USS Nevada sailors visit Carson
Special to the Nevada Appeal
On Friday, Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki welcomed the surviving sailors of the USS Nevada, BB36 fulfilling a promise made 66 years ago by then-Gov. Edward Carville near the end of World War II.
Carville promised each officer and crewman who had served on the Nevada a silver dollar, a handshake and a cigar. They got their silver dollars in 1944. And at the USS Nevada Memorial located on the Veterans Memorial Plaza at the state Capital, Krolicki met each sailor, shook his hand and presented him with a cigar.
Master of ceremonies for the program was Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell, who also is a retired Navy captain. Crowell read a proclamation honoring the sacrifices these men made in World War II.
Presentation of the Colors was performed by the honor guard from American Legion High Desert Post 56. The invocation and benediction was given by Lt. Cmdr. Robert N. Burns, chaplain at the Naval Air Station, Fallon. Caleb Cage, executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, read a poem written for the Nevada in 1914. Krolicki also read a state proclamation to honor these men and offered a few words.
The program was supported and organized by American Legion Capitol Post 4 of Carson City under the leadership of Tod Jennings and John Warden. The cigars were provided at no cost by The Carson Cigar Company.
The Nevada was launched on July 11, 1914, and was commissioned on March 11, 1916.
On Dec. 7, 1941, the Nevada had been in service more than 25 years and was one of nine battleships in the fleet at that time. The Nevada was aft of the Arizona that morning, moored off Ford Island. Being able to maneuver, the Nevada got under way and took a torpedo almost immediately. Being one of the few ships to get under way, the Nevada became a prime target for the Japanese war planes. Taking at least a minimum of six bomb hits, there was concern that she would sink and block the channel out of Pearl Harbor.
She was ordered grounded on the west side of Ford Island at 10:30 a.m. at a place known as Hospital Point. She was responsible for the downing of at least seven aircraft. Today that place is marked by a memorial that is an exact duplicate of the one located at the Veterans Memorial Plaza. Inscribed on both memorial plaques are the names of the sailors who lost their lives that day.
The Nevada was refloated, repaired and immediately sailed to Alaska where she supported troops who were retaking Attu, one of the Aleutian Islands, from the Japanese.
During the Normandy invasion, the Nevada supported forces ashore at Utah Beach from June 6-17, 1944. The range of her guns was 17 miles and the crew was later praised for her incredibly accurate fire in support of troops, as some of the targets she hit were just 600 yards from the front lines of the Allies. She was “shot on” 27 times from shore batteries but was never hit.
The Nevada was the only battleship present at both Pearl Harbor and the Normandy landings. She supported allied troops landing in the Mediterranean before heading to the Pacific. Fitted with some new guns salvaged from the Arizona, she avenged her sister ship with the bombardment of Iwo Jima on Feb. 16, 1945 and Okinawa on March 24, 1945. In the battle for Okinawa she was hit by a Kamikaze which resulted in the loss of 10 sailors.
The Nevada was decommissioned Aug. 29, 1946. She represented her namesake very well and lived up to our state motto “All for Our Country.” The Nevada was honored with seven battle stars and was the most decorated ship during World War II.