USS Montana - History

USS Montana - History


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Montana
(ACR-13: dp. 14,500 (n.); 1. 504'6"; b. 72'11"; dr. 25'0" A. 22 k.; cpl. 859; a. 4 10", 16 6", 22 3", 12 3-pdrs, 4 1-pdrs., 4 21"tt.; cl.North Carolina)

The first Montana ( ACR-13), was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va., 29 April 1905; launched 1.; December 1906; sponsored by Miss Connie Conrad; and commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard 21 July 1908, Capt. Alfred Reynolds in command.

Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, Montana departed Norfolk 5 August to cruise off the east coast until 25 January 1909 when she sailed from Charleston, S.C., for the Caribbean, arriving off Colon, Panama, the 29th. While operating with the Special Service Squadron, Montana departed Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2 April for the Mediterranean to protect American interests during the aftermath of the Turkish Revolution of 1908 leaving Gibraltar 23 July, she arrived Boston, Mass., 3 August, and resumed east coast operations.

On 8 April 1910 the armored cruiser sailed from Hampton Roads, Va., to take part in in the Argentine Centennial Celebration, calling at Uruguay, Argentina, and finally Brazil before heading for home 30 June, arriving Hampton Roads 22 July. Montana left Charleston, with President Taft and his party embarked, 10 November for a visit to Panama, returning her passengers to Hampton Roads, 22 November.

Montana was placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet 26 July 1911 for major overhaul at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., until 11 November 1912. In December she departed on a second trip to the Near East, stopping at Beirut, Syria (now Lebanon), and Alexandretta (now Iskenderun) and Mersin, Turkey. Returning to the United States in June 1913, Montana operated off the east coast and made training cruises to Mexico, Cuba, and Haiti until the United States entered World War I.

During the first months of the war, Montana conducted training exercises and transported supplies and men in the York River area and along the east coast. Assigned to the Cruiser and Transport Force 17 July 1917, she did convoy and escort duty out of Hampton Roads; New York, N.Y.; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, through most of 1917 and 1918. The armored cruiser also performed as a Naval Academy practice ship in the Chesapeake Bay area early in 1918. Ordered to France in December, between January and July 1919 Montana made six round trips from Europe, returning 8,800 American troops.

Following her arrival at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Seattle, Wash., Montana remained there from 16 August 1919 through her decommissioning 2 February 1921. On 7 June 1920 Montana was renamed Missoula for a city of .Montana and classified CA-13 on 7 June 1920. She was struck from the Navy list 15 July 1930 and sold to John Irwin, Jr., 29 September 1930. In October 1935 the armored cruiser was scrapped in accordance with the London Treaty for the reduction of naval armament of 31 December 1930.


USS Montana - History

The Montana (SSN 794) is the 21st Virginia-class attack submarine and the second United States Navy ship named for the State of Montana. The contract to build her was awarded to Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding in April 2012 and construction began in May 2015.

May 16, 2018 The keel was laid down for the future USS Montana during a ceremony at Newport News shipyard.

September 12, 2020 The Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Montana was christened during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. Ms. Sarah M. R. Jewell, the former Secretary of the United States Department of Interior, served as sponsor of the ship. Cmdr. Michael F. Delaney is the prospective commanding officer.

October 5, The Montana was slowly and meticulously moved from the Module Outfitting Facility (MOF) Bay #1 to a floating dry-dock on Newport News shipyard Launched on Feb. 8, 2021.


USS Montana (BB-67)

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/07/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

To counter the growing threats posed by Japanese warships, particularly the mighty IJN Yamato battleship - considered by most to have been the most powerful battleship ever built - the United States government authorized the construction of a new class of fighting surface ship on July 19th, 1940 to follow the preceding Iowa-class into service and further strengthen American naval power against what looked to be an imminent war with the Empire of Japan. The new breed, built around firepower and stout armor protection (though at the expense of speed), became the Montana-class and would entail the construction of five total ships. At least three shipyards were contracted with their manufacture - the New York Naval Shipyard, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

The Montana-class of battleships would go on to become the last battleships to be authorized for production by the United States Navy - not only in World War 2, but in its storied history. The USS Montana (BB-67) would naturally become the lead ship the class and her proposed sisters were designated as follows: USS Ohio (BB-68), USS Maine (BB-69), USS New Hampshire (BB-70) and USS Louisiana (BB-71). However, by this time in naval history, the aircraft carrier had proven its worth for the American Navy, particularly during and after the Battle of Midway, and priority in the American war effort had now shifted to design and production of more aircraft carriers. This shift inevitably signaled the end to the battleship era and her reign as undisputed queen of the sea. The United States Navy had learned - and effectively shown the world along the way - that future battles at sea would be decided by air elements and not so much by big-gunned surface warships as in decades past. The lean towards aircraft carriers meant that no part of any of the Montana-class ships was ever produced or laid down - the USS Montana herself would exist only in drawings and scale models.

