USS Washington BB-56 was laid down in June 1938 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and commissioned in May 1941. In December Washington became the flagship for Rear Admiral John W. Wilcox, Commander of Battleship Division 6, and Commander of the Atlantic Fleet battleships. In April 1942 she joined the British Home Fleet. The force got underway to engage in reconnaissance for the protection of the vital convoys running to Murmansk. In September 1942 Washington was put to sea, bound for a rendezvous with TF-17 and with the force formed around the aircraft carrier Hornet. In the fourth battle of Savo Island, Washington engaged Kirishima in the first head-to-head confrontation of battleships in the Pacific War. In seven minutes, tracking by radar, Washington sent 75 rounds of 16-inch and 107 rounds of 5-inch at ranges from 8,400 to 12,650 yards, scoring at least nine hits with her main battery and about forty with her 5-inchers and silencing the enemy battleship in short order. USS Washington earned 13 battle stars during World War II in operations that carried her from the Arctic Circle to the western Pacific.