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It’s not every day you get to go on a tour of a ship that earned five battle stars during World War II and is seen as the closest thing to getting on a real-life, working US Navy ship. The USS Wisconsin was launched on 7 December 1943 by Mrs. Goodland, wife of the governor of Wisconsin, Walter S. Goodland. The battleship was involved in various operations over a period of 57 years, including supporting operations against Iwo Jima and using its 16-inch, 67-foot long guns to fire on the Japanese city of Okinawa.
The ship was decommissioned in 1947 after admirable service in World War II. It was mostly used as a training ship until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 and then again in the Gulf War in 1991, quite remarkable for a ship built in the 1940s.
Today, the ship sits adjacent to Nauticus, the National Maritime Center, in Norfolk and was opened as a museum to the public in 2001. Visitors can climb aboard the ship and see the interior rooms.
The first thing that strikes you is its size. These warships are seen on TV and in films but nothing quite prepares you for their scale. The Wisconsin is definitely a niche visit but one you’ll surely tell your friends about.