The design profile of the Montana was a rather conventional effort as battleships of the time went. The differentiating factor between it and the preceding Iowa-class was its additional aft turret emplacement. All main gun weaponry was housed in large armored turrets that stood stories tall from their roof to their bases, requiring dozens of gunnery crew to manage. At amidships there was contained the bridge and major superstructures for the various required warfare and logistics departments. A pair of smoke funnels was noticeable between the forward and rear superstructures. A bevy of antenna and arrays dotted her vertical reaches. The bow deck was relatively featureless and rose out of the water to cut through rough seas. A massive support crane could be seen at amidships, designed to take on the large amounts of stores needed to feed and house the crew. The vessel would have been home to approximately 2,355 standard personnel though this number could balloon to 2,780 if needed - either in wartime or when she would be fielded as a flag ship of the fleet.

Armor protection for the Montana-class included a side belt thickness of 16.1 inches (409mm). Bulkheads would have measured in at 18 inches thick while turret barbettes would have been protected by 21.3 inches of armor. The turrets themselves were to be pressed by 22.5 inches of armor thickness. Decks would have been plated up to 6 inches at their stoutest. The IJN Yamato measured 26 inches of armor protection at her thickest.

Montana's proposed standard displacement was estimated at 66,000 tons on a standard load and some 71,000 tons with a war load. Her running length was over 920 feet with a beam of exactly 121 feet and draught of just over 36 feet.

Power for the USS Montana was slated to be no fewer than 8 x Babcock & Wilcox brand boilers delivering to 4 x Westinghouse geared steam turbines powering 4 x propeller shafts at 43,000 horsepower. Performance specifications were estimated with a top speed of 28 knots in ideal conditions through a range equaling some 17,000 miles (the IJN Yamato rated at 27 knots and 8,286 miles).

Armament was the heart and soul of any battleship and, had she been completed, the Montana would have been the most powerful USN vessel of her time. Montana (and her sisters) would have sported a main battery consisting of 12 x 16" (406mm) /50 caliber Mark 7 series guns held in four traversing turrets - each could be elevated individually and fired individually or synchronized. In comparison, the IJN Yamato fielded nine guns of 18.1 inch caliber - the largest ever fitted to a naval vessel. Three 16" gun barrels would have been fitted to each turret emplacement with two held forward of amidships and another two rear of amidships. This allowed the power of twelve full large-caliber guns to be brought to bear in a full broadside or have at least six guns apiece attack targets to the front or to the rear. The guns could be used to attack surface targets at sea or deliver powerful off-shore shelling against targets inland. Additional firepower was to come from the fitting of 20 x 5" (127mm) /54 caliber Mark 16 series gun emplacements fitted about her decks - these could also be used against surface targets or inland targets within range. Anti-aircraft support was an impressive network of up to 40 x Bofors 40mm cannons and a further 56 x Oerlikon 20mm cannon systems - such defense allowed battleships to provide umbrella support for fleet ships such as the lesser-defended aircraft carriers.

Like other battleships in the American Navy, the Montana would have sported a pair of floatplane aircraft for reconnaissance purposes. These aircraft were launched via a catapult system fitted to the stern deck of the vessel. Once airborne, the aircraft could be used to radio back enemy positions for coordinated assault or assist in spotting for the main gun batteries. Floatplane aircraft could then land on water, near the stern of the Montana, and be collected by way of a heavy duty crane installed between the twin catapult rails. The aircraft could then be maintained and readied for future sorties.

The future of the Montana-class was in doubt by July 21st, 1943 when a formal suspension of the program was issued amidst the changing war in the Pacific. The Empire of Japan was increasingly losing ground to the Allied push and the aircraft carrier played an ever increasing role in her demise. The aircraft carrier had essentially rendered "big gun carriers" at sea a rather novel fixture for they proved large, plodding targets that required thousands of personnel to operate and her use of fuel and oil meant that a single battleship was expensive to operate. While some of these detrimental qualities transferred to carriers themselves, their ability to send aircraft aloft and strike at the heart of the enemy or defend the fleet was more than what the battleship offered at this stage in the war. As more and more navies would commit to the construction of their own aircraft carriers, the future for the battleship was now marked. With such a vast departure from the preceding norm, the Montana program fell to the pages of US Naval history - no longer would nations commit such a vast amount of resources to their construction and operation. Even the fable American Iowa-class were eventually retired and mothballed from active service, becoming museum ships for the going public to peruse. In contrast, the aircraft carrier - finding her purpose in World War 2 - remains the true symbol of naval power for any nation, even today with the US Navy appropriately leading the way by fielding nearly a dozen such ships.


