Most people are familiar with the iconic ship and the amazing memorial to her in Pearl Harbor. Here are some things you may not know and some great photos of her.
Dozens of Brothers Were Serving Aboard
There were 38 sets of brothers aboard the Arizona when the Japanese strike occurred. By the end of the attack, only 15 sets remained alive. Following this, U.S officials suggested that the practice of having siblings aboard the same ship should be discontinued. However, this was never enforced.
A Burial Ground for Survivors Also
The wreck of the USS Arizona currently lies in Pearl Harbor. Several of the crew members who survived the attack requested that this site serve as their burial ground. Cremated remains of these crewmen are put in an urn which would is placed under one of the ship’s gun turrets by a diver. The surviving crewmen see this as a way of getting back in touch with their fallen comrades.
Elvis Presley Performed to Raise Funds for the Memorial
Around 10% of the total cost of the USS Arizona memorial was raised by the KING, Elvis Presley. About fifty thousand dollars was raised in a concert at Pearl Harbor’s Block Arena. This memorial is visited by millions of people yearly.
Arizona’s Flag Officer was First to be killed in the Pacific War
The USS Arizona’s Rear Admiral, Isaac C. Kidd, died during the Japanese air strike on the ship. He turned out to be the first U.S Navy flag officer killed by enemy fire in the Pacific theaters. He was posthumously awarded the medal of honor.
Fuel Still Seeps From the Wreck of Arizona
Prior to the Pearl Harbor attack on 7th December 1941, the USS Arizona took on an enormous load of fuel in preparation for a trip later that month. During the attack, it began to leak out underwater. Fuel still seeps out of Arizona’s wreckage today at a rate of 8 liters per day. It is called “The Black Tears of Arizona.”
The keel of the USS Arizona was laid down on 16th March 1914 and the ship was launched 15 months later. It was one of the two ships that made up the Pennsylvania class of warships and the largest navy ship at the time. The ship was commissioned in 1916 and was named after the Union’s newest state at that time, but it did not see any action in World War I.
In 1918, Arizona sailed with 37 other ships to escort President Woodrow Wilson aboard the George Washington so he could attend the Paris peace conference. The Arizona joined the Pacific fleet in 1931, was sent to Pearl Harbor in 1940, and it was there that the ship met the end of its career.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Arizona was attacked by ten Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers, hitting it from amidships to stern and in the bow area. The last bomb hit near the ship’s second turret, probably penetrating the armored deck and hitting the ammunition magazines at the ship’s forward section. This resulted in a cataclysmic explosion that destroyed the forward part of the ship and effectively tore the Arizona apart. The ship lost 1177 crewmen in that attack.
Due to the level of damage inflicted on the Arizona in the Pearl Harbor attack, it was placed temporarily out of service on 29th December 1940 and by December 1942, its name was removed from the naval vessels register. It was scrapped and the salvaged armament reused on other ships.