‘Too Tough To Die’ Shipwreck Discovered In Pacific
Even as world wars go, the U.S.S. Nevada was a resilient ship: It was the only battleship to get underway during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, surviving bombs and torpedoes before the burning vessel was beached and later repaired. It trained its guns on German positions at Normandy on D-Day, and went…
Even as world wars go, the U.S.S. Nevada was a resilient ship: It was the only battleship to get underway during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, surviving bombs and torpedoes before the burning vessel was beached and later repaired. It trained its guns on German positions at Normandy on D-Day, and went on to support the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima. At the end of the war, U.S.S. Nevada was selected as the central target for the first nuclear test at Bikini Atoll, where it survived a 23-kiloton aerial detonation (the bomb missed), as well as a second underwater detonation. Finally, on July 31, 1948, following a four-day naval gunfire exercise, the toughest ship of the Second World War was deliberately sunk in the Pacific by the U.S. Navy.
Now, thanks to archival research and underwater survey of more than 100 square miles of seafloor, the remains of the Nevada have been located 65 nautical miles southwest of Pearl Harbor. The announcement was made today in a press release. The discovery is the result of collaboration between the cultural resources management firm SEARCH Inc. and the marine robotics company Ocean Infinity.
The remains of the Nevada are located at a depth of more than 15,400 feet—nearly three miles—beneath the Pacific Ocean. An initial survey of wreckage indicates that the battleship came to rest upside down on a muddy plain, with a debris field that stretches some 2,000 feet from the hull. The bow and stern of the vessel are missing.
“It’s really a great thing that they found it,” says Richard Ramsey, who served as a boatswain’s mate on the Nevada from Normandy through Okinawa and Iwo Jima.
The coronavirus-era mission began with a casual call last month between SEARCH, which has a large marine archaeology division, and Ocean Infinity, which had a vessel bristling with maritime survey equipment that just happened to be in the area where the Nevada was known to have sunk.
“It struck me, if there was one ship to find that particularly now could speak to something about human nature and particularly Americans, it would be Nevada—stubborn, resilient,” says James Delgado, SEARCH’s senior vice president and lead maritime archaeologist on the mission.