Squadron/Signal's USS Arizona - Squadron at Sea


David Doyle


Squadron/Signal Publications


$24.95 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 34001, ISBN: 978-0-89747-640-9

Squadron/Signal is always willing to try a new series and so it is with the 'Squadron at Sea'. This series focuses on a single ship, covering its full life from original design through to its eventual fate. It is understandable that the first subject is one of the most well known US ships; the USS Arizona BB-39.

While the format of the book, which is to say mostly images of the ship, is familiar to readers, this one is larger, encompassing 120 pages. Typical of Squadron/Signal books, this one is absolutely crammed with quality images of the USS Arizona. Some pages have a single large image and some have the usual four images per page. There are also some superbly done line drawings of the ship during various parts of her service.

It starts with an introduction and then events that led up to the design of the Arizona and where it originally fit into the scheme of battleship design. Then there is a section on the building of the ship from the keel to eventual launching and commissioning. This is followed by a look at the specs for the ship as first built as well as what life was like aboard her. Then we go through the 'cage mast' era of WWI into the late 1920s.

From 1929 to 1931 the ship was thoroughly overhauled. She was stripped down to the main deck with improved superstructure, the tall tripod masts, and removal of the lower casemate guns. These were repositioned on the upper deck and her power plant was modernized from coal to oil burning. It was in this guise that the ship spent her last years. During that time, and as war neared, she was repainted in a darker grey, though the tops of her tripod masts remained the lighter shade.

Then there was Pearl Harbor. Extensive photo coverage of the results of that day are included as well as the scrapping efforts that went on through the war. Most of her guns were pulled and put into land emplacements which were still not finished as the war ended. Even post war, more work was done to remove parts of the ship until little remained above water. The efforts to build the Arizona Memorial are covered as well, with most of the money used to build the memorial raised by Elvis Presley and Kodak. Even though decommissioned, there is still a flag pole attached to the Arizona on which colors are raised and lowered each day.  As an aside, your editor had one of his re-enlistment flags raised on the USS Arizona while he was being sworn in for another tour in 1982. It is a memory and memento that I will always cherish.

In all, it is a superlative look at this grand old lady and a book I can most highly recommend.  It is also available in hardback.

 October 2011

Thanks to Squadron Products for the review book. Get yours at your local shop today.

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