USS Arizona HistoryProvided by Vincent James Vlach, Jr.

Launching of USS Arizona


Vincent James "Jim" Vlach, Jr. was a USS Arizona Survivor. He provided us with this history of the USS Arizona in 1999. Jim spent years researching and fine-tuning the history of the ship both from official records and his time on the ship. He was instrumental in creating the lists of casualties and survivors in the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He continued to follow up and correct these lists until his death in 2008. He was our "go-to" guy for factual information regarding the USS Arizona and is greatly missed.

Embarking 238 homeward-bound veterans in the precursor of a "Magic Carpet" operation of a later war, ARIZONA sailed from Brest for New York on 14 December 1918, and arrived off Ambrose Light on the afternoon of Christmas Day 1918. The next day, she passed in review before Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who was embarked in the yacht MAYFLOWER off the Statue of Liberty, before entering New York Harbor in a great homecoming celebration. The battleship then sailed for Hampton Roads on 22 January 1919, returning to her base at Norfolk on the following day.

ARIZONA sailed for Guantanamo Bay with the Fleet on 4 February 1919, and arrived on 8 February 1919. After engaging in battle practices and maneuvers there, the battleship sailed for Trinidad on 17 March 1919, arriving there five days later for a three-day port visit. She then returned to Guantanamo Bay on 29 March 1919 for a brief period, sailing for Hampton Roads on 9 April 1919. Arriving at her destination on the morning of the 12th, she got underway late that afternoon for Brest, France, ultimately making arrival there on 21 April 1919.

The battleship stood out of Brest harbor on 3 May 1919, bound for Asia Minor, and arrived at the port of Smyrna eight days later to protect American lives there during the Greek occupation of that port - an occupation resisted by gunfire from Turkish nationals. ARIZONA provided temporary shelter on board for a party of Greek nationals, while the battleship's Marine detachment guarded the American consulate; a number of American citizens also remained on board ARIZONA until conditions permitted them to return ashore. Departing Smyrna on 9 June 1919 for Constantinople, Turkey, the battleship carried the United States consul-at-large, Leland E. Morris, to that port before sailing for New York on 15 June 1919. Proceeding via Gibraltar, ARIZONA reached her destination 30 June 1919.

Entering New York Navy Yard for upkeep soon thereafter, the battleship cleared that port on 6 January 1920 to join Battleship Division 7 for winter and spring maneuvers in the Caribbean. She operated out of Guantanamo Bay during this period, and also visited Bridgetown, Barbados, in the British West Indies, and Colon, in the Canal Zone, before she sailed north for New York, arriving there on 1 May 1920. Departing New York on 17 May 1920, ARIZONA operated on the Southern Drill Grounds, and the visited Norfolk and Annapolis, before returning to New York on 25 June 1920.

Remember the Arizona!
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