INDIANA (WANE) — On Tuesday we celebrate the launch of the USS Indiana Battleship. Let’s deep dive into the history of the iconic Hoosier ship and its impact on the Asian-Pacific war.
On Nov. 21 1941 the USS Indiana (BB-58) was launched from Newport News, Virginia according to Indiana Government’s ‘This week in Indiana History‘. During the ship’s “fitting out,” a period of time after launch when a ship has continued construction, the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The following year the USS Indiana left Virginia loaded with ammunition and supplies for the Tonga Islands to join the Pacific Fleet for duty in 1942, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. The ship operated in the South Pacific from late November of 1942 till October 1943. The ship then moved to the Central Pacific where she participated in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands in Nov. 1943 and then the Marshalls in Jan. 1944. In February 1944, the ship was damaged in a nighttime collision with the USS Washington (BB-56).
After receiving repairs the USS Indiana escorted carriers in a raid on a Japanese position in the Carolines. The battleship stayed actively involved in the war efforts, participating in the Marianas campaign and assisting in strikes on the Palaus and the Philippines. After returning from general maintenance the USS Indiana returned to the Western Pacific to assist in the invasion of Iwo Jima with carrier raids on the Japanese Home Islands and the Ryukyus invasion.
During the last weeks of the Pacific War, the battleship passed through a typhoon and used the sixteen-inch guns to shell targets in Japan. After the Japanese surrender, Indiana was placed on reserve status in September of 1946 and was eventually formally decommissioned. No further active service was seen and the ship was sold for scrapping in October of 1963. Today, the USS Indiana’s prow and guns can be found at Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium, where they have been housed since 2013.
The USS Indiana was nicknamed the Hoosier Houseboat according to an August 18 1945 edition of the Kokomo Tribune. In its time of service, the USS Indiana earned 9 battle stars for participation in the Asiatic-Pacific service engagements and operations.