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Why was the USS Utah never raised?

Why was the USS Utah never raised?

Battleships / World War 2

Photograph of American battleship USS Utah (BB-31).

The USS Utah was a battleship of the United States Navy sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

see our piece: Pearl Harbor Attack In Depth

Nearly completed battleships USS Arkansas (BB-33) and USS Utah (BB-31) are seen after launching alongside the destroyer USS Ammen (DD-35) and the large civilian coastal liner Suwantee. New Youk Shipbuilding Corporation. C. a. 1912. Description source. Bain News Service,, publisher.
Turrets on USS Utah circa 1914 Bain News Service,, publisher. Turrets on UTAH [ship] 1911 Sept. 12 (date created or published later by Bain) 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller. Notes: Title from data provided by the Bain News Service on the negative. Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Format: Glass negatives. Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication. Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print General information about the Bain Collection is available at hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.ggbain Persistent URL: hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.09582 Call Number: LC-B2- 2267-12

Despite efforts to salvage the ship after the attack, it was ultimately decided that it would not be raised from the water.

Title: UTAH, U.S.S. Abstract/medium: Harris & Ewing photograph collection Physical description: 1 negative : 1909-1914

This decision was based on a number of factors, including the extent of the damage to the ship, the cost of salvage operations, and the strategic priorities of the United States in the early years of World War II.

The Salvage of Pearl Harbor – USS Utah
President-elect, Herbert Hoover and Battleship USS Utah, 1928; President-elect Herbert Hoover with members of his staff including his wife Lou Henry Hoover and Henry T. Fletcher, ambassador to Italy; along with members of the press embarked on board the U.S. battleship for a South American good-will tour, and vessel and ships company inspection. On this trip Hoover was nearly assassinated in Argentina by a local anarchist. Hoover went on to become the 31st president of the United States. Launched in December 1909, the Battleship Utah was a Florida-class battleship weighing 21,825 tons, she was the first American battleship fitted with steam turbine engines and was armed with ten 12″ guns; sixteen 5″ guns and two 21″ torpedo tubes. U.S. Navy Sailor, Joseph V. Sullivan, father of Martin Joseph Sullivan was a crew member on the Battleship Utah circa. 1926 – 1930. (Photos courtesy of Martin Joseph Sullivan)
80-G-416384: USS Utah (AG-16). Anchored off Long Beach, California, 18 April 1935, while serving as a target ship. Three heavy cruisers are in the middle distance, with the city of Long Beach beyond them. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. (2016/01/24).
photo courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command
Dry Dock No. 4, First Vessel Docked – U.S.S. Utah
US battleship en:USS Utah (BB-31) after her modernization in 1925.

Battleship vs Aircraft Carrier : How Did the United States Defeat Japan?

The U.S. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington (USA), view from the west on 25 July 1941, taken from an aircraft based at Naval Air Station Seattle, Washington (USA). Among the ships present are: USS Aroostook (AK-44, ex-CM-3), at right, and USS Prometheus (AR-3), center, alongside the near side of the long pier closest to the camera; USS Utah (AG-16), in drydock at left; USS Colorado (BB-45), alongside the middle of the three longest piers; USS Barnegat (AVP-10) and USS Biscayne (AVP-11), fitting out on the far side of the most distant long pier; USS Casco (AVP-12) and USS Mackinac (AVP-13), under construction in the drydock in the upper left.
Photograph clip showing starboard forward 5 inch /51 caliber gun battery on battleship USS Utah (BB-31).
Bain News Service,, publisher. Turrets on UTAH [ship] 1911 Sept. 12 (date created or published later by Bain) 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller. Notes: Title from data provided by the Bain News Service on the negative. Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Format: Glass negatives. Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication. Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print General information about the Bain Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.ggbain Higher resolution image is available (Persistent URL): http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.09581 Call Number: LC-B2- 2267-11
Laid up at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, while being reconditioned prior to her return to active service, 3 June 1941. Note bicycle and truck on pier. Bow of USS Utah (AG-16) is in left background, with barge YF-88 immediately ahead. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Yamato Battleship Wreck : In Pictures

