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States Of The Union

While I was at the World War II Memorial, an idea struck me for a photo collage. One that would have a certain meaning to it. So I took photos of selected states' names engraved on their pillars, and arranged them in a very specific order:


My photos of Massachusetts and New York didn't come out, for some reason (I blame the photographer), so I had to scrounge up some images from online.

Anyone care to hazard a guess on why I honored these states, in this sequence? And yes, I know that New Hampshire did not make the cut.

Update: the intended answer was that all those states were honored with battleships named after them, and those battleships served -- in one way or another -- during World War II. Utah was a target ship and Wyoming a gunnery training ship, but they had been battleships of the line before the war.


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Comments (26)

Ships?... (Below threshold)


Alphabetical, a la Jacques ... (Below threshold)

Alphabetical, a la Jacques Derrida?

Pearl Harbor?... (Below threshold)

Pearl Harbor?

Active duty ships during WW... (Below threshold)

Active duty ships during WWII?

I'm going with Battleships ... (Below threshold)
Just Passing Through:

I'm going with Battleships in oder of commission.

Voting rights for women.</p... (Below threshold)
curtis kreutzberg:

Voting rights for women.

WWII Battleships, BB-31 thr... (Below threshold)

WWII Battleships, BB-31 through BB-64

#5 has it spotted. You can... (Below threshold)

#5 has it spotted. You can't look at the last column of names and not spot it if you are a WWII naval history afficionado.

And I take special note of the name of the one mighty ship in that last column that achieved something that no other ship in the whole list ever did. Can anyone guess what it was?

Hint: despite it being such a rarity among those on this list, it is definitely a "core competency" for a battleship!

P.S. BB49-BB54 either never... (Below threshold)

P.S. BB49-BB54 either never built, finished or commissioned due to Washington Treaty for the Limitations of Naval Armaments.

Responding to Jay - I'm sur... (Below threshold)

Responding to Jay - I'm sure it ought to be the Missouri, but at the moment, I cannot figure out why... Perhaps because it's only barely 8am out here in Hawaii (hey, I'm on vacation!) and I haven't had my coffee yet... Ah, well, it's across I'll have to bear! ;-)

This has to be the craziest... (Below threshold)

This has to be the craziest, most life-changing most fun vacation ever. What could possibly top this? A Potomac River dance cruise? A tour of the Library of Congress?

@#8:USS Washington... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:


USS Washington. Sank IJN Kirishima in a 1-on-1 duel at the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

Captain Ned is the winner! ... (Below threshold)

Captain Ned is the winner! The USS Washington was the ONLY US battleship in modern history to sink another battleship in combat! Although the Kirishima escaped the engagement still afloat, it was so badly mauled by the Washington's deadly accurate battery it capsized and sank a few hours later.

Former crew of the USS South Dakota might dispute the "one on one", but from my study of the engagement, I don't think they have a leg to stand on, since they seem to have contributed nothing except requiring the Washington to break off pursuing the Kirishima to come back and see if they needed rescue after the ass-kicking they took! And while there were multiple heavy and light ships on both sides, the main event was between Washington and Kirishima.

So what was Washington's reward? To be scrapped and forgotten among the plaudits heaped on ships that never did the one thing above all others that they were designed to do... sink other battleships!

Which reminds me, Jay Tea.<... (Below threshold)

Which reminds me, Jay Tea.
I was thinking of something I have heard from many people and read in many books. This is the often repeated line that "American Admirals did not take air attack seriously" or something like that, until after Pearl Harbor. On the other hand, American battleships had massive dual purpose secondaries designed into their hulls, not added later after Pearl Harbor. The North Carolina's keel was laid down in 1937 which means she was designed much earlier. Did she have traditional casement based secondaries in her original design? If yes, then when was the design changed and why? And if the ships were designed with massive dual purpose secondaries in 1935 or so why are the historians so hard on the American Admiirals, when so many other nations, like Japan and Germany didn't outfit their warships with adequate anti-aircraft guns until much later.

Also, go easy on the USS So... (Below threshold)

Also, go easy on the USS South Dakota and her crew. Our Navy fights and wins as a unit. The Avenger torpedo pilots at Midway get as much credit for the victory as the Dauntless pilots who dropped the bombs that sank the Japanese flatops. After all, the Japanese Zeros were down on the deck shooting down torpedo plans when the dive bombers where flying in to drop their bombs unmolested. For that matter, the cooks on the Enterprise, Yorktown and Saratoga did their part, too.

