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50 States, Day 310

  Mobile, The Alabama Battleship and the Drum Submarine 28 Miles

"Make each day your masterpiece."
~John Wooden

I'd never been inside a gun. Yet the sixteen inch guns onboard the Alabama have personnel inside them, working the pitch while others operate the rotation. The big guns have an accurate range of twenty-one miles. Imagine that. Could you hear the boom as it shot the bomb from that far away? And what did it sound like, feel like when those guns blasted on the ship? The turrets descend all the way to the hull, and parts of the deck are six inch thick steel. Amazing.

No wonder they call them battleships. Nine sixteen inch guns, twenty five inch, forty-eight 40 mm guns, and fifty- two 20 mm. 

Even though it is committed to battle, the ship is a city with dentist, surgery, barber, chapel, of course kitchen and wonderful bunks, where three men took turns as one shift was always awake. She shot down twenty- two enemy planes during WWII.

Back to land and the pavilion with planes, including a Viet Nam helicopter and a Stealth bomber.Did you know a Stealth couldn't take off with a tank full of fuel? Too heavy. So they launch them almost empty and fuel in the air within fifteen minutes or it's gravity time.  

I rode in a simulator that depicted taking off from an aircraft carrier, getting in a dogfight, and landing on an aircraft carrier. Yawn. Seriously, it was wimpy, couldn't possibly characterize a carrier takeoff and landing. Of course, people would be getting out and throwing up if it was realistic. 

Who ever decided that ships could sink themselves in water, then refloat? The USS Drum a submarine, served in the Great War too. Much tighter inside the sub. And imagine the smell, as crew members showered by wiping condensation off the inside of the hull and wiping down with it. 

Those tiny hatches reminded me that my father-in-law set the record for running from one end of the sub to another, carrying two fire extinguishers. And he wasn't a small guy either. Sounds like some racked shins and foreheads to me.  

They provided cozy sleeping cots under and over the torpedoes. Of course, if something goes wrong, it really doesn't matter how close or far you are from the bombs. 
Some subs exploded on their own, as the batteries emitted chlorine when exposed to seawater.

They showed an old movie of an enemy destroyer being hit by a torpedo and wow, in a matter of a couple of minutes it was gone. Again, if you saw the torpedo coming, you could run to the other end of the ship and live for another twenty seconds or so. 

Most of the sea battles took place off of Japan, and a flotilla could contain up to 1,400 ships. That's one big battle. 

What was amazing was how much armament the United States turned out, and how quickly, to fight and win that war. 

And now, the princess of peace ("Why can't we all just get along?") Quilter Girl!

Even though war machines aren't really my thing, seeing the battleship, sub and airplanes was fascinating.  The enlisted men slept in a room with 36 men in one room.  One guy snoring or with a bad dream could ruin a whole bunch of guys' sleep.  The quarters were really close.  The sub was even tighter with bunks in the torpedo room, which is where my dad slept when he was on a sub.  

We had a super dinner at a restaurant we found from billboards.  This restaurant had it all, BBQ, steak, and seafood.  I settled for burger while Kevin had pork, cole slaw and onion rings.  All were great and the place was rustic, with red checked tablecloths, paneling and lots of fake plants.  One even still had the price tag on it.  Lots of character in that place.  Then we headed back to the motel which turned out to be 1/2 mile away.  


Tomorrow, the Bellingrath Home, Mississippi and perhaps the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library.  


Mel said...

You really should have offered to buy the fake plant with the price tag still on it for Libby, and tied it onto her, um... body. It would give her some character... more than the two she has sitting on her every day.

Mel said...

I hope the Stealth Refueling Tanker isn't late for launch... more than 15 minutes, anyway!