USS Arizona HistoryProvided by Vincent James Vlach, Jr.

 
Launching of USS Arizona

Introduction

Vincent James "Jim" Vlach, Jr. was a USS Arizona Survivor. He provided us with this history of the USS Arizona in 1999. Jim spent years researching and fine-tuning the history of the ship both from official records and his time on the ship. He was instrumental in creating the lists of casualties and survivors in the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He continued to follow up and correct these lists until his death in 2008. He was our "go-to" guy for factual information regarding the USS Arizona and is greatly missed.



Over the next 14 years, ARIZONA alternately served as flagship for Battleship Divisions 2, 4, or 9. 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 (January 1929), ARIZONA transited the Panama Canal on 7 February 1929 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.

Placed in reduced commission on 15 July 1929, ARIZONA remained in yard hands for the next 20 months; tripod masts, surmounted by three-tiered fire control tops, replaced the old cage masts; 5-inch, 25-caliber antiaircraft guns the 3-inch, 50s with which she had been equipped. She also received additional armor to protect her vitals from the fall of shot, and blisters to protect her from torpedo or near-miss damage from bombs. In addition, she received new boilers as well as new main and cruising turbines. Ultimately, she was placed in full commission on 1 March 1931.

A little over two weeks later, on 19 March 1931, President Herbert C. Hoover embarked on board the recently modernized battleship, and sailed for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, standing out to sea from Hampton Roads that day. Returning on 29 March 1931, ARIZONA disembarked the Chief Executive and his party at Hampton Roads and then proceeded north to Rockland, Maine, to run her post-modernization standardization trials. After a visit to Boston, the battleship dropped down to Norfolk, whence she sailed for San Pedro on 1 August 1931, assigned to Battleship Division 3, Battle Force.

Remember the Arizona!
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