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Charleston, SC Road Trip: Patriots Point

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The second day of the Charleston road trip was consumed by visiting Patriots Point, home of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10), destroyer USS Laffey (DD-724), and submarine USS Clamagore (SS-343).  Unfortunately, the Vietnam Naval Support Base exhibit is under renovation and currently not open.

The USS Yorktown is an Essex class aircraft carrier, named in honor of the USS Yorktown (CV-5) which was sunk at the Battle of Midway in 1942.  The Yorktown saw extensive service in the Pacific Theater from late 1943 to the defeat of Japan in 1945.  After World War II, she was decommissioned, but was recommissioned in 1953 and saw service until 1970, serving in the Vietnam War and recovering the crew of Apollo 8 in 1968.

USS Yorktown (CV-10) through the mist from the Fort Sumter Visitors Center.

USS Yorktown (CV-10) through the mist from the Fort Sumter Visitors Center.

Ship's bell from the USS Franklin (CV-13) and 40mm Bofors Mount in memory of over 800 crewman lost when she was severely damaged by off of the coast of Japan in March 1945.

Ship’s bell from the USS Franklin (CV-13) and 40mm Bofors Mount in memory of over 800 crewman lost when she was severely damaged by off of the coast of Japan in March 1945.

Crew quarters aboard the USS Yorktown.

Crew quarters aboard the USS Yorktown.

Torpedo Maintenance Shop aboard the USS Yorktown.

Torpedo Maintenance Shop aboard the USS Yorktown.

Machine shop aboard the USS Yorktown.

Machine shop aboard the USS Yorktown.

Monorail with hoist for moving bombs on the USS Yorktown.

Monorail with hoist for moving bombs on the USS Yorktown.

From there, the monorail goes right in front of the scullery.

From there, the monorail goes right in front of the scullery.

Damage Control Plates aboard the USS Yorktown.

Damage Control Plates aboard the USS Yorktown.

Artwork on the bottom of the hatch leading down to the engineering spaces aboard the USS Yorktown.

Artwork on the bottom of the hatch leading down to the engineering spaces aboard the USS Yorktown.

Control station in the engineering spaces deep within the USS Yorktown.

Control station in the engineering spaces deep within the USS Yorktown.

Sick Bay aboard the USS Yorktown.

Sick Bay aboard the USS Yorktown.

Operating room aboard the USS Yorktown

Operating room aboard the USS Yorktown.

Radio Room abord the USS Yorktown, note the callsign on the bulkhead - NWKJ.  It can still be heard from the ship during the Amateur Radio/Military Crossband Test.

Radio Room abord the USS Yorktown, note the callsign on the bulkhead – NWKJ. It can still be heard from the ship during the Amateur Radio/Military Crossband Test.

VF-1 Ready Room aboard the USS Yorktown.

VF-1 Ready Room aboard the USS Yorktown.

VF-1 Ready Room aboard the USS Yorktown.

VF-1 Ready Room aboard the USS Yorktown.

You can’t tell in the photos, but it was bitterly cold the morning the flight deck photos were taken and being on the flight deck with the wind coming off of Charleston Harbor, it was even worse.  Throughout the trip I posted Instagrams but not from the flight deck, the touchscreen on the phone didn’t work with my gloves on and I wasn’t going to take them off!

40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun forward of the USS Yorktown's Island.

40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun forward of the USS Yorktown’s Island.

USS Yorktown's Island with awards, air group scores, and kill markings.

USS Yorktown’s Island with awards, air group scores, and kill markings.

Dead Reckoning Tracer in the USS Yorktown's Navigator's Room.

Dead Reckoning Tracer in the USS Yorktown’s Navigator’s Room.

Relative Bearing Plotter in the USS Yorktown's Navigator's Room.

Relative Bearing Plotter in the USS Yorktown’s Navigator’s Room.

Marine Chronometers in the USS Yorktown's Navigator's Room.

Marine Chronometers in the USS Yorktown’s Navigator’s Room.

USS Yorktown's Pilot House.

USS Yorktown’s Pilot House.

USS Yorktown's Captain's Bridge.

USS Yorktown’s Captain’s Bridge.

Stern shot of the USS Yorktown, eagle eyed readers will get a taste of what's to come in the next blog post.

Stern shot of the USS Yorktown, eagle eyed readers will get a taste of what’s to come in the next blog post.

The USS Laffey (DD-724), nicknamed “The Ship That Would Not Die,” is a Sumner class destroyer.   While operating as radar picket on 16 April 1945 during the invasion of Okinawa, she was attacked both conventionally and by Kamikazes.  Attacked by 22 aircraft, she was hit by five Kamikazes and three bombs (plus 2 near misses).  32 of her crew were killed and 71 were injured yet the ship was able to be taken under tow offshore of Okinawa where quick temporary repairs were made.  She was then able to return to the States under her own power via Eniwetok, Hawaii, to Tacoma where she underwent full repairs.  Decommissioned after World War II, she was recommissioned in 1951 and saw service in the Korean War, the Cold War, also serving in the Mediterranean during the Suez Crisis.

USS Laffey (DD-724)

USS Laffey (DD-724)

Bow shot of USS Laffey; you don't realize just how narrow the Destroyer is until you get this view of it.

Bow shot of USS Laffey; you don’t realize just how narrow the Destroyer is until you get this view of it.

USS Laffey, looking for all the world like a seagoing porcupine (or sea urchin?) - included as eye candy for my fellow radio geek readers.

USS Laffey, looking for all the world like a seagoing porcupine (or sea urchin?) – included as eye candy for my fellow radio geek readers.

At the other end of all of those antennas topside, the Radio Room aboard the USS Laffey.

At the other end of all of those antennas topside, the Radio Room aboard the USS Laffey.

USS Laffey's Captain's Bridge.

USS Laffey’s Captain’s Bridge.

USS Laffey's Pilot House.

USS Laffey’s Pilot House.

The USS Clamagore (SS-343) is a Balao class submarine.  She was commissioned just before the end of World War II and saw service during the Cold War, based out of Key West, Charleston, and New London.  She was one of only 9 submarines to receive the GUPPY III conversion which gave the submarine more space and added new SONAR and electronics.  Unfortunately, the USS Clamagore probably won’t be at Patriots Point much longer.  To be honest, she is not in very good condition and the museum just doesn’t have the funds to renovate her.  A member of the museum staff I talked with during my visit said they just did over $9 million in work on the Laffey and that the Yorktown would always be the priority (rightfully so) with the Laffey second due to the history behind both ships.  The Clamagore just doesn’t have that kind of history, so it has to have a lower priority.  From what I understand, it is possible that the Clamagore could be turned into a reef off of the coast.  It’s unfortunate, but due to tight financial times museums like Patriots Point are being forced to decide whether they want to keep everything they’ve got or take the best care possible of their most important assets.  In my opinion, taking care of the most important assets is the best choice.  If you want a chance to see the Clamagore, I’d suggest going to Patriots Point soon.

USS Clamagore (SS-343)

USS Clamagore (SS-343)

Forward Torpedo room in the USS Clamagore.

Forward Torpedo room in the USS Clamagore.

One of the USS Clamagore's diesel engines.

One of the USS Clamagore’s diesel engines.

Engine controls inside one of the USS Clamagore's engine rooms.

Engine controls inside one of the USS Clamagore’s engine rooms.

The reason USS Clamagore probably won't be at Patriots Point much longer; she's not in very good shape and the museum doesn't have the funds to make all the necessary repairs.

The reason USS Clamagore probably won’t be at Patriots Point much longer; she’s not in very good shape and the museum doesn’t have the funds to make all the necessary repairs.

I also have blog posts up with photos from the other monuments and museums I visited:  Fort Moultrie and the North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum.  Photos of aircraft from Patriots Point are next up.  Scanning and Monitoring reports have also been posted from Day 1 and Day 2 of the two day trip.


3 Comments

  1. […] and museums I visited:  Fort Moultrie, theNorth Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum, and Patriots Point.   Scanning and Monitoring reports have also been posted from Day 1 and Day 2 of the two day […]

  2. […] SC – When I visited Patriot’s Point two years ago, the Vietnam Experience Exhibit was closed; it is now back open to the public. It offers a glimpse […]

  3. […] SC – Two years ago, I visited the USS Yorktown (CV-10) at Patriot’s Point and posted some photos from my visit. This year I made another visit while making another attempt to see Fort Sumter. Instead of posting […]

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