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Day 108 - USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier (Photo's Added)

Patriots Point, in Charleston, is a Maritime Museum which includes the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, a Medal of Honor Museum, also a submarine, destroyer, USCG Cutter and sample Vietnam War army base.

semi-overcast 57 °F


Miles Driven - 102
Weather - Overcast, 60
Camped at Hunting Island SP, about 50 miles from Savannah, GA


I prefer to write the blog entries the day things happen, so everything is still fresh in my mind. However, I'm the one who let myself fall behind, so guess it's better not to belly ache...


Again, Mom doesn't like military stuff so she elected to wait in the RV. She's been reading some of the books I bought as well as visiting most of the same places I have, so is also learning our early US history isn't quite as glorious and noble as we'd been led to believe. Causing us both some introspection...

In the meantime, I looked at the map and our schedule and figured we had enough time to visit Patriots Point and still make it to Savannah tonight. Patriots Point is where the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown retired, South Carolina took possession and has built a nice facility where the old naval shipyard used to be across the river from the historic area. On board is a special museum devoted to the Medal of Honor, which I thought might be interesting. Also although I had visited Battleship Cove already, it hadn't included any aircraft carriers, which I thought might be intresting.

However, the are also other ships and things you can tour here.


First, I went through the submarine. The USS Clamagore was built in 1945 and retired in 1975. At the time it retired, it was one of the last diesel submarines still in service.


I'm not sure why I uploaded so many photos, as we've already toured two or three submarines, but hey - I was there, the submarine was there, got to tour it. Who knows - maybe these will add something new. As always, the hatches were very difficult to climb through, the officer and crew quarters very cramped, and the submarine overall just stuffed with tubing, meters, controls and equipment. One sign was rather cute (if you can call it that), claims to be an old submariners proverb:

"There are only two kinds of ships - submarines and targets"

If you're new to my blog, these are thumbnails, you can click on them to see a larger format and additional descriptions. These are views from inside the USS Clamagore submarine.


After visiting the submarine, I briefly toured the US Coast Guard Cutter Ingham. She was built in 1934 and remained in service until 1988. It is probably the most decorated Coast Guard ship, receiving two Presidential Unit Citations among other awards, one in WWII and one in the Vietnam War. It was rather interesting to compare the Executive Officer's quarters on the Ingham to the Clamagore, as well as the hatches - vast differences between a submarine and surface vessels.


Across the dock from the USCGC Ingham was the WWII destroyer, USS Laffey. I did not take the time to tour this, but learned that it served in the D-Day invasion and also the battle of Okinawa, receiving 5 kamikazi and 3 bomb hits in one 90 minute span.


So finally, after rushing through the first three ships I actually made it to the USS Yorktown. This is the CV-10, built at the beginning of WWII originally as the Bon Homme Richard, but was renamed USS Yorktown to honor the only US Aircraft Carrier sunk at the Battle of Midway. It was a new class of aircraft carrier, 872 feet long and 147 feet wide, in her day one of the most imposing naval ships in the world.



The main entrance to the ship is on the hanger deck ,just below the flight deck. This houses a museum to honor Medal of Honor recipients, but has information on only a small sample of the recipients. I was surprised to learn that one woman has received the Medal Of Honor in the Civil War as a doctor - Dr.Mary E. Walker.

There are also a number of historic military aircraft on the hanger deck. One of these you can actually climb in:


There are a number of self paced tours you can take through the aircraft carrier, we were planning to head for Savannah today also so I skipped the crews quarters and such since they'd probably be quite similar to the ones I'd already seen on the USS Massachusetts. I did take the Flight Deck and Bridge tour, since these would be unique to an aircraft carrier. The tour consists of following some foot steps to get you started up the right stairway, then an occasional arrow or sign - but mostly it's just wander around on your own in the section you want to see. All in all, very cool - I sat in the Captains Chair (of course), played with the main wheel and engine controls... (fortuantely, the ship is permanently stuck in the mud - on purpose, it's how they anchor their exhibits here).




And finally back down to the hanger deck and the main elevator back off the ship (sad to leave her - although if I move to Charleston I could be a volunteer on the Yorktown?)


We did need to get going, but on the brochure I had noticed something about a Vietnam base? Then as I was leaving the dock, there were signs pointing to a Vietnam base off to the right. Hmm, somewhat curious I decided to check it out, although just a quick tour. Sure enough, the Patriots Point folks have constructed a small sample of what a US military base may have looked like in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, complete with a river boat, helicopter, huts, bunkers, and a watch tower that plays 1960's era music while you're walking around. Since coastal South Carolina is also a somewhat tropical, swampy area, it's a pretty effective display.


After this I finally got back to the RV and we headed south on Hwy 17 towards Savannah. Mom was interested in seeing the CawCaw compound, but they turned out to be closed on Tuesday. I had also asked her to look for campgrounds in the Savannah area, the idea being we'd get to town today, then sightsee in the morning. She found another State Park on the beach on Hunting Island, which she thought was about 20 miles off the main highway. It was farther off the route then that, so we'll have at least an hours drive in to get to Savannah tomorrow. But we probably won't get there too early. There is a lighthouse here you can climb but it doesn't open until 10. We're right on the beach, lovely barrier island with lots of Palmetto trees. It was pretty dark when we got here, so we'll have to see what it's like tomorrow.

Posted by jl98584 19:17 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Hi Jeanette - You mentioned wanting to see a Fresnel Lens up close, well there is one but it'll be on your way home. So I'll give you the info and links and you can bookmark it for later.

It's located in the village of Cambria which is along the Pacific Coast Highway in CA. The town is actually split in two by the Hwy with a rugged coastline on the ocean side where one can get pretty close to the seals and if you cross the Hwy to Cambria Village West side, you can see the Piedras Blanca Lighthouse Lens that was removed when the lighthouse went high tec. The village bought it, has it mounted, it lights at night, it's free, and it's beautiful. So here are some links - there are more.



The lighthouse itself is further up the Hwy not far from Hearst Castle.


by dutchhouse

Hi - and thanks for the info! I'll have to figure out a way not to loose track of this by the time we get to CA (maybe a bookmark?). We did see a first order Fresnel Lens today, but it was a bit of a disappointment since most of the glass was gone, just the top left. However you could get an idea of the size and actually walk inside of it (which of course we did). I'd still like to see one with all the glass (not that I'm greedy or anything, it just seems like that would be something really impressive).

by jl98584

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