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  USS Utah BB-31 / AG-16
USN
Florida Class Battleship

21,825 tons
521.5' x 88.3' x 28.3'
10 × 12 in guns,
16 × 5 in guns
2 × 21" torpedo tubes
Click For Enlargement
Earl Hinz
1980

Ship History
Laid down on March 9, 1909 at Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation. Launched on 23 December 1909 and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on August 31, 1911 with Captain William S. Benson in command.

Prewar History
After a shakedown cruise, Utah was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet in March 1912. She operated with the Fleet early that spring, conducting exercises in gunnery and torpedo defense, before she entered the New York Navy Yard on April 16 for an overhaul.

Due to tension in Mexico, Utah sailed for Mexican waters in early February and reached Vera Cruz on 16 February. Utah remained at Vera Cruz for almost two months before returning north to the New York Navy Yard in late June for an overhaul. Over the next three years, the battleship operated on a regular routine of battle practices and exercises from off the eastern seaboard into the Caribbean. When America entered World War I, Utah participated in convoy escort duties.

Postwar, Utah carried out a regular routine of battle practices and maneuvers, ranging from the New England coast to the Caribbean, into mid-1921. On July 17, 1920 redesignated BB-31 and later designated AG-16 as a mobile target for training and gunnery practice.

Wartime History
In 1941, she had been refitted and was in use for training purposes. Utah completed an advanced antiaircraft gunnery cruise in Hawaiian waters shortly before she returned to Pearl Harbor in early December 1941, mooring in Pearl Harbor off Ford Island in berth F-11.

Sinking History
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Captain and Executive Officer were ashore on leave, so the senior officer on board was Lieutenant Commander Solomon S. Isquith, the Engineer. At 0801, soon after sailors had begun raising the colors at the ship's fantail, the battleship took a torpedo hit forward and immediately started to list to port.

At 0812, mooring lines snapped, and Utah rolled over on her beam. Her survivors struck out for shore, some taking shelter on the mooring quays. The ship rolled over with 58 personnel trapped inside. There would have been more fatalities but for heroic measures of other sailors to rescue those trapped.

Shipwreck
Salvage was delayed until 1943 because of its low potential to be returned to fruitful service during the war. When salvage was underway, it over-rolled and lay down on its other side, as it rests today. The shipwreck was left where it rested.

Memorial
During 1972, a memorial was built on the northwest shore of Ford Island, adjacent to the ship's wreck

References
USS Utah Website

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

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