Tag Archives: bb-39

Battleship No. 39 Reopens

The USS Arizona Memorial has been closed since May 2018 for a $2.1 million stabilization and limited reconstruction, but it will be reopened on September 1, 2019 (Sunday). The National Park Service, in coordination with the Navy and contractors, completed the final phase of construction this month, with CPO selectees putting the finishing touches on the monument.

“The National Park Service is excited to welcome our visitors back to the USS Arizona Memorial very soon,” said Pearl Harbor National Memorial Acting Superintendent Steve Mietz in a statement. “It is a great honor to share the stories of the men of the USS Arizona, and all of those who served, suffered and sacrificed on Oahu on December 7, 1941. That is the cornerstone of our mission here, and restoration of public access to this iconic place is critical as we continue to tell their stories and honor their memory,” Mietz said.

The Tombstones of Battleship Row

In the 1930s, the Navy built 16 fixed concrete moorings to relieve congestion at Pearl and to provide additional berthing space for capital ships. Established in pairs designated F1 through F8, North and South, the eight along Ford Island’s southeast side became known as the famed “Battleship Row.”

Today, the quays remain as tombstones to the opening act of the Pacific War. However, they were important far past 7 December 1941.

As noted by the NPS:

From the quays, American salvage workers accomplished unprecedented feats in the recovery of sunken battleships. Workers raised the USS California, USS West Virginia, and righted and refloated the USS Oklahoma. Extensive salvage work was performed on the USS Arizona. The quays were the foundations of the recovery, which lead ships like the West Virginia fighting throughout the remainder of World War II.

Now, as noted by the Park Service, “for the first time since 1941, the fleet moorings of Battleship Row are being examined, repaired, and architecturally reviewed in order to preserve these historic structures. It’s all part of a joint program with the Concrete Preservation Institute and the National Park Service to preserve and restore the moorings along Battleship Row.”

More on that, here 

Warship Wednesday, June 19, 2019: Coming Full Circle, OTD 104 & 75 Years Ago

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, June 19, 2019: Coming Full Circle, OTD 104 & 75 Years Ago

Launch of USS Arizona (BB-39) UA 476.12

NARA Photo UA 476.12

As a special Warship Wednesday, above we see Battleship No. 39, PCU USS Arizona at her launch on her builder’s ways at the New York Navy Yard, 19 June 1915– some 104 years ago today.

The second ship of the Pennsylvania-class, Arizona‘s keel had been laid on 16 March 1914 with then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt in attendance. The ceremony included FDR closely observing the nailing up of the ship’s good luck horseshoe.

Laying Keel of U.S.S. Battleship Number 39, Nailing of the Horseshoe. NARA 10-a2-131-0004-00011 AC

Detail of the above, with a very mobile and bowler-wearing FDR circled, peering down on the ceremony. He would not be stricken with polio until 1921

Her launching, just 15 months after she was laid down, was attended by a reported crowd of 75,000 including Roosevelt, NYC Mayor John Purroy Mitchel, most of the big name naval brass of the era– the modern battleships Florida, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, New York, and Texas were in the Hudson for the event– and various luminaries of the day. It was quite the affair.

USS ARIZONA (BB-39) Launching Ticket. Courtesy of Mr. R. Lincoln Hedlander, USS LEVIATHAN Veterans Association. NH 75450

Secretary of the Navy invitation to the ship’s launching, at the New York Navy Yard, 19 June 1915. Note Secretary of the Navy flag and Arizona State seal. Courtesy of Mrs. Worth Sprunt, 1974. Collection of Rear Admiral B. F. Hutchison. NH 81429

There was a huge delegation from her namesake state led by Arizona Gov. George W. P. Hunt and including Sen. Henry F. Ashurst and pioneer Miss Esther Rose– the latter a sponsor who brought a carboy of the water from the state’s Salt River first spilled over the Theodore Roosevelt Dam in 1911, for use in the double christening of water and wine across the ship’s bow.

The good people of Arizona would, over the next year while the ship was fitting out at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, go on to fund an extensive Reed & Barton silver service for “their” new battleship by popular subscription. It was ready to present to the dreadnought upon her commissioning in 1916.

Removed during a “strip ship” by the US Navy at Bremerton, Washington in late 1940-early 1941 in preparation for the war, the service was later carried aboard the light cruiser USS Tucson (CL-98) and returned to the state in 1953. Today, the treasured relics are on display at the Arizona Capitol Museum

The 1915 event was, by contemporary accounts, the top news of the day.

Heading down the ways. NARA Photo 19-N-3339

USS Arizona afloat after launch NARA 19-LC-19A-24

USS Arizona pushed by tugs after launch. The third warship named after the territory/state; the Navy has never again issued the name. NARA 19-LC-19A-10

Fast forward from that joyous day in 1915 and Arizona would be a happy and lucky ship– remaining stateside during World War I– across more than two decades of faithful service until that fateful Day of Infamy, as later-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would describe her loss to the world.

