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USS Wisconsin (BB 64)

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USS Wisconsin (BB-64), 1944-1991

USS Wisconsin, a 45,000-ton Iowa class battleship built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, was commissioned in April 1944. After shakedown in the Caribbean area, she joined the Pacific Fleet in October 1944 and reached the western Pacific combat zone in December. Over the next nine months, Wisconsin took part in operations to capture the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and raid the Japanese home islands. During this period, she rode out two typhoons without damage and used her sixteen-inch guns to bombard enemy targets in Okinawa and Japan.

With the coming of peace, Wisconsin undertook routine operations, including a cruise to South America in late 1946 and a visit to Europe in mid-1947. She was placed out of commission in July 1948, but reentered active service in March 1951. She made one Korean War combat tour in November 1951-April 1952, during which she served as flagship of the Seventh Fleet and undertook extensive shelling along the North Korean coast. Wisconsin made another cruise as Seventh Fleet flagship in 1953-54. She also carried midshipmen on several training cruises to European and South American waters during the 1950s and took part in several fleet exercises.

USS Wisconsin was the Navy's last active battleship when she decommissioned in March 1958. She remained in reserve for three decades, but recommissioned in October 1988 in the waning days of the Reagan-era naval expansion. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 brought her to the Persian Gulf area within a few weeks. She was on station there when Operation "Desert Storm" combat operations began in mid-January 1991. During the brief war that followed, Wisconsin fired missiles at targets in Iraq and used her guns to help force the enemy from Kuwait. With the Mid-east war over, and the end of the Cold War producing major cuts in defense expenditures, USS Wisconsin was decommissioned for a third time in September 1991.