U.S.S. Wisconsin, Norfolk.
The USS Wisconsin, now owned by the City of Norfolk and operated as a museum vessel by Nauticus, the
National Maritime Center, is an Iowa-class battleship, the largest class of battleships the United
States ever built.
The 887-foot vessel was launched on December 7, 1943—the second anniversary of Pearl Harbor—and commissioned
in April 1944. Armed with massive 16-inch, 50-caliber three-gun turrets, the ship could travel at a maximum
speed of 33 knots. Because of their fast speed and large numbers of anti-air batteries, the
escorted and screened aircraft carriers from Japanese air strikes during World War II.
The Wisconsin also saw service in the Korean War and the
Persian Gulf War. By the end of the Gulf War, however, naval
planners determined that the expense of maintaining Iowa-class vessels outweighed their benefits, and decommissioned
the Wisconsin in 1991. Although they underwent extensive alterations during the 1980s, all four of the
vessels remain as a testimony to American naval engineering prowess in the first half of the 20th century.
As an Iowa-class ship, the Wisconsin is one of the last four battleships built by the U.S. Navy, which laid
down the ship’s keel at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in January 1941.