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NavSource Online: Battleship Photo Archive

BB-31 USS UTAH
1914 - 1918


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1909 - 1913
1919 - 1926
1927 - December 6, 1941
December 7, 1941-Present


Florida Class Battleship: Displacement 21,825 Tons, Dimensions, 521' 6" (oa) x 88' 3" x 30' 1" (Max). Armament 10 x 12"/45 16 x 5"/51, 2 x 21" tt. Armor, 11" Belt, 12" Turrets, 3" Decks, 11 1/2" Conning Tower. Machinery, 28,000 SHP; Direct Drive Turbines, 4 screws. Speed, 20.75 Knots, Crew 1001.

Operational and Building Data: Laid down by New York Shipbuilding, Camden NJ., March 15, 1909. Launched December 23, 1909. Commissioned August 31, 1911. Converted and reclassified Target Ship AG-16, April 1, 1932. Decommissioned (War Loss). Stricken November 13, 1944.
Fate: Sunk by Japanese aircraft during attack on Pearl Harbor Hawaii, December 7, 1941. Her hulk still rests rolled over in her berth, serving as a memorial to this day. 6 Officers and 58 Men were lost with the ship and remain on duty.

In Memorium:

In the Second Book of Shmuel (Samuel), 22nd chapter, 5th through the 19th verses, translated from the original in Hebrew and published by the Koren Publishers of Jerusalem, Israel, can perhaps aptly describe the fate of the crew and all other U.S.sailors who died defending their county:

"When the waves of death compassed me / the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; / the bonds of She'ol encircled me; / the snares of death took me by surprise; / in my distress I called upon the Lord, / and cried to my G-D: / and he heard my voice out of his temple, / and my cry entered into his ears. / Then the earth shook and trembled; /the foundations of heaven moved / and shook because of his anger /...the heavy mass of waters, and thick clouds of the skies /... And the channels of the sea appeared, / the foundations of the world were laid bare, / at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast at the breath of his nostrils. / He sent from above, he took me; / he drew me out of many waters; / he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me. / They surprised me in the day of my calamity: / but the Lord was my stay..."
Penelope's Song courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
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U.S. Atlantic Fleet battleships71k U.S. Atlantic Fleet battleships steaming toward Mexican waters in 1914. Photograph copyrighted in 1914 by E. Muller, Jr., and Pach.
OUR POWERFUL NORTH ATLANTIC FLEET
This is to considered be the most powerful battle fleet in the world. Recently it returned from the Mediterranean and left Hampton Roads for the south. During the last battle practice each of the vessels made a record for herself while the flagship Wyoming (BB-32) broke the world's record at target practice. The photograph shows the nine ships in the order in which they usually sail. The Wyoming is in the lead at the right, and is followed by the Florida (BB-30), Utah (BB-31), Delaware (BB-28), North Dakota (BB-29), South Carolina (BB-26), Rhode Island (BB-17), Georgia (BB-15),and New Jersey (BB-16).
The following battleships that were dispatched to Mexican waters included the:
Ohio (BB-12), Virginia (BB-13), Nebraska (BB-14), Connecticut (BB-18), Louisiana (BB-19), Vermont (BB-20), Kansas (BB-21), Minnesota (BB-22), Mississippi (BB-23), Idaho (BB-24), New Hampshire (BB-25), Michigan (BB-27), Arkansas (BB-33), New York (BB-34) & Texas (BB-35).
In insets are (left to right):
Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo,
Rear Admiral Frank F. Fletcher,
Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger.
USNHC # NH 60322.
Insert PDF image and text provided by Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, LA.
Photo by The Madison Journal. (Tallulah, Madison Parish, La.) 1888-current, 07 February 1914, Image 3, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-31 Utah 966k TO COMMAND UTAH (BB-31)
CAPT. J. H. GIBBONS, Of the Battleship Louisiana (BB-19), Who Will Be Placed in Command of the Utah on the Voluntary Retirement, After Thirty Years of Active Service, of Present Commander, Capt Louis S. Van Duze.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from The Washington Times. (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939, 12 April 1914, Sunday Evening EDITION, Image 5, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-31 Utah980kIF THE VERA CRUZ GIVES THE SALUTE, WHY NOT LET THE UTAH (BB-31) RETURN IT? Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo & text by New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, 17 April 1914, Image 3, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-31 Utah86k Abraham DeSomer was born on 29 December 1884 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the early 1900s, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy from that state. Following his initial sea duty on board the gunboat Yorktown, DeSomer transferred to the monitor Monadnock (M-3), which served on the Asiatic Station, and became a Gunner's Mate.
During 1907-1911, he was assigned to the battleship Nebraska (BB-14). DeSomer was promoted to Chief Petty Officer in 1910. A year later, he reported to the battleship Utah (BB-31). While serving in that ship on 21-22 April 1914, during the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico, his "extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico" was recognized by the award of the Medal of Honor.
Utah consequently landed her "battalion"-17 officers and 367 sailors under the command of Lt. Guy W. S. Castle-as well as her Marine detachment, which formed part of the improvised "First Marine Brigade," made up of detachments of marines from the other ships that had arrived to show American determination. In the ensuing fighting, in which the men of Utah's bluejacket battalion distinguished themselves, seven won Medals of Honor. Those seven included Lt. Castle, the battalion commander; company commanders Ens. Oscar C. Badger and Ens. Paul F. Foster; section leaders, Chief Turret Captains Niels Drustrup and Abraham Desomer; Chief Gunner George Bradley; and Boatswain's Mate Henry N. Nickerson.
Chief Turret Captain Abraham DeSomer, USN Photographed in 1910, just after reenlisting for his third enlistment. DeSomer received the Medal of Honor for his "extraordinary heroism" during the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21-22 April 1914.
Text courtesy of USNHC # NH 103834. Collection of Lieutenant Commander Abraham DeSomer, USN. Donated by Lieutenant Colonel Russell DeSomer, U.S. Air Force (Retired), 1975 & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
BB-31 Utah65kMedal of Honor Citation: “For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. In both days' fighting at the head of his company, Ensign Paul Frederick Foster was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage”. Ensign Paul Frederick Foster was part of the landing force of 800 Marines and Seamen at Vera Cruz on 22 April 1914 to protect U.S. citizens and rights during a period of political unrest in Mexico. 17 Marines and Sailors were killed during the battles over the two day period within the city of Vera Cruz during the incident. He was assigned to the Battleship Utah (BB-31) after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. Photo courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command via Bill Gonyo.
BB-31 Utah79kVera Cruz Incident, 1914. The Utah (BB-31) battalion marches along the Vera Cruz waterfront while returning to their ship, circa April-June 1914. Battleship in the center distance is Minnesota (BB-22). Ship in the left distance is either Dixie (1898- 1922) or Prairie (1898-1923). Photographed by Hadsell.USNHC # NH 100622.