Laid up at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, while being reconditioned for a return to active service, 3 June 1941. Note shields for 5/38 single gun mounts on pier. Foremast and bridge of USS Utah (AG-16) is visible in the right middle distance. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
USS Utah (AG-16) At the Puget Sound Navy Yard, 18 August 1941. She has been rearmed and partially repainted into Measure 1 camouflage

Pearl Harbor Attack

The sinking of the USS Utah was one of the lesser-known events of the Pearl Harbor attack, overshadowed by the destruction of other battleships such as the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma.

Pearl Harbor attack, 7 December 1941: Photograph of the western side of Ford Island and ships in moorings offshore, taken from a Japanese Navy plane during the attack. Ships are (from left to right): USS Detroit (CL-8); USS Raleigh (CL-7), listing to port after being hit by one torpedo; USS Utah (AG-16), capsized after being hit by two torpedoes; and USS Tangier (AV-8), The Japanese writing in the lower left states that the photograph’s reproduction was authorized by the Navy Ministry.
The ship in its final position after completion of righting operations, still rolled 37 degrees 45′ to port, 13 March 1944. Utah, which had capsized to port during the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was partially righted in salvage operations, but was not refloated

The Utah, moored on the far side of Ford Island when the attack began. And became hit by two torpedoes fired by Japanese aircraft. The ship quickly began to list to one side, and efforts to right it failed. Most of the crew abandoned ship, but 58 sailors died in the attack.

View of the west side of Ford Island during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Visible are (l-r): USS Tangier (AV-8), the capsized USS Utah (AG-16), USS Curtiss (AV-4) in the distance directly behind Utah, USS Medusa (AR-1), and the stern of USS Raleigh (CL-7), which is listing after a torpedo hit.
The U.S. Navy target ship USS Utah (AG-16) lies with her bottom up at Berth F-11, after she was torpedoed by Japanese planes and capsized on 7 December 1941. In the right background is USS Raleigh (CL-7), also hit by a Japanese torpedo, which is being assisted in staying afloat by a barge and a tug tied up along her port side.
USS Utah (AG-16, ex BB-31) capsizing off Ford Island, during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (USA), 7 December 1941, after being torpedoed by Japanese aircraft. Photographed from USS Tangier (AV-8), which was moored astern of Utah. Note colours half-raised over fantail, boats nearby, and sheds covering Utah´s after guns.

Salvage Attempt

After the attack, efforts were made to salvage the Utah and return it to service.

Scope and content: This is one of a collection of photographs of salvage operations at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard taken by the shipyard during the period following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which initiated US participation in World War II. The photographs are found in a number of files in several shipyard records series.

However, it quickly became clear that the damage to the ship was extensive and that raising it from the water would be difficult and expensive.

Under salvage at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 13 February 1944. The ship, which capsized to port after being torpedoed in the Japanese attack of 7 December 1941, is seen at about the 68 degree position at the completion of the first pulling period. Her blister plating has been cut away around the turn of the bilge to provide fairlead to hitch pads. Salvage efforts rolled her back toward Ford Island, but she was not refloated.

The Utah was an older battleship, having been commissioned in 1911, and its design and construction made it less suitable for salvage than some of the newer battleships that had been sunk. The ship’s position on the bottom of the harbor also made it difficult to access and work on.

Scope and content: This is one of a collection of photographs of salvage operations at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard taken by the shipyard during the period following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which initiated US participation in World War II. The photographs are found in a number of files in several shipyard records series.

In addition to the practical difficulties of salvaging the Utah, there were strategic considerations that weighed against the effort. In the early years of the war, the United States was still building up its naval forces and was focused on more pressing priorities, such as building new ships and training new sailors.

