BB-40 Historians

Table of Contents

Howard E. Lee, Jr. - Howard's Mountain: The Story of a Sailor and his Ship

The Crew of The Queen

Berle Spurlock - BB-40 Pictures from Berle's Collection

Ron Reeves, HTC(Ret) - USS NEW MEXICO (BB-40) Commanding Officers

Gaye Fletcher - USS New Mexico BB-40 Bunk Keys

Karen Fessler - BB-40 Photos from Norman H. Booth's Service Aboard the Ship

Phelps White - Cadets view the BB-40

W. Dale Carter - Thanksgiving 1944 Aboard the BB-40

CAPT Jerry Zacharias - Photos from CAPT E.M. Zacharias, CO of BB-40

Service of 14"-50 Caliber Turrent Manual

Service of 5"-25 Caliber A.A. Gun Manual

The Binnacle - A 20 Year History of the BB-40

New Mexico Magazine, April 1975: USS New Mexico - A Proud History

Photo of USS New Mexico BB-40 Circa 1940

Margarita C. de Baca, standing next to a Navy Lieutenant, at the Christening Ceremony for Battleship NEW MEXICO on April 23, 1917. Margarita was the daughter of Governor Ezequiel C. de Baca who died in office two months before the christening.Photo courtesy of Bob C. de Baca.

MUSS New Mexico (BB-40) in drydock, possibly during modernization at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during the period 1931-1933

Howard E. Lee, Jr. served on BB-40 during World War II. Read his fascinating story about life in the Navy on a Battleship. Howard's Mountain

Our most qualified BB-40 Historians are the crew of The Queen. Their 51 st reunion was held 18-21 September 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Front Row: Jerry Bates - George Herder - Max Igleheart - Harold Streets – George Smith 2nd Row: Roy Hunt – William Beard – Grant Erickson – La Vell Richins – Vern Dasher – Eugene Walker 3rd Row: Linn Peterson – Robert Way – Leon Hansen – Robert Goodwin – Jim Oeswein – Ernie Doyle 4th Row: Edward Ehalt – Leonard Hart – John Cox – Philip Lee – Bill Seaman

Congratulations Gentlemen. We salute your tremendous legacy of service to our nation. Keep making history!

Berle Spurlock was on Midway Island in the 1960's when someone sent him a navy ship cover. Since then he has collected stamps and joined the Universal Ship Cancellation Society. He started collecting covers, ships photos, and welcome aboard materials and now has a collection that fills seven file cabinets with five drawers each plus many albums of navy ship covers. He went aboard many of ships to obtain the cancellation. He sent us the following pictures of the BB-40 from his collection. Thanks Berle!

Ron Reeves, HTC (Ret) and a member of the Philadelphia Council of the Navy League of the United States, sent us a list of all of the BB-60 Commanding Officers. There are some well known names on this list. Thanks Ron!

USS NEW MEXICO (BB-40) Commanding Officers

Name From To Remarks
Robertson, Ashley Herman, CAPT May 1918 Sept 1918 Highest rank was VADM
Bostwick, Lucius Allyn, CAPT Sep1918 May 1919 Highest rank was RADM
Willard, Arthur Lee, CAPT May 1919 May 1921 Highest rank was RADM
Williams, George Washington, CAPT May 1921 Jun 1922
Stirling Jr., Yates, CAPT Jun 1922 Jun 1924
Brumby, Frank Hardeman, CAPT Jun 1924 Oct 1926
Leahy, William Daniel, CAPT Oct 1926 Oct 1927 Highest rank was FADM
Larimer, Edgar Brown, CAPT Oct 1927 May 1929
Watson, Adolphus Eugene, CAPT May 1929 Jun 1931
Cocke, Herbert Claiborne, CAPT Jun 1931 Jun 1933
Weaver, David Allen, CAPT Jun 1933 Nov 1934
Soule, Clarence Carroll, CAPT Nov 1934 Jun 1936
Fletcher, Frank Jack, CAPT Jun 1936 Dec 1937 Highest rank was ADM
Jacobs, Walter Frederick, CAPT Dec 1937 Jun 1939
Bauchman, Cortlandt C., CAPT Jun 1939 Jan 1941
Brown, Walter Elliott, CAPT Jan 1941 Sep 1942
Downes, Oliver Lee, CAPT Sep1942 Sep 1943
Zacharias Sr., Ellis Mark, CAPT Sep1943 Sep 1944
Fleming, Robert Walton, CAPT Sep 1944 Jan 1945 Killed in action by Kamikaze off Luzon
Warren, John Thompson, CDR Jan 1945 Mar 1945 Highest rank was RADM
Haines, John Meade, CAPT Mar 1945 Nov 1945 Highest rank was RADM
Newcomb, Arnold Houghton, CDR Nov 1945 Jul 1946

