Building, Launch, and Shakedown
On March 16, 1914, the New York Navy Yard laid down the keel to begin construction of battleship number 39, which would later be named Arizona. Original speculation was that the ship would be named the North Carolina, the home state of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. The Pennsylvania class (consisting of the Arizona and the Pennsylvania) formed the next step of the US Navy's response to the naval arms race that had begun in 1906 when the Royal Navy completed the HMS Dreadnought. The ship was launched on June 19, 1915. It was Miss Esther Ross of Prescott that christened the ship with both the traditional champagne and a bottle of the first water to pass over the spillway of Roosevelt Dam, which was completed in 1911 but took until April 15, 1915 to fill. Construction continued on the floating hull and the ship was commissioned on October 17, 1916.
During 1917, residents of Arizona organized a state-wide fund raising effort to pay for a silver service to present to the Arizona.
The Arizona experienced considerable problems with her engines during her trials to the extent that the blades were stripped from one her turbines, requiring months in dry dock to replace. The work was finished in March 1917, and the Arizona served with the Atlantic Fleet as a gunnery training ship during World War I. Coal was more plentiful than oil in Great Britain during the war, and the modern oil fired boilers on the Arizona prevented her from joining the other US battleships serving with the British Grand Fleet.