A Naval Academy class ring gives mute testimony to disaster at Pearl Harbor 70 years ago today

By John Keller


Posted by John Keller

A ring from the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1906, is an enduring icon of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , which happened 70 years ago today, and ushered the United States into World War II. The ring belonged to Navy Rear Adm. Isaac Campbell Kidd, who on that day was commanding officer of the Navy's Battleship Division One. His flagship was the USS Arizona .

Adm. Kidd was born in 1884, and had served as a naval officer all of his adult life. His military experience involved the Navy's Great White Fleet's round-the-world cruise in 1907 to 1909. He had been aide and flag secretary to the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and commander of Destroyer Squadron One, Scouting Force.


On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Kidd was aboard the battleship USS Arizona , which was anchored at the Hawaiian naval base at Pearl Harbor near the other Pacific Fleet's battleships. The Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship commissioned in 1916.

Even though the ageing warship had been at sea for a quarter century, the huge vessel with its 14-inch guns still was considered to be among the most formidable weapons of its day. The era of the aircraft carrier was yet to come, and battleships were still kings of the ocean on that sunny Sunday morning 70 years ago.

Adm. Kidd was a battleship officer through-and-through. In addition to the Arizona , he had served aboard the battleships USS New Jersey (BB-16), USS North Dakota (BB-29), USS New Mexico (BB-40), and USS Utah (BB-31).


When the first Japanese bombs began falling on Pearl Harbor, Adm. Kidd rushed to the bridge of the Arizona . There wasn't a lot he could do, as the ship was moored on Battleship Row next to Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, penned in next to the repair ship USS Vestal , with the battleships USS Nevada , USS Tennessee , and USS West Virginia in front and behind.



Although the Vestal screened the Arizona from Japanese aircraft-launched torpedoes, the Arizona was a stationary target, vulnerable to Japanese bombs. One of those bombs ripped through the Arizona's forward deck, igniting a powder magazine and causing a spectacular fiery explosion that ripped the battle wagon apart, and collapsed the ship's superstructure that contained the ship's bridge.

Adm. Kidd's body was never recovered. Navy divers sent to salvage what they could from the Arizona's wreckage did locate Adm. Kidd's naval academy class ring. They found it in what was left of the Arizona's bridge welded to a bulkhead from the concussion and heat of the explosion.

Divers also found Adm. Kidd's trunk on the sunken Arizona , which is at the USS Arizona Memorial museum at Pearl Harbor.

In a postscript to the disaster at Pearl Harbor, Adm. Kidd's son, Isaac C. Kidd, Jr., was commissioned a Navy ensign 12 days after his father's death at Pearl Harbor. Later he participated in the U.S. invasion of Iwo Jima near the end of World War II in the Pacific. He retired from the Navy in 1978 and died in 1999.

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.

Previous Blog Posts

Capital Hill budget deal could restore tens of billions of dollars to the Pentagon

December 17, 2013

Hacker drone story a cautionary tale about the need for unmanned vehicle data security

December 10, 2013

Lack of money for systems upgrades threatens to maintain wind-farm radar dead spots

December 3, 2013

Engineering support contracts indicate the Pentagon is sinking into the Mothball Strategy

November 26, 2013

The revenge of COTS: an ageing commercial technology base complicates military supply chain

November 19, 2013

Navy's newest destroyers evolve to fill traditional battleship roles

November 12, 2013

International suspicions of U.S. encryption technology putting defense companies in a bind

November 5, 2013

Defense industry left guessing as Army struggles forward with an unclear mission

October 29, 2013

These are tough times for the combat vehicle and vetronics industries

October 22, 2013

Is the government shutdown a harbinger of more ominous things to come?

October 15, 2013

Government shutdown reduces military contracting, increasing pressure on U.S. defense industry

October 7, 2013

Potential good news: has U.S. defense spending finally bottomed-out?

October 1, 2013

Is robotics revolution the first glimpse of a fundamental change in human evolution?

September 24, 2013

Obsolescent parts: are we enhancing military readiness or creating a hollow force?

September 17, 2013

For the high-tech warfighter, the future of electronics-laden uniforms is here

September 10, 2013

New generation of embedded computing thermal management in development at GE

September 3, 2013

Trading bus stops for credit cards: how far embedded computing has come in three decades

August 27, 2013

Unmanned vehicle industry stands at the doorstep of a fundamental transformation

August 20, 2013

AUVSI 2013, one of the biggest unmanned vehicles shows in the world, opens this week in Washington

August 13, 2013

The Washington Post, under Jeff Bezos, could lead the way for media in the 21st Century

August 6, 2013

Are costs and vulnerabilities making military leaders nervous about satellite communications?

July 30, 2013

Unmanned aircraft carrier that travels beneath the waves may be in the Navy's future

July 23, 2013

Electronic warfare programs kick into high gear with a flurry of contract activity

July 16, 2013

How vulnerable are U.S. Navy vessels to advanced anti-ship cruise missiles?

July 9, 2013

First came VHSIC, then came MIMIC, and now comes ACE to push electronics technology

July 2, 2013

The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

December 2013
Volume 24, Issue 12
file

All Access Sponsors


Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Connect with Us



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE