Saturday, November 14, 2015

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile

We uncovered the USS Alabama on our last US road trip when we were headed from Moblie to New Orleans and decided to swing by and check it out.   I'm so glad we did.  

Built in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia, the USS Alabama was one of four South Dakota-class battleships constructed in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.   The Alabama, along with the Massachusetts, are the only two ships still remaining.   The others; the South Dakota and the Indiana, were sold for scrap.  I can’t imagine how much scrap they produced, but I’m guessing it was a fair bit.

A beautiful tribute to fallen soldiers
Alabama residents raised money to have the ship preserved and housed it as a memorial to those that served in the Second World War.   They raised almost  $1m and the battleship was moved to Mobile Bay in 1964.    That’s quite an incredible achievement and it got even better, when it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.  

Don't shoot!  
Not only is the Memorial Park home to an enormously fabulous battleship, it also has so much more to see and do.   Seriously, it's a huge area and it's so thoughtfully laid out, ensuring the ship is the unrivalled centre of attention, but also that the memorials to fallen soldiers are set in beautiful, peaceful surroundings.   

Apologies for the reflection
The USS Drum is a submarine with a long and distinguished military career and is the oldest US submarine on display in the world.  The world, people!  If that’s not a reason to visit, I don’t know what is.   During her work, she sank 15 ships and received 12 battle stars for service during the Second World War.    It’s a really fascinating attraction and it gives you the smallest sense of what life must have been like sneaking around far beneath the sea…

The Military Equipment portion of the park displays a selection of guns and tanks, which are bloody huge and the teeniest bit scary to stand in front of.  This is, of course, despite the fact that, you know, there’s no one in them and they’re not live.  I hope not, anyway.

I could absolutely use one of these some days
It's amazing how it managed to land on that post....
In addition to the USS Drum and the Alabama, other notable features are a river boat and B52 used in the Vietnam War, a Sherman tank, and a medium baltic range missile.   

The Alabama is obviously the main attraction, and it's so vast that you'll need at least a couple of hours to cover everything.   We needed this amount of time so that LT could pretend he was driving.  I also needed to extra time because I have no sense of direction and got lost a few times.    

I'm not a person who is in the least bit interested in war or war machinery, and I was surprised to be quite so impressed with the park.  If you're in the vicinity of Mobile, it's well worth a few hours of your time.

Suzanne x 

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