Friday, May 07, 2010

USS Alabama

The battleship USS Alabama is a major tourist attraction here in Mobile, where it is berthed in Mobile Bay. Commissioned in 1942 and taken out of service in 1946, after World War II, the ship is impressive and a really informative museum today. Look at how massive the battleship is. It is so large, we couldn't get far enough away to take a picture of the whole thing.

We saw the chow line

the brig

the barbershop

and where the crew slept.

We learned a lot about life in the navy and about World War II. Did you know that sailors weren't allowed to own civilian clothes, making it more difficult for them to desert? When they were discharged they were given a special emblem to wear on the uniform to show they were legally away from their post. We learned that a battleship had to be self-sufficient, making all the parts needed for repairs, sewing uniforms, even storing potatoes. One hundred gallons of ice cream were dispensed daily to the crew.

It was also impressive to think how much time, effort and expense our country went to producing ships to fight that war and how few years they were in service.

This is a "bridge eye view" of downtown Mobile from the top deck of the Alabama.

In addition to the Alabama, the Battleship Memorial Park includes numerous aircraft and the US submarine Drum.

Submarines are small and crowded. We had once toured a Soviet sub at Long Beach, CA, and it was tiny. The Drum was larger, but space is at a premium and gauges and switches and wheels are everywhere. And look at those doorways, called hatches. They are really difficult to go through.

Remember the phrase "up periscope" from old movies? This is the periscope, but you couldn't move it or see anything through it.

Believe me, climbing the ladders from one level to another is even more difficult than crawling though the hatches from one room to another.

The memorial park also includes lots of old aircraft. This frowning plane is one of the first things you see.

Here are a few of the planes in the hangar.

Overall, visiting the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park was well worth our time. And the lunch we ate in the cafeteria was really good!

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