Park History From her humble beginnings on February 1, 1942 as the keel was laid at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia, Battleship USS ALABAMA (BB-60) has had a remarkable career. It first served in the Atlantic theater of operations during the war but was better known for its role in helping to take Japanese-held islands in the Pacific from 1943 to 1945, earning numerous citations. She began her World War II adventures in the North Atlantic in … US Navy History and Heritage Command As naval leaders called for vessels capable of 27 knots, designers sought a way to obtain this despite the reduced hull length. The USS Alabama (BB-60) is a World War II-era battleship and the fifth ship named after the state of Alabama. USS Alabama (BB-60) in Casco Bay, ME, during her shakedown period, circa December 1942.