Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Pearl Harbor - 70 Years Later
Today, December 7th, 2011, a date which has lived in infamy - or at least 70 years after that date. I didn't want the 70th anniversary to go by with saying something about it. I wasn't alive for it but it was a pivotal historical event in the nation's lifetime. I thought I would say a few words about the battleships that were there and what became of them. If you look at the top picture on the right hand side is the Nevada, then next left is Arizona, then Tennessee with the West Virginia outboard, then Maryland with the Oklahoma outboard and then California. Forward left is the Pennsylvania which was actually in a dry dock and not along battleship row. Most people probably know that Arizona blew up and that most of the hull remains on the bottom at Pearl with a large white memorial over it. Nevada got underway but was damaged so bad it had to be grounded. Oklahoma was torpedoed and rolled over and sank with only its hull remaining above water. It was later raised and was being towed back to the states for scrapping when the tow broke and the ship sank somewhere in the northeast Pacific in bad weather. All of the rest were raised and/or repaired and returned to service. In the bottom picture we have from right the Maryland behind, which only received two bomb hits and was back in action in early 1942 along with its sister ship Colorado, which had not been at Pearl Harbor on December 7th. West Virginia is in front on the right and it received an extensive rebuild, it's beam being increased from 106' to 114' to accommodate additional anti-aircraft armament. Behind are the Tennessee and California, sister ships that were rebuilt as West Virginia. Then there's the Pennsylvania and Nevada, which both were repaired and modernized. So of the seven battleships at Pearl Harbor on the day of infamy, all but two returned to active duty and gave good service for the rest of the war. West Virginia even had the honor to be one of the allied ships in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945 at the surrender of Japan.