Today marks 75 years since the USS Wisconsin's commissioning

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) -- The Battleship Wisconsin was commissioned 75 years ago today.

19 years ago, Chopper 10 was above the Wisky, as she's affectionately known, as tugs guided the battleship into her last home in downtown Norfolk.

DRONE10: Battleship Wisconsin in Norfolk

It served in many different conflicts throughout the decades. 

The 900 foot-long, 40,000 ton battleship served in World War II, the Korean War and the Persian Gulf War. It was decommissioned in 1991 before finding its way to Nauticus in 2000.

She's now the pride of the Elizabeth River, serving as a living museum.

As dozens of people gathered aboard the battleship this morning to celebrate not only the Wisconsin's time in service, but also how much history is being held here to teach the next generation. The people most proud today were the men who worked on the ship. Leaders with Nauticus in Norfolk and former crew members and sailors attended to celebrate and remember and honor its history.

"The battleship was commissioned April 16, 1944," said Nauticus Executive Director Stephen Kirkland. "Within a year it was off the coast of Japan firing on Okinawa and Hiroshima. 7 years later it served in the Korean conflict of the coast of North Korea, and then in 1991 what a lot of people don't realize is in 1991, this ship was retrofitted and fired some of the first tomahawk missiles from the Persian Gulf."

When sailors look back on that time they get emotional.

"I still get goosebumps thinking about it, he said tonight we're going to war we're going to fire tomahawk missiles on the mid watch, so no one went to sleep that night," said Keith Nitka. "We ate dinner and waited around." 

The battleship made its way to Nauticus in 2000, and each reunion for sailors reminds them of their time here.

"There was a bunch of us who went across the bow for the first time and everyone of us had tears in our eyes as we got over here, and I'm starting to get it again, it's like seeing your family again, your friends, it's part of you," said Mike Olson

"They don't make battleships, and they don't make battleships sailors anymore, so I give a lot of respect and a lot of kudos to the crew members now cause it is their job today, tomorrow to tell people not only about my great ship, but to tell our stories as well," Nitka said. 

For more information on celebratory events happening throughout the year click here

The 75th Anniversary of the USS Wisconsin has kicked off at Nauticus!!! @WAVY_News

— Tamara Scott (@TamaraScottWAVY) April 16, 2019

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