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NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive

BB-44 USS CALIFORNIA
Pearl Harbor - 1942

Radio Call Sign: November - Alpha - Foxtrot - Tango

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1916 - 1919 Construction - Launching
1920 - July 1921
Fitting Out

August - December 1921 Commissioning / Shakedown
1922 - Scenes from the Ship's Welfare Fund
1923 - 1927
1928 - 1941
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.

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BB-44 California912kOil on canvas painting by the artist Anthony Saunders entitled Pearl Harbor, California (BB-44). At dawn on the 7th December 1941, 350 Japanese warplanes flew from their carriers and attacked the US pacific fleet at Pearl harbor, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. the attack concentrated on "Battleship Row" which included California (Left) and Nevada (BB-36) (Right) which was the only battleship to get underway during the attack. However coming under intense bomb attack she was later beached. For the Japanese the success was not total. as the US carrier fleet was out on manoeuvres on the day of the attack. Text and drawing courtesy of naval-art.com
BB-44 California1.41kCrew abandoning the damaged California (BB-44) as burning oil drifts down on the ship.US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Photo added 10/05/14.
BB-44 California91kCrew abandoning the damaged California (BB-44) as burning oil drifts down on the ship, at about 1000 hrs on the morning of 7 December 1941, shortly after the end of the Japanese raid. The capsized hull of Oklahoma (BB-37) is visible at the right.Official U.S. Navy Photograph,USNHC # NH 97399, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California97kView looking down "Battleship Row" from Ford Island Naval Air Station,shortly after the Japanese torpedo plane attack. California (BB-44) is at left, listing to port after receiving two torpedo hits. In the center are Maryland (BB-46) with the capsized Oklahoma (BB-37) alongside. Neosho (AO-23) is at right, backing clear of the area. Most smoke is from Arizona (BB-39).Submitted by Scott Dyben.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # 80-G-32640, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California101kTugs and other ships trying to keep California (BB-44) afloat, soon after the Japanese torpedoed and bombed her at Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 64474, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California95k California (BB-44) slowly sinking alongside Ford Island as a result of bomb and torpedo damage, 7 December 1941. Shaw (DD-373) is burning in the floating dry dock YFD-2 in the left distance. Nevada (BB-36) is beached in the left-center distance. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # 80-G-32456, now in the collections of the National Archives.
BB-44 California95k View of California (BB-44), taken a day or two after the Japanese raid. Bobolink (AM-20), at left, Vireo (AM-52) and YW-10 are off the battleship's stern, assisting with efforts to keep her afloat.
Note the caption reads West Virginia (BB-48) instead of California.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 95569. Collection of Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin, USN(Retired), 1975.
BB-44 California765kView of sailors on board the battleship California (BB-44) following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941.Photo courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum via Bill Gonyo.
BB-44 California79kScene on the southeastern part of Ford Island, looking northeasterly, with California (BB-44) in right center, listing to port after being hit by Japanese aerial torpedoes and bombs. Official U.S. Navy Photograph,USNHC # 80-G-32463, now in the collections of the National Archives.
BB-44 California1.00kThe national ensign waves from the stern view of the California (BB-44) listing to her port side enveloped. Most of the smoke rising off her bow is from the wreck of the Arizona (BB-39). USN photo courtesy of Richard Leonhardt, (USN retired).
BB-44 California95kChief Radioman Thomas James Reeves, USN, who was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for heroism while serving on board California (BB-44) during the 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. Halftone reproduction, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1948, The Navy", page 248. USNHC # NH 101649
BB-44 California95kSurrounded by boats and yard craft, the California (BB-44) struggles to stay afloat. She remained afloat for three days before being allowed to settle into the muddy bottom. USN photo.
BB-44 California18kThe California (BB-44) resting on the bottom on an even keel.USN official photo, courtesy of the USS California Association.
BB-44 California132kPort broadside view of the California (BB-44) on the bottom. The scarred and blistered paint at the waterline is probably where she was struck by a torpedo. USN photo.
BB-44 California136kBow on view of the California (BB-44) undergoing salvage. Her cage mainmast and all six 14" forward guns were removed to facilitate her refloating.USN photo.
BB-44 California128kClose up of the California (BB-44) resting on the bottom undergoing salvage. She still has her gun barrels and mainmast in place so this is probably at the start of the salvage operations.USN photo.
