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USS Oklahoma: 1916 - 1946


USS Oklahoma was a 27,500 ton Nevada Class Battleship.  She was built in Camden, New Jersey and was commissioned in May of 1916 and spent most of her first five years of service in the Atlantic.  In 1919, Oklahoma escorted President Woodrow Wilson during his voyages to and from France.  In 1921, she moved to the Pacific.  She participated in the Battle Fleet's trans-Pacific cruise to Australia and New Zealand in the summer of 1925.  Oklahoma was modernized in 1927-29 with a greatly altered appearance and much improved battle worthiness.  In 1936, she was sent to Europe to help evacuate U.S. Citizens during the Spanish Civil War before being based in Pearl Harbor in 1940.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor


On December 7, 1941, during the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the USS Maryland was moored inside of USS Oklahoma and was protected by the Oklahoma when the Japanese torpedo planes struck. The Oklahoma was hit by up to nine torpedoes. Her hull's port side was almost completely open from below the forward gun turret back to the third turret, a distance of over 250 feet. She listed quickly, her port bilge stuck by the harbor bottom, and she then rolled almost completely over. The Oklahoma came to rest less than twenty minutes after she was first hit. Some of her starboard underwater hull and the starboard propeller were now all that showed above the surface of Pearl Harbor. Some of Oklahoma's men were still alive inside her upturned hull, and their rescue became the focus of an intense effort over the next two days. Thirty-two sailors were recovered alive, but 429 of her crew died.

USS Oklahoma after the Pearl Harbor attack


In 1943, the capsized USS Oklahoma was rolled upright and raised in one of the salvage profession's greatest undertakings, but she was not further repaired. She was stripped of her guns and sold for scrap. While being towed to the mainland, in 1947, she sank to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. There is a memorial dedicated to the Oklahoma today located on Ford Island at Pearl Harbor.  It is located just a short distance from where she was moored on December 7, 1941. 

USS Oklahoma (BB-37)

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