One unknown story of World War II concerns the role of the battleship USS Alabama (BB-60) in alerting Task Force 58 to a force of attacking enemy aircraft 60 years ago in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, commonly referred to as "The Marianas Turkey Shoot."
Historians have consistently omitted important details and circumstances of the battleship Alabama's initial contact and report in June 1944. Early evidence either was disregarded or considered unsubstantiated. Today, however, with early documentation augmented by the action reports of the three on-scene Task Force 58.7 battle line division commanders, the Alabama's so-called claim finally can be substantiated.
In August 1943, a new, improved SK air-search radar was to be fitted on the Alabama, but because of a time constraint and the need for the two battleships of Battleship Division Nine (the Alabama and South Dakota [BB-57]) in the Pacific, installation could not be accomplished. Thus, Captain Fred D. Kirtland had the equipment loaded aboard, with plans to install it at Pearl Harbor.