The USS Alabama and Drum.
Today, we visited a place that both of us have not been to for a very long time. We pass by the ship every time we drive west on I-10 through Mobile but have not been on the ship for decades.
Warning: History lessons to follow. Who knew?! Still pretty great!
There are many really good displays for us to see along with touring the battleship. There are lots of planes and other vehicles. Almost every plane is on loan from the Pensacola National Naval Aviation Museum. I am glad they share planes that they are not currently showing.
One surprise was ARMY ONE, President’s Helicopter used by President Regan. This helicopter was used when Marine One was too large for the situation. The only time I found that it was used was for his visit to Venice.
A replica of the H L Hunley which was built in Mobile and was the first contact sub to sink a ship. With a crew of 8, the sub could approach a ship at 4 knots just below the surface and push an arm with explosives into the target just below the waterline. The original is currently displayed in Charleston where it sank.
It seems that Mobile was the birthplace of several innovations. The first Mardi Gras was held in Mobile. Several dishes like Fried Crab Claws, West Indies (Crab meat) Salad, Gumbo ( I know! Really!) were created. It was also the first place where it is known that Okra was used in a meal in a restaurant.
The USN Drum was great! It was tight and had many low ceilings but we did not bump our heads even once. She arrived in Pearl Harbor 6 months after the attack. She went on to serve in other areas of the Pacific during the war. She was credited with sinking 15 ships and survived several times being under depth charge attacks by the enemy.
From the deck of the Drum, we watched a bit of wildlife. There were several Canada Geese and goslings walking around the fields beyond the sub.
Time to head down into the sub. We started in the bow torpedo room and ended in the stern.
Walt Disney drew the mascot of the Drum.
The rooms on ship are laid out as or close to how they would have been when the ship was in service.
The control room was fascinating. It is hard to believe anyone could keep all those dials and valves straight in their head to operate the boat.
The rest of the sub was just as interesting. I cannot believe that over 83 men served on the Drum.
The Drum was used in a movie.
They also have a PB MK3 on display which was used to patrol the Panama Canal and much of the Gulf Coast.
Back in the display building. Wow! Lots of history. They have a limited amount of space but use it very well. There was a very nice display on the Tuskegee airmen.
Time to go see the Battleship.
Battleships are huge. It is over 100 feet wide and 680 feet long. A crew of of over 2300 but could add on more if needed. The thickest armor is 18". Max speed 28 knots or over 32 mph. Nine 16" main guns which are accurate to 21 miles and firing huge shells. Imagine the damage this would do. Wow!
Time to go below decks for a bit.
Several movies were filmed on the battleship. USS Indianapolis, Under Siege, Crimson Tide, Rapid Fire, and, of course, War and Remembrance.
There were several nice displays on the history of the ship from the beginning to its decommissioning.
Many rooms are set as they would have been when the ship was in service.
Back up on deck to the bow. Wow the anchor chain is huge.
We were able to climb inside a big gun. Worse for wear but fascinating. I can not even imagine the sound in here when the guns fired.
We loved our visit. Lots of stairs and walking the decks. The weather was great.
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