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Tossing the first sixteen-inch shell to open the European offensive and firing the last big naval bullet in the Pacific campaign -- these are the outstanding mileposts in the 39-month fighting career of the U. S. S. Massachusetts.
The Japs have capitulated; details for carrying out the formal surrender ceremonies have been arranged for the official end of World War II. The stories that make the war history can now be released and "Big Mamie" has one of her own. It may not be spectacular, but it reveals a ship manned by resolute and efficient officers and men who turned in a workmanlike job and who more than once received "well done" from the Admirals. It wasn't always easy going and the grind was monotonous but ... here's our story.
When peace came to the Pacific, Mamie could look back on a long and action-packed career. From the time of commissioning on May 12, 1942, until the end of the war in mid-August, 1945, she had logged over 225,000 nautical miles, her journeyings taking her all the way from Casablanca to Tokyo and the China coast. She had taken part in some thirty-five engagements with the enemy. She had sunk or damaged five ships, including the mighty French battleship, Jean Bart. She had taken part in nine bombardments of enemy territory, three of which were directed at the Japanese home islands. She had destroyed or assisted in the destruction of at least eighteen Japanese aircraft. Her scout Kingfisher planes had rescued seven aviators downed by enemy fire, often performing the rescues within sight and range of Jap guns. Thanks to her fire-power and speed, she had lent invaluable support to the fast carrier task forces as they carried out their mission of crippling Japanese air-power and seizing control of Pacific skies.
Our ship has been a workhorse of the Fleet. She was always in there pitching when there was fighting to be done. She went about her tasks without ostentation and with a high degree of competence and skill gained from long hours of practice and of combat.
United States Navy, World War 1939-1945, Regimental histories, U.S.S. Massachusetts, "Big Mamie", BB-59
United States Navy, "A pictorial history of the U.S.S. Massachusetts" (1945). World War Regimental Histories. 150.
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