Intended Ships & Yards

  • USS Montana (BB-67): Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
  • USS Ohio (BB-68): Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
  • USS Maine (BB-69): New York Naval Shipyard
  • USS New Hampshire (BB-70): New York Naval Shipyard
  • USS Louisiana (BB-71): Norfolk Naval Shipyard

The cancellation of USS Montana (BB-67) represented the second time a battleship named for the 41st state had been eliminated. The first was a South Dakota-class (1920) battleship that was dropped due to the Washington Naval Treaty. As a result, Montana became the only state (of the 48 then in the Union) never to have had a battleship named in its honor.


Post-Vietnam War and the second refit

After the end of the Vietnam War the Montana and New Jersey were deactivated and stood down from active status, although they stayed commissioned, and over the next decade all of the USN's battleships were kept at combat readiness.

Then in 1976, as part of the upcoming fleet expansion program, Montana once again entered drydock at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, this time for a less extensive refit. Her missile systems and electronics were all updated, but her superstructure was kept in its current configuration. The refit was completed in 1979, and she spent the next 6 months conducting sea trials alongside New Jersey before being once again sent to the reserves.

With the introduction of the Helena-class strike cruisers in 1982, the role of the battleships was diminished slightly. But it was decided to nevertheless keep the Montana and New Jersey in commission, since it was felt that with the advent of the Long Range Ballistic Shell program they would be more effective at supporting ground troops during amphibious invasions than a missile cruiser would be.

Started in 1980, the LRBS program promised to deliver large-caliber guided, rocket assisted shells, capable of hitting targets at a range of 150 to 250 nautical miles. This presented the possibility of not only allowing the battleships to hit targets further inland, but also effectively engage other warships. The LRBS program wouldn't show any results until 1987, when a test rocket-shell fired from the Montana successfully hit a target barge 197.3 nautical miles away. The program, which had up to that point been facing significant cost overrun problems, was given additional funding thanks to the success of the test and would continue for another 9 years.


Welcome to the homepage of the USS Montana Committee where you can learn about our exciting work in support of the commissioning and crew of what will be one of the most high-tech warships in the U.S. Navy fleet – the USS MONTANA (SSN 794).

A Virginia Class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine, SSN 794 was christened September 12, 2020. Construction completion and testing will continue until probably late 2021 when she is expected to be accepted by the Navy and commissioned into the fleet.

On this website you can learn more about the new submarine and its amazing capabilities.

You can learn about the legacy of the first and only previous USS MONTANA, Armored Cruiser Number 13 commissioned in 1908. Its history is on this site.

And this is where you can learn more about the USS Montana Committee, our work to connect Montana and her people to the young sailors who will defend our nation aboard MONTANA, and how you can help make history by joining us.


Modules

Rate of Fire
(shots/min)
180° Turn Time
(sec)
Maximum Dispersion
(m)
Maximum HE Shell Damage
(HP)
Chance of Fire on Target Caused by HE Shell
(%)
Maximum AP Shell Damage
(HP)
Research price
(exp)
Purchase price
(  )
406 mm/50 Mk.7 in a turret2452965,7003613,500 02,200,000
Hit Points
(HP)
Armor
(mm)
Armor
(mm)
Main Turrets
(pcs.)
Secondary Gun Turrets
(pcs.)
AA Mounts
(pcs.)
Torpedo Tubes
(pcs.)
Hangar Capacity
(pcs.)
Research price
(exp)
Purchase price
(  )
Montana (A)96,300645741020/20/10/20 0 03,400,000
Firing Range Increase
(%)
Maximum Firing Range
(km)
Research price
(exp)
Purchase price
(  )
Mk10 mod. 1023.6 02,100,000

USS Montana

The USS North Carolina (and its twin, USS Washington) were the direct predecessors to the South Dakota and Iowa class. The original design was intended to conform to the terms of the Second London Naval Treaty, and was to carry 12 14" guns, however after Japan rejected a 14" gun limitation the design was altered during construction to accommodate 9 16"/45 Mark 6 guns, which would be reused on the South Dakota class and improved into the 16"/50 Mark 7 guns of the Iowa class. The succeeding South Dakota class featured improved armor at no cost in speed, and the Iowa class was 5 knots faster. Otherwise all three classes were similar in secondary armament, fire control, and general layout.

