After being launched in 1912, Oklahoma served in World War I as a member of BatDiv 6, protecting Allied convoys on their way across the Atlantic. After years of spending time in the Pacific and the Scouting Fleets, Oklahoma was modernized from 1927 to 1929. She rescued American citizens and refugees from the Spanish Civil War in 1936; after returning to the West coast in August of that year, she spent the rest of her life in the Pacific. She was sank by Japanese bombs and torpedoes on 7 December 1941, in the attack on Pearl Harbor, taking 429 of her crew with her as she capsized.
Her keel was laid down on 26 October 1911 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, New Jersey. She was launched on 23 March 1914, being sponsored by Miss Lorena J. Cruce. She was commissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 2 May 1916 with Captain Roger Welles in command.
Oklahoma joined the Atlantic Fleet and was homeported at Norfolk, Virginia. She trained on the eastern seaboard until 13 August 1918, when she joined sister ship Nevada in the task of protecting Allied convoys in European waters. In December she was among the ships that escorted President Woodrow Wilson to France, departing 14 December for New York City and winter fleet exercises in Cuban waters. She returned to Brest on 15 June 1919 to escort President Wilson in George Washington home from his second visit to France, returning to New York on 8 July.
The Pacific Fleet operations of the Oklahoma during the next four years included joint operations with the Army and the training of reservists.
She was based at Pearl Harbor from 6 December 1940 for patrols and exercises, and was moored in Battleship Row on 7 December 1941, when the Japanese attacked. Outboard alongside , Oklahoma took three torpedo hits almost immediately after the first Japanese bombs fell. As she began to capsize, two more torpedoes struck home, and her men were strafed as they abandoned ship. Within 12 minutes after the attack began, she had rolled over until halted by her masts touching bottom, her starboard side above water, and a part of her keel clear.
Many of her crew, however, remained in the fight, clambering aboard Maryland to help serve her anti-aircraft batteries. 429 officers and enlisted men were killed or missing. One of those killed—Father Aloysius Schmitt—was the first American chaplain of any faith to die in World War II. Thirty-two others were wounded, and many were trapped within the capsized hull, to be saved by heroic rescue efforts. Such an effort was that of Julio DeCastro, a civilian yard worker who organized the team which saved 32 Oklahoma sailors. Some of those who died later had ships named after them such as Ensign John England for whom and DLG-22 are named.
The year of the upcycle? After touching bottom last year, the number of launches worldwide is expected to pick up sharply in 2005.(SPACE)
Mar 22, 2005; If the year ahead plays out as planned, the number of launches worldwide should shoot up from 55 last year to around 90 (see...