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Next two Virginia-class subs to be named for Pearl Harbor heroes

The two vessels, the first of the Block V in the class, will be named for the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma and 1,600 sailors who died when the vessels were sunk on Dec. 7, 1941.

By Stephen Feller

Dec. 24 (UPI) -- The acting secretary of the Navy this week announced that the next two Virginia-class submarines -- the first two of Block V of the class -- will be named for the sailors who during the Pearl Harbor attack.

The USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma, currently referred to as SSN-802 and SSN-803, will be named for the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma that were sunk in the Dec. 7, 1941, attack and the roughly 1,600 sailors who died on them, the Navy said on Tuesday.

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"It's an honor that the U.S. Navy will carry our state's values and history around the world," U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said in a statement. "It has been more than 100 years since the Battleship Oklahoma was commissioned and proudly served."

The decision brings the names back into active-duty service more than 75 years after the two vessels were in use.

"It is my fondest wish that the citizens of the great states of Arizona and Oklahoma understand and celebrate our Navy's desire to memorialize the 1,177 heroes who perished on USS Arizona (BB-39) and the 429 more in USS Oklahoma (BB-37) in Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941," Thomas Modly, acting secretary of the Navy, said in a statement.

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The new Arizona and Oklahoma will be the first two in Block V of the Virginia-class submarine program, which have been named about a month after the Navy awarded a $22.2 billion contract to General Dynamics Electric Boat for first nine vessels of the block.

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