Arizona prepares for World War II Memorial


A World War II Memorial is coming to the state Capitol, and the last existing gun barrel from the USS Arizona will be part of its centerpiece. Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who has been active in the establishment of the WWII memorial, said he learned a couple of years ago that a barrel from the famed, fallen battleship still lived, but in outside storage, in the elements, in Virginia. “Now this is 54 feet long, weighs 70 tons, it shoots a 14-inch shell about 20 and a half miles — so it shoots a Volkswagen over the horizon, essentially,” he said during his Yuma visit Tuesday.

Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza outside the Capitol is already graced by a USS Arizona anchor and its masthead, so Bennett contacted the Navy to ask if Phoenix could be the barrel’s new home. He said the director he spoke with was hesitant at first, because the barrel is the last from the ship that went down during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Instead, he offered Bennett a gun barrel from the USS Missouri, because seven of those still exist.

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