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    Pearl Harbor Ship - USS West Virginia(BB-48) - The "Wee Vee".
    USS West Virginia (BB-48), a Colorado-class battleship commissioned in 1923, was the second US Navy vessel named for the 35th State, West Virginia. At Pearl Harbor, the West Virginia was moored outboard of the USS Tennessee south of Ford Island. She was struck by seven Japanese torpedoes during the sneak attack.

    The ensign from the West Virginia is a 60" X 93" wool 48-star flag with double appliqué stars and sewn stripes. The flag is finished with a canvas heading and grommets. The stars in the canton are distinctive being rectilinear, arranged in six rows of eight stars each with each row staggered. What makes this flag so interesting is that such 48-star flags were popular in the 1912 to 1916 period, well before her commissioning. The flag is marked on the obverse lower hoist: "Lynn" and an inscription that is illegible and, on the upper hoist, "Pearl 7 Torp. USS W. Virginia BB48."

    At Pearl Harbor, the West Virginia was severely damaged. In addition to the torpedo damage she was also struck by two bombs which ignited several fires. Her commanding officer, Captain Mervyn S. Bennion, was mortally wounded by shrapnel from the USS Tennessee, but remained aboard directing her defense until he expired. She was abandoned, burning, and sank upright on an even keel. The fires were extinguished 8 December 1941.

    Because of the damage, West Virginia was almost a new ship when she rejoined the Pacific Fleet in September of 1944 in time for the Liberation of the Philippines. She was assigned to shore bombardment duties and, although undamaged by enemy fire, she briefly grounded, damaging her propellers. During the Battle of the Leyte Gulf, she assisted in damaging and sinking the battleship Yamashiro and assisting in driving off the heavy cruiser Mogami.
    After drydock repairs, West Virginia was again in the Philippines for invasion support, before sailing to Iwo Jima where she used her 8 sixteen-inch and 16 five-inch guns to devastating effect in support of the Marines. After resupply and replenishment, she reported for duty at Okinawa, where again she provided fire support for amphibious landings. After Japan capitulated, she sailed for Japan and the West Virginia had the honor to be the only ship sunk at Pearl harbor to be in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. After the war, she had occupation duties and then participated in Operation Magic Carpet, the repatriation of American servicemen. This is a flag from a ship that lives on after Pearl Harbor. It would be a welcome addition to a Pearl Harbor, Battleship, War in the Pacific or WWII collection.

    During WWII the West Virginia earned the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with five campaign stars; World War II Victory Medal; Navy World War II Occupation Medal with ASIA Clasp.

    This ensign is in Fair condition - it is used, worn, soiled, repaired and frayed, with numerous holes throughout.

    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: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 783

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