USS Arizona relic set to be moved to Fort Miles

Artifact will have a new home near USS Missouri gun barrel
June 17, 2020

Story Location:
Cape Henlopen Drive
Lewes, DE 19958
United States

The unveiling of a historic relic from the USS Arizona as a display at the Fort Miles Museum has been put on hold because of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

However, that doesn't mean volunteers from the Fort Miles Historical Association and Cape Henlopen State Park staff are not making plans.

Corrado Construction Co., builder of HOB Elementary, Love Creek Elementary and Rehoboth Beach City Hall in this area, is donating its services to move the 650-pound relic and 150-pound shipping crate from a state park garage to the concrete platform at the entrance to the museum, near the USS Missouri gun barrel.

On May 13, association members met with Corrado's Billy Mitchell to plan the move.

Association President Gary Wray said they want to conduct an unveiling ceremony worthy of the relic from the ship that went down during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, claiming the lives of more than 1,100 sailors and Marines.

The museum will then have on display artifacts from the beginning of U.S. involvement in World War II to the end of the war. The Japanese signed surrender documents under the gun barrels of the USS Missouri Sept. 2, 1945.

No date has been set for the unveiling ceremony.

Wray said the only other places with relics from the start and end of the war are at Pearl Harbor, the resting place of the Arizona and the restored Missouri, and in a display in Arizona.

Association board member and U.S. Navy veteran Cliff Geisler, who headed the association's Arizona Task Force, said after Navy officials realized they couldn't salvage the entire ship, in 1943 crews started cutting off parts of the superstructure not underwater and stored them in forested areas around Pearl Harbor.

In 1995, Congress authorized donations of steel pieces if organizations covered costs, Geisler said.

Under a U.S. Navy program, pieces of the ship have been donated for displays all over the world.

The relic arrived March 23 at the park via a donated FedEx delivery truck.

Out of respect for the lives lost on the Arizona, Geisler said the artifact will be displayed as it is without any restoration work.


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