By: Friedrich Seiltgen
Copyright © 2022
The USS Wisconsin (BB-64) was the last of four Iowa-class “pocket” battleships commissioned near the end of World War II. It saw action in the Pacific theater striking targets throughout Japan and earned 5 battle stars for its World War II service.
After the war, the Wisconsin was used for a time by the Navy reserve for training, but in 1948 the “Wisky” was decommissioned and sent to the “mothball” fleet.
In June of 1950, the invasion of South Korea by North Korea and their Chinese allies required firepower. So, in March 1951, the Wisconsin was recommissioned to serve. This is where our story begins.
On March 15th, 1952, the Wisky received its one and only direct hit when a 155-millimeter shell from a North Korean gun battery got lucky and struck the shield of a starboard-side twin 40mm gun mount. Luckily, there were no deaths, minimal damage to the ship, and only 3 sailors were injured.
Anger throughout the Wisconsin crew was palpable; they wanted revenge. How dare the north Koreans strike their ship! The order was given to load all 9 of their Mark 7 16-inch guns. The Mark 7 gun can accurately shoot a 2,700-pound armor-piercing shell over 20 miles. The turret crews loaded all guns and stood by. The order went out to return fire and all nine guns went off.
The result was devastating; all nine rounds found the target and obliterated the gun battery and everything surrounding it.
Immediately after the salvo, the USS Duncan, a sister ship that was escorting the Wisky, flashed its signal lamp with the message “Temper, Temper” before continuing.
The Wisconsin finished its service in Korea and earned a 6th battle star.
In 1956, a collision with the destroyer USS Eaton resulted in severe damage to both ships. After repairs, the Wisky once again performed reserve duty for a few years. In 1958, she was again decommissioned and sent to the mothball fleet. In the 1980s she suffered a major electrical fire that should have sealed her fate.
Fortunately, however, the Wisconsin was reactivated in 1986, as part of President Ronald Reagan’s “600-ship Navy.” She was modernized with high-tech weaponry and served during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, making her the last battleship in history to see combat.
After the fall of the Soviet empire, and the downsizing of the military, the Wisconsin was retired for the last time. This great ship is now berthed in Virginia as a museum.
That’s all for now, folks! Please keep sending in your questions, tips, and article Ideas. And as always – “Let’s Be Careful Out There.”
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism Counterstrategies, Firearms, and Active Shooter Response. His writing has appeared in RECOIL, Floridajolt.com, The Counter Terrorist Magazine, American Thinker, Homeland Security Today, and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at [email protected].