USS_Montana

Historical Info

Construction and shakedown

The North Carolina was laid down on 27 October 1937 at the New York Naval Shipyard and launched on 13 June 1940, sponsored by the young daughter of Clyde R. Hoey, the Governor of North Carolina. This battleship was commissioned in New York City on 9 April 1941, with Captain Olaf M. Hustvedt in command. She was the first of the U.S. Navy's fast, heavily armed battleships to be commissioned, carrying a powerful main battery of nine 16 in (410 mm) (45 caliber) guns. The North Carolina received so much attention during her completion and sea trials that she won the lasting nickname of "Showboat".

As the first newly designed American battleship to be built in two decades, the North Carolina was built using the latest in shipbuilding technology. Limited to a standard displacement of 35,000 long tons (36,000 t) by both the Washington Naval Treaty and the London Naval Treaty, and to a beam of less than 110 ft (34 m) by the width of the locks of the Panama Canal, and to a draft of no more than 38 ft (12 m) to enable the battleship to use as many anchorages and shipyards as possible, she was a challenge to design.

To save weight, the North Carolina was built using the new technique of welded construction. Her machinery arrangement was unusual in that there were four main spaces, each with two boilers and one steam turbine connected to each of the four propeller shafts. This arrangement served to reduce the number of openings in watertight bulkheads and to conserve the space to be protected by the armor plate. The long sweeping flush deck of the North Carolina and her streamlined structure made her far more graceful than earlier battleships. Her large tower forward, tall uncluttered stacks, and clean superstructure and hull were a sharp break from the elaborate bridgework, heavy tripod masts, and casemated secondary batteries which characterized her predecessors. The North Carolina was one of 14 ships to receive the early RCA CXAM-1 radar.

Service during World War II

The North Carolina completed her shakedown cruise in the Caribbean Sea before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Early in 1942, the North Carolina was scheduled to steam to Pearl Harbor. However, she remained in the Atlantic Ocean for a few more months so that she would be available to take on the German battleship Tirpitz in the event that battleship began to attack Atlantic convoys carrying war supplies and troops from the United States to Great Britain. The North Carolina was finally ordered to the Pacific Fleet in the summer of 1942.

After intensive war exercises, the North Carolina departed for the Pacific theater of Operations. She was the first new battleship to arrive in the Pacific since the beginning of the war, transiting the Panama Canal on 10 June, four days following the end of the Battle of Midway in the Central Pacific. She steamed to the port of San Pedro, California, and then to San Francisco before proceeding to Pearl Harbor. According to sailors there, North Carolina was "the most beautiful thing they had ever seen", and her arrival in Hawaii greatly increased the morale of the Pacific Fleet. The North Carolina departed from Pearl Harbor on 15 July with the task force of the aircraft carrier Enterprise, the heavy cruiser Portland, the light cruiser Atlanta, and eight screening destroyers. This task force was headed for combat in the South Pacific Ocean.

The North Carolina joined the long island-hopping campaign against the Japanese by assisting in the landing of U.S. Marines on the islands of Guadalcanal and Tulagi on 7 August 1942, thus beginning the long campaign for Guadalcanal. She was the only battleship in the naval force in the South Pacific, escorting the aircraft carriers Saratoga, Enterprise, and Wasp, surrounded by their cruisers and destroyers. After helping to screen the Enterprise in the air support force for the amphibious landing, the North Carolina guarded the aircraft carrier during her mission of protecting the supply and communication lines to the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal. Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers were spotted on 24 August, and that battle was called the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

The Americans struck first, sinking the carrier Ryūjō. The Japanese counterattack came in the form of dive bombers and torpedo bombers, covered by fighters, striking at the Enterprise and the North Carolina. In an action eight-minutes long, the North Carolina shot down seven to 14 enemy aircraft, with her antiaircraft gunners remaining at their posts despite the jarring detonations of seven near misses. One sailor was killed by strafing, but the North Carolina was undamaged. Her sheer volume of antiaircraft fire was so heavy to cause the officers of the Enterprise to ask, "Are you afire?"

