SHIp timeline

  • June 1930: Oklahoma rejoined the Scouting Fleet for exercises in the Caribbean, then returned to the west coast for fleet operations through spring 1936. That summer, she carried midshipmen on a European training cruise, visiting northern ports. The cruise was interrupted with the outbreak of civil war in Spain, as Oklahoma sailed to Bilbao, arriving on July 24, 1936 to rescue American citizens and other refugees whom she carried to Gibraltar and French ports. She returned to Norfolk on September 11, and to the West Coast on October 24.
  • December 29, 1937: Oklahoma was based at Pearl Harbor for patrols and exercises, and only twice returned to the mainland: once to have anti-aircraft guns and armor added to her superstructure at Puget Sound Navy Yard in  February, 1941; and once to have armor replaced at San Pedro in mid-August. On August 22, a severe storm hit Oklahoma which killed one and injured three.  The next morning, a broken starboard propeller shaft forced the ship to change its plan and sail to the closest navy yard which was in San Francisco.. She remained in drydock until mid-October. The ship then returned to Hawaii.

USS Oklahoma (BB-37) was the second of two Nevada-class battleships. Both were ordered in a naval appropriation act on 4 March 1911. She was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation for the United States Navy in the 1910s. Oklahoma was the only US warship ever named for the 46th state. 


The Oklahoma's keel was laid down on October 26, 1912 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, New Jersey, who bid $5,926,000 to construct the ship.  By December 12, 1912, she was 11.2 percent complete, and by July 13, 1913 she was at 33 percent. She was launched on March 23, 1914.  The ship was sponsored by Miss Lorena J. Cruce, daughter of Oklahoma Governor Lee Cruce. The launch was preceded by an invocation—the first for an American warship in half a century—given by Elijah Embree Hoss, and was attended by various dignitaries from Oklahoma and the federal government.


​Following commissioning, the ship remained along the East Coast of the United States primarily visiting various Navy yards and began her sea trails.  She was initially not able to join the Battleship Division Nine task force sent to support the Grand Fleet in the North Sea during World War I due to a lack of oil available there. In 1917, she underwent a refit and two 3-inch/50 caliber guns were installed forward of the mainmast for anti-aircraft defense, and nine of the 5"/51 caliber guns were removed or repositioned.

  • August 13, 1918: Oklahoma was assigned to Battleship Division Six under the command of Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rodgers, and departed for Europe alongside Nevada. On August 23 they rendezvoused with destroyers Balch, Conyngham, Downes, Kimberly, Allen, and Sampson, 275 miles west of Ireland, before steaming for Berehaven Harbor, where they waited for 18 days before battleship Utah arrived. 
  • June 15, 1919: USS Oklahoma escorted Wilson on a second trip to Brest, France, and returned to New York on July 8. A part of the Atlantic Fleet for the next two years, Oklahoma was overhauled and her crew trained. Early in 1921, she voyaged to South America's west coast for combined exercises with the Pacific Fleet, and returned later that year for the Peruvian Centennial
  • April 15, 1925: Arrived in Hawaii on 27 April, where they conducted war games. Left for Samoa on July 1, crossing the equator on July 6. On July 27, they arrived in Australia and conducted a number of exercises before spending time in New Zealand then returning to the United States.  In early 1927, she transited the Panama Canal and moved to join the Scouting Fleet
  • November 1927: Entered Philadelphia Navy Yard for an extensive overhaul. She was modernized by the addition of eight 5-inch/25 cal guns and her turrets' maximum elevation was raised from 15 to 30 degrees. An aircraft catapult was installed atop turret 'Y'. She was also substantially up-armored between September 1927 and July 1929, where anti-torpedo bulges were added, as well as an additional 2 inches of steel on her armor deck. The overhaul increased her beam to 108 feet, the widest in the U.S. Navy, and reduced her speed to 19.68 knots.


Ship Commission