Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Battleship Cove, Part the First

BB-59 USS Massachusetts "Big Mamie"
As mentioned the other day, blog buddy Murph and I were at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts on Sunday. The weather was superb, no doubt it was that way so Murph would think his whole vacation in New England would be like that.

Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Wrong...

Weather will be going to crap soon, so Murph had to cut his vacation short and head back to his place. You can drive in crappy weather and the odds are you'll come out alive. Not always true in a small aircraft. Murph has no doubt heard the saying...

There are bold pilots and there are old pilots, but no old, bold pilots.

While Murph loves to take chances and boldly go where he ain't supposed to go (or play with F-4 boarding ladders when he shouldn't), that boldness doesn't extend to his flying.

Smart man that Murph. Though our trip to Battleship Cove might lead one to think otherwise.

USS Lionfish, SS-298

On board USS Lionfish I discovered that Murph has yet to find a switch or button that he won't at least try to activate. I had the following go off not 6 inches from my left ear.

Let's just say that it got my attention!

That was in the control room of the Lionfish. The look on his face was priceless, he seemed rather chagrined when he realized that he'd activated the alarm right next to my head.

It was pretty funny.

Also in the control room I decided to have a head butting contest with a piece of equipment hanging from the overhead.

The equipment won...

If someone swabs that corner inside the yellow circle, that's my DNA and I'd like it back...

Notice in that previous photo how there seems to be Plexiglas covering all of the neat switches, levers and buttons? Man did that frustrate our man Murph!

While this is a short post to cover for Tuna (who mumbled something about a paying job and dashed off) I will be posting more pictures later. Well, when I "hired" Tuna I told him he didn't have to post every Tuesday, just when he wanted to. I have a similar arrangement with Juvat for Mondays. If they don't have time, I get to step in.

Then again, when I was incarcerated in the hospital, the lads covered for me very well. (Oh yeah, convalescence is at an end, by the time you read this I'll be back at work. Coffee break's over, back on my head...)

We watch over each other here at The Chant. Lord knows someone needs to keep an eye on us!

USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., DD-850

On the left the Soviet built (Leningrad) Tarantul I-class corvette Hiddensee.
On the right the stern of the Lionfish.

Ship's bell, USS Massachusetts.

One of the things which would have enticed me into the Navy. Posing on Kennedy's port-side bridge wing.

Why I didn't join the Navy. Enlisted berthing on board Kennedy.

You could hear the gears in our heads turning as we plotted how to get this next beauty back to Newport State Airport!

North American T-28 Trainer

I think they knew about Murph's visit, hence the fence.

A great time was had. Unfortunately The Nuke was under the weather and had to stay home. But the tale of our trip to Newport will be seen in these spaces. Soon I hope. (It did involve fried clams and Guinness for those who were wondering!)


  1. Hey AFSarge,
    Looks like y'all had a good time. We went to the U.S.S Alabama (Sister ship to the Massachusetts) and there is something neat about checking out a WWII battleship that had all the original stuff on her. I had commented that with the low miles on the hull figuratively speaking, they could bring them back into service and actually have "new hulls" on them. But that is my inner geek speaking. Thank you for the article.

    1. I've had the chance to visit the Alabama as well. She was my first battleship.

      That's an awesome park as I recall.

      I need to add you to the blogroll, you've got some good stuff!

    2. Y'all come on down to Norfolk and see Wisconsin. Iowa class rules--bonus is Nauticus right next door.

  2. "...head butting contest with a piece of equipment hanging from the overhead..."
    Been there, done that.
    It's the nature of boats.
    Even modern, streamlined subs have shit hanging in strange places.
    I would venture that had you had access to some of the work spaces on the Kennedy you might have incurred similar encounters.

    Re: the berthing space.
    A more realistic image would have shown those racks to be stacked three high, with the top bunk being much closer to the overhead.

    1. Heh. It really is the nature of military equipment in general. Happened a lot crawling around under the Phantom.

      As to the berthing space, it did look a lot roomier than I've seen in other ships.

  3. Thanks for the great pictures--they bring back many "Fond" memories.

    1. BTW: Interesting that the depth gauge in the Lionfish's Control Room reads 60 feet (Periscope depth more or less). Unless they actually submerge, I somehow doubt that ;-).

    2. Yeah, I saw that at the time and was rather puzzled. Before I could think about it further, Murphy activated the dive alarm.

      According to the label on the gauge that is the depth to the keel, not under the keel. I'm guessing that the gauge is in-op. Or that Murphy managed to break it.

  4. Ok, I guess I'll have to add switches in general to the Murph warning checklist, instead of only Red Guarded switches. I'm surprised you can still hear. Does look like a beautiful day though. Looking forward to the rest of the pics.

    1. Weather was gorgeous, A transient thing though here in New England.

  5. I get why Massachusetts and Kennedy are there. Lionfish also. But is there a storyline on why Hiddensee is there?

  6. Great post and pics, Sarge. I envy your proximity to such cool stuff. Of course I can be standing next to a real live and active Minuteman launch complex in 10 minutes, so I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I can't stand there for long, mind you!

    Usually within 48 hours of reporting aboard your body learns to automatically miss the headbumpers. Until you get very tired. Bumping your head is a sign that it's time to hit the rack for a bit, and when you're that tired, the smelly berthing and Torquemada-designed racks aren't bad at all. Or so I've heard, regarding the pipe and canvas racks. I came of age in the luxurious coffin rack era.

    1. Thanks Shaun.

      I get what you mean about learning to miss the stuff what might cause injury. The F-4 was similar, you knew where to walk and how low you had to be.

  7. To Sarge. Sorry about that. I knew what those switches on a fleet boat were and what they did, but I didn't know where the actual horn was located. Whoops. Pity that the red "Collision" box was gone--that one makes an even cooler noise on boats where they haven't deactivated them yet.

    I wonder why they deactivate those alarms on so many museum boats?
    Just kidding. No I don't. I'm the reason.

    As to Juvat's question about the Hindensee, where else would you put a Communist relic if not in Massachusetts?

    1. Not a problem Murph, makes for a great story.

      You're not the only one who likes to play with switches, but I understand, I want to, so badly, but I restrain myself. Sometimes...

    2. Murph wins the Internet Today!

  8. It's easy to leave DNA on one of those old subs. I've been on a sub once and I was a little surprised at the lack of real estate.
    Having grown up on WW II movies, I expected 10' ceilings and room enough to play shuffleboard. I don't suffer from claustrophobia
    but I wouldn't want to have to stay on one for an extended period of time. Destroyers had tight enough spaces. Glad you and
    Murph had a great trip.

  9. Glad y'all had fun, and yes, Murph would have sunk the boat if he'd started 'playing'... Glad you're okay.


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