The North Carolina fired 841 rounds of 5-inch (127 mm) (38 caliber) shells, 1037 rounds of 1.1-inch ammunition, 7425 rounds of 20-mm shells, and 8641 rounds of .50 caliber machine gun bullets during the attack. The gunners of her 5-inch antiaircraft guns ". estimated that the rate of fire exceeded 17 rounds per minute on all guns. ", but they reported that vibrations hampered their optical range-finding and that the Mark 4 FD radar had difficulty acquiring targets. The protection North Carolina could offer Enterprise was limited as the speedier carrier plunged ahead of her. Enterprise took three direct hits while her aircraft severely damaged seaplane carrier Chitose and hit other Japanese ships. Since the Japanese lost about 100 aircraft in this action, the U.S. Navy won control of the air and averted a threatened Japanese reinforcement of Guadalcanal.

North Carolina now gave her strength to protect the Saratoga. Twice during the following weeks of support to Marines ashore on Guadalcanal, North Carolina was attacked by Japanese submarines. On 6 September, she maneuvered successfully, dodging a torpedo that passed 300 yd (270 m) off the port beam. Nine days later, on 15 September, sailing with the Wasp and the Hornet, the North Carolina suffered a torpedo hit on her port side just forward of her number 1 gun turret, 20 ft (6m) below her waterline making a hole 32 ft by 18 ft, and killing five of her men. This torpedo originated from I-19, and other torpedoes in the same salvo sank Wasp and the destroyer O'Brien. Skillful damage control by the crew of North Carolina and the excellence of her construction prevented disaster a 5.6° list was righted in as many minutes, and she maintained her station in a formation at 26 kn (30 mph 48 km/h).

After temporary repairs in New Caledonia, the ship proceeded to Pearl Harbor to be dry docked for a month for repairs to her hull and to receive more antiaircraft armament. Following repairs, she returned to action, screening Enterprise and Saratoga and covering supply and troop movements in the Solomons for much of the next year. She was at Pearl Harbor in March and April 1943 to receive advanced fire control and radar gear, and again in September, to prepare for the Gilbert Islands operation.

With Enterprise, in the Northern Covering Group, North Carolina sortied from Pearl Harbor on 10 November for the assault on Makin, Tarawa, and Abemama. Air strikes began on 19 November, and for ten days mighty air blows were struck to aid marines ashore engaged in some of the bloodiest fighting of the Pacific War. Supporting the Gilberts campaign and preparing the assault on the Marshalls, North Carolina's highly accurate big guns bombarded Nauru on 8 December, destroying air facilities, beach defense revetments, and radio installations. Later that month, she protected Bunker Hill in strikes against shipping and airfields at Kavieng, New Ireland and in January 1944 joined the Task Force 58 (TF 58), Rear Admiral Marc Mitscher in command, at Funafuti, Ellice Islands.

During the assault and capture of the Marshall Islands, North Carolina illustrated the classic battleship functions of World War II. She screened carriers from air attack in pre-invasion strikes as well as during close air support of troops ashore, beginning with the initial strikes on Kwajalein on 29 January. She fired on targets at Namur and Roi, where she sank a cargo ship in the lagoon.

The battlewagon then protected carriers in the massive air strike on Truk, the Japanese fleet base in the Carolines, where 39 large ships were left sunk, burning, or uselessly beached, and 211 planes were destroyed, another 104 severely damaged. Next she fought off an air attack against the flattops near the Marianas 21 February splashing an enemy plane, and the next day again guarded the carriers in air strikes on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam.

During much of this period, she was flagship for Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Willis A. Lee, Jr., Commander Battleships Pacific.

With Majuro as her base, North Carolina joined in the attacks on Palau and Woleai on 31 March – 1 April, shooting down another enemy plane during the approach phase. On Woleai, 150 enemy aircraft were destroyed along with ground installations. Support for the capture of the Hollandia (currently known as Jayapura) area of New Guinea followed (13–24 April) then another major raid on Truk (29–30 April), during which North Carolina splashed yet another enemy aircraft. At Truk, North Carolina's planes were catapulted to rescue an American aviator downed off the reef. After one plane had turned over on landing and the other, having rescued all the airmen, had been unable to take off with so much weight, Tang saved all involved. The next day, North Carolina destroyed coastal defense guns, antiaircraft batteries, and airfields at Ponape. The battleship then sailed to repair her rudder at Pearl Harbor.

Returning to Majuro, North Carolina sortied with the Enterprise's carrier group on 6 June (D-Day in Europe) for the Marianas. During the assault on Saipan, North Carolina not only gave her usual protection to the carriers, but starred in bombardments on the west coast of Saipan covering minesweeping operations, and blasted the harbor at Tanapag, sinking several small craft and destroying enemy ammunition, fuel, and supply dumps. At dusk on invasion day, 15 June, the battleship downed one of the only two Japanese aircraft able to penetrate the combat air patrol.