BB-44 California164kThe patch on the port bow of the California (BB-44) goes into the water on 25 January 1942. In the background is the rebuilt Shaw DD-373), waiting to enter the floating dry dock the next day. Also visible is the mast of the Raleigh (CL-7) in Dry Dock 1 and the Saratoga (CV-3), undergoing torpedo damage repair in Dry Dock 2.Photo from the book "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", by Dan Madsen, courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-44 California118kRemoval of one of the sunken battleship's 14"/50 guns from turret # 3, circa early February 1942. View looks aft, with the ship's fantail aircraft crane in the left middle distance.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 64487, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California122kPreparing to lift the sunken battleship's "basket" mainmast, using a large floating crane, while she was under salvage at Pearl Harbor on 12 February 1942.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 55037, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California117kFloating crane removes the sunken battleship's "basket" mainmast, while she was under salvage at Pearl Harbor on 13 February 1942.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 55038, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California165kThe sunken battleship's "basket" mainmast is lifted free after it had been cut away during salvage operations at Pearl Harbor, 13 February 1942.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 55035, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California219k27 February 1942 photo of the unwatering of the forecastle of the California (BB-44). Sandbags are used to help counteract the buoyancy of the wood shoring.Photo from the book "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", by Dan Madsen, courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-44 California114k 10 March 1942 photo of #3 turret, with guns removed and covered in canvas. Cofferdam shoring is visible in this photo. Photo from the book "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", by Dan Madsen, courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-44 California108k 10 March 1942 photo of the construction of California's (BB-44) port-side quarter deck cofferdam. Divers are bolting the latest section to the ship, while Pacific Bridge carpenters begin shoring it to the ship's superstructure. Photo from the book "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", by Dan Madsen, courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-44 California134k 10 March 1942 photo with the remnants of Battleship Row lying in the distance, the stern section of the California's (BB-44)cofferdam sits on a barge waiting placement in front of the stern crane. Photo from the book "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", by Dan Madsen, courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-44 California105k The forward quay of the California's (BB-44) F-3 anchorage is seen with shower and restroom facilities mounted atop and around it. Securing anchor chains still hold the ship in place and a causeway, leading to salvage crew living quarters is in the foreground. Photo from the book "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", by Dan Madsen, courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-44 California93kSitting atop scaffolding erected on the California's (BB-44) fantail, a Pomona deep-well power pump is seen pumping out the battleship's lower decks. Photo taken on 14 March 1942. Photo from the book "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", by Dan Madsen, courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-44 California179kUnwatering the cofferdam (1.1 inch Tub). Photograph taken 16 March 1942.Photo Source: NARA San Francisco, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence files 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California114k The California's (BB-44) port-side main deck berthing area as seen on 19 March 1942 as the ship was re-floated. In addition to the debris cleanup, body retrieval began two days later, as the crews continued in their efforts. Text from "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", written by Dan Madsen.
Source: San Francisco NARA, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence 1941-45
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California123kAdmiral's cabin looking aft as seen on 22 March 1942. Source: San Francisco NARA, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California156kRe-floating operations, while the ship was under salvage at Pearl Harbor on 30 March 1942. Note cofferdam installed along her port bow and forward turrets with guns removed.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 55036, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California128k The California (BB-44) comes up: - the oil line on the fence-type cofferdam around her quarterdeck shows how deep the wreck was submerged. Photograph taken 4 April 1942.Photo Source: NARA San Francisco, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence files 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California123k The California (BB-44) aft cofferdam after unwatering. Photograph taken 4 April 1942.Photo Source: NARA San Francisco, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence files 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California103kView from astern after the ship had been refloated, showing the ship's slight trim to port and the extensive wooden cofferdam erected around her quarterdeck, 5 April 1942. Lexington (CV-2) is visible in the left distance, drydocked at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 83070, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California95kCalifornia (BB-44) just after she was placed in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard's Drydock Number Two, 9 April 1942. California had been sunk as a result of the 7 December 1941 Japanese air raid and was refloated on 24 March 1942. Note the mud on the ship's propeller shafts and struts and on the drydock floor below them.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 64483, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
