USS South Dakota (BB-57), 1942-1947
The lead battleship of her class, USS South Dakota (BB-57) was commissioned on March 20, 1942, at Camden, New Jersey. Ordered to the Pacific during World War II, she participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign and in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, where she collided with USS Mahan (DD-364), following being hit by a Japanese bomb that damaged her forward sixteen-inch gun turret. Quickly repaired, South Dakota took part in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal where she was damaged during the night of November 14-15. Relocating to the Atlantic following repairs, South Dakota served from February to August 1943. The battleship then returned to the Pacific and took part in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands invasion, which was followed with participating in the Marianas Campaign and providing gun support in the spring of 1944 for Saipan and Tinian. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea on June 19, she was again damaged. After repairs, South Dakota screened carrier forces in the Western Pacific and provided support for the invasions of Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. In July and August 1945, she joined with other battleships to shell the Japanese home islands and was present for the Formal Surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay, Japan. Decommissioned in January 1947, South Dakota remained inactive until October 1962, when she was sold for scrapping.
Image: NH 73929: USS South Dakota (BB-57), crewmen haul down the National Ensign as the battleship is decommissioned at Philadelphia Naval Base, Pennsylvania, January 31, 1947. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.