Toughest Ship
of World War II
Found: USS Nevada

Johanna Fuller, Resource Specialist

Summer 2020

The USS Nevada was the only battleship to get underway the morning of December 7, 1941, making her “the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal and depressing morning".

The USS Nevada was the only battleship to get underway the morning of December 7, 1941, making her “the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal and depressing morning". Pearl Harbor survivors who were on board the USS Nevada recall hearing fellow sailors aboard other ships cheer as the USS Nevada passed by them in pursuit of getting out of the harbor. Unfortunately, due to damage received during the attack, the Nevada began to list and was run aground near Hospital Point.
The USS Nevada had an extensive career in the US Navy, a career that spanned World War I to the end of World War II with the dropping of the atomic bomb. During World War I she served as a part “Banty Bay Squadron” along with the USS Utah and USS Oklahoma. The Banty Bay Squadron provided protection off the coast of Ireland for ships that were sailing to and from Great Britain. During World War II she was present at Pearl Harbor after providing support fire for the capture of Attu. She supported efforts in the Normandy Invasion and Operation Dragoon in the Atlantic. In March of 1945, the USS Nevada joined Task Force 54 (TF 54) off Okinawa and assisted with the bombardment for the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima.
The USS Nevada returned to Pearl Harbor, deemed too old to be in the post-war fleet, she was assigned to be a target ship in the Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. This assignment left her damaged and radioactive and she was formally decommissioned in August 1946. After two years of inactivity, the USS Nevada was towed out to sea off O’ahu, Hawai‘i and sunk during target practice by the US Navy.
While the world was in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, two research groups, Search Inc., (SEARCH) and Ocean Infinity, located the toughest ship of World War II, the USS Nevada on April 29. SEARCH, the largest underwater and terrestrial archaeological firm in the United States and Ocean Infinity, a marine robotics company teamed up for an underwater exploration, due to the series of unprecedented events that took place across the globe in response to COVID-19 pandemic, Ocean Infinity’s vessel, Pacific Constructor, stayed out at sea. They set up an underwater survey of more than 100 square miles of the oceans floor. The USS Nevada was located 65 nautical miles southwest of Pearl Harbor at a depth of 15,400 feet.
The USS Nevada is one of the US Navy’s longest serving battleships and viewed as the epitome of American Resilience and perseverance. Dr. James Delgado of SEARCH stated:
Nevada is an iconic ship that speaks to American resilience and stubbornness. Rising from its water grave after being sunk at Pearl Harbor, it survived torpedoes, bombs, shells, and two atomic blasts. The physical reality of the ship, resting in the darkness of the great museum of the sea, reminds us not only of past events, but of those who took up the challenge of defending the United States in two global wars. This is why we do ocean exploration -- to seek out those powerful connections to the past.
James Pochurek, SEARCH’s President said “...The discovery of the USS Nevada is another reminder of the powerful human stories lying beneath the waves waiting to be re-told.”

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