|Ford Island in 1986|
U. S. Navy Photo by PH2 Thompson
73 years ago, the day started peacefully enough...
|Pearl Harbor on October 30, 1941, looking southwest|
U. S. Navy from the National Archives
It did not end peacefully.
Hell visited Pearl Harbor 73 years ago today.
Hell in the form of 353 Imperial Japanese Navy fighters, bombers and torpedo planes from six Japanese aircraft carriers. Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, Soryu, Zuikaku and Shokaku. Of those six carriers, four (underlined) would be sunk at the Battle of Midway, six months after Pearl Harbor. Zuikaku and Shokaku would survive a while longer but neither would survive the war.
But that was in the future...
On December 7th, 1941, a date which still lives in infamy, Hell came to Pearl Harbor.
|Aerial photo from one of the Japanese aircraft, battleship row is on the other side of Ford Island|
She was a proud ship, displacing over 31,000 tons (deep load) designed for a crew of 55 officers and 890 men. She was 608 feet long, with a beam of 97 feet and she drew 29 feet 3 inches of water (deep load). She could make 21 knots at flank speed
Her armament comprised twelve 14-inch/45 guns in four turrets and she mounted twenty-two 5-inch/51 guns, four 3-inch/50 AA guns and two 21-inch torpedo tubes.
She was a magnificent warship, a product of American skill and ingenuity.
|USS Arizona (BB-39) after 1931 modernization|
Public domain photo in the National Archives
|USS Arizona, underway.|
She did not survive the attack...
Shortly before 08:00 local time on 7 December 1941, Japanese aircraft from six aircraft carriers struck the Pacific Fleet as it lay in port at Pearl Harbor, and wrought devastation on the warships and the facilities defending Hawaii. On board Arizona, the ship's air raid alarm went off at about 07:55, and the ship went to general quarters soon after. Shortly after 08:00, 10 Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers, five each from the carriers Kaga and Hiryū, attacked Arizona. All of the aircraft were carrying 410-millimeter (16.1 in) armor-piercing shells modified into 797-kilogram (1,757 lb) bombs. Flying at an estimated altitude of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft), Kaga 's aircraft bombed Arizona from amidships to stern. Soon after, Hiryu 's bombers hit the bow area. (W)
|Arizona 's forward magazines explode|
|In the days after the attack, Arizona lies on the bottom of the harbor,|
her twisted superstructure still above the waves.
After the attack, several sailors received medals for their conduct and actions under fire. Lieutenant Commander Samuel G. Fuqua, the ship's damage control officer, earned the Medal of Honor for his cool-headedness while quelling fires and getting survivors off the ship. Posthumous awards of the Medal of Honor also went to Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, the first flag officer killed in the Pacific war, and to Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh, who reached the bridge and was attempting to defend his ship when the bomb that hit the ammunition magazines destroyed her. The ship herself was awarded one battle star for her service in World War II.
Arizona was placed "in ordinary" (declared to be temporarily out of service) at Pearl Harbor on 29 December, and was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 December 1942. She was so badly damaged by the magazine explosion that she was not thought fit for service even if she could be salvaged, unlike many of the other sunken ships nearby. Her surviving superstructure was scrapped in 1942, and her main armament was salvaged over the next year and a half. The aft main gun turrets were removed and reinstalled as United States Army Coast Artillery Corps Battery Arizona at Kahe Point on the west coast of Oahu and Battery Pennsylvania on the Mokapu Peninsula, covering Kaneohe Bay at what is now Marine Corps Base Hawaii. This battery, known as Battery Pennsylvania, fired its guns for the first and last time on V-J Day in August 1945 while training, while the nearby Battery Arizona was never completed. Both forward turrets were left in place, although the guns from Turret II were salvaged and later installed on the battleship Nevada in the fall of 1944 after having been straightened and relined. Nevada later fired these same guns against the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Iwo Jima.
The wreck of Arizona remains at Pearl Harbor to commemorate the men of her crew lost that December morning in 1941. On 7 March 1950, Admiral Arthur W. Radford, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet at that time, instituted the raising of colors over her remains. Legislation during the administrations of presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy resulted in the designation of the wreck as a national shrine in 1962. A memorial was built across the ship's sunken remains, including a shrine room listing the names of the lost crew members on a marble wall. The national memorial was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 15 October 1966. The ship herself was designated a National Historic Landmark on 5 May 1989. Upon their death, survivors of the attack may have their ashes placed within the ship, among their fallen comrades. Veterans who served aboard the ship at other times may have their ashes scattered in the water above the ship. (W)
|Tears of the Arizona|
USS Arizona oil seepage by JGHowes
© by James G. Howes, November, 2005*
|USS Arizona Memorial U. S. Navy photo by: PH3(AW/SW) Jayme Pastoric|
The USS Arizona Memorial marks the final resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and marines killed on the USS Arizona (BB-39).
|USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) rendering honors to USS Arizona|
U. S. Navy photo by PM3 Kittie Van den Bosch
We shall never forget.
|Pearl Harbor survivor Bill Johnson,|
U.S. Navy photo by Chief Journalist David Rush
* The copyright holder of this file, James G. Howes, allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted.