Battleship Memorial Park – Mobile Alabama – A Great Historical Experience


At Battleship Memorial Park, lies some of the many war vessels and jets that have been used in the wars America have fought. The park itself is fairly large with several buildings to see all of the vessels they have. Everything there was big, and that fact shows just how powerful and destructive just one of these vessels of war can be. This article is on the museum where many of America’s finest historical war machines have been sent to retirement. There are tanks and fighter planes from WWII, a retired submarine, and of course the famed USS Alabama.

This Museum has relics of one of the world’s most bloody and devastating wars. The USS Alabama was commissioned in 1942 during WWII and was decommissioned in 1947. The Alabama was officially retired in 1962. This ship is a literal monstrosity weighing several thousand tons and being taller than a ten-story building.

This battleship was sailed into Mobile Bay in 1964 and was officially opened as a museum ship in 1965. She was registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The Alabama could hold up to about 2000 crew members at a time. There are many many guns, turrets, anti-aircraft guns, and missile launchers aboard the battleship. For the biggest guns it took up to 8 men to load and fire.

USS Alabama – A Walk in the Park

USS Alabama - A Walk in the Park

Touring through the USS Alabama is interesting in that you can see where the men slept, where they ate, where they watched movies, had recreation time and even got paid. Did you know that at any one time there were several hundred thousand dollars kept for payment to the troops as well as a brig.

The movie Under Siege with Steven Segal was filmed on the Alabama in 1992. The USS Alabama is a stand in for the USS Missouri in the movie.

Some key facts about Battleship Memorial Park:

USS Alabama (BB-60): The centerpiece of Battleship Memorial Park is the USS Alabama, a South Dakota-class battleship that served in World War II. The ship was commissioned in 1942 and saw significant action in the Pacific Theater.

Aircraft Collection: Battleship Memorial Park boasts an impressive collection of military aircraft, including a B-52 Stratofortress, A-12 Blackbird, and a P-51 Mustang. These aircraft represent different eras and branches of the U.S. military.

Memorials and Monuments: The park includes various memorials and monuments dedicated to the military and veterans, including a Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and Fallen Comrade Memorial, honoring the sacrifices of American soldiers.

Tank and Artillery Display: Visitors can explore an extensive collection of tanks and artillery pieces from different periods, such as the M4 Sherman tank and the M42 Duster, showcasing the evolution of ground combat vehicles.

Historical Significance: Both the USS Alabama and USS Drum are National Historic Landmarks, recognized for their significant contributions to the United States’ naval history during World War II.

Self-Guided Tours: The park offers self-guided tours, allowing visitors to explore the interior of the USS Alabama and USS Drum, including the battleship’s gun turrets, engine rooms, and living quarters, providing a glimpse into the life of sailors during the war.

Educational Programs: Battleship Memorial Park hosts a variety of educational programs and events for students and history enthusiasts, including overnight encampments on the USS Alabama, providing an immersive historical experience.

Annual Events: The park regularly hosts special events such as Veterans Day celebrations, Memorial Day ceremonies, and the USS Alabama’s annual reunion, drawing visitors from across the country to honor and remember military history.

Veteran Dedications: Many of the exhibits and displays at Battleship Memorial Park are dedicated to veterans, with plaques and markers that tell the stories of individual servicemen and women, ensuring that their contributions and sacrifices are remembered and celebrated.

USS Drum

USS Drum

The USS Drum, a retired submarine that lies near the Alabama is just like any other submarine. It is cramped, loud, hot, and dangerous. To earn your place on the submarine you had to learn what every single little switch, lever, and button did so you could assist no matter where you were at in an emergency. When you learned the sub inside and out, and there were literally thousands of details to learn, you would earn a dolphin badge. It is one of the most honored and revered badges in naval history.

As explained earlier, the submarine is not a fun place to be. To take a shower you would have to wait until there was enough condensation from your bodies and breath collected to take a shower, or when you surfaced and it happened to be raining. There is a term submariners use called “hotbunking”. It is when your shift is over and someone else is sleeping, you would wake them up for their shift and sleep in the bed that they were using so that it would still be warm. A submarine is so cramped that food and beds would be put anywhere, space was available.

Oldest American Submarine on Display: The USS Drum (SS-228) is the oldest American submarine on public display. Launched on May 12, 1941, the Drum served during World War II and is now a key attraction at Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama.

Combat Service: The USS Drum completed 13 war patrols in the Pacific Theater during World War II. It was highly successful in its missions, sinking 15 enemy ships and damaging several others, earning 12 battle stars for its wartime service.

Significant Armament: The Drum was equipped with 10 torpedo tubes, six forward and four aft, allowing it to carry 24 torpedoes. It also featured a 3-inch deck gun and various anti-aircraft guns, making it a formidable opponent against both sea and air threats.

Preservation Efforts: After being decommissioned in 1946, the USS Drum was transferred to Battleship Memorial Park in 1969. Extensive preservation efforts have been made to maintain the submarine, including restoration projects to keep it in a condition that closely resembles its wartime state.

Educational and Historical Value: Visitors to the USS Drum can explore the submarine’s interior, including the control room, torpedo rooms, and crew quarters. This provides an educational experience, allowing people to learn about the life of submariners during World War II and the significant role submarines played in the conflict.

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