Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Capsized U.S.S. Oklahoma

The U.S.S. Oklahoma was moored in Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked. Outboard alongside U.S.S. Maryland, she 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 the 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.

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