On 7 December 1941, she was hit multiple times in the first few minutes of the Japanese attack with one air-dropped bomb penetrating the armored deck near her forward ammunition magazine, sparking a massive explosion that killed 1,177 of the sailors and Marines on board. Mortally damaged, Arizona still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row.

Curiously, on the 29th anniversary of Arizona‘s christening (19 June 1944– 75 years ago today) the opening acts of the pivotal Battle of the Philippine Sea, one of the last gasps of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was well underway.

Remembered as the “Marianas turkey shoot”, the Japanese lost three precious aircraft carriers and 600 warplanes of their fleet air arm along with their irreplaceable pilots– which amounted to something like 90 percent of their effective naval aviation strength across the IJN.

A VF-1 Top Hatter F6F-3 fighter is launched from USS YORKTOWN, to intercept enemy forces during Mariana's turkey shoot 19 June 1944. Note target information board under the propeller. 80-G-248440

A VF-1 Top Hatter F6F-3 Hellcat fighter is launched from USS YORKTOWN, to intercept enemy forces during Mariana’s turkey shoot 19 June 1944. Note target information board under the propeller. 80-G-248440

Among those Japanese flattops scratched that day included Shokaku, one of six Japanese carriers of the Kido Butai to participate in the Pearl Harbor attack that sunk Arizona. Shokaku was struck at 11:22 on 19 June by three to four torpedoes from the submarine USS Cavalla (SS-224) and slipped below the waves just after midnight on the 20th, taking some 1,272 men with her.

The scale, you could say, was balanced.

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New USS Arizona Memorial Dedicated at University of Arizona

Photo Credit Aengus Anderson

Photo Credit Aengus Anderson

A new memorial to the sunken battleship the USS Arizona was unveiled on Sunday, three days before the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that propelled the United States into World War II.

Installed on the grassy mall in the center of the University of Arizona campus, the USS Arizona Mall Memorial consists of a full-scale outline of the famous ship’s deck and a brick plaza with 1,177 bronze medallions inscribed with the name, rank and home state of each of the soldiers and Marines who died aboard the ship on Dec. 7, 1941.

“This memorial is a fitting contribution to the UA’s tradition of remembering the USS Arizona and is a wonderful addition to the UA Mall and the life of our campus,” UA President Ann Weaver Hart said to an overflow crowd at the dedication ceremony. “The installation will help all of us to remember the sacrifice of the Arizona’s crew, and our hope is that it inspires gratitude and reminds us of the sacrifice others have made in defense of our freedoms.”

The event included a flyover by the A-10s of the 47th Fighter Squadron from nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and a presentation of colors by the UA’s NROTC Color Guard, followed by a performance of the national anthem by Dolce Voces, an all-female a cappella group at the University.

The USS Arizona Mall Memorial illustrates the size of the ship’s massive deck, which was 597 feet long — the length of two football fields — and 97 feet wide. The installation extends lengthwise, west to east, stern to bow, from the first and oldest building on the UA campus, Old Main, to a cactus display, the Krutch Garden. The outline of the ship is created by a narrow strip of rubberized track material in the grass of the mall. UA alumnus Yasser Malaika created the 3-D modeling of the memorial used in its construction.

Photo Credit Aengus Anderson

Photo Credit Aengus Anderson

The memorial includes a brick walkway with curved walls containing the medallions, and it includes a flagpole that lines up directly with the Student Union Memorial Center tower that enshrines one of two bells once housed on the USS Arizona.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans, commander of the Naval Service Training Command, and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a retired Air Force colonel, also spoke at the dedication.

“The University of Arizona has a unique bond and relationship with Pearl Harbor, as the famed battleship the USS Arizona and its salvaged remains now act as a memorial for many of the sailors our nation lost (on Dec. 7, 1941),” Evans said.

“We’ve got to continue on with their legacy and honoring them,” McSally said of those who perished aboard the Arizona. “May we remember and not forget.”

Three Tucsonans were responsible for bringing the idea for the memorial to Bob Smith, UA vice president for University Planning, Design and Operations.

Bill Westcott, David Carter and Chuck Albanese, retired dean and professor of the UA College of Architecture, raised $160,000 in private donations to fund the project. Carter and Albanese previously had worked together on preservation projects, and Westcott lost his namesake uncle, Seaman 1st Class William P. Westcott Jr., on the USS Arizona.

“You need to be drawn in (by a memorial),” Westcott said, “and this does it.”

“We designed this memorial to honor all veterans with the intent that they would visit the site for many, many years to come,” Albanese said.

The UA is a repository for many artifacts from the USS Arizona, with University Libraries’ Special Collections managing one of the world’s largest archives of memorabilia from the ship. An exhibit curated by Special Collections, “The Life and Legacy of the USS Arizona,” continues through Dec. 23.

The UA’s Student Union Memorial Center is a multilevel cylindrical drum designed to represent the shape of the USS Arizona‘s superstructure. Many artifacts are displayed permanently in a USS Arizona room in the Student Union.

USS Arizona steams into New York past the Statue of Liberty, from the University Libraries' Special Collections

USS Arizona steams into New York past the Statue of Liberty, from the University Libraries’ Special Collections