USS Arizona in the East River, New York City, returning from her maiden voyage to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, December 26, 1916. She is accompanied by many tugs, and has small pine trees mounted in her mast tops. Tug Hudson is in the lower center (photo: Enrique Muller, Jr.
Courtesy of Sid Taylor, 1983. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command).
The shipyard was finally left on April
3, 1917, and three days later, the United
States declared war on Germany. The
USS Arizona, as a component of Battleship Division 8 of the Atlantic Fleet, never took part in any combat operations.
She remained on the Atlantic coast of the
United States and her crew was mostly
employed with training exercises. One of
the reasons the ship was never sent to
the battlegrounds of Europe was a lack
of fuel oil at British ports. Supporting the
British Grand Fleet was therefore Battleship Division 9, which used older coal
Wilson back to America. The crisis, brought about by the Greek occupation of the
Turkish port of Smyrna (Today’s Izmir),
led to the diversion of the Arizona from
Brest to Smyrna, where the deployment
of her naval infantry unit ensured the safe
evacuation of the American consulate and
present US citizens onto her decks. She
then sailed to Constantinople, today’s
Istanbul, where the American Consul disembarked. The Arizona then continued
on to the United States, arriving in New
York on June 30.
Steaming in formation with other Atlantic Fleet battleships, during gunnery practice, circa
1917 (photo: H. E. Coffer, 1983. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command).
The USS Arizona didn’t leave for Europe until after the end of hostilities, and
arrived at the British port of Portland
on November 30, 1918. Later, together
with another nine battleships and 28
destroyers, she escorted the steam ocean
liner George Washington with President
Woodrow Wilson on board to the French
city of Brest, where the American President took part in the Paris Peace Conference. The USS Arizona left port with the
entire group on December 14, and after
a two-week voyage reached New York on
December 26, 1918, where she was met
by celebrations to signal the end of the
war. The USS Arizona returned to Europe
in April of the following year, as a part of
the convoy that was to escort President