The main exhibit at Patriot’s Point is an aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Yorktown. Named after a previous aircraft carrier (possibly to confuse the Japanese during WWII), the Yorktown was commissioned in 1943 and decommissioned in 1975, when it was turned into a museum. While we were there, we toured the fire room, the engine room, the flight deck, and the bridge. I thought it was interesting to see how they navigated without computers. The various jet fighters on display were also cool. I felt like I could have spent another day looking at all the exhibits on the ship.
Another of the ships we toured was a destroyer, the U.S.S. Laffey. Named after a civil war hero, the Laffey is over 370 feet long and served in the Pacific during WWII. Later, it was decommissioned and turned into a museum ship. While we were there, we watched a video about how the Laffey repelled one of the largest Kamikaze attacks in history. Called “the ship that would not die,” the Laffey was hit by four bombs and six Kamikaze suicide pilots. Amazingly, the Laffey not only returned to base, but returned to service. Now it remains as a memorial to the brave souls who fought in the US Navy.
The Guppy III submarine, USS Clamagore, was the last thing we visited at Patriot’s Point. She is over 300 feet long, and the only Guppy III surviving as a museum. She is a diesel submarine, one of the last before the introduction of nuclear submarines. There were eight compartments, separated by waterproof bulkheads. Like many of its contemporaries, it was named for a fish, in this case a Clamagore is also called a blue parrotfish. It was fun to imagine myself as one of the men who lived and worked under the sea.