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USS Oklahoma Pearl Harbor History

USS Oklahoma Pearl Harbor History

The USS Oklahoma (BB-37) was among the largest casualties of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

On December 7th, 1941, a total of 429 crew died when the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) capsized and sunk on Battleship Row after being struck by several bombs and torpedoes during the Japanese attack. Most of the battleships that were recovered after Pearl Harbor were able to be salvaged and return to duty. But, not the USS Oklahoma. She was too damaged and was eventually stripped of her remaining armaments and superstructure before being sold for scrap in 1946.

Learn about the Pearl Harbor history with these photos of the USS Oklahoma Battleship:

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

The USS Oklahoma battleship was based at Pearl Harbor from December 29, 1937 for patrols and exercises, and only twice returned to the mainland.

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

The USS Oklahoma took three torpedo hits almost immediately after the first Japanese bombs fell. As she began to capsize, two more torpedoes struck home.

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

Within 12 minutes after the attack began, she had rolled over until halted by her masts touching bottom, her starboard side above water, and a part of her keel exposed.

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

429 of her officers and enlisted men were killed or missing. One of those killed—Father Aloysius Schmitt—was the first American chaplain of any faith to die in World War II.

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

Julio DeCastro, a Hawaiian civilian yard worker, organized a team that saved 32 Oklahoma sailors.

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

Some of those who died later had ships named after them such as Ensign John England for whom USS England (DE-635) and USS England (DLG-22) are named. The USS Austin (DE-15) was named for Chief Carpenter John Arnold Austin who was also posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the attack. Two Medals of Honor, three Navy and Marine Corps Medals and one Navy Cross were awarded to sailors who served on board the Oklahoma during the attack.

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

In 2003, the U.S. Navy recovered part of the mast of the Oklahoma from the bottom of Pearl Harbor. In 2007, it was flown to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, then delivered to War Memorial Park in Muskogee, Oklahoma for permanent display.

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 2007, the 66th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a memorial for the 429 crew members who were killed in the attack was dedicated on Ford Island, just outside the entrance to where the Missouri is docked as a museum. The Missouri is moored where the Oklahoma was moored when she was sunk.

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

USS Oklahoma Battleship (BB-37) Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Warbirds offers the best Hawai‘i flight adventure tours available. Be immersed in the details of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor and soar above the important sites that played a part in the “Day of Infamy.” Relive history as you retrace the steps of the Army and Navy airmen in the days following the bombing. Fly on some of the same routes the Japanese attackers used into the airfields at Wheeler, Kāne‘ohe and Bellows. There are many air tours in Hawai‘i, but only one warbird airplane flight. Located in Honolulu, Hawai‘i Pearl Harbor Warbirds provides a personal historical experience making it one of the best O‘ahu attractions.

Experience an immersive two hour adventure that allows you to relive history as a Naval Aviator and fly Pearl Harbor like it was on December 10th, 1941. Learn more about the Admiral’s Warbird Adventure.

Due to the difficulty of finding proper parts the Pearl Harbor Warbird will be out of service until early November
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