Wreck of ‘iconic’ battleship USS Nevada that survived Pearl Harbor and atomic bomb tests discovered

Researchers have discovered the wreck of storied World War II battleship USS Nevada 65 nautical miles southwest of Pearl Harbor.

The wreck, which is lying at a depth of over 15,400 feet, was found by underwater archaeology specialist SEARCH and marine robotics company Ocean Infinity, according to a statement released by the firms.

Ocean Infinity vessel Pacific Constructor was undertaking a number of commercial tasks in the Pacific in early 2020 prior to the global coronavirus outbreak. She has remained at sea amid the pandemic.

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The Naval History and Heritage Command notes that the USS Nevada was the only battleship to get underway during the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Severely damaged by a torpedo and several bomb hits, she was beached before being extensively repaired.

The USS Nevada’s 5-inch-gun-handling room.
The USS Nevada’s 5-inch-gun-handling room. (Photo courtesy of Ocean Infinity/SEARCH)

The USS Nevada took part in the Attu landings in May 1943 and was later transferred to the Atlantic. She took part in the Normandy invasion in June 1944 and the Southern France operation in August and September of that year. The Nevada then returned to the Pacific, where she participated in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945. She was damaged by a suicide plane on March 27 and by an artillery shell on April 5 of that year.

After the war, the USS Nevada was used as a target ship for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini in the Marshall Islands during July 1946. Damaged and radioactive, she was decommissioned in August 1946 and, two years later, sunk by gunfire and torpedos.

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«Nevada is an iconic ship that speaks to American resilience and stubbornness,” said Dr. James Delgado, SEARCH’s senior vice president and lead maritime archaeologist on the mission. “Rising from its watery grave after being sunk at Pearl Harbor, it survived torpedoes, bombs, shells and two atomic blasts.”

A 40mm-dual-mount-anti-aircraft gun on the USS Nevada. (Photo courtesy of Ocean Infinity/SEARCH, Inc.)
A 40mm-dual-mount-anti-aircraft gun on the USS Nevada. (Photo courtesy of Ocean Infinity/SEARCH, Inc.)
“The physical reality of the ship, resting in the darkness of the great museum of the sea, reminds us not only of past events, but of those who took up the challenge of defending the United States in two global wars. This is why we do ocean exploration — to seek out those powerful connections to the past,” Delgado added.

In another project, the wreck of World War II submarine USS Grayback was discovered off Japan last year, 75 years after its sinking by a Japanese bomber.

US WWII SHIPWRECK DISCOVERED IN THE PHILIPPINE SEA IS THE DEEPEST EVER FOUND

Also last year, the deepest sunken shipwreck ever discovered, a U.S. World War II destroyer, was found in the Philippine Sea.

Official U.S. Navy photograph of the USS Nevada (BB-36), now in the collections of the National Archives.
Official U.S. Navy photograph of the USS Nevada (BB-36), now in the collections of the National Archives.
The wreck was found resting at a depth of 20,406 feet by experts on the Research Vessel Petrel. Explorers used an undersea drone to locate the mysterious ship, believed to be the USS Johnston, a Fletcher-class destroyer sunk during the Battle off Samar, a key action in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944.

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