Southern Utah News Articles
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day - December 7
Only a few survivors will celebrate Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day this December 7. Those remaining are now well into their 90’s.
Author Bess Taubman has created a unique way to keep their story alive. It’s a book entitled: “My Pearl Harbor Scrapbook 1941: a Nostalgic Collection of Memories.”
“The attack on Pearl Harbor will always be remembered in general,” says Taubman of her award-winning, stunningly visual WWII scrapbook, “but the individual atrocities and heroics are in danger of being forgotten. It is important for me to pass on that legacy to the next generation.”
In honor of the 74th anniversary of Pearl Harbor this year, Bess has compiled a list of notable (as well as little known) facts about the USS UTAH:
•The UTAH was commissioned in 1911 with the latest armament and firepower of its day.
•In 1914, the UTAH protected American interests in revolution-torn Mexico. In 1918, it sailed to Europe after America entered World War I to protect convoys approaching the British Isles.
•In 1934, the UTAH was converted into a mobile target and an auxiliary training vessel. With all armament removed, the ship was refitted with the latest in scientific and technological radio remote control advancements of the day. Most uniquely, the UTAH could now be completely controlled without any manpower aboard. Known as the “Robot Ship,” it could steer, operate at varying speeds and maneuver like a ship in battle, all by remote control.
•In May 1941, the UTAH sailed to Pearl Harbor, where it joined the Pacific Fleet and continued its role as a mobile target and gunnery training ship until the day of the attack.
•On December 7, the UTAH was moored at a berth usually occupied by an aircraft carrier. Japanese commanders had ordered their pilots to ignore the training ship, but eager pilots dropped two torpedoes on the UTAH. It was the first ship attacked by Japanese planes. Immediately it began to roll, trapping 59 men inside. Within seven minutes, the UTAH had capsized. Only one man was rescued from the overturned hulk, leaving 58 others still entombed within the ship to this day. Four hundred sixty one officers and men survived.
•UTAH’s hulk had to be raised because it blocked a needed berth for aircraft carriers. By February 1944, the ship began to sink further into the mud and all salvage operations stopped. To this day, the UTAH remains at her berth; half sunk and capsized on the sandy bottom of Pearl Harbor.