USS Oklahoma, or Okie as she is fondly called, was a World War I era battleship. Oklahoma, and USS Nevada were the first US warships to sail using oil fuel instead of coal. On December 7, 1941, USS Oklahoma took several torpedo hits from the Japanese attack and eventually sank. She capsized and took with her a total of 429 men. Have a closer look at this mighty sea vessel, book a Pearl Harbor VIP Tour with us.
Righting and Re-floating
On July 15, 1942, the job of salvaging USS Oklahoma commenced. It took 8 months for the preparation alone to be completed. Righting and refloating the overturned hull of the USS Oklahoma was considered the largest and most difficult Pearl Harbor salvage job. Some of her equipment, some machinery, and remaining ammunition were recovered and taken off for reuse.
In 1946, USS Oklahoma was sold to a scrapping firm. However, she sank in a storm in May 1947 while under tow from Hawaii to the west coast.
Nearly 60 years after the attack, no memorial was built to commemorate Oklahoma, and more importantly, her crew. Part of the battleship remained submerged near Ford Island while many of her sailors and marines lay in mass graves, still unidentified. It may have seemed that Okie had been forgotten so in 2000, USS Oklahoma survivors, members of the USS Oklahoma Memorial at the Pearl Harbor Committee and hundreds of others came to help create the memorial.
For the 66th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack (2006), Pres. Bush officially signed the memorial into law as a National Memorial entrusted to the care of the National Park Service. On December 7, 2007, a memorial in honor of the 429 crew members who died onboard USS Oklahoma was formally dedicated.
The USS Oklahoma Memorial’s black granite walls symbolize the Oklahoma hulls while its white marble pillars stand to honor and represent the battleship’s lost marines and sailors.
Visitors on a USS Arizona Memorial Tour, or on other Pearl Harbor historical site tours can easily drop by and visit Okie and her crewmen’s memorial as it is located close to the other museums in Ford Island.