The 14th Tallest ‘Building’ in the Yellowhammer State

Here we see have what the locals’ term “Big Grey AL,” the battleship USS Alabama (BB-60), just outside of downtown Mobile near the Austal shipyard at the park she has called home since 1964.

USS Alabama Eger 2.29.20

Note her distinctive large SK3 radar antenna array near the top of her mast. Photo by me on Leap Day 2020

Commissioned 16 August 1942, Alabama‘s entire active career ran just 4 years, 4 months, and 24 days before she was mothballed for another 15 years then stricken from the Navy List and later retired to her home state, with just 22 years on her.

Of note, the top of Alabama’s main mast is 194-feet above baseline to the roof of the truck light and TDG antenna– as is the rest of her class, which includes the scrapped USS South Dakota and USS Indiana, along with the preserved USS Massachusetts (BB-59). In terms of buildings, this works out to right at 18 stories, relatively, making Alabama about the 14th tallest in the state, if she was on dry land.

How does that compare to the later American battlewagons? Post-1980s refit, the Iowa-class battleships ran 216-feet, 5-inches ABL, peaking at the tip of the lighting rod above the newly-installed AS-3240/URN-25 TACAN Antenna.

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