How much do you know about the USS West Virginia—the battleship named for our state that was nearly destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Commissioned on December 1, 1923 in Newport News, Virginia, the USS West Virginia was a Colorado-class battleship. It was the last battleship the Navy would build for two decades.

Profile of the USS West Virginia in the 30's. (Click for full image)

Profile of the USS West Virginia in the 30’s. (Click for full image)

In 1940, she was transferred to Pearl Harbor to guard against a potential Japanese attack.

Pearl Harbor just before the attack; this photo captured from the Japanese. (National Archives)

Pearl Harbor just before the attack; this photo captured from the Japanese. (National Archives)

On December 7, 1941, two Japanese bombs and at least seven torpedoes ripped the ship apart.

The USS West Virginia after the attack on Pearl Harbor (Library of Congress)

The USS West Virginia after the attack on Pearl Harbor (Library of Congress)

Skillful damage control that day saved the ship from capsizing but the ship sank quickly.

via Library of Congress

via Library of Congress

More than 100 of her crew died in the attack.

USS West Virginia (BB-48) at Pearl Harbor after her fires were out, possibly on 8 December 1941. USS Tennessee (BB-43) is inboard.

USS West Virginia after her fires were out. The USS Tennessee is inboard.

The following year the ship was raised from the harbor floor and sent back to the West Coast for repairs.

National Archives

National Archives

She re-entered service in June of 1944 and was sent to support allied efforts against Japan in Mindoro, Lingayen Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

The USS West Virginia in the Puget Sound Navy Yard after being repaired (US Navy)

The USS West Virginia in the Puget Sound Navy Yard after being repaired (US Navy)

At the end of the war, the USS West Virginia entered Tokyo Bay and was the only ship attacked at Pearl Harbor present for Japan’s surrender.

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Peace treaty signing with the USS West Virginia in the background (WV State Archives)

She was decommissioned by the Navy in 1947 and scrapped in August 1959. The mainmast of the ship lives on however, as a memorial on the campus of West Virginia University.

In 1990, the Navy launched another USS West Virginia, an Ohio-class submarine, carrying on the great tradition of the ship.

The new USS West Virginia, shown here at pier. (Dept. of Defense)

The new USS West Virginia, shown here at pier. (Dept. of Defense)

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