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The Naval History of Nevada

By Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

Despite its landlocked geography and arid environment, the state of Nevada enjoys a wealth of naval history. At least 20 Ships have been named for Nevada, its cities, places, and people.

No fewer than three ships have served using the state’s namesake. The earliest was the Nevada I (Monitor No. 8), a double turreted monitor, which was laid down as Connecticut, on April 17, 1899 and launched Nov. 24, 1900. She was soon renamed Tonopah to allow Battleship Number 36 to be named USS Nevada (BB 36).  One of the few battleships to survive the attack on Pearl Harbor, BB 36 went on to fight honorably in WWII. The last ship to undertake the state’s name is the  Nevada IV (SSBN 733)

Famous Nevadans to serve in the U.S. Navy include Lt. Cmdr. Bruce Van Voorhis, a Fallon native. Voorhis single-handedly carried out a daring attack on the Japanese during WWII and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The airfield at Naval Air Station Fallon is named in his honor.

With under 10 inches of annual precipitation, Nevada is an ideal training area for today’s Global War on Terrorism missions. NAS Fallon enjoys more than 300 clear flying days per year and gets the most out of each of those days with its four bombing ranges, the electronic warfare range, and all of its other excellent training facilities. The 14,000-foot runway remains the longest in the Navy, making Fallon a one-stop training facility unequaled throughout the service.

Check out our infographic for more information on the Sailors, ships, and places in Nevada with ties to naval history and heritage!