Scope and content: This is one of a collection of photographs of salvage operations at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard taken by the shipyard during the period following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which initiated US participation in World War II. The photographs are found in a number of files in several shipyard records series.

Salvaging a single battleship was not seen as a priority in this context. Furthermore, the sinking of the Utah did not significantly affect the balance of naval power in the Pacific theater, as the ship was already relatively old and obsolete.

Scope and content: This is one of a collection of photographs of salvage operations at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard taken by the shipyard during the period following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which initiated US participation in World War II. The photographs are found in a number of files in several shipyard records series.

The decision not to raise the Utah was ultimately made by the Navy Department, based on a recommendation from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who was the commander of the Pacific Fleet at the time. In a memo to the Chief of Naval Operations, Nimitz argued that the cost and difficulty of salvaging the Utah outweighed any potential benefits, and that the resources that would be required for such an effort would be better spent on other priorities.

Members of the Navy ceremonial guards post after an interment ceremony at the USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island at Naval Station Pearl Harbor. The ceremony was held to honor Petty Officer First Class Jimmy Oberto, a crewmember of the Florida-class dreadnaught battleship USS Utah during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Today

A member of the National Park Service takes the ashes of Navy Petty Officer First Class Jimmy Oberto to be interred within the confines of the Florida-class dreadnaught battleship USS Utah at the USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island at Naval Station Pearl Harbor. Oberto was a crewmember aboard Utah during the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese Dec. 7, 1941.
A wreath is placed next to the capsized battleship USS Utah (BB-31/AG-16) during a sunset service at the renovated USS Utah Memorial at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2012. The memorial was renovated to provide easier public access. USS Utah was sunk during the surprise Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. The day after the attack, before a joint session of Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan and the U.S. officially entered World War II. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

HMS Hood vs Bismarck : The Royal Navy’s Tragedy on the High Seas

The sun sets over the renovated USS Utah Memorial at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2012. The memorial was renovated to provide easier public access. Battleship USS Utah (BB-31/AG-16) was sunk during the surprise Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. The day after the attack, before a joint session of Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan and the U.S. officially entered World War II. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)
The sun sets over the remaining structure of battleship USS Utah (BB-31/AG-16) at the renovated USS Utah Memorial at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2012. The memorial was renovated to provide easier public access. USS Utah was sunk during the surprise Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. The day after the attack, before a joint session of Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war against Japan and the U.S. officially entered World War II. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

HMS Dreadnought : A History In Pictures

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Dec. 3, 2006) – The rusted hull of the USS Utah remains in the water just off Ford Island. Three aerial torpedoes struck the USS Utah, causing the ship to sink during the 1941 attack. Survivors of Pearl Harbor and media took part in a joint U.S. Navy/National Park Service ceremony commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 1,500 Pearl Harbor Survivors, their families and friends from around the nation are scheduled to join more than 2,000 distinguished guests and the general public for the annual observance of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. The theme of this year’s historic commemoration “A Nation Remembers” reflects on how the remembrance of Pearl Harbor has evolved throughout the years since World War II. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Daniel A. Barker (RELEASED)
An aerial view of the USS Utah Memorial at Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii (USA).

Why was the USS Utah never raised?

Why did they leave the USS Arizona underwater?

Battleships

020801-N-8794V-006.ABOARD USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (August 1, 2002) — Sailors aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, “Man the Rails” prior to pulling in during a recent port visit to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW 14) are enroute to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Third Class Kittie VandenBosch.

The USS Arizona was left underwater in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor for a few reasons.

Firstly, the ship sustained significant damage from the attack. And became considered beyond repair. Salvaging the ship would require a tremendous amount of resources, time, and manpower. All of which became needed elsewhere in the war effort.

Secondly, the ship had become a tomb for the over 1,100 crew members who perished in the attack.

Arizona (BB39) Port Bow, Underway - NARA - 5900075 - 1930.jpg
Arizona (BB39) port bow, before being modernized at Norfolk Naval Shipyard between May 1929 and January 1930.

