Built at the Newport News Navy Yard in Virginia and commissioned in 1916, the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) was the lead ship of her Class of United States Navy "super dreadnought" battleships. During WWII, she participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific, from Alaska to Okinawa.  During WWII, she earned 8 battle stars and the US Navy Commendation Award for service.

After WWII, the "Pennsy" was used in two atomic bomb tests in July 1946. The ship was decommissioned in August 1946, but was kept at Kwajalein Lagoon for tests until February 1948. The Pennsy was found to have too much radiation and was not sea worthy. She was towed out to sea and sunk.

Two of the BB-38 guns, gun 22 (L3) and gun 28 (L2) were left on the ship during an overhaul in 1942 but were replaced in 1945. The guns were relined and sent to the gun barrel storage yard in Dahlgren, VA, where they remained for the past 50 years. They were "rediscovered" during a recent inventory, and the Museum acquired them for display in 2009.    

Details:

  • Builder: Newport News Navy Yard
  • Keel Laid:  October 27, 1913
  • Launched:  March 16, 1915
  • Commissioned:  June 12, 1916
  • Decommissioned:  August 29, 1946
  • Length:  608 feet
  • Beam:  97.1 feet
  • Max Draft:  28 feet 10 inches
  • Displacement:  34,000 tons
  • Max Speed:  20 knots
  • Crew:   1750 to 2000

Wartime Armament:

  • 12 - 14 inch/45 caliber guns
  • 16 - 5 inch/38 caliber guns
  • 40 - 40 mm/56 caliber guns
  • 52 - 20 mm/70 caliber guns
  • 8 - 50 caliber guns - PODS

Bringing the Guns to the Military Museum