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USS Tennessee: 1920 - 1959


USS Tennessee, a 32,300 ton battleship was built in the New York Navy yard in Brooklyn and was commissioned in June of 1920.  After a short time in the Atlantic, she was transferred to the Pacific and the US West coast for almost 20 years.  As part of the Battleship Force, she participated in regular training and fleet exercises winning the "E" award for excellence in gunnery.  In 1940, she was transferred to Pearl Harbor.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor


Tennessee was moored inside of the USS West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  She was hit by two Japanese bombs that damaged two of her gun turrets.  She also caught fire as a result the explosion of the Arizona and her close proximity to her.  Tennessee was so close to the West Virginia, that after the attack, she had to blasted free in order for her to receive repairs.  During the attack, 5 of her crew were killed.


USS Tennessee after the Pearl Harbor attack


After initial repairs at Pearl Harbor, Tennessee was sent to Puget Sound in Washington for repairs and upgrades.  Her appearance was completely changed and her weapons systems were significantly upgraded.  Her first mission was to assist in the invasion of Kiska and then Tarawa, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, New Ireland, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Anguar, Pelieu and Leyte.  On the night of October 24th, she helped sink the Japanese battleship, Yamashiro during the battle of Surigao Strait.  She then participated in the battle of Iwo Jima in February and March of 1945, and the invasion of Okinawa.  After her service in the war and following the surrender of Japan, Tennessee went to Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was decommissioned in February of 1947.  She remained part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet for 12 years and then was sold for scrapping in 1959.

USS Tennessee (BB-43)

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