On 18 June, North Carolina cleared the islands with the carriers to confront the Japanese 1st Mobile Fleet, tracked by submarines and aircraft for the previous four days. Next day began the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and she took station in the battle line that fanned out from the carriers. American aircraft succeeded in downing most of the Japanese raiders before they reached the American ships, and North Carolina shot down two of the few which got through.

On that day and the next, American air and submarine attacks, with the fierce antiaircraft fire of such ships as North Carolina, virtually ended any future threat from Japanese naval aviation: three carriers were sunk, two tankers damaged so badly they were scuttled, and all but 36 of the 430 planes with which the Japanese had begun the battle were destroyed. The loss of trained aviators was irreparable, as was the loss of skilled aviation maintenance men in the carriers. Not one American ship was lost, and only a handful of American planes failed to return to their carriers.

After supporting air operations in the Marianas for another two weeks, North Carolina sailed for overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard. She rejoined the carriers off Ulithi on 7 November as a furious typhoon, Typhoon Cobra, struck the group. The ships fought through the storm and carried out air strikes against western Leyte, Luzon, and the Visayas to support the struggle for Leyte. During similar strikes later in the month, North Carolina fought off her first kamikaze attack.

As the pace of operations in the Philippines intensified, North Carolina guarded carriers while their planes kept the Japanese aircraft on Luzon airfields from interfering with the invasion convoys which assaulted Mindoro on 15 December. Three days later the task force again sailed through a violent typhoon, which capsized several destroyers. With Ulithi now her base, North Carolina screened wide-ranging carrier strikes on Formosa, the coast of Indo-China and China, and the Ryūkyūs in January, and similarly supported strikes on Honshū the next month. Hundreds of enemy aircraft were destroyed which might otherwise have resisted the assault on Iwo Jima, where North Carolina bombarded and provided call fire for the assaulting Marines through 22 February.

Strikes on targets in the Japanese home islands laid the ground-work for the Okinawa assault, in which North Carolina played her dual role, of bombardment and carrier screening. Here, on 6 April, she downed three kamikazes, but took a 5 in (130 mm) hit from a friendly ship during the melee of anti-aircraft fire. Three men were killed and 44 wounded. Next day came the last desperate sortie of the Japanese Fleet, as Yamato, the largest battleship in the world, came south with her attendants. Yamato, as well as a cruiser and a destroyer, were sunk, three other destroyers were damaged so badly that they were scuttled, and the remaining four destroyers returned to their fleet base at Sasebo badly damaged. On the same day, North Carolina splashed an enemy plane, and she shot down two more on 17 April.

After overhaul at Pearl Harbor, North Carolina rejoined the carriers for a month of air strikes and naval bombardment on the Japanese home islands. Along with guarding the carriers, North Carolina fired on major industrial plants near Tokyo, and her scout plane pilots performed a daring rescue of a downed carrier pilot under heavy fire in Tokyo Bay.

North Carolina sent both sailors and members of her Marine Detachment ashore for preliminary occupation duty in Japan immediately at the close of the war, and patrolled off the coast until anchoring in Tokyo Bay on 5 September to re-embark her men. Carrying passengers from Okinawa, North Carolina sailed for home, reaching the Panama Canal on 8 October. She anchored at Boston 17 October, and after overhaul at New York exercised in New England waters and carried United States Naval Academy midshipmen for a summer training cruise in the Caribbean.

Decommissioning and battleship memorial

After inactivation, she was decommissioned at New York on 27 June 1947. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 June 1960, the North Carolina was transferred to the state of North Carolina on 6 September 1961. She was purchased from the U.S. Navy for $330,000 raised by the efforts of North Carolina school children who saved their spare change and lunch money for the "Save Our Ship" campaign. In 1961, a fleet of tugboats was used to maneuver the 728 ft (222 m) ship through an area of the river 500 ft (150 m) wide. During this move the ship struck the restaurant "Fergus' Ark", near Princess Street. "Fergus' Ark" was formerly a U.S. Army troopship. The river-based restaurant was damaged severely and ceased operation. On 29 April 1962, she was dedicated at Wilmington, North Carolina as a memorial to North Carolinians of all services killed in World War II.

