Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Utah (BB 31)

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USS Utah (Battleship # 31, later BB-31 and AG-16), 1911-1941

USS Utah, a 21,825-ton Florida class battleship, was built at Camden, New Jersey. Commissioned in August 1911, she operated in the Atlantic during her first years of service, made a voyage to the Mediterranean in 1913 and took part in the Vera Cruz incident a year later. Utah remained in the Atlantic during World War I and, in September-November 1918, was based in southern Ireland to provide a covering force for Allied convoys as they neared the British Isles.


Post-war, Utah operated along the U.S. east coast and in the Caribbean, but was assigned to European waters during 1921-22. In 1924-25, she made a good-will visit to South America. Extensively modernized later in 1925, Utah was employed as a unit of the U.S. Scouting Fleet. She went to the South Atlantic in late 1928 to carry President-Elect Herbert Hoover on the homeward-bound leg of his South American tour.


Converted to a radio-controlled target ship in 1931, and redesignated AG-16, Utah spent the rest of her career in this role, with additional duties as an anti-aircraft gunnery training ship beginning in the mid-1930s. In 1941, she was given additional guns to enhance her gunnery training mission, and was active with the U.S. Fleet in the Hawaiian area later in that year. On 7 December 1941, while moored at Pearl Harbor, Utah was hit by Japanese aerial torpedo attack, rolled over and sank. A few years later her hull was partially righted and moved closer to Ford Island, where she remains today.