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    USS Nevada (BB-36)- The "Cheer Up Ship!" The USS Nevada, a venerable veteran of WWI, was the only American battleship to get underway during the December 7, 1941 attack at Pearl Harbor. USS Nevada (BB-36) launched in 1914 was one of the two "Nevada" class battleships and she was the second ship to be named for the "Silver State." Her sister ship was the USS Oklahoma. She was commissioned in 1916, the most modern, and powerful oil-fired battleship of the day. As a mark of the high esteem in which he was held, Nevada's first captain was William Sowden Sims, who is credited with coining her nickname, the "Cheer Up Ship."

    This is a 48-star, double applique, sewn stripe, 84" X 138", cotton bunting, "Best" brand flag finished with a white canvas heading and two grommets. The flag is marked on the obverse hoist, "FLAG DAY [illegible] BY RADAR OPR. CHARLES T. SEHE" and "CHEER UP SHIP" and "NORMANDY, IWO JIMA, OKINAWA" and "UTAH UNCLE SECTOR" and USS NEVEDA - BB 36" and "1st TO SAIL - PEARL HBR. 7 DEC. - ON TO TOKOYO." There is a stamped maker's mark of the Valley Forge Flag Company and a size marking, "8X12."

    This flag was conveyed to the Rungee Museum collection by USS Nevada crewman Charles T. Sehe in 1946. Charles Sehe confirmed in an interview for this catalog description that this was indeed his flag and that it had been aboard from the beginning. His story is the WWII story of the Nevada.

    Sehe enlisted in the US Navy after he graduated from high school in 1940. He was seventeen and needed his mother's permission. He was assigned to the USS Nevada, then at Bremerton, Washington, right after graduating from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. On the Nevada, Sehe's Battle Station was the starboard search light platform high above the main deck so he had a bird's eye view of the Pearl Harbor attack, the damage sustained by Nevada, her getting underway, and subsequent grounding.

    After the attack, sailors from severely damaged or sunken ships were reassigned to other billets throughout the Pacific Fleet. Sehe, a relatively new and inexperienced bluejacket, was selected to remain with the skeleton crew. He did, and subsequently spent the entire war on the USS Nevada; through her refit back at Puget Sound Navy Yard, to her service in the Aleutian Islands for the recapture of Attu, on to Norfolk Navy Yard for modernization, her North Atlantic Convoy duty, for her flagship duties at D-Day, where she provided very accurate shore bombardment at Utah Beach (the only Pearl Harbor battleship present at Normandy), in southern France for more naval gunfire in Operation Dragoon, her return to the States for a refit before sailing back to the Pacific for invasion support at Iwo Jima (where he watched the flag being raised), and finally to Okinawa, where the Nevada was hit by a kamikaze. He was aboard when the Nevada sailed into Tokyo Bay after the cessation of hostilities.

    Sehe, the Nevada, and this ensign were all eyewitnesses to history. Sehe used the GI Bill to receive a doctorate in zoology and became Professor of Biology at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota. The USS Nevada became an atomic test ship at Bikini Atoll.

    Ensigns of any type from the USS Nevada are exceedingly rare, but a documented flag from a still living USS Nevada veteran is a unique opportunity for an advanced collector. This flag would complement Pearl Harbor, Aleutians, North Atlantic, D-Day, European, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Pacific, or Atom Bomb collections.

    USS Nevada Awards: World War I Victory Medal with "Atlantic Fleet" and "Grand Fleet" clasps, American Defense Service Medal with "Fleet" clasp, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with five campaign stars, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, World War II Victory Medal, and Navy Occupation Medal with "Asia" clasp.

    Condition: The Nevada flag is in good condition. It is used, worn, soiled, and repaired at the upper and lower fly corners. There are numerous splits in the stripes at the fly edge, but the ensign is otherwise complete.

    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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 429

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