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When Japanese bombs sank the USS Arizona off the coast of Pearl Harbor in 1941, 1,177 of those onboard died. But what else did the US Navy lose? Here's a short history of the battleship's career prior to becoming a tragic icon of the Second World War.
Named to honor Arizona's 1912 admission the the US, it was launched in 1915 as one of two Pennsylvania-class super-dreadnought battleships.
The battleship wasn't deployed during World War One. When it finally crossed the Atlantic in 1919, it was to accompany President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference.
In 1933 an earthquake struck Long Beach, claiming 120 lives and destroying infrastructure. USS Arizona provided communications, first-aid, food, and shelter to the survivors.
Much of 1934's Here Comes the Navy was filmed aboard the USS Arizona. The romantic comedy was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, but lost to Frank Capra's It Happened One Night!
The tragic irony of the Arizona is how, after decades without a fight, it was tranferred to Pearl Harbor to counter Japan's Pacific ambitions. It was destroyed within weeks.
Tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial are in high demand. You'll need to book them 2 months or so in advance! Reserved tickets must be picked up an hour prior to the tour time. Unclaimed tickets are reissued to the public, but you'll have to arrive early to stand a chance of getting one!
USS Arizona Memorial tours start daily from 7:30AM and run until 3:00PM.
For a memorial, the USS Arizona is suprisingly relaxed in regards to a dress code. Bathing suits and profane t-shirts aren't allowed, but so long as you're wearing footwear, shorts, and a shirt then you'll be fine. If you happen to be in the military though, then you'll need to wear dress-whites or better!
- When should I visit?
- 7:30AM - 3:00PM
- Is it expensive?
- The ticket is free, but there is a $1.50 service charge for reserving online, which is highly recommended!
- Will I need a guide?
- How to get there
- Best to visit as part of a package tour which will bring you to the Pearl Harbor site in a private van. Otherwise, a city bus can take you there.
- Additional information
- If you plan to visit during the summer months, best reserve your tickets 6 months in advance!
What people are saying about USS Arizona Memorial
Highly advise to reserve the boat ride to uss Arizona as we waited on a stand by list for 2-3 hours. You can get a pass for everything once you get there for $72. Memorable trip, but bring your narrator and headphones because there’s no guide or explanation of what you are looking at other than some maps.
It was informative and self directed - slow or fast your pace. One thing though is that we were not alerted to the fact that one should have booked a time slot for the boat to the memorial. The rangers fit all in if slots were available and there were on every boat going out. Not an issue.
Make sure you schedule the boat trip separately. This one did not include the boat ride to the Arizona. The site says there was an option to add it to this trip but it is nowhere to be found. We had to try to get on the standby list while at the park.
Liked that they sanitized between stops. Microphone was awful- cut out every other word. Driver was nice enough and apologized got it fixed eventually but was impossible to understand 1/3 of trip.
Pearl Harbor is amazing, and being able to go on the anniversary was something else. Absolutely an amazing place to visit and feel the power of history.