Battleship Anchor USS Oklahoma
Battleship Anchor USS Oklahoma
- The righting and refloating of the capsized battleship Oklahoma was the largest of the Pearl Harbor salvage jobs, and the most difficult. Since returning this elderly and very badly damaged warship to active service was not seriously contemplated, the major part of the project only began in mid-1942, after more immediately important salvage jobs were completed. Its purpose was mainly to clear an important mooring berth for further use, and only secondarily to recover some of Oklahoma‘s weapons and equipment.
- The first task was turning Oklahoma upright. During the latter part of 1942 and early 1943, an extensive system of righting frames (or “bents”) and cable anchors was installed on the ship’s hull, twenty-one large winches were firmly mounted on nearby Ford Island, and cables were rigged between ship and shore. Fuel oil, ammunition and some machinery were removed to lighten the ship. Divers worked in and around her to make the hull as airtight as possible. Coral fill was placed alongside her bow to ensure that the ship would roll, and not slide, when pulling began. The actual righting operation began on 8 March and continued until mid-June, with rerigging of cables taking place as necessary as the ship turned over.
- Once in Navy Yard hands, Oklahoma‘s most severe structural damage was repaired sufficiently to make her watertight. Guns, some machinery, and the remaining ammuniton and stores were taken off. After several months in Drydock Number Two, the ship was again refloated and moored elsewhere in Pearl Harbor. She was sold to a scrapping firm in 1946, but sank in a storm while under tow from Hawaii to the west coast in May 1947.
- On December 7, 1941, the USS Oklahoma was attacked and sank at Pearl Harbor. In all, 429 Sailors and Marines were killed. The ship was re-floated in 1943, but sank somewhere in the Pacific as it was being towed. The 10-ton anchor was recovered and brought to Oklahoma City, where it resides today. This anchor and historical monument stand as a reminder of those that died on the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The following text is the inscription on the front of the historical marker that stands next to the anchor. USS Oklahoma Anchor This anchor was one of three that were added during the Navy’s modernization of the USS Oklahoma in 1927. Manufactured in 1919 by Baldt Anchor Company in Chester, Pennsylvania. The anchor weighs 19,860 pounds. Thanks to the efforts of Rear Admiral John E. Kirkpatrick, USNR, Ret., the USS Oklahoma anchor has had a home in Oklahoma City since 1960. Originally located near the Civic Center at Couch Drive and Robinson Ave, new construction resulted in the anchor’s move to a median at Park Ave and Broadway Ave in 1980. In December 2005, the anchor was moved to it’s current location in Campbell Park at 13th and Broadway Ave. This location is just a few blocks north of downtown Oklahoma City. Manufactured by Willis Granite Products, Granite, Oklahoma
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