Lest We Forget: Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon, USS Arkansas (BB-33)

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired), and Arthur D. Baker III

The Sigsbee was saved and returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Commander Chung-Hoon continued to serve after the war, ultimately attaining the rank of rear admiral. He died in 1979. On 18 September 2004, the Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke (DDG-51)-class guided missile destroyer was commissioned USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as shown on the cover of this issue of Proceedings .

—Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)

USS Arkansas (BB-33)

The oldest, smallest, and least heavily armed U.S. Navy battleship to see combat during World War II was the USS Arkansas (BB-33), the second of two ships of the Wyoming (BB-32) class. The 27,243-ton, 562-foot Arkansas was commissioned on 17 September 1912. She first saw action on 22 April 1914, when 17 officers and 313 sailors from her crew of 1,036 went ashore at Veracruz, Mexico, participating in intensive fighting that resulted in two of her junior officers being awarded the Medal of Honor and two sailors killed—her only battle losses during her 34-year career. With the U.S. entrance into World War I in April 1917, the Arkansas was used in home waters for patrol and training duties until assigned to the British Grand Fleet, with which she served from July 1918. During 1925-1926, the battleship had her appearance greatly altered; she was equipped to burn oil in place of coal, her boiler uptakes were combined into a single funnel, the after cage mast was replaced by a low tripod structure, and a considerable amount of superstructure was added.

When the United States entered World War II, the Arkansas initially was employed to escort convoys; in that role, she escorted supply ships bound for the Operation Torch invasion of North Africa in 1942 before turning to training duties the following year. The ship saw no combat until the Normandy invasion, where she fired on German emplacements at Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944. Untouched by heavy return fire, the Arkansas continued her bombardment duties off the French coast until 25 June. Next assigned to the Operation Anvil invasion of southern France, the Arkansas bombarded targets between Cannes and Toulon from 15 to 17 August 1944.

After a refit at Boston, the Arkansas proceeded to the Pacific, where she participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima and began 46 days of fire-support operations at Okinawa. With the end of hostilities, the battleship was used to ferry troops homeward. Her final service came during the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini, where the old veteran was sunk during Test Baker on 25 July 1946. The photograph shows the Arkansas as she appeared during April 1944.

—Arthur D. Baker III

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