Title: Plaque, Commander-in-Chief, USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
Accession #: NHHC 1950-19-A
Size: 32.5 x 12.5
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
One brass plaque listing the names of the Commanders-In-Chief of the flagship USS Pennsylvania. The plaque is topped by an eagle with outstretched wings, sitting atop the American shield with two crossed fouled anchors behind it. There is a four-star admiral’s flag engraved into the metal on both sides of the eagle. The main body of the plaque is a vertical rectangle with its bottom portion narrowing to a point. Centered on the two long sides is an art deco border.
The list of names:
Henry T. Mayo 12 Oct 1916- 30 Jun 1919
Henry B. Wilson 30 Jun 1919- 30 Jun 1921
Hilary P. Jones 30 Jun 1921- 19 Aug 1921
Hillary P. Jones 27 Mar 1923- 18 Apr 1923
Frank H. Schofield 15 Sep 1931- 10 Aug 1932
Richard H. Leigh 10 Aug 1932-10 Jun 1933
David F. Sellers 10 Jun 1933- 15 Jun 1934
Joseph M. Reeves 16 Nov 1934- 24 Jun 1936
Arthur J. Hepburn 24 Jun 1936- 29 Jan 1938
Claude C. Bloch 29 Jan 1938- 6 Jan 1940
J.O. Richardson 6 Jan 1940- 1 Feb 1941
H.E. Kimmel 1 Feb 1941- 17 Dec 1941
William S. Pye 17 Dec 1941- 31 Dec 1941
Chester W. Nimitz 31 Dec 1941
This plaque documents the Commanders-in-Chief who served aboard the flagship USS Pennsylvania. Shortly after her commissioning in June 1916, the Pennsylvania was made the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet under the command of Admiral Henry T. Mayo. General Order 94, issued in December 1922, combined the US Atlantic Fleet and the US Pacific Fleet into the United States Fleet. Under the United State Fleet, Pennsylvania became the flagship for the United States Battle Fleet. The Battle Fleet operated in the Pacific and was comprised of the newer battleships and the aircraft carriers. In 1930, the United States Battle Fleet was changed to United States Battle Force. General Order 143 from February 1941 eliminated the United States Fleet name, separating the fleet into its previous division of US Atlantic Fleet and US Pacific Fleet, each with its own Commander-in-Chief. Pennsylvania retained her status as the flagship of the US Pacific Fleet.
USS Pennsylvania was in drydock at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. On 31 December, Admiral Nimitz took command of the US Pacific Fleet. His is the last name to appear on the plaque.
Documents show that this plaque was removed from the Admiral’s cabin, presumably in 1946 following her return to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for repairs and preparation for the atomic bomb tests. The plaque came to NHHC from Puget Sound in 1950, a few years after the ship was scuttled following her participation in Operation Crossroads.