I don't think that the sink... (Below threshold)

I don't think that the sinking of the Kirishima by the USS Washington was the only US battleship to sink another battleship during World War II. There was also the Battle of the Surigao Strait during the Battle of Leyte Gulf when US battleships sunk a Japanese battleship and a non-US action when the Royal Navy sunk the French battleship Bretagne at the battle of Mers-el-Kebir.

Also, the Utah used to be BB-31, but at the time of Pearl Harbor, it had been redesignated AG-16, or mobile bombing target and was covered with wood. Because of this, the Japanese thought it was the Saratoga or some other aircraft carrier and was very quickly torpedoed and rolled over, thereby winning the distinction of being the first ship sunk at Pearl Harbor. It is also the only ship named for the Great State of Utah.

@14:The BB-49 clas... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:


The BB-49 class was the last class to carry casemated secondaries as-built. Two of the three design schemes for the class ditched the casemates for twin mounted 6"/53s.



While Midway was the combat debut for the Avenger, the planes that sucked the Zeros down to the deck were the Douglas TBD Devastators of Torpedo 3, 6, & 8. Of the 41 launched only 4 came home, all from CV-6 Enterprise.

Thanks, Very cool link, Cap... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Very cool link, Captain Ned. Maybe the answer lies in that website.

Yeah, Devastators. Unfortunately, I had an image in my mind from a film which featured Avengers in that role.

Hey, I was just there a few... (Below threshold)

Hey, I was just there a few weeks back as well. I've got a few of the pics of my trip up here.

The States of New Hampshire... (Below threshold)
stan25 Author Profile Page:

The States of New Hampshire and Montana have never had a battleship named for them. All of the states that JT has in his collage have had battleships named for them. The most famous of this ships is the Arizona, which still lies in the mud at Pearl Harbor. Left there after the sneak attack on December 7, 1941; as a reminder of what happens when a nation is woefully unprepared.

Aside to Sherlock. The one ... (Below threshold)

Aside to Sherlock. The one WW2 ship that should have bee saved as a monument but was trned into razor blades was the Enterprise.

@18:Don't forget, ... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:


Don't forget, the BB-49 class was designed in 1916 while the BB-55 class was designed in the mid-30s. While the Gun Club still thought they would rule the waves there were enough planes buzzing off of carriers to make it prudent to have heavy AA on battleships. The 5"/38 just happened to be an outstanding dual-purpose gun.

What seems to be the issue in between-war Naval AA is the belief that a bunch of flak airbursts would be enough to deter pilots on bomb/torpedo runs. It wasn't until we started fighting that we figured out that we actually had to shoot them down to stop them, which is when the Bofors 40mm mounts began sprouting off of any platform that could hold them until the proximity-fused 5"/38 came on line in early 1943.


Hey Daniel, I can't see you... (Below threshold)

Hey Daniel, I can't see your pics. I was in that area not too long ago myself. What you say about the weather, huh?

Waldo, re Enterprise, you w... (Below threshold)

Waldo, re Enterprise, you won't get any argument from me on that.

Re Battle of the Surigao Strait: as I understand it IJN Fuso was sunk by torpedos before the long range guns of the US "battle-line" became engaged. IJN Yamashiro was apparently sunk by gunfire and torpedoes from multiple US ships, including destroyers, cruisers, and several battleships than managed to acquire targets. Hers was basically a suicide mission against overwhelming odds.

The uniqueness of the USS Washington was that she and the Kirishima were squared off one-on-one to the greatest extent that is really possible in the modern era of fleet operations. Washington's gunnery was brilliant, and she completely lived up to her reputation as a "crack" unit. And as they say here on the intertubes, the USS South Dakota (an identical ship)... um, "not so much".

In fairness to both SoDak and Kirishima:
1. SoDak got hit first and had poor damage control, which resulted in catastrophic electrical systems failures that did not allow her to effectively reply. After that she became a "fire magnet" and was severely damaged. Washington was hardly scratched, and was definitely on the "giving" end of the deal for the whole engagement.
2. Kirishima was much older than Washington, somewhat akin to the situation between HMS Hood and DKM Bismarck. Washington (and SoDak) mounted 9 X 16-inch guns, while Kirishima had 8 X 14-inchers.

Actually there was a battle... (Below threshold)

Actually there was a battleship named New Hampshire. BB-25


SD and Washington were not ... (Below threshold)

SD and Washington were not identical. Washington was the second North Carolina class ship, SD was the lead ship of her class.






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