Have you ever visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii? If you haven’t, you surely know the history of the events that took place there on December 7, 1941.
That magnificent battleship has rested on the floor of the harbor since that day and has been the sacred resting place for some 1,102 sailors and Marines who went down with her. Many of the survivors of that attack have chosen to be interred there with their shipmates since then.
The acting Secretary of the Navy, Tomas Modly, recently announced that a new warship will now be commissioned the USS Arizona, honoring the memory of that great ship. This new warship will be a Virginia-class nuclear, fast-attack submarine. It will be the first to be named so since the loss of her namesake that day of infamy 78 years ago. The USS Arizona that rests at Pearl Harbor was commissioned in 1916.
The day of the mighty battleship with its banks of 16” guns is over. The world has changed and the newest warships that can instill both the psychological and weapons threats greater even than those great battleships, is the nuclear, fast-attack submarines. The new USS Arizona is going to be one of them.
The new USS Arizona is one and a half times longer than a Boeing 747. It can move at a speed of 25 knots and is designed to undertake a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral, that is, close to shore missions. She is designed for stealth as well. Her hull design and other structural elements make her as silent as possible. Unlike the older Los Angeles-class nuclear fast-attack submarines that the Virginia-class boats are replacing, she is entirely computerized. She no longer has a periscope but a high-tech mast. These Virginia-class submarines are also cheaper to produce than the former Seawolf-class boats.
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Among other things, the USS Arizona will carry a variety of weapons systems. Fully loaded, she can carry up to 24 missiles and a number of smart torpedoes. These Virginia-class submarine capabilities will be explained in the video included here. It is said that her range, fully loaded, makes it possible for her to potentially attack 70% of the world’s landmass. She can also come close to shore to insert and recover Navy Seals in covert missions.
The Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, said recently of the new ship to be named for his state; “This ship and the name, ‘USS Arizona,’ hold special meaning for our country, its history and the people of Arizona–and today, that legacy begins a new chapter.”
This new Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine will bear a very honored name and a heavy burden for its over 130 crew members. We are sure that all who will serve on her will be versed in the history of her predecessor and will be honored to serve on this new ship bearing that name.
These submarines and these modern submariners are a unique breed. They are on watch, running silent and deep all over the globe. There presence, whether known or unknown is providing some of the greatest deterrence against the lethal intent of potential combatants around the world. What they do is out-of-sight and out-of-mind, but the fact that they can be anywhere and that they can project such massive deterrent force is keeping us safe.
We pray that they may they never have to use that force, but in our present world, we are glad that they are there and ready.
The Veterans Site sends it best wishes for Fair Winds and Following Seas to the crew and officers of the newly commissioned USS Arizona.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.