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Joe_918145

Finally toured the USS Alabama

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After literally decades of crossing Mobile Bay on I-10 when headed for Florida, I finally took the time to go the the USS Alabama Memorial Park last weekend.  I was not disappointed.

I was with my two son-in-laws, one of which is an officer in the Navy Reserves.  He served on a submarine while on active duty, so touring the Drum was our first priority.  Wow!  It was like having a personal tour guide the whole day.  I learned more than I expected, and could have stayed there for an additional day.  The detail he provided was awesome. not only for the Hood but for the Alabama as well.  Did I mention he once taught naval history at a well known Texas university?  LOL!

We play this game and somehow the reality does not sink in.  First of all it's just a game, and to see the Alabama mains close up and personal is awe inspiring.  Then you come to understand the hardships suffered by those who served her in WWII.  I'm 65 now, but it would have been hard for me to have worked in the engine rooms when I was 20.  The heat and noise would have been incredible.  Loading the mains would have been difficult as well.  Can you imagine being below decks doing your job as shells hit the ship?

My dad served in the Pacific in WWII.  He did not talk about the war much, but I do remember him saying what a comfort it was when the navy shelled the enemy.  It made him feel like the guys in his squad were not alone on the two islands where he served - Guam and Okinawa.  These are two of the islands where the Alabama provided support to the battles.  

It really is a small world, my dad in battle, one of the ships that supported him, and my son-in-law who still serves.

I played a game the other day where the red team had an Alabama.   At first I really did not want to shell her.  Then the red dog put a shell in my citadel.  I got over not wanting to shoot the Alabama and returned the favor.

It is really just a game.  A really fun game, but a game none the less.

Edited by Joe_918145
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the hood? you mean the drum?

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10 minutes ago, Dnil said:

the hood? you mean the drum?

LOL!  Yes, I edited my post.  

Thanks!

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I am jealous.  The Bama must be quite a fine museum piece.  I took my girls to the USS North Carolina many years ago and she was just awesome.  Curious thing though, I served onboard the USS Guam and the USS Nassau and the mess decks have a distinctive smell.  The North Carolina had the exact same smell.  That navy chow really has some staying power.

 

I would like to visit the Bama eventually.  Do you have a map you could post?

 

Regards,

CS

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I went to Hornet when I was little, but don't remember much. The only other ships I've been on were the Arizona and Bowfin when I was at pearl harbor a couple years ago, but I didn't get to go to the Missouri. This year I opted out of playing in the band at school which turned out to be a big mistake. The music department went to hawaii and one of the places they performed at was onboard the Missouri. I'm still waiting for a chance to see a battleship in person. 

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Missouri is very impressive.

 

Alabama, North Carolina, and Texas are all on my to do list though.   I’ve toured a ton of ships from HMS Victory to USS Midway, to USS Kidd just to name a few... but the battleships are the special ones.

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3 hours ago, Captain_Slattery said:

I would like to visit the Bama eventually.  Do you have a map you could post?

'Bama is moored in Mobile Bay and can be seen from I-10, just before the causeway to the E side (when E-bound).  That's how my wife and I saw her and stopped. 

Bonus: E-ward down Old Spanish Trail are some of the best little seafood restaurants anywhere.

 

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6 hours ago, Captain_Slattery said:

I am jealous.  The Bama must be quite a fine museum piece.  I took my girls to the USS North Carolina many years ago and she was just awesome.  Curious thing though, I served onboard the USS Guam and the USS Nassau and the mess decks have a distinctive smell.  The North Carolina had the exact same smell.  That navy chow really has some staying power.

 

I would like to visit the Bama eventually.  Do you have a map you could post?

 

Regards,

CS

All ships have that “ship” smell.   It’s probably the ventilation/recirculation system.   It’s pretty bad on a submarine, since the air is recirculated endlessly with CO2 getting scrubbed out.  Pretty much you come back from deployment and you throw all of your clothes you had on deployment on the submarine away.

