The ship was hit by two Japanese torpedoes and could not be refloated

The monument and wreck of the battleship USS Utah, sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor

The most famous naval monument in Hawaii and even in the United States is, without a doubt, the one dedicated to the battleship USS Arizona.

The USS Arizona battleship memorial in Hawaii and the sunken ship beneath it
Figures of the Japanese attack on the American base at Pearl Harbor in 1941

The importance of this monument is due to the fact that the crew of the USS Arizona suffered the most casualties of all the US Navy ships sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. However, let us remember that there were seven battleships sunk during that attack. Of them, five were recovered and returned to service. But in addition to those ships, there was an eighth battleship sunk in that attack: the USS Utah (BB-31).

The USS Utah in an aerial photo taken on December 10, 1936. Its ten artillery towers appear painted white and without their cannons, after having been demilitarized in 1931 (Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command).

The USS Utah was laid down in March 1909 and launched two days before Christmas of that same year. She entered service in August 1911. She was 159 meters long and 27 meters wide, and a displacement of 23,000 tons. She was armed with 10 305 mm cannons distributed among five turrets, which gave her a very powerful configuration. In addition, she had 16 127 mm guns, 4 57 mm guns, 2 37 mm guns and 2 533 mm torpedo tubes.

The USS Utah in a photo taken on February 13, 1944, during the attempt to recover the ship (Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command).

During World War I, the USS Utah served protecting maritime convoys along with two other battleships that were also sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor: the USS Nevada and the USS Oklahoma. In 1931, with 20 years of service, the USS Utah was converted into a naval target, being redesignated AG-16. In 1941 the USS Utah served as a training ship for anti-aircraft gunners and she was no longer formally a battleship, which is why she is not usually counted in the list of battleships sunk in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The wreck of the USS Utah. Behind him we see the monument to this ship (Photo: US National Archives).

In that attack, the USS Utah was hit by two torpedoes (a third torpedo missed) and the ship eventually capsized and sank. 58 of her crew died. One of them, Peter Tomich, received the Medal of Honor for remaining below deck keeping the machinery running to allow his shipmates to safety. Thanks to him, part of the 461 survivors of the crew were saved.

The USS Utah monument and the wreck of the battleship (Photo:

There was a complicated attempt to recover the ship during World War II, but she failed and the wreck was abandoned, as by then she was already an obsolete ship. In 1972, a modest monument was built, much smaller than that of the USS Arizona, with a white walkway that goes from Ford Island to the wreck of the ship, which in 1989 was declared a National Historic Landmark. Some of her crew members who survived the attack expressed their wish to be cremated and have their ashes deposited in the wreck, a wish that was fulfilled in 2008.

You can see here a video of a dive at the price of the USS Utah, carried out in December 2021:


Main photo: Tom Sakiyama / USS Utah BB-31/AG-16.

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