This battleship was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

Visitors to the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial can tour the main deck of the ship, many interior compartments, and some of the gun turrets. Self-guide tours normally require two hours. One may easily see the city of Wilmington from the deck. There is an admission charge. Visitors may also view one of the nine surviving OS2U Kingfisher aircraft in the world, located on the stern of the ship. This particular aircraft was salvaged from a British Columbia, Canada mountainside in 1964 and donated by Lynn Garrison. It was restored by Vought Aeronautics retirees in Grand Prairie, Texas. Various events are held at the memorial including the annual Fourth of July fireworks display from the adjacent battleship park and spaces may be rented for special events. A Roll of Honor in the Wardroom lists the names of North Carolinians who gave their lives in service in all the branches of the military during World War II. The site is accessible by car or a short water taxi ride originating from downtown Wilmington and also features a gift shop, visitors center and picnic area.

The memorial is administered by North Carolina Battleship Commission which was established by statutes of the State of North Carolina in 1960. The memorial relies upon its own revenues as well as donations and does not receive any tax revenues.

In 1999, a reunion was held on the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial. While standing on the signal bridge, the site of the friendly fire strike during the Okinawa assault of 6 April, former PFC Marine Gunner Richard R. Fox recalled the incident, describing to his daughters and granddaughters how he helped carry a severely injured sailor down to the sickbay. Fox had never been able to find out whether the other man had survived. During his story, Fox was approached by the fellow North Carolina veteran Richard W. Reed, who had overheard the story and interrupted it to identify himself as the injured sailor and offer his thanks. Neither man had known the other's identity for over a half-century.

North Carolina was featured in a season two episode of Ghost Hunters in which the TAPS team investigated claims of paranormal activity.

Recent projects undertaken to maintain the battleship include the replacement of the teak deck. Following a visit by officials from Myanmar, she received the most generous donation in her history: the gift of two tractor-trailer loads of the highest quality teak decking in the world, valued at approximately one quarter million dollars, and a very substantial discount on another eight tractor-trailer loads of the precious wood, valued at another quarter million dollars, to permit the entire re-decking of the ship's more than 1-acre (4,000 m2) of deck.

Several near-term restoration projects are planned which will not require closure of the memorial. The next major restoration project for North Carolina is a refit of her hull. Initially it was announced that this work would require the battleship to be towed to Norfolk or Charleston. However, on 31 May 2010, the Battleship Commission opted instead to have the repair work done in place, using the same cofferdam process recently used to repair the museum ship USS Alabama (BB-60). This approach is expected to save $16 million as well as keep the battleship open to the public during the repair process.


Official Emblem of Future USS MONTANA Infused with History and Culture (posted 1/25/19)

The official emblem of the USS MONTANA is a powerful reflection of the history, culture, and values that all who sail aboard this modern warship carry to any part of the world in defense of our nation.

The emblem has, as an over-arching visual concept, the outline of the Treasure State below a majestic Glacier National Park scene that is representative of uncountable such vistas that have been revered by the earliest Native Americans to more
recent settlers and today’s visitors.

At the top of the emblem is a solitary gold star within the USS MONTANA’s hull number, SSN 794. The single star, in Navy tradition, is for the only other Montana namesake warship that was part of the nation’s fleet. That was the armored cruiser
USS MONTANA (AC 13) commissioned in 1908. She served with distinction through and beyond World War I.

Flanking the mountain vista below the star is a fascinating two-dolphin representation of Navy and submariner connection to the State of Montana’s motto, Oro y Plata.
The motto, translated from Spanish, means Gold and Silver – two of the most important minerals in Montana’s early history. The motto was adopted by a legislative committee during territorial days before Montana became a state in 1889. Today,
gold and silver dolphins are worn by qualified submariners (gold by officers, silver by enlisted sailors). The gold and silver theme is carried through the entire emblem.

On the right side of the Montana state outline is one of the more moving emblem symbols chosen by MONTANA’s crew. It is two eagle feathers representing the values, culture, and courage of Native American warriors and their tribes throughout Montana as they have defended their land and way of life throughout history – and as they have fought for the United States of America in every modern conflict. The feathers have leather thongs whose colors and designs represent the flags of the United States and Montana. Our Montana tribes honor their veterans continually, and this part of the emblem was inspired by an extraordinary Tribal veterans memorial in Montana.

Within the emblem’s state border is a representation of SSN 794. She and her crew are escorted by a bow wave image of the fearless grizzly bear, the state’s official animal that is still common in Montana today. From earliest times the grizzly
has commanded utmost respect, as will the USS MONTANA.

The powerful portrayal of the USS MONTANA conveys a sense that she is ready to dive to an operating depth where she will remain silently on guard, “on scene, unseen”.

