May 11, 2020 – SEARCH and Ocean Infinity, the marine robotics company, are pleased to announce the discovery of USS Nevada (BB-36), one of the U.S. Navy’s longest serving battleships, and viewed as the epitome of American resilience and perseverance.
USS Nevada was located 65 nautical miles southwest of Pearl Harbor at a depth of over 15,400 feet. The discovery is the result of a successful collaboration between SEARCH and Ocean Infinity and marks the combination of SEARCH’s leading maritime archaeological expertise and Ocean Infinity’s unrivaled robotic technology and deep-water search capability.
The mission was jointly coordinated between SEARCH’s operations center and one of Ocean Infinity’s vessels, Pacific Constructor. Pacific Constructor set sail for a range of commercial tasks in the Pacific in early 2020, ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the global health crisis, the ship has remained at sea on a range of taskings.
USS Nevada had an extraordinary service, spanning three and a half decades. She was launched in 1914, and performed escort duties for valuable convoys headed to the British Isles. At the end of WWI she escorted the ocean liner George Washington, carrying U.S. president Woodrow Wilson to attend The Paris Peace Conference. In WWII, on 7 December 1941 in the attack on Pearl Harbor, USS Nevada was the only battleship to get underway but, having been struck by five bombs, finally sank in nearby shallow waters. During this action 60 of her crew were killed and 109 wounded. Following salvage operations she soon re-joined the war effort, sailing to the United Kingdom to take part in the D-Day landings, amongst other European operations. She then sailed to the Pacific, arriving off Iwo Jima in February 1945 and played an important part in the invasion of Okinawa. After WWII, USS Nevada was assigned to be a target ship in the first Bikini atomic experiments in 1946, which she survived. Finally, in 1948 she was used as a gunnery practice target. Unable to be sunk by the ships using her as a target, she finally went down having been hit by an aerial torpedo on 31 July 1948.
SEARCH’s Senior Vice President and lead maritime archaeologist on the mission Dr. James Delgado said, “Nevada is an iconic ship that speaks to American resilience and stubbornness. Rising from its watery grave after being sunk at Pearl Harbor, it survived torpedoes, bombs, shells and two atomic blasts. The physical reality of the ship, resting in the darkness of the great museum of the sea, reminds us not only of past events, but of those who took up the challenge of defending the United States in two global wars. This is why we do ocean exploration to seek out these powerful connections to the past.”