A Question from New Zealand

Gaye Fletcher from New Zealand sent us a question: “I have a metal disk with USS New Mexico on one side. The same side has a bell shape, the capital letter ‘R’, and the number 133. The obverse side has the eagle and U.S.N. I assume this belonged to one of the men on board the ship. I don't know how old it is. I know the ship was in New Zealand in the 1920s. Perhaps it was here again in the 1940s. The disk was in my family's possession and I have held on to it for many years. Would like to know more about it and the owner of it.”

Gaye sent us these pictures:

We think we have identified the disk as a bunk key since it is similar to bunk keys one of our committee members remembers from USS IOWA (BB-61). If anyone has a better identification or more details to share please send them to us.

Karen Fessler sent us the following pictures. Karen’s father, Norman H. Booth, served on the NEW MEXICO during World War II. He was one of 87 wounded in January 1945. Norman lives in Oklahoma and had Karen send us his favorite pictures.

The Queen at Anchor

Starboard 30° Angle on the Bow

BB-40 with Seaplane

BB-40 Letting Loose

Night Shooting

Aft guns pointed to starboard

Watching an engagement

Antiaircraft Drill

Antiaircraft Guns

Gun Crew

Canisters pile up after shooting

At anchor with Patrol Boats alongside

Crewmembers gather Topside

Studying the Deck

Gun Canisters

A Quiet Day on Deck

Crewmembers Pause for a Picture

Observing Events Ashore


Reviewing the Marine Detachment

Award Ceremony

Official Ceremonies

War Correspondents

Visiting Admiral

Welcome Aboard!

Enjoying a Movie

Crossing the Equator

Sunning on the Bow

Religious Services

Ship’s Mascot

Christmas Dinner 1943

Thanks for the great pictures Karen and Norman and for your service to the nation Norman.

Phelps White sent us the following pictures. His father attended the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) 1919-1923.  On one occasion some cadets were sent to Monterrey for ROTC training and were shown the USS NEW MEXICO.

BB-40 at Anchor

Starboard side looking Aft

View from Port Bow

Thanksgiving Meal on the BB-40 in 1944:

W. Dale Carter’s brother John N. Carter served on the USS NEW MEXICO from the latter part of 1944 until she was decommissioned in 1946. Dale found the menu shown below that was used on Thanksgiving Day in 1944. Below the menu is a picture of John Carter.

Menu for USS NEW MEXICO on 30 November 1944

John N. Carter – Served on BB-40 from late 1944 through 1946

The following images were provided by CAPT Jerry Zacharias, the son of CAPT Zacharias, CO of BB-40 from September 9, 1942 to August 1, 1943.

At Anchor

Efate Hills

Church Services

In Column

Change of Command

Richard Hatch on Fantail

Shelling Peninsula

Near Miss


Four Crew Members

Skipper EMZ On the Bridge

CAPT Zacharias on bridge

CAPT E.M. Zacharias

Battle Stations

Firing at aircraft

Transfering Casualty

Gunfire effects Saipan


RADM Griffin & CAPT Zack

Shelling Guam

Shelling Saipan

Piece of Liscomb Bay

Efate Clubhouse

Medal Presentation

Medal Presentation

DFC Medal Award



LT Hatch

USS New Mexico BB-40

USS New Mexico BB-40 Circa 1940