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USS Oklahoma

USS Oklahoma before World War II

 USS Oklahoma "Okie"

Photo above shows the Oklahoma before WWII.

The men of the Oklahoma, fought bravely during the attack on Pearl Harbor and several were cited for heroism, or were honored posthumously by having a ship named for them. Two of these were Ensign Flaherty and Seaman First Class James Richard Ward who remained holding flashlights in a gun turret so that others could see to escape as the ship was capsizing. The photo to the left above, shows the Oklahoma as she capsized and sunk.

Rescue teams for the USS Oklahoma

Being outboard of the Maryland, the unprotected Oklahoma took three or more torpedo hits and capsized within eight to eleven minutes. The Oklahoma capsized so quickly that many of her crew were trapped inside and an intense rescue operation took place over the next two days. In the end, thirty-two sailors were rescued, but over four-hundred were killed. The USS Oklahoma suffered the second greatest loss of life on a single vessel during the Pearl Harbor attack. Photo to the right shows rescue teams working on the capsized Oklahoma.

According to the Oklahoma Memorial located on Ford Island, “following a massive salvage effort where she was righted, patched, and re-floated, Oklahoma was towed to dry dock in December 1943. Too old and too badly damaged, she was stripped of her guns and equipment and then decommissioned in September 1944. Sold for scrap, she was en route to the west coast when she mercifully broke her tow and sank on 17 May 1947.”

U.S. Navy Photographs, National Archives Collection.

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Damage report on USS Oklahoma
February 15, 1942

"Oklahoma capsized at her berth within eight to eleven minutes after receiving three or more hits by aircraft torpedoes. the hull is 20° to 30° to being up-side down, with a considerable portion of the bottom and starboard side above water."