 

The engine room is a hot noisy place when a ship is underway.  You spend your watch camped out underneath an air vent.

when I stepped into the USS Alabama engineroom when I took my 8 year old son to visit, I saw the gauge board for the main engines. Alabama was decommissioned in the mid 1940s and the last time I stepped into a steam propulsion engineering space was around 20 years ago. But I was really surprised to find that I recognized the gauges on the Alabama and still understood what all those gauges was telling me.

i tried to explain to my son how the fire team at the boiler front operated the boiler - it’s a delicate balance between 4 people - the throttleman(controlling steam demand) , the burnerman (controlling fuel) , and two boiler techs controlling air and feed water.  showed him the torch and how they used it to light the fires in the boiler.  Bic lighters are prohibited in the fire room, but the burnerman always carried a Zippo lighter.  When it was time to light fires in the boiler, the boiler fire team purges the boiler.  ventilation is shut down in the engineroom.  It’s the only time when it got quiet in the plant. The burnerman takes the torch. At the end of the torch is literally a rag soaked with DFM/JP5.  ignites the torch with the zippo and shoves the ignited torch into the firebox. At the #1 burner barrel, he fans the air registers and introduces fuel. there is a huge whoosh as the burnerbarrel ignites.   “Fires Lit #1 boiler”. Ventilation to the engineroom is restored and everything gets noisy again.

my kid had already lost interest and was off looking for more knobs and levers to play with, but I found I had.a group of other visitors listening in.    “Oops.   Sorry I don’t work here. Just visiting”

 

its definitely a contrast to today’s modern gas turbine ships.   On a steam ship, the messenger is running around with a clipboard recording gauge readings all over the engineroom.  

On a gas turbine ship.  Oh we have to start an engine?   Flip one switch, flip two switches press a button. “#1 gas turbine engine started”   Need to record gauge readings? The messenger pushes a button, the printer prints out all the parameters.  He takes the printout signs it and gives it to the EOOW.   Oh what hot engine room? While the engineroom where the gas turbine engines are located is still a hot noisy space. It was designed to be unmanned (but as of 15 years ago the Navy still insists on having someone in the engineroom) most of the engineering plant watch sits in an air conditioned remote control room.

 

Edited by wtfovr
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Nice description of the boilers, wtfovr.  I know you drew a crowd talking to your son as my SIL did the same as he talked to us during the tour.

Speaking of drawing crowds, there were servicemen who served on the Lexington up on the bridge when I toured her several years ago.  As I entered the bridge, one of them was describing the Kamikaze attack which damaged the ship during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf. He was manning an aa gun on the ships port side and told how the plane struck the ship up on the bow and slid down the flight deck into the island.  He was back towards the stern and survived the attack.  The three old men talked to us for several minutes and all the tourist were as silent as they would have been in church.  Listening to them tell their stories is something I'll remember forever.

An earlier reply mentioned ship's smells.  The Drum still  smells like amine, the chemical used to scrub CO2 on board a sub.  No wonder the men who served aboard them would throw away their cloths after returning to port.

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9 hours ago, Joe_918145 said:

After literally decades of crossing Mobile Bay on I-10 when headed for Florida, I finally took the time to go the the USS Alabama Memorial Park last weekend.  I was not disappointed.

I was with my two son-in-laws, one of which is an officer in the Navy Reserves.  He served on a submarine while on active duty, so touring the Drum was our first priority.  Wow!  It was like having a personal tour guide the whole day.  I learned more than I expected, and could have stayed there for an additional day.  The detail he provided was awesome. not only for the Hood but for the Alabama as well.  Did I mention he once taught naval history at a well known Texas university?  LOL!

We play this game and somehow the reality does not sink in.  First of all it's just a game, and to see the Alabama mains close up and personal is awe inspiring.  Then you come to understand the hardships suffered by those who served her in WWII.  I'm 65 now, but it would have been hard for me to have worked in the engine rooms when I was 20.  The heat and noise would have been incredible.  Loading the mains would have been difficult as well.  Can you imagine being below decks doing your job as shells hit the ship?

My dad served in the Pacific in WWII.  He did not talk about the war much, but I do remember him saying what a comfort it was when the navy shelled the enemy.  It made him feel like the guys in his squad were not alone on the two islands where he served - Guam and Okinawa.  These are two of the islands where the Alabama provided support to the battles.  

It really is a small world, my dad in battle, one of the ships that supported him, and my son-in-law who still serves.

I played a game the other day where the red team had an Alabama.   At first I really did not want to shell her.  Then the red dog put a shell in my citadel.  I got over not wanting to shoot the Alabama and returned the favor.

It is really just a game.  A really fun game, but a game none the less.

I spent a long time when I was younger going through that ship, reading everything and exploring the ship. Have long had a interest in history so to be aboard a ship like that was unforgettable and thrilling experience.

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9 hours ago, Joe_918145 said:

After literally decades of crossing Mobile Bay on I-10 when headed for Florida, I finally took the time to go the the USS Alabama Memorial Park last weekend.  I was not disappointed.

