0806 hrs Four armor-piercing bombs hit the USS Arizona—one penetrating the ship and exploding three decks below the surface. This detonation ignited a hundred tons of blackpowder in the interior of the ship. The resulting explosion broke the battleship in half and sent a column of fire and red smoke a thousand feet in the air. Within eight minutes of the first bomb strike, the Arizona lay on the floor of Pearl Harbor. 1177 officers, sailors and marines went down with the Arizona that Sunday morning, making this attack the worst single disaster in U.S. naval history.
The USS Arizona, resting on the bottom Pearl Harbor, leaks about one quart of oil each day. Survivors call them tears, believing the Arizona will leak until all survivors have joined their shipmates in the watery grave (the National Park Service allows survivors to have their ashes interred in the Arizona).
Nearby, the USS Oklahoma faced the same fate. From Navy History (at this link),
USS Maryland (BB-46) was moored inboard of USS Oklahoma (BB-37), and was thus protected by her when Japanese torpedo planes struck. The unfortunate Oklahoma, an older ship with much less adequate protection against underwater damage, was hit by up to nine torpedoes. Her hull's port side was opened almost completely from below the forward gun turret back to the third turret, a distance of over 250 feet. She listed quickly, her port bilge struck the harbor bottom, and she then rolled almost completely over. Oklahoma came to rest less than twenty minutes after she was first hit.
On the other side of Ford Island, the USS Utah became a target. From Pearl Harbor in Hawaii (at this link),
The USS Utah was immediately struck by a torpedo, and by 8:12 a.m., its mooring lines had snapped and it had rolled over on its beam ends. Most men headed to shore for safety, but Commander Isquith, who had heard knockings from the overturned ship’s hull, organized a team of volunteers to return to the ship on a rescue mission. Thanks to this small band of heroes, ten men were rescued from perishing in a would-be tomb.
The Utah's partially submerged hulk still rests in Pearl Harbor, rusting away with the remains of 58 men trapped inside it.
A memorial in honor of the USS Utah crew was built in 1972 on the Ford Island shore, adjacent to the wreck. The ship won one battle star for its service in World War II.
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Kim in Hawaii
|The Memorial spans the sunken USS Arizona.|
Photo by US Navy (Public Domain)