Construction begins on second Navy vessel named after Beehive State

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WATCH ABOVE: Wirth Watching: The history of the USS Utah

NORTH KINGSTON, RI (ABC4) – Construction is now underway on the second U.S. Navy vessel to bear the Beehive State’s name.

General Dynamics Electric Boat celebrated the keel laying of SSN 801, or USS Utah, at Quonset Point in Rhode Island. This will be the 28th ship of the Virginia Class and the second under the name USS Utah.

The first was a Florida-class battleship, BB-31, which was commissioned in 1911. She met her fate during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor where she was moored as an anti-aircraft gunnery training ship, according to General Dynamics Electric Boat.

“Today the hull of Utah remains at Pearl Harbor as a memorial to the 58 officers and crew who lost their lives that day. May the spirit of those brave souls guide the future crew of the second USS Utah, whose keel-laying today celebrates the ceremonial birth of the ship,” says EB President Kevin Graney during his remarks.

Naval records show the original USS Utah operated in the Atlantic during her first years of service, remaining there during World War I. After the war, the ship covered the U.S.’s east coast and operated in the Caribbean. In late 1928, she even carried President-Elect Herbert Hoover on the homeward-bound leg of his South American tour.

In the slideshow below are photos of the USS Utah, courtesy of U.S. Naval records.

In 1931, the USS Utah became a radio-controlled target ship and began additional duties as an anti-aircraft gunnery training ship in the mid-1930s. In 1941, Utah was given additional guns and was active with the U.S. Fleet in the Hawaiian area later that year.

On December 7, 1941, the USS Utah was moored at Pearl Harbor when it was hit by a Japanese aerial torpedo attack. The ship rolled over and sank. A few years later, Navy records show the hull was partially righted and moved closer to Ford Island, where she remains today.

There is no word yet on when the new USS Utah will be ready to hit the water.

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