Blue Water Beat: The Two Lives of the Battleship USS California


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USS California; was the Boss of the Battlewagons between the world wars during the Golden Era of the surface fleet. Especially designed as the home for three- and four-star admirals, she was considered a prime stepping stone to the office of Chief of Naval Operations.

While nicknamed the Prune Barge by the rank-and-file whitehats who remembered her as a happy ship, the Navy hierarchy saw BB44 as a crisply run spic-and-span vessel operated strictly by the book. Flagship of the Pacific Fleet, when her signal flags were hoisted aloft the ships of the Battle Force were quick to obey.

This is a story of the time when the U.S. Navy was the nation s first line of defense and the ranking military force; when scenes of America s dreadnoughts plowing through heavy seas around the world were popular newsreel highlights; when fleet visits, parades and shipboard open house displays drew throngs to naval events on both coasts. The attack on Pearl Harbor brought an end to all that, but BB44 still had a significant role to play in helping win the great battles still to come.

Sunk at Pearl Harbor, the California was raised and rebuilt to meet the needs of modern warfare. The ship in its original configuration was the only battleship ever built from the ground up on the west coast.

Follow those prideful times for the U.S. Navy through the highs and lows of the battleship age, as told in the saga of a great ship, the USS California.