Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Patriots Point

Whew.... another busy day today.

This time we spent about four hours exploring Patriots Point, home of the USS Yorktown, the US Submarine Clamagore, and the Medal of Honor Museum.  We have visited many museums and this one is top-notch.  The USS Yorktown was commissioned April 15, 1943 and served in WWII and Vietnam; she was decommissioned in 1970 and in 1975 was towed to Patriots Point in Charleston, SC.  The Yorktown now serves as a museum, but everything about the museum speaks to the fact that she was a war ship -- talk about real-life history!

Our favorite tour was the flight deck and bridge.  We could look at the planes that would be found on a carrier.  The bridge was especially interesting as it offered a bird's eye view of all that happens on the flight deck.  There are two important features that allow planes to take off and land on such a short runway.  The take off mechanism is called the catapult which accelerates the plane in a short distance, and the landing mechanism is the tailhook which slows the plane by grabbing a cable and applying hydraulic brakes.

The flight deck as seen from the bridge.  The lines stretching out in front of the planes are the catapults.
Apollo space capsule replica
The Flight Ready Room

The bridge of the USS Yorktown
Have you ever heard of the Medal of Honor?  It is the highest U.S. military decoration awarded for bravery and valor in action "above and beyond the call of duty."  The Medal of Honor Society headquarters are located on the Yorktown, and is the official Medal of Honor Museum.  The Army and Air Force have their own medals, but those in the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard would receive the Naval Medal of Honor.  Each and every person that has received the Medal of Honor is noted in this museum.  The most recent recipient was awarded (posthumously) his medal on October 6, 2010; his name and information were already on display.  As I read story after story of bravery and valor, I got the chills; this is powerful stuff.  To hear interviews with Medal of Honor recipients, click here.

Partially submerged, docked next to the Yorktown, is the US Submarine Clamagore.  The Clamagore did not see action in WWII, but did serve for 30 years during the Cold War.  She has been on display at Patriots Point since 1981.  Talk about tight quarters!  As we walked the length of the sub we saw the torpedo rooms, crew and officer's quarters, mess, showers, and heads and none of them were very big!  You wouldn't catch me on a "real" submarine for all the money in the world.

US Submarine Clamagore
On-board the Clamagore
The ultimate sacrifice.
Those are not torpedos, those are Atlantic bottle-nose dolphins!

I would highly recommend Charleston as a place to visit.  The history is amazing and truly puts a real "face" to what is in the history books.

We have arrived in Florida and my mom flies home tomorrow.  This has been a fun week with her.  Tomorrow night we will all sleep in our own beds -- it will feel so good.

Marine insignia on floor of Yorktown
Here's today's trivia questions:

18.  This US President served aboard the carrier USS Monterey from May, 1943 to December, 1944.  While responding to an aircraft that had crashed on landing, he lost his footing and was nearly lost overboard.  Who was he?  (1 point)

19.  The USS Yorktown aided in the recovery of which Apollo mission in 1968?  (1 point)

20.  This is a two part question:  a)  How many women have received the Medal of Honor?  b)  How many from the Coast Guard have received the Medal of Honor?  (2 points)

1 comment:

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