Unit Details

Ground Unit
1921 - 1959


USS West Virginia (BB-48)
 was the fourth dreadnought battleship of the Colorado class, though because Washington was cancelled, she was the third and final member of the class to be completed. The Colorado class proved to be the culmination of the standard-type battleship series built for the United States Navy in the 1910s and 1920s; the ships were essentially repeats of the earlier Tennessee design, but with a significantly more powerful main battery of eight 16-inch (406 mm) guns in twin-gun turrets. West Virginia was built between her keel laying in 1920 and her commissioning into the Navy in 1923. The ship spent the 1920s and 1930s conducting routine training exercises, including the typically-annual Fleet Problems, which provided invaluable experience for the coming war in the Pacific.

West Virginia was moored in Battleship Row on the morning of 7 December 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into World War II. Badly damaged by torpedoes, the ship sank in the shallow water but was later refloated and extensively rebuilt over the course of 1943 and into mid-1944. She returned to service in time for the Philippines Campaign, where she led the American line of battle at the Battle of Surigao Strait on the night of 24–25 October. There, she was one of the few American battleships to use her radar to acquire a target in the darkness, allowing her to engage a Japanese squadron in what was the final action between battleships in naval history.

After Surigao Strait, the ship remained in the Philippines to support troops fighting during the Battle of Leyte in 1944 and then supported the invasion of Lingayen Gulf in early 1945. The ship also took part in the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa later that year, providing extensive fire support to the ground forces invading those islands. During the latter operation, she was hit by a kamikaze that did little damage. Following the surrender of Japan, West Virginia took part in the initial occupation and thereafter participated in Operation Magic Carpet, carrying soldiers and sailors from Hawaii to the mainland United States before being deactivated in 1946. She was decommissioned in 1947 and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet, where she remained until 1959 when she was sold to ship breakers and dismantled.


USS West Virginia (BB-48) - Overview

  • Nation: United States

  • Type: Battleship

  • Shipyard: Newport News Shipbuilding Corporation

  • Laid Down: April 12, 1920

  • Launched: November 19, 1921

  • Commissioned: December 1, 1923

  • Fate: Sold for scrap


Specifications (as built)

  • Displacement: 33,590 tons

  • Length: 624 ft.

  • Beam: 97.3 ft.

  • Draft: 30 ft., 6 in.

  • Propulsion: Turbo-electric transmission turning 4 propellers

  • Speed: 21 knots

  • Complement: 1,407 men


Armament (as built)

  • 8 × 16 in. gun (4 × 2)

  • 12 × 5 in. guns

  • 4 × 3 in. guns

  • 2 × 21 in. torpedo tubes


18 Members Who Served in This Unit

  • Bald, Edward, SgtMaj, (1914-1945)
  • See, Robert H, 1stLt, (1937-1954)

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US Occupation of Japan
The Allied occupation of Japan at the end of World War II was led by General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, with support from the British Commonwealth. Unlike in the oc ... More
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1945 - 1952
Operation Magic Carpet (Pacific)
Operation Magic Carpet was the post-World War II operation by the War Shipping Administration to repatriate over eight million American military personnel from the European, Pacific, and Asian theater ... More
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1945 - 1946
Navy Unit Commendation
The Navy Unit Commendation may be awarded by the Secretary of the Navy to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps that distinguishes itself by outstanding heroism in action against an enemy (but not suff ... More
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
The Philippine Presidential Unit Citation is a unit decoration of the Republic of the Philippines. It has been awarded to certain units of the United States military for actions both during and subseq ... More
Battle of Iwo Jima
The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February – 26 March 1945), or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States Armed Forces fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the ... More
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1945 - 1945
Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
On December 15, 1944, landings against minimal resistance were made on the southern beaches of the island of Mindoro, a key location in the planned Lingayen Gulf operations, in support of major landin ... More
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1944 - 1945
Leyte Campaign (1944-45)
The Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the amphibious invasion of the Gulf of Leyte in the Philippines by American and Filipino guerrilla forces under the command of General D ... More
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1944 - 1945
Ryukyus Campaign (1945)

(Ryukyus Campaign 26 March to 2 July 1945) The invasion of the Ryukyus was made by troops of the U.S. Tenth Army, which had been activated on 20 June 1944 with Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, Jr., as co ... More

Capture of the Ryukyus gave Allied naval and air forces excellent bases within 700 miles of Japan proper. Throughout June and July, Japan was subjected to increasingly intensive air attack and even to naval bombardment.

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1945 - 1945
Surrender of Japan, End of WWII
The surrender of the Empire of Japan was announced by Imperial Japan on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945 ... More
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1945 - 1945
Navy Presidential Unit Citation
The Presidential Unit Citation may be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and cobelligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or aft ... More
Combat Action Ribbon
The Combat Action Ribbon is a personal decoration awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when operating under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain (or colonel in th ... More
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (Dece ... More
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1941 - 1941
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