At the bottom of the emblem is 3-7-77. This symbol is associated with Montana’s early citizen Vigilantes who sought in the late 1800s to bring frontier justice to parts of the Montana Territory. Disagreement remains about the exact origin of the numbers (whether grave dimensions, time allowed to catch a train or stagecoach to somewhere far away, or something else…), but their warning was clear. If 3-7-77 showed up on a suspected outlaw’s property, he knew that bad things were about to happen, and he might want to high-tail it out of town. Even today the symbol can be seen on the Montana Highway Patrol car that pulls over the speeding motorist, and on emblems worn by some Montana National Guard members. The USS MONTANA crew has chosen to be called the Vigilantes of the Deep and will always carry this calling card to dangerous places in the world as they do their part to ensure maintenance of peace through strength.

Finally, the Latin inscription within the emblem’s Montana border is the wish – and fervent prayer – of Montana’s citizens for their namesake warship:
May it defend our way of life.

Copyright © 2019 by the USS Montana Committee, supporting the commissioning and crew of SSN 794.


Montana’s Home Front During World War II, 2nd ed.

ebook versions available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

This compelling account of Montana during World War II covers personal stories, local politics, industry, agriculture, education, sports, and social life during the upheaval of a world-wide conflict. This is the tale of ordinary citizens who came together to support their sons and daughters overseas, and the tens of thousands of residents who left the Treasure State to serve their country in the military and defense plants. Those who remained planted Victory Gardens, purchased record amounts of war bonds, and endured the hardships brought about by war-time shortages and rationing. This highly readable account is the most comprehensive look at Montana during the early 1940s, and the tremendous sacrifices made by ordinary people to support their country in time of war. Originally published in 1994, this revised edition of the classic Montana’s Home Front During World War II includes many rare and previously unpublished photographs.

What others think

“a wealth of new information
and many never-before-seen photographs of
Montana during the 1940s. The result is a very
comprehensive, fascinating account of how the
state’s population coped with the tragedy of a worldwide military conflict.” – Judith Shafter – State of the Arts

“you’ve got to see it for yourself but any history or travel enthusiast will be very pleased with the wealth of information in this book.” – Greg Wortman, Billings Examiner

“excellent for the wealth of Montana history contained within. A fascinating snapshot of civilian life during the war” – ebay member burnafterreading

Features:

The training of the First Special Service Force “Devil’s Brigade” at Fort Harrison.

The construction of Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Great Falls based Lend-Lease operation to aid the Soviet Union.

The experience of hundreds of Italian and Japanese civilians who languished behind barbed wire at the Fort Missoula Detention Center.

The hellish fighting encountered in the jungles of New Guinea and the Philippines by the 163rd Infantry Regiment (Montana National Guard).

The terrors of night combat as the crew of the USS Helena battled Japanese ships in the treacherous waters near Guadalcanal.

Was Senator B.K. Wheeler duped into revealing America’s top-secret war plan, the Victory Program, just days before Pearl Harbor? Did the Soviets run a nationwide spy ring from an Air Force Base in Montana? The answers to these and many other questions are answered in Montana’s Homefront During World War II 2nd Ed. Gary Glynn examines in detail the impact of the Second World War on Montana politics, industry, agriculture, education, sports, and crime.

Train with the Canadian-American commandos of the First Special Service Force “the Devil’s Brigade” as they become a superb fighting unit at Fort Harrison. Languish behind barbed wire at the Fort Missoula Detention Center with hundreds of Italian and Japanese civilians. Pick sugar beets alongside German prisoners of war and American college students from Sidney to Stevensville.

Fight alongside the men of the 163rd Infantry Regiment (Montana National Guard) in the hellish jungles of New Guinea and the Philippines, at Sanananda, Aitape, Wakde, Jolo and Zamboanga. Experience the terrors of night combat as the crew of the USS Helena battle Japanese ships in the treacherous waters off Cape Esperance and Guadalcanal. Cheer as the 5th Marines raise the USS Missoula’s flag over Iwo Jima.

Far from the famous World War II battlefields of European theater and the Pacific, many ordinary Montanans made tremendous sacrifices to support the war effort. Tens of thousands of residents left the Treasure State to serve their country or work in defense plants. Those who remained purchased record numbers of war bonds, planted Victory Gardens, and endured the hardships brought about by war-time shortages and rationing. Montana’s Home Front During World War II, 2nd ed. is available in print and ebook formats.

This book was written with the assistance of a Dave Walters Fellowship from the Research Center of the Montana Historical Society.