Built in Quincy, Massachusetts, the USS Nevada weighed in at 27,500 tons. In March 1916 she began operating in the Caribbean and the Atlantic. In mid-1918, the USS Nevada went to Britain to continue the fight. Following the armistice, the Nevada was in operation throughout the world’s seas. She went on trips to Australia and Brazil, and demonstrated combat readiness in a series of combat drills.
From 1927 through 1930, the Nevada was improved mechanically, losing her old-fashioned masts for the newer, tripod-style masts. A new superstructure was installed, anti-aircraft and firepower improvements were made, and her protective hull was strengthened. She then joined the rest of the U.S battle fleet, where she largely stayed in the Pacific over the next decade.
Action in World War II
Famously, the USS Nevada was the only battleship that was able to launch during the Pearl Harbor attacks of 1941. The ship came under heavy Japanese fire, and was left sinking after several direct hits. After beaching, salvage, and repairs, the USS Nevada made it to the California coast by April of 1942. It took the rest of the year to finish the repairs and install a massively increased anti-aircraft capability. Now in good condition, the Nevada took part in the battles around Attu Island, in Alaska, during May 1943.
After transferring to the Atlantic, the Nevada and her crew made a good account for themselves during the invasion of Normandy, in June 1944, and the invasion of Southern France later that summer. Returning to the Pacific, the battleship was part of the operations to seize Iwo Jima and Okinawa late in the war in 1945. On March 27, she was damaged by a kamikaze bomber, and again on April 5 by a stray shell. Nevertheless, she remained in action near Okinawa for the remainder of the war, preparing for the ultimately abandoned final invasion of Imperial Japan.
After the War
After the war, the Nevada returned to her home, Hawaii. Too old to remain in the active service, she was turned into a target during the 1946 Bikini Atoll bomb tests. After the bomb tests, the Nevada was both contaminated with radiation and totally unsalvageable. Two years later, the historic battleship was sunk by gunfire and torpedoes off the coast of Hawaii, thus passing into history as a remarkable vessel that served our country in both World Wars.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet throughout conflicts during the last century, battleships also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers who served on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common on these ships because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.