Why couldn’t they raise the USS Arizona?


Why couldn’t they raise the USS Arizona?

In: 4

The ship wasn’t salvageable and the Navy determined they couldn’t recover the dead in a respectful way.

Unlike the other recovered ships at Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona suffered severe damage. The most important structural element of a ship is its keel, the part that’s under the water. Think of it as the ship’s spine, which supports the rest of the vessel. When the Arizona was sunk, the number 2 turret was hit with a bomb, setting off the forward magazines. That basically shattered the forward third of the ship and cracked its keel. With the bow blown off and the keel cracked, it couldn’t be salvaged – there would be so much work it would effectively be rebuilding the ship from scratch.

The ships that were refloated and repaired were often sunk by torpedoes. Those ships sank because there were holes punched into them under the waterline. So it was a relatively straightforward job to patch the holes and refloat them.

Firstly the hull of the Arizona is not structural. All the structural elements of the bow were damaged and the superstructure collapsed on top of it because it could not take the weight. If it were not for the fact that they hit bottom the entire bow and superstructure would detach from the ship and disperse over a big area. An attempt at raising the ship would cause this to happen. So you would end up with half a ship.

In addition most of the Arizona was scrapped in WWII to help support the war effort. All of the guns, turrets, superstructure and tons of components were salvaged to help repair and build new ships needed for the war effort and a lot of the metal was cut up for scrap. There is not much left of the Arizona after the war.

In addition to this the USS Arizona have been turned into a national monument and war grave. Raising the ship would destroy these. And you would not get much in return for destroying the national monument.

It’s a matter of cost vs. benefit. Of all of the ships that were sunk, three battleships never returned to service. The *USS Utah* was already pretty much retired and was being used as a target ship. There was no point in trying to raise her, and she’s still on the bottom of the harbor to this day (and yes, she has her own memorial). The *USS Oklahoma* took several torpedo hits in one side and quickly capsized during the attack. Between the internal compartments that were blown out by the torpedo hits and the severe damage to the superstructure from going belly-up in the water (and couple with the fact that she had been commissioned in 1916), it was determined that she would have been more expensive to repair and refit than building a whole new battleship, so they finally righted and raised her in 1943 and proptly picked her over for parts and sold her for scrap after the war (she never made it, she sank in a storm on her way to the breakers in San Francisco).

*USS Arizona,* though, was a completely different beast. Her forward magazine went up, and when that happened (according to witnesses) the whole front half of the ship lurched out of the water (more than half of the casualties of the attack on Pear Harbor are from the *Arizona*, alone). Pearl Harbor is only 40 feet (or so) deep, so the remnants of the ship didn’t have time to spread when she sank, but her entire forward hull isn’t much more than a shell with her original armor belt being the only thing holder her somewhat together. They’d have to lay a whole new keel and build a whole new hull for her, and like *Oklahoma* she was commissioned in 1916 and it just wasn’t worth it.

the case of the USS Arizona was that it took critical damage on its keel thatmakes any effort of salvage no longer financially viable(the recovery and repairs would end up costing more than the ship itself. especially for a ship that was nearing the end of its lifespan anyway)