Sunday, May 16, 2010

More USS Hornet

Anchor chain. Each link weighs 159 pounds. They use this hook to catch a link and lift it so they can put a clamp on, actually 2 clamps one on each side of the chain, to hold it in place.
YES this is an escalator!! It was not original to the ship but was added in the 1950's. Originally the room where they prep the pilots was right below the flight deck so it was not a big deal for the pilots to go up about 10 steps of a ladder in all their flight gear. But then they moved the room to below the hanger bay so it was more protected from enemy fire. So they installed the escalator to make it easier on the pilots. And yes it still works.

The USS hornet was the air craft carrier that picked up Neil Armstrong and the other astronauts after the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. They have quite a bit of NASA stuff on board.

The kids thought this was a score board. But actually it is a compass heading and how many knots they are traveling. So supply ships could come along side and travel parallel while transferring goods. The flags to the right are countries the ship was in.

The whole time we were on board, I thought about my Grandpa Bill who served in the Navy during WW II and my brother Bill who served in the Navy during the Gulf War. My brother was on an aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz. The Nimitz is much larger than the Hornet and this is actually the second Hornet. The first sank in 1941 so they changed the name of this new carrier when it was given it's commission in 1942. The USS Hornet had a maximum crew of 2,500 men. I believe Bill said the Nimitz had a crew of 5,000.

The ship had everything. Medical and dental facilities, library, chapel, post office, a store to buy gum or cigarettes and of course the brig (jail). I would definitely not want to go there. The cells had 2 bunks in them and were just big enough for the bunk and to walk along side them. If you have to use the bathroom you had to wait for the next "head call". There were 4 cells in a tiny little hall way, 2 decks below the water line. It was claustrophobic! I couldn't wait to get out of there.

The engine room was AMAZING! I always find it interesting the technology that they had before my generation. We look around us at all our modern cell phones and other gadgets and gizmos. They had none of that, but what they did have was very sophisticated.

I, of course, loved the whole experience. Eli had an upset stomach most of the time. But was a trooper and even slept the whole night with his group. I was with the other moms in another berth.

Oh and if your a fan of the show "Ghost Hunters" you can look up the episode they filmed on the USS Hornet. Apparently it is haunted!

USS Hornet CVS-12

Docked in Alameda is a retired aircraft carrier the USS Hornet. It was used in some of the raids off Japan during WW II. It is a museum now and has a program called "Live Aboard". You pay $60 a person and you get to eat and sleep on board for a night. You get to experience chow lines and 3 high bunk beds and very small spaces even though it is a very large ship, 984 feet from end to end.

In the picture above, you can see 7 port holes right under the flight deck. Our tour leader was a retired Navy boatswain that actually served on this carrier in 1968. The carrier was retired in 1970. It was really cool to have a guide who knew so much about the ship first hand. Anyway he took us up in this little room at the very front of the ship where all the maps were stored and told a story about what happens if you open one of those port holes during rough seas. The boys got a kick out of it.

This is Bill our fearless leader with Eli. Bill was a boatswains mate and had the boatswains pipe and we all woke up to reveille. Before this picture we had trekked up 3 or 4 flights of ladders to get to the top of what is called the "island". This is where all the controls of the ship are. I can't remember the correct name of the room.

This was a great display of the effect the crew of this ship had during WW II. This semester Brian is taking a history class that covers WW II and he had to write a paper about his opinion on whether or not the US should have dropped the atomic bombs. Seeing all the history on this ship really brought the part of US history alive for me.

Art - Vallejo, CA style

On Saturday, May 1, 2010 Eli and I joined other Webelos and their parents for a trip to Alameda. On the way the caravan had to stop in Vallejo to drop off a parent and pick up a grandparent. While we were waiting for the switch Eli and Joe, the two scouts in our care, noticed this car and got out to take pictures. As I was looking at them I was thinking this care could be used in the "I Spy" game for kids. I also wonder if the person really drives it around or if they just leave it on the street in the name of ART.