Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced that two new Virginia-class submarines will be named after the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma in honor of the sailors that died on those vessels during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The two names will return to service 78 years after the surprise attack on December 7, 1941. The majority of the US casualties in that attack came from those two ships.
The next two Virginia-class nuclear fast-attack subs, SSN-802 and SSN-803, will be named USS Oklahoma and USS Arizona respectively.
Modly called on residents of the states of Oklahoma and Arizona to understand and celebrate as the US Navy memorializes the 1,177 lives that were lost on the Arizona (BB-39) and the 429 that were lost on the Oklahoma (BB-37).
He went on to say that he knew of no greater honor than for the Navy to build and commission two state-of-the-art warships to carry the spirit of those heroes.
Around 1.8 million people visit the Pearly Harbor National Memorial each year. The larger memorial contains memorials to the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and USS Utah.
It also contains six officer bungalows, three mooring quays and the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center.
The Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, released a statement calling it a “proud day for Arizona.” He said that the name “USS Arizona” holds a special place for the country and for the people of Arizona. “Today,” he said, “that legacy begins a new chapter.”
Virginia-class submarines are manufactured by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
They carry Tomahawk missiles with twelve VLS tubes and MK48 torpedoes with four torpedo tubes. Newer versions of the sub are featuring two VPT tubes which can each fire six Tomahawk missiles. This allows for simplified construction, less acquisition costs, and more payload flexibility.
A nuclear reactor provides the power for the sub which can move at 25+ knots.
The crew for one of these vessels includes 15 officers and 117 enlisted sailors.
Rather than use the traditional periscopes, the Virginia-class subs have photonics masts with visible and infrared digital cameras.
The first USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship that was commissioned in 1916. It stayed Stateside during World War I. She was bombed 15 minutes into the attack on Pearl Harbor.
900 of the 1,177 killed could not be recovered and remain on board the ship where they died. The ship itself still sits where she sank in about 40 feet of water off the coast of Ford Island.
The USS Oklahoma was a Nevada-class battleship which was also commissioned in 1916. During WWI, she worked to protect convoys from German U-boat attacks as they crossed the Atlantic.
The Oklahoma was hit by eight torpedoes at the beginning of the surprise attack.
In under twelve minutes, the Oklahoma rolled over until her masts hit the bottom. Nearly 500 sailors were trapped inside. Only 32 of those trapped were rescued.
Another Article From Us: Divers Use WW2 Equipment To Return A Crew Member To USS Arizona
The attack on Pearl Harbor led to the US declaring war against Japan. Germany then declared war on the US as the Germans were allies with the Japanese. With that, the US was officially a participant in World War II on the side of the Allies.