More I have read about the battleship U.S.S.South Dakota (BB-57), I might agree with others who hold similar thoughts about the ship. Yes she earned 13 battle stars along the way but was plagued by misfortunes all the way to Tokyo Bay in August 1945. For quickly she began getting a reputation in the fleet as a jinx ship because of her habit of getting into collisions, near collisions and suffering mechanical breakdowns at inopportune times. First time was when after sea trials in the Atlantic, she was ordered to proceed to Guadalcanal for action. Before she even got to the Panama Canal, her engines broke down. When she did finally reached the South Pacific, more misfits. On 6 September 1942, she was badly damaged when she struck an uncharted reef in the Lahai Passage. Divers from the repair ship Vestal inspected the hull and discovered a 150-foot (46 m) gash of length of plating. Another bad fortune had resulted in the South Dakota nearly colliding with the carrier Enterprise on Oc. 26, 1942, as a miscommunication while transferring steering control to the executive officer's (XO) station, which caused South Dakota to haul out of formation on, briefly headed toward Enterprise before the XO corrected the mistake. While attempting to avoid a submarine contact on the return trip to Nouméa, South Dakota collided with the destroyer Mahan on 30 October 42. During the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 Nov 1942 at 2311, the chief engineer tied down her circuit breakers, violating safety procedures. The system instantly went into series, and the big ship lost electrical power. Radar, fire control, turret motors, ammunition hoists, radios–everything went out, with her guns locked in train. Captain Gatch wrote later: ‘The psychological effect on the officers and crew was most depressing. At 2330 or so, South Dakota regained some electrical power but was still having problems, at 2342 she fired a salvo from her No. 3 turret that set fire to one of her Kingfisher seaplanes. With 39 dead and 59 wounded from exchanging fire with the Japanese task force, Captain Gatch realized his ship was in no shape for battle. He withdrew at 1 a.m., ‘to the great relief of the Task Force commander'. Admiral Davis was less charitable in his report of the action: ‘Retired? Hell, [South Dakota] just left the action. We didn’t know anything about it, and we didn’t see or hear from her until morning.’ Later that morning after the battle, at 09:51, Admiral Lee’s lookouts spotted the South Dakota coming up, leaking oil and signaling ‘We are not effective.’ She took station ahead of the U.S.S. Washington, and her leaking oil entered Washington‘s evaporators, polluting Washington‘s water lines for months. After that she sailed thru the Panama Canal up to New York for dry-dock and repairs. Then she was sent to the North Atlantic for escort convoys...no instances noted here...unreported that is. The next operation in which South Dakota participated was the invasion of the Marshall Islands, code-named Operation Flintlock, on Jan 18, 1944. South Dakota was now part of TG 37.2, Third Fleet, but heavy seas injured several men aboard South Dakota and swept one man overboard, who was not recovered. On 6 May 44, South Dakota was replenishing ammunition from the ammunition ship USS Wrangell when a tank of propellant for the 16 in (410 mm) guns exploded. The blast detonated four more tanks and caused a serious fire, forcing the crew to flood the magazine for turret number 2 to avoid a catastrophic explosion. Three men were killed by the explosion and eight more were seriously wounded and later died; another twenty-four were less-seriously injured in the accident. Might of been more unreported instances after that but she did cruise in Tokyo Bay in August 1945 to join in the surrender proceedings...some were surprised she didn't breakdown or collide into the U.S.S. Missouri.