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End of the Line

The West Virginia remained on occupation duty in Tokyo Bay until September 20, 1945, when she sailed for Pearl Harbor. The ship was painted and then departed for San Diego, arriving at the Navy Pier on October 22. On Navy Day, October 27, more than 25,000 visitors came on board the ship. Three days later, the West Virginia returned to Pearl Harbor to participate in "Magic Carpet" operations, returning veterans to the United States.

USS West Virginia in Sagami Wan, Japan at end of World War II. Mt. Fujiyama is in background
USS West Virginia in Sagami Wan, Japan at end of World War II. Mt. Fujiyama is in background.
Photo courtesy of
Naval Imaging Command

USS West Virginia en route to the mainland
USS West Virginia
at Pearl Harbor
en route to mainland,
October 1945

After three trips between Pearl Harbor and the mainland, the veteran battleship arrived at Bremerton, Washington on January 12, 1946 and commenced inactivation. Four days later the West Virginia moved to Seattle, where she moored alongside the Colorado.
The ship was decommissioned on January 9, 1947 and placed in reserve as part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. The ship remained inactive until struck from the Navy List on March 1, 1959. On August 24, the West Virginia was sold for scrapping to the Union Minerals and Alloys Company of New York City for $781,289.89. The ship was removed from Puget Sound on January 3, 1961 and towed to the Todd Shipyard. Here the great battleship was systematically dismantled.

USS West Virginia being towed to Bremerton
USS West Virginia being towed
to Bremerton Shipyards for salvage

Torching the 16
Torching the guns of the USS West Virginia
Photo courtesy of Todd Pacific Shipyards

Disassembling the USS West Virginia
Disassembling the
USS West Virginia

The end
The end

Mast of the USS West Virginia
Mast of the USS West Virginia
West Virginia University

Some artifacts from the ship were sent to West Virginia. On May 11, 1963 the mainmast was dedicated as a memorial at West Virginia University. On November 11, the jackstaff was installed at the Harrison County Courthouse in Clarksburg. Other artifacts, including the ship's bell, are kept at the West Virginia State Museum in Charleston.
For years after the demise of the great ship, men who served aboard the West Virginia held reunions at various locations around the country. Nearly thirty years after the battleship was scrapped, a third USS West Virginia, an Ohio class submarine designated SSBN736, was commissioned, carrying on the name and tradition of its predecessors. USS West Virginia (SSBN736)

Published Sources

Myron J. Smith, Jr., The Mountain State Battleship: USS West Virginia. Richwood, WV: West Virginia Press Club, 1981.

Myron J. Smith, Jr., Mountaineer Battlewagon: U.S.S. West Virginia (BB-48). Charleston: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1982

U.S.S. West Virginia Crosses the Equator, July 1940.

U.S.S. West Virginia Crosses the Equator Again, October 1944.

Web sites

Battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48)

USS West Virginia Veterans' Pages

NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archives, BB-48 USS West Virginia

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Robert F. Walden Collection: U.S.S. West Virginia BB 48

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