USS Wisconsin (BB-64), one of the "fast battleship" designs planned in 1938 by US Government, was the third of the four completed ships of the Iowa class of battleships. Her keel was laid down on January 25, 1941, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was launched on December 7, 1943 and commissioned on April 16, 1944. She is numerically the highest numbered US battleship built.
Wisconsin's main battery consisted of nine 16 in (406 mm)/50 cal Mark 7 guns, which could hurl 2,700 lb (1,200 kg) armor-piercing shells some 20 mi (32 km). The secondary battery consisted of 20 5 in (127 mm)/38 cal guns in ten twin turrets, which could fire at targets up to 10 mi (16 km) away. With the advent of air power and the need to gain and maintain air superiority came a need to protect the growing fleet of allied aircraft carriers; to this end, Wisconsin was fitted with an array of Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns to defend allied carriers from enemy airstrikes.
During World War II, she shelled Japanese fortifications at Leyte Gulf, and screened US aircraft carriers as they conducted air raids against enemy positions. She joined Admiral William F. Halsey’s 3rd Fleet when the liberation of the Philippines was underway. The battleship helped neutralize Japanese sea, air and ground forces occupying the islands. Wisconsin was reassigned to the 5th Fleet in February 1945 and supported the landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The Wisconsin shelled a Japanese oil refinery, steel mill and other Japanese industry in June 1945. She transported GIs back to the United States during Operation Magic Carpet at the end of World War II.
During Wisconsin’s brief career in World War II, she had steamed 105,831 miles (170,318 km) since commissioning; had shot down three enemy planes; had claimed assists on four occasions; and had fueled her screening destroyers on some 250 occasions. Wisconsin earned five battle stars for her World War II service. She also received other awards for her World War II service.
+ Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - 5 Battle Stars- World War II:
« Leyte Operation: Luzon Attacks - Dec 1944
« Luzon Operation - Dec 1944 - Jan 1945,
« Iwo Jim Operation - Feb - 1945 - Mar 1945
« Okinawa Gunto Operation - Mar 1945 - June 1945
« Third Fleet Operations Against Japan - Jul 1945 - Aug 1945
+ World War II Victory Medal - WWII 1945.
+ Navy Occupation Service Medal - (Asia) 2-24 Sep 1945.
+ Philippine Presidential Unit Citation -14 Dec 1944 -22 Jan 1945.
+ Philippine Liberation Medal with two Bronze Stars – World War II:
« 14 Dec 1944 - Jan 1945
The ship was decommissioned on July 1st, 1948. The Wisconsin was recommissioned on October 25th, 1951 in order to help with the Korean War, being decommissioned on March 8th, 1958. The battleship was recommissioned again and updated on October 22nd, 1988 for Operation Desert Storm. It was decommissioned for the last time on September 30th 1991 and was moved to Norfolk in May 2000 where it became an exhibit in April of 2001. It now functions as a museum ship, operated by the Hampton Roads Naval Museum at Nauticus, the National Maritime Center in Norfolk, VA.