Battleship Wisconsin and the sister-ships of the Iowa Class arguably hold a symbolic status as monuments in naval surface warship design. Unlike torpedo boats, tin-can destroyers, flat-top aircraft carriers, and pig-boat submarines, the teak decks and towering masts of Wisconsin have perceivable design connections to a bygone era of romance, glory and naval lore. In the great Nelsonian line-of-battle tradition, the Wisconsin silhouette features visible elements of armored big-gun firpower and elegant line.
Formally placed into U.S. Navy commission on 16 April 1944, the bluejackets and officers of Wisconsin shared a common and unique bond as battleship sailors-serving aboard a vessel that was distinctively important to the fleet. Following centuries of naval tradition and surface warship development, Wisconsin is formidably armed with a main battery of three 16"/50 gun turrets and a secondary battery of five duo-purpose 5"/38 gun mounts. Accommodating various types of aircraft, the decks of the Wisconsin once bristled with numerous antiaircraft gun mounts in World War II, the Korean War, and throughout the Cold War. During the Persian Gulf War, the Wisconsin crew coordinated the first Tomahawk missile strikes against Iraq using contemporary communications and intelligence gathering equipment.