Please Report Any Broken Links Or Trouble You Might Come Across To The Webmaster.
Please Take A Moment To Let Us Know So That We Can Correct Any Problems And Make Your Visit As Enjoyable And As Informative As Possible.


NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive

BB-44 USS CALIFORNIA
1916 - 1919
Construction - Launching

Radio Call Sign: November - Alpha - Foxtrot - Tango

To Additional Pages

1920 - July 1921
Fitting Out

August - December 1921 Commissioning / Shakedown
1922 - Scenes from the Ship's Welfare Fund
1923 - 1927
1928 - 1941
Pearl Harbor - 1942
1943 - 1945
1946 - 1959


Tennessee Class Battleship: Displacement 32,300 Tons, Dimensions, 624' (oa) x 97' 4" x 31' (Max). Armament 12 x 14"/50 14 x 5"/51, 4 x 3"/50AA 2 x 21" tt. Armor, 13 1/2" Belt, 18" Turrets, 3 1/2" +1 1/2" Decks, 16" Conning Tower. Machinery, 28,500 SHP; Turbines with electric drive, 4 screws. Speed, 21 Knots, Crew 1083.

Operational and Building Data: Laid down by Mare Island Naval Ship Yard, October 25, 1916. Launched November 20, 1919. Commissioned August 10, 1921. Decommissioned February 14, 1947. Stricken March 1, 1959.
Fate: Sold July 1, 1959 and broken up for scrap.

