USS OKLAHOMA mast drops at Tinker AFB
By Maj LeeAnn Tumblson, 137 ARW
/ Published July 21, 2010
WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- The Air National Guard flew a mast from the World War II battleship USS OKLAHOMA from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, to Tinker Air Force Base on June 21 as part of an effort to deliver the historical piece to a local museum for preservation.
The 45-foot piece of wreckage was flown via C-17 during a Mississippi Air National Guard training mission. The Oklahoma National Guard transported the piece by truck to the Muskogee War Memorial where a tribute honoring the USS OKLAHOMA and her crew took place.
The mast, which weighs more than 22,000 pounds, was found during dredging operations around Pearl Harbor in 2006. It had remained underwater since the USS OKLAHOMA was sunk by Japanese bombs and torpedoes on Dec. 7, 1941, in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ship took 429 of her crew with her as she capsized. The main body of the ship was uprighted in 1943, but sank deep in the Pacific Ocean while under tow to the mainland in 1947.
After being pulled from the protective sea water four years ago, the USS OKLAHOMA's mast began an accelerated deterioration, gaining the attention of many Oklahoma and military leaders. After a concerted effort, the historical artifact will now be preserved at the War Memorial in Muskogee Oklahoma.