USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial
Backstory and Context
Construction of the USS South Dakota was completed in 1941 and the ship was commissioned in March 1942. Longer than two football fields, the ship boasted more than 100 anti-aircraft guns, a number of .50-caliber guns, and several large guns including nine 16-inch guns. It was also well armored. After a short testing and training period, the South Dakota set sail for the Pacific Ocean and participated in its first engagement, the Battle of Santa Cruz, on October 26, 1942. Tasked with protecting the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier, gunners managed to shoot down 20 Japanese aircraft but one 500 pound bomb did hit ship, killing one sailor.
In the next battle, the Second Battle of Guadalcanal, which occurred on November 12-15, the South Dakota received 27 major shell hits, which caused serious damage and killed 38 sailors; however, it managed to stay afloat. The Japanese, however, believed they had sunk the South Dakota. In order to keep this a secret, the U.S. Navy named the South Dakota "Battleship X." Newspapers used this name and also "Old Nameless" when talking about the ship.
After the war, the South Dakota was decommissioned on the 31st of January, 1947. There were plans to update or convert the ship into other uses but these fell through due to high costs. Eventually, after a long time in the Navy reserve, it was sold for scrap to the Luria Brothers and Company for $446,000 in 1962. The memorial was established in a coordinated effort by a non-profit foundation, the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, and the Navy League.
"Battleship X, U.S.S. South Daktota." The Historical Marker Database. Accessed January 14, 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=40516.
Tupper, Seth. "The history behind the battleship memorial in Sioux Falls." SouthDakota.com. Accessed January 14, 2020. http://www.southdakota.com/the-history-behind-the-battleship-memorial-in-sioux-falls.
"South Dakota (BB-57)." Naval History and Heritage Command. April 9, 2014. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/south-dakota-ii.html.
NavSource Online: http://www.navsource.org/archives/01/57a.htm