Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tours & Duty

Wednesday was spent on tour. Following a good breakfast burrito in the hotel (What? Mexican food on the islands?) we began a day-long venture to see the sights of WWII. Jeff and I were enlisted to help with the buses of which there were three. We helped with wheelchairs and answered questions.

My bus was the last one and there were only four of us: Scott, a sub enthusiast from Portland; and Alice and James Allen. Mr. Allen served aboard Wahoo on her second war patrol. We spent the time chatting about his experiences on the way to the Arizona Memorial. He related he was the lowest man on the totem pole when he arrived in 1942 but how he made friends with the two other new members of the crew: Ens. Griggs and Henry Glinski. After the second patrol, Allen went on to serve in Silversides and then Scorpion. However, he was burned while working on her batteries and missed patroling aboard her.

At the Arizona Memorial we got our first real taste of history. The introductory movie was a great reminder of the circumstances of the Pearl Habor attack. We rode the boat out to the memorial and silently filed off. The monument's simple elegance reinforced the stark reality that the shattered hulk below us was a massive gravesite. True to all I had heard, the oil still seeps out and makes its way to stain the surface. The slick stills the waters as it gently makes its way down the channel toward the sea.

Next we enjoyed lunch at the Bowfin Museum and toured the outside exhibits. We also found time to crush a penny in the machines located at each toursit spot. My wife Julie loves these and I've been diligently cranking the handles to government currency into a keepsake.

We took the bus back to Ford Island and went aboard the USS Missouri. Our guide was of the stand up comedian variety and his act was highly polished. Through a very informative tour he kept the jokes coming in a sly manner.

While standing near the plaque in the deck where the surrender documents were signed, we were treated to a beautiful sight. Across the harbor a Los Angeles class submarine got underway and headed out to sea. It was a wonderful reminder of Wahoo, who'd made the same trip so many times.

Finally we went to the Pacific Aviation Museum. This newly opened exhibit in a former hanger on the airfield presented an amazing collection of aircraft depicting events of the early stages of WWII: a Zero in a carrier setting; a B-25 decked out as Lawson's Doolittle Raider "The Ruptured Duck"; a F4F Wildcat on Guadalcanal. Definitely worth the extra effort to get there if you find yourself in Hawaii.

We made it back to the hotels late in the day and we were on our own for dinner. Time permitting I will post pictures soon.

6 comments:

Shell on 6:13 PM said...

I hope you looked at the plaque just inside the door and to the right in the Bowfin Museum. On it you will see the names of the Charter Life Members. You will see MU3 S.D. Levy and MU1 Barbara E. Levy. Both my wife and I reenlisted on the Bowfin and I spent my final two years working on the boat.

Shell

Chuck on 7:39 AM said...

Paul,
I really appreciate your effort to keep us all updated. I am saddened that I can't be there in person. Thankfully, your updates are well written and informative so at least I feel like I am somewhat taking part.

Thanks again!!

Chuck

PaulC on 12:31 PM said...

Shell,

Good to hear from you! Wish I'd known that sooner. We were all over the place but didn't happen to see the plaque. Thank you for your service!

Paul

PaulC on 12:32 PM said...

Chuck,

Thanks for the kind words. It's a lot more work than I thought keeping up with this -- even as a blog. We are on the go constantly and working pretty hard for Charles (and glad to do it). We get back to the room and crash.

Paul

Shell on 1:04 PM said...

Paul, Unles they moved it...it's location is on the right hand wall as soon as you walk into the museum. As I recall...there are two plaques there, but I cannot recall what the other one was for.

Shell

parche on 5:26 PM said...

Hey Paul,

Its been 3years since the memorial, good website, nice to have met you there
I was on the bus with you,Jim Allen and his wife...fantastic trip ever...

Scott Horseman
Portland Oregon

 

About Me

The first 'grown up' book Paul Crozier ever read was "War Fish" by George Grider. Since then he has spent most of his life researching the U.S. Submarine Force in WWII and USS Wahoo (SS-238) in particular.

Dedication

This blog is dedicated to all who have served in the U.S. Submarine Force. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Admiral Chester Nimitz

"We shall never forget it was our submarines that held the line against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds."

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