US Navy to Name New Attack Submarine USS Oklahoma
USPaula Liu

The U.S. Navy announced on Dec. 23 that it would be naming the newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine the USS Oklahoma, after a battleship that served World War II, according to a news release issued by Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.).

USS Oklahoma (SSN-802) is one of the two submarines that the U.S. Navy has unveiled, the other one being USS Arizona (SSN-803), according to a news release issued by the Acting Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs, bringing the hallowed names of both ships back into active-duty service from three-quarters of a century ago.

The announcement was made by both Senator Lankford as well as Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Lankford said that the newest attack submarine was named the USS Oklahoma to honor the 429 sailors who had lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor in midst of World War II.

“The U.S. Navy once again selected the historic name Oklahoma for one of our nation’s most powerful platforms for peace, this time a Virginia-class submarine. It’s an honor that the U.S. Navy will carry our state’s values and history around the world. It has been more than 100 years since the Battleship Oklahoma was commissioned and proudly served; I am grateful the Navy will honor the 429 sailors lost and the entire World War II generation by naming one of our vessels Oklahoma,” Lankford said.

In the news release issued by the Acting Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs, Thomas B. Modly, the Acting Secretary of the Navy, stated that it was a great honor to be able to name the submarines, saying, “It is my fondest wish that the citizens of the great states of Arizona and Oklahoma will understand and celebrate our Navy’s desire to memorialize the 1,177 heroes who perished in USS Arizona (BB-39) and the 429 more in USS Oklahoma (BB-37) in Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941.”

In addition, Modly said, “Truly, there is no greater honor I can think of for the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the nation than to build and commission into active service two state-of-the-art American warships carrying the spirit of those heroes of the Greatest Generation, as well as that of their families and the Grand Canyon and Sooner states as they sail through a new American maritime century.”

In the statement from Lankford, the senator also said that there was a likely possibility that an Oklahoman midshipman at the Naval Academy will be serving on this newest vessel. Furthermore, Lankford took this chance to thank both the sailors who were serving the United States around the world, as well as their families, and wished them a very Merry Christmas.

“To our sailors serving us across the world this Christmas season and to their families, thank you for the sacrifices you make for the safety of the people of our state and our nation,” Lankford said.

Inhofe spoke further about the USS Oklahoma’s build, stating, “I am proud to note the future USS Oklahoma with the designation SSN-802 will be the 29th Virginia-class fast attack submarine and the first in the Block V configuration.”

Inhofe explained that submarines in this formation “will include the latest advances in acoustic superiority and lethality that will be critical to implementing the National Defense Strategy and maintaining our nation’s undersea dominance.”