USS California (BB-44), a Tennessee-class battleship, was the fifth ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 31st state. Beginning as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, she served in the Pacific her entire career. She was sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor at her moorings in Battleship Row, but was salvaged and reconstructed. She served again for the remainder of World War II before being decommissioned as obsolete in 1947.
Her keel was laid down on 25 October 1916 by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California. She was launched 20 November 1919 sponsored by Mrs. R.T. (Barbara Stephens) Zane, daughter of California governor William D. Stephens; and commissioned on 10 August 1921, Captain Henry Joseph Ziegemeier in command. She immediately reported to the Pacific Fleet as flagship.
For 20 years, from 1921-1941, California served first as flagship of the Pacific Fleet, then as flagship of the Battle Fleet (Battle Force), US Fleet. Her annual activities included joint Army-Navy exercises, tactical and organizational development problems, and fleet concentrations for various purposes. Intensive training and superior performance won her the Battle Efficiency Pennant for 1921 and 1922, and the Gunnery "E" for 1925 and 1926.