Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The USS Arizona 80 Years Ago Today


The USS Arizona in the 1920s

The USS Arizona visits New York City.  It sails up the East River probably on the way to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1919.

The USS Arizona refitted and updated in the 1930s

The destruction of the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, eighty years ago today.

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

I had a distant relative James Cory (we called him Uncle Jim) who was also a close childhood friend of my dad who was on the Arizona today eighty years ago.  He was a Marine stationed on the ship.  He was up in the radio mast when the planes dropped their bombs.  He heard the bomb go down the ship's funnel.  The next thing he knew he was in the water swimming as fast as he could to shore.  He lived to tell about it.  

A bomb set off the magazines in the forward part of the ship almost blowing the ship in half killing 1,177 of the 1,512 crew on board at the time.  Uncle Jim was one of 335 survivors.

After December 7, 1941, the USA was no longer a neutral bystander in World War II that had already been raging in Europe for almost 2 years and for a lot longer in Asia.  At the time of the attack, the USA had a smaller over-all military than Belgium.  Ten years of the Great Depression devastated its productive capacity.  The Japanese calculated that so bold and brazen an attack would intimidate the USA into negotiations.  Instead, the USA rebuilt and expanded its productive capacity within a matter of months and eventually won a titanic war on two fronts on opposite sides of the world, a tremendous and unprecedented accomplishment.  

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