U.S.S. Arizona (1915)

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U.S.S. Arizona (1915)
Hull Number: BB-39
Builder: New York Navy Yard[1]
Laid down: 16 Mar, 1914[2]
Launched: 19 Jun, 1915[3]
Commissioned: 17 Oct, 1916[4]
Sunk: 7 Dec, 1941[5]
Fate: at Pearl Harbour
The second Arizona (Battleship No. 39) was laid down on 16 March 1914 at the New York Navy Yard; launched on 19 June 1915; sponsored by Miss Esther Ross, daughter of a prominent Arizona pioneer citizen, Mr. W. W. Ross of Prescott, Arizona; and commissioned at her builder's yard on 17 October, 1916 with Captain John D. McDonald in command.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Arizona departed New York on 16 November 1916 for shakedown training off the Virginia capes and Newport, proceeding thence to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Returning north to Norfolk on 16 December to test fire her battery and to conduct torpedo defense exercises in Tangier Sound. The battleship returned to her builders yard the day before Christmas of 1916 for post-shakedown overhaul. Completing these repairs and alterations on 3 April, 1917 she cleared the yard on that date for Norfolk, arriving there on the following day to join Battleship Division 8.

World War I

Within days, the United States forsook its tenuous neutrality in the global conflict then raging and entered World War I. The new battleship operated out of Norfolk throughout the war, serving as a gunnery training ship and patrolling the waters of the eastern seaboard from the Virginia Capes to New York. An oil- burner, she had not been deployed to European waters owning to a scarcity of fuel oil in the British Isles-the base of other American battleships sent to aid the Grand Fleet.

A week after the armistice of 11 November 1918 stilled the guns on the western front, Arizona stood out of Hampton Roads for Portland, England, and reached her destination on 30 November 1918, putting to sea with her division on 12 December to rendezvous with the transport George Washington, the ship carrying President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference. Arizona, one of the newest and most powerful American dreadnoughts, served as part of the honor escort convoying the American President to Brest, France, on 13 December, 1918.


Embarking 238 homeward-bound veterans in the precursor of a "Magic Carpet" operation of a later war, Arizona sailed from Brest for New York on 14 December, and arrived off Ambrose Light on the afternoon of Christmas Day, 1918. The next day, she passed in review before Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who was embarked in the yacht Mayflower off the Statue of Liberty, before entering New York Harbor in a great homecoming celebration. The battleship then sailed for Hampton Roads on 22 January 1919, returning to her base at Norfolk on the following day. Arizona sailed for Guantanamo Bay with the Fleet on 4 February 1919, and arrived on the 8th. After engaging in battle practices and maneuvers there, the battleship sailed for Trinidad on 17 March, arriving there five days later or a three-day port visit. She then returned to Guantanamo Bay on 29 March or a brief period, sailing for Hampton Roads on 9 April. Arriving at her destination on the morning of the 12th, she got underway late that afternoon for Brest, France, ultimately making arrival there on 21 April 1919.

The battleship stood out of Brest harbor on 3 May, bound for Asia Minor, and arrived at the port of Smyrna eight days later to protect American lives there during the Greek occupation of that port-an occupation resisted by gunfire from Turkish nationals. Arizona provided temporary shelter on board for a party of Greek nationals, while the battleship's marine detachment guarded the American consulate; a number of American citizens also remained on board Arizona' until conditions permit ted them to return ashore. Departing Smyrna on 9 June for Constantinople, Turkey, the battleship carried the United States consul-at-large, Leland E. Morris, to that port before sailing for New York on 15 June. Proceeding via Gibraltar, Arizona reached her destination on 30 June.

Entering the New York Navy Yard for upkeep soon thereafter, the battleship cleared that port on 6 January 1920 to join Battleship Division 7 for winter and spring maneuvers in the Caribbean. She operated out of Guantanamo Bay during this period, and also visited Bridgetown, Barbados, in the British West Indies, and Colon, in the Canal Zone, before she sailed north for New York, arriving there on 1 May 1920. Departing New York on 17 May, Arizona operated on the Southern Drill Grounds, and then visited Norfolk and Annapolis, before returning to New York on 25 June. Over the next six months, the ship operated locally out of New York. During this time she was given the alphanumeric hull designation, BB-39, on 17 July 1920, and, on 23 August, she became flagship for Commander Battleship Division 7, Rear Admiral Edward W. Eberle. Sailing from New York on 4 January 1921, Arizona joined the feet as it sailed for Guantanamo Bay and the Panama Canal Zone. Arriving at Colon, on the Atlantic side of the isthmian waterway, on 19 January, Arizona transited the Panama Canal for the first time on that day, arriving at Panama Bay on the 20th. Underway for Callao, Peru, on the 22d, the fleet arrived there nine days later, on the 31st, for a six-day visit. While she was there, Arizona was visited by the President of Peru. Under way for Balboa on 5 February 1921, Arizona arrived at the destination on the 14th; transiting the canal again the day after Washington's Birthday, the battleship reached Guantanamo Bay on the 6th. She operated thence until 24 April 1921, when she sailed for New York, steaming via Hampton Roads.

Arizona reached New York on 29 April, and remained under overhaul there until 15 June. She steamed thence for Hampton Roads on the latter date, and on the 21st steamed off Cape Charles with Army and Navy observers to witness the experimental bombings of the ex-German submarine U 117. Proceeding thence back to New York, the battleship there broke the flag of Vice Admiral John D. McDonald (who had been Arizona's first commanding officer) on 1 July and sailed for Panama and Peru on 9 July. She arrived at the port of Callao on 22 July as flagship for the Battle Force, Atlantic Fleet, to observe the celebrations accompanying the centennial year of Peruvian independence. On 27 July, Vice Admiral McDonald went ashore and represented the United States at the unveiling of a monument commemorating the accomplishments of San Martin, who had liberated Peru from the Spanish yoke a century before.

Sailing for Panama Bay on 9 August, Arizona became flagship for Battleship Division 7 when Vice Admiral McDonald transferred his flag to Wyoming and Rear Admiral Josiah S. McKean broke his flag on board as commander of the division on 10 August at Balboa. The following day, the battleship sailed for San Diego arriving there on 21 August 1921.

Over the next 14 years, Arizona alternately served as flagship for Battleship Divisions 2, 9 or 4. Based at San Pedro, during this period, Arizona operated with the fleet in the operating areas off the coast of southern California or in the Caribbean during fleet concentrations there. She participated in a succession of fleet problems (the annual maneuvers of the fleet that served as the culmination of the training year), ranging from the Caribbean to the waters off the west coast of central America and the Canal Zone; from the West Indies to the waters between Hawaii and the west coast.

Following her participation in Fleet Problem IX in January, 1929, Arizona transited the Panama Canal on 7 February for Guantanamo Bay, whence she operated through April. She then proceeded to Norfolk Navy Yard, entering it on 4 May 1929 to prepare for modernization.

1930s and World War II

Arizona was awarded one battle star for her service in World War II, in which she was destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Dates of appointment are provided when known.

See Also


  1. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 420.
  2. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 420.
  3. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 420.
  4. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 420.
  5. Friedman. U.S. Battleships. p. 420.
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