USS ALABAMA (BB-60)
USS Alabama is one of four battleships of the South Dakota Class built during World War II. Her keel was laid by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on February 1, 1940. She was launched on February 16, 1942 and commissioned on August 16, 1942. Her first commanding officer was Captain George B. Wilson.
After commissioning, Alabama spent several weeks in the Chesapeake Bay, where she did her shakedown cruise. She then proceeded, in the company of her sister USS South Dakota (BB-57), to assist the British Fleet in the North Atlantic, providing convoy escort.
In August of 1943 Alabama and South Dakota returned to Norfolk for overhaul, and then proceeded to the Pacific Theater of Operations. In the Pacific, Alabama served in many roles. She sailed with the carriers as an anti-aircraft escort, shooting down 22 kamikaze attackers. Her 16-inch guns provided shore bombardment in places such as the Marshall Islands, Saipan, and the Japanese homeland, near Tokyo.
When the war ended, Alabama participated in the occupation of Japan. On September 20, 1945 she departed Japanese waters as part of Operation Magic Carpet, carrying several hundred servicemen who were returning to the United States. In February of 1946 preparations began at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for her inactivation. On January 9, 1947 she was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Bremerton, Washington.
In 1962 Alabama was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. The State of Alabama expressed interest in her as a memorial, and raised the funds necessary to bring her to Mobile. In September of 1964 she was towed from Bremerton to Mobile, and placed in the berth she rests in today. She was opened to the public on January 9, 1965.
Though at a permanent mooring in Mobile, Alabama continued to serve. In the 80's the decision was made to return the Iowa Class battleships to service. Much of the equipment on the Iowa's needed replacement parts which were no longer available. The Navy removed several items from Alabama, as well as USS Massachusetts (BB-59), and USS North Carolina (BB-55), two other memorial battleships. These items enabled the Iowa Class ships to continue to serve into the early 90's, almost 50 years after they were constructed.
Alabama has also played a part in a feature film. In the early 90's the film "Under Siege", starring Steven Segal, was set aboard USS Missouri (BB-63). Though underway shots were of Missouri, all interior sequences were filmed aboard Alabama.
An excellent operational history of USS Alabama is available online, by clicking here. It chronicles her wartime service extensively.
Facts about USS Alabama:
Length: 680 ft
Draft: 33 ft
Displacement: 35,000 tons standard, 42,000 tons full load
Crew: 2500 officers and enlisted
Powerplant: 8 oil fired boilers, providing steam for four turbines
Total horsepower: 130,000
Propellors: two 4-bladed, two 5-bladed
Max speed: 28 knots
Armor: 18in on turrets, 16in on conning tower(right), 12in on hull
- 9 16-inch guns in three triple turrets
- 20 5-inch guns in ten twin mounts
- 48 40mm guns in twelve quad mounts
- 52 20mm machine guns