In 1911 Congress authorized the building of two battleships, the Nevada and the Oklahoma, to be a modern symbol of the power of the United States (These two battleships were to be the first to burn oil as fuel instead of coal.) Oklahoma (BB-37) was laid down October 26, 1912, christened in March 23, 1914 and commissioned on May 2, 1916.
The Oklahoma, a 27,500-ton battleship, needed 2,166 sailors and marines to function properly. She could travel 20,000 miles without refueling. She carried ten 14-inch guns. She was based at Pearl Harbor for patrols and exercises, and was moored in Battleship Row on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked. Oklahoma took 3 torpedo hits almost immediately and capsized. Righting and refloating her took 74-days. Too old and badly damaged to be worth returning to service, Oklahoma was formally decommissioned in September 1944.