BB-31 Utah80kChief Gunner George Bradley, USN (center) with Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby (left) and Admiral Edward W. Eberle, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, at the White House, Washington, D.C., 4 October 1923, after he had been presented with the Medal of Honor by President Calvin Coolidge.
The Medal was awarded "for meritorious service under fire" during the landings at Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1914. At that time Bradley was a Chief Gunner's Mate, serving in Utah (BB-31).
Citation: For meritorious service under fire on the occasion of the landing of the American naval forces at Vera Cruz in 1914. C.G. Bradley was then attached to the Utah, as a chief gunner's mate, and was in charge of the ammunition party and special details at Vera Cruz.
Photo # npcc 09603. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, from the George Grantham Bain Collection. Submitted courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
BB-31 Utah104kLt. William Price Williamson commanded the gun battery of Utah's (BB-31) landing force during the landings at Vera Cruz, Mexico, in April 1914. U.S. Naval Academy photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
BB-12 Ohio507kVERACRUZ TAKEN AFTER BOMBARDMENT
PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE STURDY FIGHTERS OF THE ATLANTIC FLEET STEAMING OUT OF HAMPTON ROADS FOR MEXICAN WATERS
LEFT TO RIGHT: THE OHIO (BB-12), THE VERMONT (BB-20), THE CONNECTICUT (BB-18), THE NORTH DAKOTA (BB-29), THE DELAWARE (BB-28), THE FLORIDA (BB-30), THE UTAH (BB-31), AND THE ARKANSAS (BB-33).
Image and text provided by University of Oregon, Knight Library; Eugene,OR.
Photo from Medford Mail Tribune. (Medford, Or.) 1909-1989, 22 April 1914, SECOND EDITION, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-31 Utah 617k Guns of Battleship Utah (BB-31) Trained Upon Sand Hills Sheltering Maas' Troops
A group of marines on board the battleship here shown are drawn up with their arms and receiving instructions preparatory to landing. The other picture shows the great guns of the battleship Utah.
Image and text provided by University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR.
Photo from Daily Capital Journal. (Salem, Or.) 1903-1919, 04 May 1914, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-31 Utah 1.20k UTAH (BB-31) BRINGS LAURELS SHE WON AT VERA CRUZ
Grim Old Battleship That Left Here with Snow Clad Decks Back with Warm but Happy Officers and Crew.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from New-York Tribune.(New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, 23 June 1914, Image 2, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-31 Utah227kPostcard photo by Enrique Muller Jr. of the Utah (BB-31) underway sometime after 1914. Photo courtesy of SK/3 Tommy Trampp.
Atlantic Fleet615kUNCLE SAM'S FIGHTER BATTLING OLD NEPTUNE'S WRATH
UTAH (BB-31) IN A STORM OFF CAPE HATTERAS WHILE ON HER WAY TO GUANTANAMO
Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo from The Sun. (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, 14 February 1915, FOURTH SECTION PICTORIAL MAGAZINE, Image 40, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
War Game 744k PRESIDENT WILL SEND UNITED STATES FLEET ON BIG WAR GAME
1. General view of warships in Hudson river.
2. Utah (BB-31).
3. Virginia (BB-13).
4. United States torpedo boat destroyer going at full speed.
5. Florida (BB-30), with sky line of New York city in the background.
6. Sailors aboard United States battleship.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo & text by The Washington Herald. (Washington, D.C.) 1906-1939, 02 May 1915, PICTORIAL SECTION, Image 31, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Atlantic Fleet250k OUTLINED AGAINST A CURTAIN OF DARKNESS
A fleet of destroyers and torpedo-boats has now arrived at New York to join the heavy ships of the line. Altogether, about 50 vessels will be assembled when the ceremonies began next Monday. It is promised that the strained international relations will have no effect on the parade.
Photo by International News Service.
Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA.
Photo & text by Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, 13 May 1915, Night Extra, Image 16, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Atlantic Fleet2.05kSAILORS OF THE FLEET PASS THE PRESIDENT IN PARADE
Above in the reviewing stand at Forty Second Street showing Acting Mayor McAneny, President Wilson, Secretary Daniels & Admiral Fletcher in the centre of the reviewing party. The sailors of the Utah (BB-31) with the flags they carried at Vera Cruz are passing the stand. Below are the sailors from the flagship Wyoming (BB-32) marching up the avenue.
Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo from The Sun. (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, 18 May 1915, Image 2, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Atlantic Fleet1.17k Dreadnoughts Texas (BB-35) and Utah (BB-31) First of Fletcher's Fleet To Leave Navy Yard for Southern Cruise, Dodge Big Bulkhead
BATTLESHIP UTAH PASSING UNDER BROOKLYN BRIDGE ON HER WAY TO NEWPORT WITH THE TEXAS.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, 22 June 1915, Image 6, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-29 North Dakota1.22kADMIRAL FLETCHER AND FLEET CAPTAINS
Admiral Fletcher, commander of the Atlantic fleet conferring with other officers on the flagship Wyoming (BB-32). Standing with his back turned, is Capt. Albert Gleaves of the Utah (BB-31); seated, left to right, are Capt. W. L. Rogers of the Delaware (BB-28), Admiral Fletcher and Captain Huse, chief of staff.
Image and text provided by Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, LA.
Photo from The Madison Journal. (Tallulah, Madison Parish, La.) 1888-current, 03 July 1915, Image 3, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
BB-31 Utah4.15k"The Utah (BB-31) with crew lining the rail, passing in review before the Secretary of War on the battleship Wyoming (BB-32) in Massachusetts Bay."USN photo by O.Waterman, courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
