The Navy will name its two newest Virginia-class (SSN 774) fast-attack nuclear submarines after the American heroes of the "Greatest Generation" who perished in the former USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and USS Arizona (BB-39), bringing those hallowed names back into active duty service after more than three quarters of a century.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly proclaimed his decision to name the next two submarines, SSN-802 and SSN-803, respectively, on Dec. 23.
“I am honored and humbled to name the next two Virginia-class nuclear fast-attack submarines to be built as the USS Oklahoma (SSN-802) and the USS Arizona (SSN-803)," Modly said. "It is my fondest wish that the citizens of the great states of Arizona and Oklahoma will understand and celebrate our Navy’s desire to memorialize the 1,177 heroes who perished in USS Arizona (BB-39) and the 429 more in USS Oklahoma (BB-37) in Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941.
“Truly, there is no greater honor I can think of for the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the nation than to build and commission into active service two state-of-the-art American warships carrying the spirit of those heroes of the Greatest Generation, as well as that of their families and the Grand Canyon and Sooner states as they sail through a new American maritime century," Modly said.
Generations have visited the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Oahu, Hawaii, comprising the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma and USS Utah memorials, in addition to six officer bungalows, three mooring quays, and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The memorial commemorates the history of World War II in the Pacific from the events leading to the Dec. 7, 1941, attack to peace and reconciliation, and honors the thousands of Americans who served and died that day.
Virginia-class fast-attack submarines provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. They have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements.