I’m just back home after a week long vacation to Charleston, SC. My wife would probably go on about the architecture, the awesome food or the perfect weather we had. But we all know the real point is military history!
Lucky for me, my wife was a good sport about giving me one full day at Patriot’s Point, home of the USS Yorktown and USS Laffey. We also did the afternoon excursion out to Fort Sumter.
A view of Charleston from Fort Sumter. The fort was badly damaged during the Civil War; it was later repaired, but only the first level, two levels above were lost. In an 1890s modernization the black structure I’m standing on was added. It held a battery of 2 12 inch guns in disappearing mounts. For World War II nerds that’s the same sort of fortification used in the Manila Bay defenses. The guns are long gun, but the structure is interesting.
The USS Yorktown, CV10. This is the oldest aircraft carrier still in existence (Barely, the Intrepid, CV11, is also a museum).
Model of the Yorktown in World War II configuration.
Model of the IJN Soryu as it appeared at Midway. The museum was loaded with excellent models.
Douglass SBD Dauntless.
Grumman F4F-3A Wildcat.
Vought F4U-1D Corsair.
Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat.
A favorite part of the exhibits to me was that they had a couple of older variants (-3A Wildcat and -3 Hellcat). It is a fascinating look into so many areas of a wartime aircraft carrier, from living quarters, dentist office to engine room.
And don’t forget the CMH display and the USS Laffey (the ship that survived seven kamikaze strikes).
A highly recommended way to spend a day!
I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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Looks like a great day out and some fabulous models!
Oh yeah, and a surprising variety of ship models.
That looks a wonderful place for a holiday! What history there is in all those exhibits.
The whole city is amazing really, its one of the oldest in this part of the world.
That looks like a terrific day out Dave. I’ll bet the USS Yorktown is quite a sight!
Yes it’s a beauty. I can’t even imagine a whole Fleet of those monsters.
I recently got back from Pearl Harbor where on the same day I got to tour the USS Bowfin (a WWII fleet submarine) and the USS Missouri (the us battleship on which the Japanese surrender was signed, although on this site I doubt I really need to explain either of those). I went through the Bowfin first, which was interesting, because if I’d seen the berths on the Missouri without the context of the Bowfin I’d have considered them cramped. The guys on those monster carriers and battleships, aside from having a big target painted on your home in every engagement, hat it pretty nice all things considered.
Pearl Harbor is definitely on my bucket list! Or maybe 25th anniversary list…
The quarters and berthing are very interesting. We did the Yorktown first, and then went over to the Laffey; so there was also a big change in accommodations. The bunks and facilities on the carrier seemed tight until they were compared to the destroyer. One example was how the carrier had an actual sick bay including four examination rooms, an operating room and a recovery area, and a couple of dentist’s chairs. While the destroyer had a single room, and no doctor on permanent staff.
My favorite related story is the game destroyers played with carriers on recovering downed crewmen; they typically got a gallon of ice cream for every returned airman. British carriers had a similar policy, but with liquor (American ships were dry). There was apparently some debate over if it was better to retrieve American or British aircrew.
I know Army and Marines often envied the comfortable life of a sailor. I’m sure a ship was a more comfortable way to serve normally. But as you mention, those ships had a big fat target on them in a combat zone and naval casualties often equaled or exceeded ground losses.
Unfortunately I had only one full day free on Oahu. There was also an air museum that the same shuttle that takes you to the Missouri also stops at. I wanted to get up to see the North shore, so I passed on that. If you go, make sure to leave a full day for Pearl. They close around 4-5 so you might want to make sure and get there early. There is a ton to see.
I was a little disappointed by the Arizona memorial. Not the memorial itself, but they just sort of run you through really quick assembly line style.
I’ll keep that in mind, thanks!
As I recall, subs were also often used in rescue. Did they charge the same rate I wonder? That’s another thing that worked against the Japanese, they really had no coordinated air-sea rescue operation and likely lost a lot of well trained pilots because of that.
Absolutely on the air/sea rescue!
I think a sub would get the same reward IF it returned crew directly to a carrier, but normally they did so by way of a destroyer, so no luck!
I suppose the sub could charge the destroyer a fee…
I have no doubt good natured bartering occurred!
Just one more point, for those with hawaii on their bucket list, it’s probably cheaper than you fear.
That’s a good thought.
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