Text courtesy of N.Y. Times, 5 September 1915, Page 7.
BB-31 Utah89kUtah (BB-31) looking forward from atop # 4 12" gun turret while coaling simultaneously from two colliers at the rate of 841 tons per hour prior to World War I. The ship's band is stationed on top of # 3 turret. The two colliers are Cyclops (CA-4) on the left and either Orion (CA-11) or Jason (CA-12) on the right. Cyclops had Mead-Morrison coal handling gear while the other collier had Lidgerwood gear.USNHC # NH 61262.
BB-31 Utah124kCloseup view of the main masthead, prior to World War I, with sailors in gunfire spotting positions and the U.S. flag flying from the gaff. Halftone reproduction, copied from United States Navy Illustrated, published in New York in 1917. USNHC photo # NH 79494.
Almost Unknown447kSUPPLIES FOR A BATTLESHIP'S CUPBOARD
The most powerful naval force ever assembled under the Stars and Strips is now fully supplied and ready for battle.
A Florida class (BB-30 / 31) battleship is in the background.
Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA.
Photo by Evening Public Ledger.(Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, 13 July 1917, Night Extra, Pictorial Section, Image 16, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
PDF added 02/24/14.
BB-34 New York350k New York (BB-34) with seven other Battleships of the Atlantic Fleet at Hampton Roads, 1917.
The ship in the foreground (first from the right) is the Arkansas (BB-33). The photo shows a total of 8 battleships sailing in 2 columns. The cage masts of a battleship is showing above the Arkansas' forward turrets and the ship on the far left is actually 2 ships (3 masts) [the right hand of these 2 appears to be bow on to the camera sailing on a different bearing thus only one mast is showing].
Given the probable date of the photo, the flag on the foremast of Arkansas is probably that of R. Adm. Winslow, which would suggest that the right hand column is probably Battleship Division 1. The New York does appear in the photo as the second ship in the right hand column (second closest in the photo) note the 2 forward casemate guns (verses 1 on 12" gunned BB's) and the 2 gun main turrets.
Assuming the the right hand column is division 1, the next 2 ships in that column would be Utah (BB-31) and the Florida (BB-30)(both funnels are between the masts) and the last ship in line (the bow on ship) may be Delaware (BB-28).
Library of Congress photo # LC-DIG-hec-08103 courtesy of the Harris & Ewing Collection.
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Chris Hoehn.
BB-31 Utah245kThe Utah (BB-31) arrives at Hampton Roads, Virginia before going over to Europe during WW I.
She operated in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay as an engineering and gunnery training ship and continued that duty until 30 August 1918, when she sailed for the British Isles with Vice Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet, embarked.
Photo courtesy of George Henry Wilson via Kent Holsather.
Partial text courtesy of DANFS.
Atlantic Fleet58k"Armor piercing shells weighing half a ton or more apiece being loaded on an American Dreadnought that is preparing to sail for European waters."Photo by Central News Photo Service, text courtesy of N.Y. Times, Page 363 from The War of the Nations (New York), 31 December 1919, courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
BB-31 Utah229kUtah's (BB-31) crew lines the deck at attention during a funeral ceremony when the ship was at Brerehaven, Bantry Bay, Ireland, sometime on or after 10 September 1918. There, she became the flagship of Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rodgers, Commander, Battleship Division 6. Photo courtesy of George Henry Wilson via Kent Holsather. Partial text courtesy of DANFS.
BB-31 Utah30kUtah (BB-31), starboard view, circa 1917-19.Courtesy of Philip H. Robare RMCS, USN - RET.
BB-31 Utah810kPhotographed during World War I, with camouflage patterns painted on her hull and triangular baffles attached to her masts. Both were intended to confuse enemy range finders.Text courtesy of USNHC # NH 63579.
US National Archives photo # 80G-1035104 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert, Webmaster & Editor ModelWarships.com/12.
BB-31 Utah90kWorking with a "kite" observation balloon, in Bantry Bay, near Berehaven, Ireland, circa September-November 1918.USNHC # NH 63578.
Sixth Battle Squadron72k Battleships of the Sixth Battle Squadron (anchored in column in the left half of the photograph): included the
Florida (BB-30)
Utah (BB-31)
Wyoming (BB-32)
Arkansas (BB-33)
New York (BB-34)
Texas (BB-35)
Nevada (BB-36)
Oklahoma (BB-37)
Pennsylvania (BB-38)
& Arizona (BB-39) at one time or another. There are only three of the battleships present in this photo at Brest, France, on 13 December 1918. George Washington (ID-3018), which had just carried President Woodrow Wilson from the United States to France, is in the right background.
USNHC # NH 63454 Photographed by Zimmer.
BB-31 Utah123k27 December 1918 in New York Harbor, after her return from European waters. Note that two 5" guns have been removed from her starboard amidships battery, probably for wartime use on merchant ships.USNHC # NH 44256.
Atlantic Fleet62.57kTHE U. S. FLEET AT ANCHOR in the lower expanse of the Hudson River shortly after the review by Secretary Daniels. The Utah (BB-31) in the foreground. A vast throng watched in silence, awed by the spectacle, as the ten fighting units from overseas steamed slowly to their anchorage. Photo by Underwoodx2
Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA.
Photo & text by Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, 27 December 1918, Final, Image 22, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.

Utah (BB-31) History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The Hazegray & Underway Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Utah (BB-31) Association Web Site Webmaster


Note About Contacts.

The contact listed, was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.


Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway Battleship Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Utah (BB-31) Report of Pearl Harbor Attack.

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