Moving the ship or attempting to salvage it could have disturbed the remains of the crew members. In addition would have become seen as disrespectful to their memory.

Lastly, leaving the ship underwater served as a powerful symbol of the sacrifices made by the crew members of the USS Arizona. And the other ships lost in the attack. The wreckage of the ship became a memorial to those who had lost their lives. Furthermore, the decision to leave it underwater was seen as a way of honoring their sacrifice.

2 April 1914 photo of the USS Arizona (BB-39) construction. In addition, the raised floors that will support the machinery is easily visible here and fuel storage tanks will be constructed under this platform.
Building progresses: BB-39 under construction (Photo dated May 3rd, 1914). build05.jpg (1001×716) (ibiblio.org)

The USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship commissioned by the United States Navy in 1916. Named after the state of Arizona. Additionally, designed to become one of the most powerful battleships in the world at the time. Equipped with twelve 14-inch guns(each turret had 3 guns), making it one of the most heavily-armed ships in the Navy.

View of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt and Commandant Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, USN, at the keel-laying of USS ARIZONA (BB-39) in 1914.

The USS Arizona saw action in World War I and was one of the few American battleships to survive the war. In the years that followed, the ship was used for training and was modernized to keep pace with new developments in naval technology. However, the ship’s most significant moment in history would come on December 7, 1941, when it was attacked by the Japanese during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

During the attack, the USS Arizona was hit by several bombs, one of which struck the ship’s forward ammunition magazine. The resulting explosion was so powerful that it destroyed the entire forward section of the ship and caused it to sink within minutes. 1,177 crew members were killed in the attack, making it the single deadliest event in the history of the USS Arizona.

View of Waterfront Looking North from Top of Building Number 6, U.S.S. Arizona at Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1911.
The propeller shaft and aft cradle of the USS Arizona the day before its launch in 1915.

The Bomb that Sank USS Arizona

Firstly, the Japanese turned an obsolete 16 inch shell from the Nagato class battleships into a Bomb and sunk the USS Arizona.

Arizona‘s launch, 19 June 1915.
Starboard rear quarter view of the U.S. Navy battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia (USA), in March 1931 following her modernization. Moreover, to the right are the destroyers USS Blakeley (DD-150) and USS Biddle (DD-151).
After being modernized the ship takes President Herbert Hoover, left, on a vacation cruise to the Caribbean as he walks with Secretary of War Patrick Hurley in March 1931 from the Life and Legacy of the USS Arizona exhibit at the University of Arizona Special Collections in Tucson. Courtesy of UA Special Collections.
A Sack race Recreation on board a battleship, circa 1916-1917. This ship is either USS Pennsylvania (Battleship # 38) or USS Arizona (Battleship # 39). Moreover, the original image, copyrighted by N. Moser, New York, is printed on post card (AZO) stock.

Pearl Harbor

Aichi D3A1 dive bombers prepare to take off from a Japanese aircraft carrier during the morning of 7 December 1941 to attack Pearl Harbor.

Moreover, the Japanese modified obsolete Type 88 shells in 1939–40 to create the Type 99 Number 80 Mk 5 armor-piercing bomb.

Arizona on the East River, New York City (1916).
USS Arizona. Photo: US Navy
Image result for japanese pearl harbor dive bomber

The Japanese used them during the attack on Pearl Harbor and one pierced the deck of the USS Arizona and caused her to explode. 

See the source image
Simplistic representation of the explosion on Arizona.

The Battle of Midway : America’s Greatest Naval Victory.

Attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese planes view.jpg
Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack. View looks about east, with the supply depot, submarine base and fuel tank farm in the right center distance. Furthermore, a torpedo has just hit USS West Virginia on the far side of Ford Island (center). In addition, other battleships moored nearby are (from left): NevadaArizonaTennessee (inboard of West Virginia), Oklahoma (torpedoed and listing) alongside Maryland, and California. Moreover, on the near side of Ford Island, to the left, are light cruisers Detroit and Raleigh, target and training ship Utah and seaplane tender TangierRaleigh and Utah have been torpedoed, and Utah is listing sharply to port. Japanese planes are visible in the right center (over Ford Island) and over the Navy Yard at right. U.S. Navy planes on the seaplane ramp are on fire. Lastly, Japanese writing in the lower right states that the photograph was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.
Pearl Harbor on October 30, 1941, looking southwest.
May be an image of outdoors and text

In addition, the Japanese engineers removed the armor-piercing cap and windscreen from the shell. Furthermore, they machined down the body, with a desire to reduce weight. Lastly, the Japanese engineers installed a new, thinner, base plug with two fuses. 

See the source image
Arizona transits the Panama Canal in 1921
Arizona transits the Panama Canal in 1921.

Battle of Coral Sea

Route followed by the Japanese fleet to Pearl Harbor and back.
Arizona with ship’s complement (1924).
Arizona being modernized in Norfolk, June 1930.
D3A1 Akagi.jpg
Aichi D3A1 from carrier Akagi.
USS Arizona by Donn Thorson.

The filling was replaced by 23 kilograms (50 lb) of trinitroaniline.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National Park Service (NPS) personnel collected short-term (1 month), high-resolution physical oceanographic measurements at the USS Arizona Memorial (USAR) in April, 2005, furthermore, to better understand the nature of flow surrounding the mostly submerged historic ship. Scientists deployed two bottommounted oceanographic instruments in water depths less than 10 m on either side of the USS Arizona’s hull. Moreover, this study supports the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center (NPS-SRC) research directed at understanding and characterizing the nature and rate of natural processes affecting deterioration of the National Historic Landmark (NHL) USS Arizona. Moreover, the purpose of these measurements was to collect high-resolution and spatially-extensive hydrographic data to better constrain the nature of fluid flow around the submerged vessel’s hull and near the Memorial.
Arizona burning after the Japanese attack.

The Battle Off Samar : 25 October 1944.

Moreover, a view of number 3 turret, with a Nieuport 28 airplane on the flying-off platform, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, circa spring 1921. In addition, Note: airing hammocks and mainmast details.
U.S.S. Arizona in 1924 Library of Congress.

Moreover, the bomb weighed 796.8 kilograms (1,757 lb).

The visible superstructure of Arizona after her sinking.
In further conclusion, an aerial view of the USS Arizona Memorial, showing the wreck and oil seepage from the ship’s bunkers.
Lastly we will never forget the sacrifice these brave men gave that day.
The ship’s engineering crew. Moreover, posed by one of the gun turrets circa 1928. As a result of the Life and Legacy of the USS Arizona exhibit at the University of Arizona Special Collections in Tucson. Moreover, note, a couple of African-Americans on the crew. Courtesy of UA Special Collections
Arizona at the New York City naval review, furthermore, Arizona ten dreadnoughts that paraded past Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.
An aerial view of the USS ARIZONA Memorial off the northeast end of Ford island, moreover, the actual battleship, sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, is visible directly beneath the memorial due to the low tide and calm water.
Arizona after her modernization during the 1930s. A history of the USS Arizona : A History In Pictures
USS Arizona in 1931 after her modernization.
USS Arizona, Submerged off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI Library of Congress.

Following the attack, the wreckage of the USS Arizona remained in the waters of Pearl Harbor, becoming a symbol of American sacrifice and resilience. Moreover, in 1949, a memorial became built on the site of the wreck. Thus, to honor those who died in the attack. Lastly, today, the USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii and serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by American servicemen and women during World War II.

In conclusion, an aerial view of USS Arizona (BB-39) memorial and mooring blocks with credit to the USN Date: 1999. USS Arizona : A History In Pictures

Battleships

Why did they leave the USS Arizona underwater?

Why was the USS Utah never raised?

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