BB-44 California109kDamage from a near miss on the bow. Photograph taken 9 April 1942.Photo Source: NARA San Francisco, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence files 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California172kView from an elevated position showing the California (BB-44) as it crossed the sill of the drydock after being refloated. Photograph taken 9 April 1942.Photo Source: NARA San Francisco, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence files 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California148k 9 April 1942 photo of the California's (BB-44) stern crossing the sill of Dry-dock #2, four months after she settled to the bottom of Pearl Harbor. Photo from the book "Resurrection-Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor", by Dan Madsen, courtesy of Mike Green.
BB-44 California95k Mud Line port side looking forward from the stern. Photograph taken 9 April 1942.Photo Source: NARA San Francisco, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence files 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California115k Port Side Torpedo Damage. Photograph taken 9 April 1942.Photo Source: NARA San Francisco, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence files 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California84kTorpedo damage to the hull of California (BB-44), photographed at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard in April 1942, soon after the ship had been drydocked for repairs. This is California's forward torpedo hole, centered at about Frame 52. Note armor belt at the top of the hole and bilge keel below it. Official U.S. Navy Photograph,USNHC # 80-G-32917, now in the collections of the National Archives.
BB-44 California92k Mud Line Bow. Photograph taken 10 April 1942.Photo Source: NARA San Francisco, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence files 1941-45.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California71k Completed hull repairs to damaged area between frames 49 - 57 on the starboard side. 6 June 1942. Seattle NARA photo # 1603-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California115k Completed hull repairs to damaged area between frames 6 - 21 on the port side. 6 June 1942. Seattle NARA photo # 1606-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California52k California (BB-44), 7 June 1942, view from aloft off starboard bow, just prior to undocking. Seattle NARA photo # 1614-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California53kCalifornia (BB-44), 7 June 1942, view of the off port quarter, just prior to undocking. Seattle NARA photo # 1618-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California57k 7 June 1942, general view off port bow, as the California (BB-44) left the drydock. Seattle NARA photo # 1620-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California47k 7 June 1942, View off starboard quarter just prior to undocking. Seattle NARA photo # 1610-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California45k 7 June 1942, View head on just prior to undocking. Seattle NARA photo # 1615-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California51k 7 June 1942, View off starboard bow just prior to undocking. Seattle NARA photo # 1616-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California57k 9 June 1942, completed hull repairs to damaged area between frames # 49 - 57 on the starboard side. Seattle NARA photo # 1603-42. Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
BB-44 California569k Taken at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, circa mid-1942. The fact that 14" guns are installed, and the general condition of the ship, indicates to me that it was taken fairly late in the initial repair period ... probably in September or early October 1942. Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Chris Hoen & Chuck Haberlein.
US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
BB-44 California154kAt the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 18 July 1942, during re-installation of her 14"/50 main battery guns. A large floating crane is alongside her starboard bow, placing a gun in Turret # 1. Guns are also visible in Turret # 3, whose top has not yet been put in place. Note anti-torpedo nets protecting the ship.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 83997, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Pearl Harbor106kPearl Harbor, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii view looking northward, with the Navy Yard industrial area in the foreground and the Marine Barracks in the lower right, 28 July 1942. Ford Island is at left, with Oklahoma (BB-37) and Arizona (BB-39) under salvage nearby. San Diego (CL-53) is in the upper center.
West Virginia (BB-48) is in Drydock Number One, in the lower left, and California (BB-44) is alongside the wharf at the extreme right. Cruisers alongside the pier in right center are Northampton (CA-26) (left) and Pensacola (CA-24). Submarines alongside 1010 Dock, just beyond Drydock # 1, are Trout (SS-202), Pollack (SS-180), Dolphin (SS-169) and Cachalot (SS-170). Note camouflage on many of the Navy Yard's buildings.
Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of The Honorable James V. Forrestal.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph NH 84002, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

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.

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