Pearl Harbor Raid, 7 December 1941
Salvage Work on USS Nevada, December 1941 - April 1942



First of the Pearl Harbor salvage team's major successes was the refloating of the battleship Nevada, which had suffered severely from a torpedo hit, plus many bomb hits and near misses. She had been deliberately run aground, gradually filled with water and settled to the bottom. Though "sunk" in relatively shallow water, Nevada presented significant challenges to her salvors: her hull had one large and many small holes that needed to be sealed sufficiently to get her into drydock; her interior was full of water and badly fouled with oil and other debris; and she had many compartments burned out. Most significantly, her deficiencies in watertight integrity, which had led to her sinking in the first place, now had to be made good under very difficult circumstances.

Work on Nevada began soon after the attack, and proceeded methodically over the next two months. The effort was not without tragedy. On 7 February 1942, as efforts to refloat the ship were about to bear fruit, two men lost their lives to hydrogen sulphide gas, a product of decay that is odorless in high concentrations and kills without warning. This unanticipated experience led to the imposition of stringent measures to reduce gas risks in the remaining salvage work.

Nevada was refloated on 12 February 1942 and entered Pearl Harbor Navy Yard's new Drydock Number Two on 18 February. Her salvage had involved more than 400 individual dives by Navy and civilian divers, who spent over 1500 hours on their work. Once the battleship was in their hands, the Navy Yard undertook the job of preparing Nevada for the trip to the U.S. west coast. Patching her holes, finishing cleaning, overhauling and repairing machinery and electrical systems and carrying out many other tasks took just over two more months. She came out of drydock on 15 March and was ready to sail on 22 April. After steaming under her own power to Puget Sound Navy Yard, at Bremerton, Washington, USS Nevada underwent permanent repair and modernization work. She rejoined the active fleet in late 1942.

This page features views related to the salvage of USS Nevada following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

For other images related to the salvage of USS Nevada,

For views of USS Nevada during and shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack

For other views of the salvage of ships sunk or severely damaged in the Pearl Harbor raid


Click photograph for larger image.

Photo #: NH 50103

Salvage of USS Nevada (BB-36), 1941-42

Nevada in Pearl Harbor on 16 February 1942, while she was being prepared for drydocking after she was refloated. She entered the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard's Drydock Number Two on 18 February.

Collection of Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection.

Online Image: 79KB; 740 x 605

 
Photo #: NH 50105

Salvage of USS Nevada (BB-36), 1941-42

Nevada in Pearl Harbor on 17 February 1942, while she was being prepared for drydocking after she was refloated. She entered the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard's Drydock Number Two on the following day.

Collection of Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection.

Online Image: 93KB; 740 x 605

 
Photo #: NH 50106

Salvage of USS Nevada (BB-36), 1941-42


The Hawaiian Dredging Company crane barge Gaylord and other ships assist Nevada as she is prepared for drydocking at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 17 February 1942. She entered the drydock on the following day.

Collection of Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection.

Online Image: 79KB; 740 x 605

 
Photo #: NH 83056

USS Nevada (BB-36)


Entering Drydock # Two, at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 18 February 1942. Sunk as a result of damage received in the 7 December 1941 Japanese air raid, she was refloated on 12 February 1942.
Note oil staining along her hull, marking her waterline while she was sunk.

Collection of Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin, USN (Retired).

NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 107KB; 740 x 605

 
Photo #: 80-G-64768

USS Nevada (BB-36)


Departing Pearl Harbor after temporary repair of bomb and torpedo damage received during the Japanese air raid on 7 December 1941.
Photograph is dated 19 April 1942, possibly taken as the ship was leaving Pearl Harbor for a trial run. The Pearl Harbor Navy Yard's work on her was completed on 22 April, after which she steamed to the Puget Sound Navy Yard for permanent repairs and modernization.
Note sailors watching, each carrying a gas mask container.
Photographed by Ph2c H.S. Fawcett, USN.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection.

Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 615

 


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