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Oklahoma file photo [1644]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassNevada-class Battleship
Hull NumberBB-37
Commissioned1 May 1916
Sunk7 Dec 1941
Displacement27,500 tons standard


ww2dbaseUSS Oklahoma, a 27,500-ton Nevada class battleship, was built at Camden, New Jersey, United States. She was commissioned in May 1916 and generally operated in the Atlantic over the next five years. In mid-1918, Oklahoma went to European waters to help protect convoys. Late in that year and in June 1919 she escorted President Wilson during his voyages to and from France. In 1921, the battleship moved to the Pacific, visiting the west coast of South America prior to joining the Pacific Fleet. During most of the rest of the decade, Oklahoma served with the Battle Fleet during its many exercises, drills and Fleet Problems. She participated in the Fleet's trans-Pacific cruise to Australia and New Zealand in mid-1925. In the summer of 1927, she transported Naval Academy Midshipmen from the east to the west coast during their annual training cruise.

ww2dbaseOklahoma was modernized at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1927-29, emerging with a greatly altered appearance and notably improved battleworthiness. After brief service with the Scouting Fleet, she returned to the Pacific in mid-1930, and renewed her participation in the Battle Fleet's activities. In July 1936, Oklahoma was sent to Europe to help evacuate U.S. citizens and others during the Spanish Civil War. She rejoined the Battle Fleet in the Pacific later in the year.

ww2dbaseIn 1940, Oklahoma's base was shifted from the U.S. west coast to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on 7 December 1941. Moored outboard of USS Maryland (BB-46), she was hit by a great number of Japanese Type 91 aerial torpedoes. With her port side torn open over much of its length, Oklahoma rapidly rolled over and sank to the harbor bottom, with the loss of over 400 of her crew. Many of the men trapped in her upturned hull were cut free through the intense efforts of Sailors and civilian Navy Yard employees.

ww2dbaseDuring 1943, Oklahoma was the subject of a massive salvage undertaking, involving turning her upright, patching her damages and refloating her. She was drydocked late in the year to be stripped of guns and other equipment and repaired sufficiently to make her relatively watertight. Too old and badly damaged to be worth returning to service, Oklahoma was formally decommissioned in September 1944. She was sold for scrapping in December 1946, but sank while under tow from Hawaii to California in May 1947.

ww2dbaseSource: Naval Historical Center

Last Major Revision: Jan 2005

Battleship Oklahoma (BB-37) Interactive Map


OklahomaOklahoma wearing experimental camouflage, circa 1917
See all 40 photographs of Battleship Oklahoma (BB-37)

Oklahoma Operational Timeline

1 May 1916 Oklahoma was commissioned into service.
19 Sep 1940 During a yard maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, USS Oklahoma collided with harbor tug Goliah.
6 Dec 1941 Battleships USS Oklahoma arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Islands.
14 Apr 2015 US military announced that 388 unidentified remains those killed aboard USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor raid on 7 Dec 1941 would be disinterred from their current resting place at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States for laboratory work. It was hoped that modern DNA technology, among other advances, would lead to their identification.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Tim Winter says:
8 Mar 2010 12:42:44 PM

What was the total count lost on her?
2. Anonymous says:
8 Mar 2010 12:48:26 PM

Tim, according to Wikipedia, 429 were lost when Oklahoma sank at Pearl Harbor.
3. Anonymous says:
28 Nov 2015 10:55:36 AM

So 429 men were killed, how many survived?
4. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
27 Mar 2016 10:43:09 AM

The USS Oklahomka was struck by three torpedoes during the attack on Pearl Harbor, causing her to capsize - imprisoning what was left of her crew below decks. When holes were later cut in her bottom only 32 survivors crawled out.
5. Anonymous says:
18 Feb 2017 09:04:47 AM

Arthur John Walker. Want to find out if this was his naval ship. From kenbridge, Va. Born in 1926
6. David A Lawrence says:
18 Jan 2020 09:35:11 PM

my dad was on there Dec. 7,1941
7. Jan Wright says:
7 Dec 2020 03:52:53 PM

My Uncle, Albert L. Ellis, Jr.,was one of the 32 surviving crewmen onboard the USS Oklahoma. He never talked about this experience to anyone other than the Survivor Group he was a part of, his wife and my Dad. They are all gone now. I found out about his experience while doing my genealogy research. My Mom filled me in on some details but she wasn’t privy to all his stories, given the age difference between Uncle Al, Aunt Betty, Dad and my Mom. I want to know more.

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Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor

» US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, Enclosure E, USS Oklahoma

Battleship Oklahoma (BB-37) Photo Gallery
OklahomaOklahoma wearing experimental camouflage, circa 1917
See all 40 photographs of Battleship Oklahoma (BB-37)

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