The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers Band visited the Battleship Cove, located on scenic Mt. Hope Bay, Massachusetts, which harbors the largest collection of preserved US Navy ships in the world. The fleet includes five National Historic Landmarks: Battleship USS Massachusetts (BB59), Destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Submarine USS Lionfish, and PT Boats 617 and 796.
Battleship Cove is also home to numerous exhibits such as the National PT Boat Museum, the National De…stroyermen’s Museum, and exhibitions for those who served on the USS Saint Paul and on Radar Picket Ships. The “Women Protecting US” exhibit, is also located on board the battleship and is a tribute to the service of women in wartime highlighting their contributions in science, math, medicine, engineering, and technology during WWII.
During the visit, the RBDF Rangers Band performed for a crowd of observers both staff and visitors to the historic site. Battleship Cove Museum Docent, Mr. Fred MacLennan, a US Navy Vietnam War Veteran who works on the USS Massachusetts, took the RBDF Rangers on a journey back in time as he gave them a detailed tour of the Battleship.
Known as “Big Mamie”, the 680 foot South Dakota Class vessel USS Massachusetts (BB59) armed with 119 various guns ranging from 20 millimeters to 16 inches was built in Quincy, MA, launched in September 1941, and commissioned the following May. The Battleship went into early action early November 1942 until she was decommissioned in March 1947 and stricken from the Navy’s Register in 1962.
During the ship’s time in service, the battleship was actively involved in numerous operations such as: Operation Torch (the invasion of North Africa); the defeat of the unfinished French battleship Jean Bart in a gun duel firing the first American 16” projectile of WWII; participated in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, the invasion of the Marshall Islands, the invasion of Palau Islands, a series of raids against Japanese bases in the Western Pacific and Asia, as well as escort duties protecting Carriers from enemy aircraft. The ships 16” guns pounded Okinawa before the island was invaded in 1945. USS Massachusetts also bombarded the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Kamaishi and later sailed south to bombard another factory at Hamamatsu only to return to Kamaishi to fire the last American 16” projectile of the war. Battleship USS Massachusetts was an American historic icon and a true American Hero.
Now stricken from the Naval register, she is forged in the hearts of countless veterans, and families who supported their loved ones as they sacrificed their lives to protect the American Dream. Her naval history tells an incredible story; She was feared by any enemy that crossed her path and was known for accepting any challenge before her. Historically, she fired the first and last 16” shells in WWII; fought through 35 engagements in WWII; gunned down 18 aircrafts; sank 4 ships and never lost a man in combat. She kept a remarkable record during her tenure. USS Massachusetts is now the official memorial for WWII & the Persian Gulf War, and home to the National PT Boat Museum.
After the tour, members of the Rangers Band had a deeper understanding and appreciation for the importance of teamwork, sacrifice and loyalty. They also understood the importance of the core values taught in the Ranger program and their motto–Determined, Disciplined and Dedicated.