Tuesday, December 12, 2017

American Undersea Warfare Center

submarine and flags
Flags at half mast in memory of Pearl Harbor
 Dec. 7, 2017
Pearl Harbor Day.

And the weather was pretty ugly. Rains. Winds. Cold. (Well, cold for here anyway. Only in the 40's)

But after living in the PNW, rain doesn't slow you down. So we headed out for more maritime history.

This time, we drove over to Pelican Island, home to the American Undersea Warfare Center. We were able to tour two different WWII vessels.

The first one we boarded was the the USS Stewart (DE-238), a Destroyer Escort that was commissioned May 31, 1943. 

She was part of a convoy that escorted FDR, conducted over 30 missions across the North Atlantic, and is one of 3 that are left.

I'll say one thing..those destroyer escorts had pretty snug quarters and steep ladders!  You can see quite a bit, but some areas were closed for restoration work, and some of the ladders a little too steep to try and take with wet shoes. Gives a whole new appreciation to the services these sailors gave our nation.

The other vessel was the USS Cavalla (SS-244) a submarine that was commissioned Feb 29, 1944. (Leap year) On her first patrol she sunk the carrier Shokaku, pride of the Japanese Navy. (The Shokaku was involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor) The crew of the Cavalla was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation

I wimped out on the cold windy rain to walk the length of the sub to get to the entry hatch, but Chris went below. He said it was pretty tight quarters below decks. Some of the crew bunks were right by the torpedoes. He said they were also playing period Christmas music on board and had some nice displays. (And that the newer heaters added....were made by Mitsubishi)

We're sure enjoying checking out all the maritime history in the area...rain or sun! And we probably won't even get into all the pirate stuff this trip...

Off shore from Pelican Island is the "Selma". She was the largest cement hulled boat built in 1919 as a tanker. After she was damaged they couldn't find anywhere that could repair her. She was later sunk in her present position to serve as a channel marker until the light system came into effect in the 1930s.

All in all, a very interesting day. Oh, and Pelican Island served as another immigration point, sort of the Ellis Island of the South.

Admission is pretty reasonable too. $10 adults, Seniors $5. Additional discount for Military and groups. Parking $6 as it's inside Seawolf Park

Enjoy the photos!

Man walking on deck of Navy ship in rain
Chris leading the way as we explore the Stewart

ships mast
Looking up at Stewart's mast

Man in Navy ship narrow hallway
Exploring below decks

bow view of WW2 submarine
USS Cavalla bow

Top deck of WW2 submarine
Loooong deck aboard the Cavalla! And yes, it's wood.

WW2 sub and destroyer escort
Predator and Protector, side by side

shipwreck with white anchor in foreground
SS Selma remains

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