The Battleship Pennsylvania (BB38)

The Battleship Pennsylvania, famous as the flagship of the U.S. fleet, was commissioned in 1916. With a displacement of 32,600 tons, a length of 608 feet, a beam of 106 feet, and a speed of 21 knots, she was one of the first oil burning battleships of the navy.

On December 7, 1941, while in dry dock at Pearl Harbor, she received one bomb hit. The Pennsylvania was modernized in 1942 and from that date participated in bombardments and amphibious operations at Attu, Kiska, Makin Island, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, Peleliu, Anguar, Leyte, Wake Island, Lingayen and Okinawa. She was hit by a torpedo at Okinawa and was out of action for the remainder of World War II. The Pennsylvania was the only U.S. battleship to take part in every amphibious operation in the Pacific Ocean areas and the two largest operations in the southwest Pacific area during the period may 1943 to February 1945. One of the four battleships awarded the navy Unit Commendation for action in World War II. The Pennsylvania was decommissioned in February of 1948.

Navy Unit Commendation

“For outstanding heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific war area from May 14, 1943 to February 10, 1945. Operating under ten separate commands, the U.S.S Pennsylvania was the only battleship to take part in every amphibious operation during the period from Attu in the northern area to Lingayen in the Philippines. Imperiled by perpetual fog, she served as a flagship of the task force commander during the Aleutians campaign and navigated in poorly chartered waters to deliver her accurate broadsides on predetermined but invisible targets; intensive fire from her batteries blazed the way for our assault waves in the Gilberts, the Marshalls and the Marianas silencing the enemy’s heavy coastal guns, locating and neutralizing camouflaged replacement, and rendering steady support for our land forces. A gallant and dependable veteran, the Pennsylvania completed nearly thirty years of unfailing service by her deadly close-in bombardment and gun fire support in the recapture of the Philippines, fulfilling her prolonged and vital mission without casualty to herself or her personnel by Japanese fire. Handled superbly in the face of many obstacles throughout this period, the Pennsylvania achieved an illustrious combat record, reflecting the courage, skill and brilliant team work of the officers who plotted her course. The pilots who spotted her gunfire and the operational force which aided in maintaining her fighting experience