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Las Vegas man keeps USS Nevada memory alive 80 years after Pearl Harbor

Updated December 7, 2021 - 3:28 am

Eighty years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Las Vegas man is making sure Nevadans remember the heroic legacy of the USS Nevada.

On Tuesday, John Galloway plans to deliver a wreath to the spot where the battleship ultimately sunk, some 65 miles southwest of Oahu. The ship survived the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor and featured in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, knocking out dozens of German Nazi tanks.

“The badass of Pearl Harbor was the Nevada. She was the oldest battleship there, she was the toughest,” Galloway said. “She shot down eight out of 29 planes. Two medal of honor recipients, two wars, was nuked twice, she survived. Her accolades are endless, but no one knows about her. I get choked up when I talk about this ship. It really means a lot to me.”

The ship eventually went down at its current resting spot after it was used for gunfire practice after World War II.

Galloway, a pilot and history buff who worked with former Gov. Brian Sandoval and other public officials to set up the ceremony, said he wants to bring more attention to the ship and its accolades, designing plaques that were placed in both Carson City and Pearl Harbor.

He wanted the Golden Knights to be named the Dreadnoughts, for the type of battleship the USS Nevada was, and even designed a logo and sent it to owner Bill Foley. If Nevada gets a Major League Soccer team in the future, Galloway said he wants it to be named the 36ers, a nod to the ship’s designated number of BB-36 and the fact that Nevada was the 36th state admitted to the Union.

The wreath has eight handholds to honor the eight battleships anchored at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The interior of the wreath has a circumference of 36 inches. That’s the only time those two numbers have matched up, Galloway said.

The wreath’s sinker is the shape of Nevada and weighs exactly 12 pounds and seven ounces, representing the Dec. 7 date. The dimensions are 12 by 11 by five by eight, equalling the notable 36 number. The tether cable is also 36 feet.

The plan is for the Coast Guard to fly Galloway to the spot where the USS Nevada sunk, 65 miles south of Oahu, to drop the wreath at the exact spot, though the area was facing inclement weather, Galloway said Monday.

The wreath will land atop or close to the remains of the battleship, Galloway said.

Galloway has been honoring the ship for some time. He dedicated a 75-year-anniversary plaque in 2016, and already has plans for the centennial anniversary in 2041. He’s made sure his will lays out a process for the plaque if he doesn’t make it, he said.

“At the end of the day I want to do my share,” Galloway said. “The Nevada did more than its share, way more.”

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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