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Attack on USS Arizona

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USS Arizona BB-39 sunk during Japanese attack

USS Arizona sunk and burning during Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona was moored on the eastern side of Ford Island in Battleship Row, inboard of the Vestal and southwest of the Nevada.

At approximately 8:00 AM the Nakajima B5N “Kate” torpedo bombers dropped their torpedoes in the Southeast Loch waterway, targeting the battleships. The “Val” dive-bombers began dropping their bombs on Battleship Row. One of the bombs hit the forward ammunition magazine of the Arizona, causing a massive explosion. “Within one minute of the opening attack the battleship [Arizona] was literally torn apart by torpedo and bomb explosions” according to Samuel Morison in The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War, (p62). Photo above left shows the USS Arizona burning after the Japanese attack.

USS Arizona prior to World War II

US Navy photo shows the Arizona prior to WWII.

There were many acts of heroism on the part of Arizona's officers and men during the attack. As the burning ship sank, personnel of the anti-aircraft and machine gun batteries continued to fire on enemy planes while under continuous strafing. Others took part in heroic rescue operations. Three Arizona crew members were awarded the Medal of Honor and two others had ships named in their honor. Many other medals and citations for bravery were given to individual officers and sailors of the Arizona.

Wreck of the USS Arizona days after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor

The Arizona sank with a loss of over 1100 men, which was over half the casualties suffered by the entire fleet in the attack. Less than 300 of the ship's crew survived. The photo to the right shows the wreck of USS Arizona, several days after the attack, burned out and submerged in the harbor with only her mast and superstructure above water. U.S. Navy Photograph (# NH 63918).

The sunken USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the ship's over 1100 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. In 1961, a 184 foot long memorial structure was completed, spanning the mid-portion of the sunken battleship Arizona. The Arizona Memorial has come to commemorate all military personnel killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Damage report on USS Arizona Enclosure C to CINCPAC action report Serial 0479 February 15, 1942

Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona Memorial

"Arizona sank at her berth as a result of one or more aircraft torpedoes and about eight heavy bomb hits. One of the bomb hits (estimated as 2,000 pounds) exploded the forward magazines. The ship is considered to be a total wreck except for material which can be salvaged and reassigned. A considerable amount of ordnance material has already been removed, and work is underway in removing the 12-inch guns from turrets three and four."



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