Click On Image
For Full Size Image
SizeImage DescriptionContributed
By And/Or Copyright
BB-44 California82kU.S. Battleship California (BB-44).
Note that there is only one funnel in this drawing.
Digital ID # ggbain 20144v, LC-B2-3635-1. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, from the George Grantham Bain Collection.
Bids950kNavy Yards Bid For U.S. Dreadnoughts.Image and text provided by University of North Texas; Denton, TX.
Photo from El Paso Herald.(El Paso, Tex.) 1901-1931, 17 November 1915, HOME EDITION, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-44 California44kMayors James Roney of Vallejo & George Drussel of Napa wielded the hammers & Congressman Charles F. Curry and Mayor W. L. Crooks of Benicia heated and held the first rivets to be driven on the keel of the California (BB-44) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 25 October 1916. USN photo # 2890, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California102k Yard Commandant Capt. Frank M. Bennett (left) and Naval Constructor Capt. Henry M. Gleason driving one to the first rivets of California's (BB-44) keel at Mare Island on 25 October 1916. USN photo from the 5 May 2002 edition of the Vallejo Times-Herald, courtesy of Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum, submitted by Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California3.78kStart Work On Uncle Sam's New Sea TerrorImage and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA.
Photo from The Tacoma Times. (Tacoma, Wash.) 1903-1949, 11 November 1916, Image 2, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-44 California95k Photo shown the progress on the hull from the stern of the California (BB-44) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 31 Mar 1917. Most of the double bottom and some bulkhead are in place. USN photo # 3096, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California52kWork on the stern deck plating system is in progress in this April 1919 photo at Mare Island aboard the California (BB-44) on the building ways. On the lower left portion of the picture is a deck area with a pattern of wicking laid out on the deck. This is a process called "stop waters" where wicking soaked in red or white lead is laid out to form a gasket on mutli-ply riveted deck systems. The stern of the US Army Transport Dix is just visible through the staging just right and above the workers. Dix was in dry dock #1 at the yard at the time. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California69k The California (BB-44) is seen under construction on 11/1/1919, 19 days before her launching at Mare Island. Two of the ten 2" wire rope reels designed to brake the launching of the ship can be seen to the left of the bow. The system didn't work, California ended up in the mud on the Vallejo side of the Mare Island channel when she was launched. USN photo # 5098, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California153k Possible artwork by F. Muller depicting the California (BB-44) "as she will appear" following her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri. Text courtesy of DANFS.
BB-44 California1.90kPort side stern view of the California (BB-44) on the morning of launching at Mare Island.USN photo #5252, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Photo added 04/05/12.
BB-44 California1.80kPort side bow view of the California (BB-44) on the morning of launching at Mare Island.USN photo #5429, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Photo added 04/05/12.
BB-44 California219k The stern of the California (BB-44) just prior to her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. Note that her screws have not been installed. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California187k Capt Henry M. Gleason, Naval Constructor, Head of Hull Division and California Governor William Stephens shake hands during the launching ceremonies for the California (BB-44) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California58k Admiral Rodman & California Governor William Stephens shake hands during the launching ceremonies. USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri.
BB-44 California61k Admiral Rodman, who commanded the American Battle Fleet while it was attached to the British Grand Fleet during WW I & Sec/Navy Daniels share a smile during the launching ceremonies. USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri.
BB-44 California500k California Governor William Stephens is seen with his grand daughter Marjorie Zane and daughter Barbara Stephens Zane (Ship's Sponsor) at the launching of the California (BB-44) at Mare Island on 20 November 1919.USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California170k Mrs. Barbara Stephens Zane, daughter of Governor William Stephens(California) was the sponsor when the California (BB-44) was launched at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. With her is Capt. Frank M. Clark, USN, who was serving as aide. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California139kSponsor Mrs. Barbara Stephens Zane, daughter of Governor William Stephens(California) was sponsor when the California (BB-44) was launched at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. With her is Capt. Edward L. Beach, USN, Commandant, Mare Island Navy Yard. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California154kYoung Marjorie Zane was Maid of Honor when her mother, Mrs. Barbara Stephens Zane, daughter of Governor William Stephens(California) was sponsor when the California (BB-44) was launched at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. The roles had been reversed on 12 August 1919 when the daughter christened the Zane (DD-337) named for her late father. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California168k Mrs. Barbara Stephens Zane, daughter of Governor William Stephens(California) was sponsor when the California (BB-44) was launched at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California29k Photo of Mrs. Barbara Stephens Zane, Sponsor, for the launching of the California (BB-44) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California121The California (BB-44) is ready to be christened on 20 November 1919 at Mare Island Navy Yard. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California302k Sponsor, Mrs. Barbara Stephens Zane is preparing to christen the California (BB-44) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California217k Mrs. Barbara Stephens Zane crashes a bottle of Hetch-Hetchy water to christen the California (BB-44) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. The sailor in the center playing the trumpet is most likely playing "Anchors Aweigh". Partial text courtesy of David Johnston, USNR, USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California213kSliding down the building ways during her launching, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 20 November 1919. The ship's sponsor, Mrs. R.T. Zane is on the left).USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California245kWaterborn after sliding down the building ways during her launching, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California172k California (BB-44) enters the water during launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California183k California (BB-44) is about mid channel during launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California123k Close-up of California (BB-44) about mid channel during launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California163k Close-up of California (BB-44) is about to hit the Vallejo side of the channel during launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California152kWith flags flying, the stern of California (BB-44) is on the mud on Vallejo side of the channel after her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California229kNot exactly as imagined: The bow view of California (BB-44) on the mud on Vallejo side of the channel after her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California107k The California (BB-44) is seen on the mud on the Vallejo side of the Mare Island Channel after launching on 20 November 1919. Photo from the book "Sidewheelers to Nuclear Power" written by by Sue Lemmon & E. D. Wichels, submitted by Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California134k Tugs are seen pulling the California (BB-44) off the mud on Vallejo side of the channel after her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 20 November 1919. The boat in the foreground to the left is Mare Island built Ambulance Boat (YH-1). USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California118k Tugs are seen moving the California (BB-44) to her berth at Mare Island after her launching. The large double stack tug is the Navigator YT-39, and there is one of the yards motor tugs along side her. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California141kAerial view of the California (BB-44) in mid stream after her launching at Mare Island on 20 November 1919. Other ships on the yard's waterfront on that date include from the top to bottom are: Tacoma (C-18) & Denver (C-14); below the cruisers are the battleships Nebraska (BB-14) & Georgia (BB-15); below the battleships and partially hiden by smoke are the destroyers Hamilton (DD-141), Litchfield (DD-336), Zane (DD-337) & Kennison (DD-138); below the destroyers is the outfitting berth for California; in dry dock #1 are H-7 (SS-150) & Lamberton (DD-119); and finally the bottom ship is the USAT Madawaska. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
BB-44 California61k The stern launch cradle of the California (BB-44) being cutup for scrap after its recovery from the Vallejo side of the Mare Island Channel after the ship went aground on her launching.USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

USS CALIFORNIA BB-44 History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The Hazegray & Underway Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Contact Name: Vincent Nonnon
Address: 23 Green Ave Valley Cottage, N.Y. 10989-1952
Phone: 845-268-7761
E-mail: prunebarge@verizon.net
Note About Contacts.

The contact listed, Was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.


Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway Battleship Pages By Andrew Toppan.

Back To The Main Photo IndexBack To The Battleship Photo Index Page


This page is created and maintained by Michael Mohl
All Pages 1996 - 2014, by Paul R. Yarnall NavSource Naval History. All Rights Reserved.