USS Utah (BB-31/AG-16) was the second and final member of the Florida class of dreadnought battleships. The first ship of the United States Navy named after the state of Utah, she had one sister ship, Florida. Utah was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, laid down in March 1909 and launched in December of that year. She was completed in August 1911, and boasted a main battery of ten 12-inch (305 mm) guns in five twin gun turrets.
Utah and Florida were the first ships to arrive during the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914 during the Mexican Revolution. The two battleships sent ashore a landing party that began the occupation of the city. After the American entrance into World War I, Utah was stationed in Bantry Bay, Ireland, where she protected convoys from potential German surface raiders. Throughout the 1920s, the ship conducted numerous training cruises and fleet maneuvers, and carried dignitaries on tours of South America twice, in 1924 and 1928.
In 1931, Utah was demilitarized and converted into a target ship and re-designated as AG-16, in accordance with the terms of the London Naval Treaty signed the previous year. She was also equipped with numerous anti-aircraft guns of different types to train gunners for the fleet. She served in these two roles for the rest of the decade, and late 1941 found the ship in Pearl Harbor. She was in port on the morning of 7 December, and in the first minutes of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was hit by two torpedoes, which caused serious flooding. Utah quickly rolled over and sank; the vast majority of her crew were able to escape, but 64 men were killed in the attack. The wreck remains in the harbor, and in 1972, a memorial was erected near the ship.
USS Utah BB-31 1920s WL print
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