I was with my two son-in-laws, one of which is an officer in the Navy Reserves.  He served on a submarine while on active duty, so touring the Drum was our first priority.  Wow!  It was like having a personal tour guide the whole day.  I learned more than I expected, and could have stayed there for an additional day.  The detail he provided was awesome. not only for the Hood but for the Alabama as well.  Did I mention he once taught naval history at a well known Texas university?  LOL!

We play this game and somehow the reality does not sink in.  First of all it's just a game, and to see the Alabama mains close up and personal is awe inspiring.  Then you come to understand the hardships suffered by those who served her in WWII.  I'm 65 now, but it would have been hard for me to have worked in the engine rooms when I was 20.  The heat and noise would have been incredible.  Loading the mains would have been difficult as well.  Can you imagine being below decks doing your job as shells hit the ship?

My dad served in the Pacific in WWII.  He did not talk about the war much, but I do remember him saying what a comfort it was when the navy shelled the enemy.  It made him feel like the guys in his squad were not alone on the two islands where he served - Guam and Okinawa.  These are two of the islands where the Alabama provided support to the battles.  

It really is a small world, my dad in battle, one of the ships that supported him, and my son-in-law who still serves.

I played a game the other day where the red team had an Alabama.   At first I really did not want to shell her.  Then the red dog put a shell in my citadel.  I got over not wanting to shoot the Alabama and returned the favor.

It is really just a game.  A really fun game, but a game none the less.

+1 funny response for the text in bold. :Smile_teethhappy: Gaming bringing families together.

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My friends and I go on an annual road trip to visit museum ships around the country. Check out the MAST thread under the historical ships discussion. I try to put up pictures of the ships we visit.

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Great stories. I have only ever toured USS NC (multiple times) but would like to visit some others one day. 

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11 hours ago, Joe_918145 said:

After literally decades of crossing Mobile Bay on I-10 when headed for Florida, I finally took the time to go the the USS Alabama Memorial Park last weekend.  I was not disappointed.

I was with my two son-in-laws, one of which is an officer in the Navy Reserves.  He served on a submarine while on active duty, so touring the Drum was our first priority.  Wow!  It was like having a personal tour guide the whole day.  I learned more than I expected, and could have stayed there for an additional day.  The detail he provided was awesome. not only for the Hood but for the Alabama as well.  Did I mention he once taught naval history at a well known Texas university?  LOL!

We play this game and somehow the reality does not sink in.  First of all it's just a game, and to see the Alabama mains close up and personal is awe inspiring.  Then you come to understand the hardships suffered by those who served her in WWII.  I'm 65 now, but it would have been hard for me to have worked in the engine rooms when I was 20.  The heat and noise would have been incredible.  Loading the mains would have been difficult as well.  Can you imagine being below decks doing your job as shells hit the ship?

My dad served in the Pacific in WWII.  He did not talk about the war much, but I do remember him saying what a comfort it was when the navy shelled the enemy.  It made him feel like the guys in his squad were not alone on the two islands where he served - Guam and Okinawa.  These are two of the islands where the Alabama provided support to the battles.  

It really is a small world, my dad in battle, one of the ships that supported him, and my son-in-law who still serves.

I played a game the other day where the red team had an Alabama.   At first I really did not want to shell her.  Then the red dog put a shell in my citadel.  I got over not wanting to shoot the Alabama and returned the favor.

It is really just a game.  A really fun game, but a game none the less.

The Alabama and Texas are on my bucket list. I have been on all four Iowa class ships, the North Carolina, and the Massachusetts. Texas and Alabama are the last two to complete my touring collection. I had the honor and privilege to serve as a gunners mate on the USS Iowa as a gunners mate in 16-inch turret 1. I loved being on the Iowa and I still miss my ship to this day.

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Been on the Bama and a few others ships in Buffalo NY. It is crazy to see how big these ships are when you have your tiny self as a reference.

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Was on the 'Bama and Drum myself last April.  They are well maintained and very accessable.  I'm a broad 6'2 and man that sub.... I had to fold in half just to get thru the hatchways.  Anyway, a good pic from that day...

IMG_20170428_112709652.jpg

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From an aesthetic standpoint too bad the South Dakoda class ships didn't get the enclosed bridges of the Iowa Class.

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A couple years ago when visiting Houston on business I went out to see the USS Texas.  I ended up with a private tour since it was a rainy morning and no one else was about.  Lots of great stuff to see.

I am going to be visiting Norway in a couple weeks, and am still trying to decide whether to go all the way out to Orland to see the old Gneisenau turret which is preserved in Austratt Fortress.  It is about 2-1/2 hours beyond Trondheim so would take some extra getting to.  It would be interesting to see a piece of Axis naval history.

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