USS Arizona (BB 39)

608' 0" Overall length
600' 0" Waterline length
97' 1/2" Maximum Beam - 1916
106' 2 3/4" Maximum Beam - 1941

31,400 tons Standard - 1916
32,567 tons Full Load - 1916
32,600 tons Standard - 1941
37,654 tons Full Load - 1941

Construction of the ship began on March 6, 1914, and was completed on June 19, 1915. The Arizona and the USS Pennsylvania were constructed in response to the British Royal Navy launching the RMS Dreadnaught.

Entering service of the US Navy in 1916, the Arizona was used in WWI as a gunnery training vessel. This was due to the fact that the Arizona burned oil instead of coal for fuel and that oil was scarce in Europe.

During the peace between WWI and WWII, the Arizona continued to be utilized as a training vessel. In 1920, the Arizona carried small airplanes used as spotters for the ship's guns. Rails and catapults were installed on the ship to launch the planes into the air. In 1924, Madeline Blair became a stowaway on the Arizona, exchanging favors for the free ride to San Pedro. Her actions resulted in the court martial of twenty-three crew members. In 1929, the Arizona went through a complete modernization. Additional armor was added to protect against air attacks, and new boilers and turbines were installed.

Notable people did sail on the Arizona. Most notable was President Herbert Hoover when he went on a Caribbean cruise upon completion of the modernization of the ship. In 1933, the Arizona was anchored off Long Beach, and served in the rescue operations after an earthquake struck the area. In 1934, the Arizona was used as a filming location for Here Comes the Navy, starring James Cagney.

December 7, 1941: The Arizona is sunk
Just shortly after 8:00am, Japanese aircraft began their assault on Pearl Harbor. An 800kg bomb hit the forward part of the ship, causing a huge explosion and detonation of the ship's munitions. With the ship rapidly sinking, there was little hope for survival of the ship's crew. Among the survivors were Lt. Commander Samuel G. Fuqua, whom recieved the Medal of Honor for his leadership in rescuing survivors. In total, 1177 of the total crew members lost their lives in the attack.

On December 1, 1942, the Arizona was removed from the registry of US Navy vessels. Attempts to recover the dead and the ship's records were also made during the year as well. Salvage crews were also on-site to recover as much of the Arizona as possible. The masts and superstructure were removed and scrapped. In 1960, Congress authorized the Navy to build the memorial that exists today in Pearl Harbor. Through donations, the memorial was constructed and dedicated on Memorial Day in 1962. A visitor's center opened up in 1980 and operations of the Arizona memorial were turned over to the National Park Service.

source: Arizona State University online resources (

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.