental limits of the United States, including service in Alaska.
Year Awarded
2003

Details behind Award:
Not Specified
Last Updated:
Dec 27, 2013
 
 
 
This ribbon will display Multiple Award devices automatically based on the total number of awards listed