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    Description

    Pearl Harbor Ship USS California (BB-44) - "The Old Prune Barge".
    The USS California (BB-44) was a Tennessee-class battleship, the fourth named for the 31st state, California. Commissioned in 1921, California spent most of her pre-war service as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet.

    At Pearl Harbor she was moored adjacent to Ford Island, the southernmost battleship in the row, preparing for a full inspection, so her watertight integrity was not maximized. When the attack commenced, the California's ready guns immediately returned anti-aircraft fire until the available ammunition was exhausted. At about the same time she was struck by two torpedoes and began flooding, which knocked out her power and pumps. She was also struck forward by a 500-pound bomb which ignited a fire. As the California's crew struggled to restore engine power in order to fight the fire and man the pumps, she began to settle upright on the harbor bottom. In the course of the attack, 98 men were killed and 61 were wounded. Four members of the California's crew were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions on 7 December. California spent the next two years undergoing repairs and modernization. She returned to the fleet in 1944 in time to provide heavy shore bombardment for the invasions of Saipan, Guam and Tinian. After which she participated in the Philippines campaign; the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Battle of Lingayen Gulf. In January of 1945 she was struck by kamikazes and went to Puget Sound for repairs, rejoining the fleet in June in time to take part in the final stages of the Okinawa campaign. She was assigned occupation activities in the wake of Japan's surrender.

    The ensign of the California is an approximately 60" X 120" 48-star double appliqué, bunting flag finished with a canvas header and rings. The obverse hoist bears a now faded maker's mark while the reverse is marked "USS California". This would be a welcome addition to a collection of Pearl Harbor, battleship, War in the Pacific or WWII artifacts.

    During WWII, the California was awarded: the American Defense Service Medal with "FLEET" clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with seven campaign stars; World War II Victory Medal and Navy Occupation Service Medal with the Asia Clasp.

    The flag is in Fair Condition - used, worn, torn, soiled, stained and repaired. The flag exhibits long term use, is frayed along the join of the top two stripes and had several holes along the fly edge.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 937

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