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Monday, December 16, 2013

Getting to Know Hawaii: USS Oklahoma Memorial

The Need to Knows:
  • The USS Oklahoma Memorial is located at the corner of Langley Avenue and Cowpens Street on Ford Island in front of the entrance to the Battleship Missouri Memorial.  It's exact location is here:
  • This memorial is located on an active military base, so if you don't have proper identification, you'll need to take the shuttle bus provided at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center for $3 per person.  It runs about every 10-15 minutes.  If you drive here yourself, parking is available across the street in the same area where you would park for the Mighty Mo.
  • There is no admission fee for the USS Oklahoma Memorial.
  • Since this is also a small memorial like the USS Utah Memorial, you'll most likely only need a few minutes to view it.  The best idea would be to spend a little time here before you go and visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
  • If you'd like any more information on the memorial, be sure to check out their website.
Two of the lesser known memorials from the attack on Pearl Harbor are the USS Utah and the USS Oklahoma Memorials.  Both memorials honor men and ships that were also lost during the attack.  Since I previously talked about the USS Utah Memorial, today I'll be covering the USS Oklahoma Memorial.

Many people are likely to have seen the USS Oklahoma Memorial because it's located right outside of the entrance to visit the USS Missouri, which I mentioned briefly in my Getting to Know Hawaii: Battleship Missouri Memorial post.  This makes giving the memorial a brief visit before heading on to the Mighty Mo a great choice during your visit to Ford Island.

What some people might not realize is that many of the ships that were sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor were actually able to be raised and utilized somehow by the Navy, whether by entering the fleet once again or by being used for scrap metal and parts.  Even parts of the USS Arizona were raised and re-used to support the war effort.  The USS Oklahoma was one of these ships, although it was unfortunately too badly damaged to ever enter the fleet again.  Instead it was raised and some parts were salvaged, and when she was in dry dock the hull was repaired to make her watertight once again.  She was decommissioned in 1944, sold in 1946, and while being towed to San Francisco in 1947 was lost in a storm 500 miles away from Hawaii.

The memorial here on Ford Island wasn't erected until December 7, 2007, the 66th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It was placed here since the Battleship Missouri is moored where the Oklahoma was in 1941.  Each white pillar represents a lost crewman, 429 in all, forever "manning the rails" of the Oklahoma.

Like the other memorials on Oahu, the USS Oklahoma Memorial stands not only as a way to honor and remember those who were lost, but also as a reminder of the actions and their consequences of this period of our country's and the world's history.   I highly recommend stopping and giving this memorial a visit, especially if you are already going to see the Mighty Mo!

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