December 7, 1941, is a day that is forever etched in the memory of many Americans. One of the well-known naval vessels positioned in Pearl Harbor that day was the USS Arizona.
Before arriving at Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona had a productive background. It was erected in Brooklyn, New York at the New York Navy Yard and was launched into service in October 1916. She took a trial journey into the Caribbean and East coast before finally settling in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1918, she took a short trip to France.
Action after World War I
From April to June 1919, the USS Arizona embarked on another voyage to Europe, going as far as Turkey. During 1920 and 1921, she spent much of her time in the Atlantic and Caribbean, but in 1921, also visited Peru, giving the battleship the first look at the Pacific. The ship was stationed in California from August 1921 until 1929, but she took sporadic voyages to the Caribbean or Hawaii when Major United States Fleet exercises were being conducted.
The USS Arizona was restructured at the Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia from 1929 to 1931. There, the ship underwent major improvements to her protection detail. In March 1931, President Herbert Hoover took a trip on the ship. After that, she revisited the Pacific, staying there for the next 10 years. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave instructions for the battleship to be established at Pearl Harbor.
Destruction at Pearl Harbor
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona was secured in “Battleship Row” in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese suddenly attacked. Numerous bombs struck the battleship, one of which pierced the upper deck and ignited her front ammunition magazines, producing an enormous explosion. The ship’s body was completely destroyed, causing her to collapse and sink into the Pacific along with 1100 of her crew. In 1942, a great deal of the Arizona’s armor and structure was eradicated and two of the triple 14-inch gun turrets were relocated to the Army for emplacement as coast defense batteries on the island of Oahu.
The main component of the USS Arizona stayed in the same spot where she sank, a grave for those who went down with the ship. Many memorial services began in 1950 and a nice commemorative building was build over the fateful site. The USS Arizona Memorial is an eternal memorial to those brave servicemen who died at Pearl Harbor.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet throughout conflicts during the last century, battleships also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers who served on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common on these ships because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.