Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Cisco (SS-290) - Sunk 28 September 1943

USS Cisco (SS-290) was lost on her first war patrol. Operating out of Port Darwin, Australia, she left on her patrol on 18 September, but returned that evening due to a malfunction in her main hydraulic system. After repairs, she sailed on the 19th. She was never heard from again.

After the war, an examination of Japanese records revealed that on 28 September, an attack was made on "a sub tailing oil" by both aircraft and Japanese naval vessels, including the Gunboat Karatsu, the former US river gunboat USS Luzon (PR-7) which had been salvaged by the Japanese after being scuttled in Manila Bay in May, 1942.

The men aboard the former American warship did not enjoy their victory for long. IJNS Karatsu was sunk a few months later by USS Narwhal (SS-167).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In Memoriam - USS S-51(SS-162) - Sunk 25 September 1925

USS S-51 (SS-162) sank after being struck by the merchant steamer City of Rome in Long Island Sound off Block Island.

S-51 was on the surface at night with City of Rome approaching from her port side. S-51, in accordance with the Nautical Rules of the Road at the time, was required to maintain her course and speed. However, because of her design, S-51's white masthead light obscured her red side light which would have warned the officers aboard City of Rome that they needed to change their course.

The lookouts and officers aboard City of Rome were unable to see the red side light until moments before the collision. Until that time, they saw a single white light, which indicated they were overtaking a vessel, not approaching one from the side.

Only three of the 36 men aboard S-51 were able to abandon the stricken submarine.

Salvage of the USS S-51 covered a ten month span of difficult and hazardous diving, and a special diver training course was made part of the operation. The submarine was finally raised and towed to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. The salvage operation was headed by Commander Edward Ellsberg and chronicled in his famous book On the Bottom which is available in the AIMM Library

In the ensuing court case, the district court and the Circuit Court of Appeals found S-51 at fault for having improper lights.

The Navy argued that it was not practicable to have such small submarines comply with the literal provisions of the law, and that, as a special type of warship, S-51 was not under legal compulsion to comply with the law. The court responded by saying if these statements were correct, then submarines "should confine their operation to waters not being traversed by other ships."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Museum Exhibit

LCDR Bob Walls, USN (ret), donated his personal dress sword and scabbard to the museum. LCDR Walls served aboard three other submarines before reporting aboard Razorback as Executive Officer under CDR Talbert, a position he still held when Razorback was decommissioned in 1970.

LCDR Walls now lives in Kaneohe, on the island of Oahu.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Neither Rain nor Snow nor Dark of Night...

Our annual return to fall hours doesn't mean that work has stopped around the museum. In fact, the spring and fall months probably involve more work for the museum staff, rather than less. We have a full schedule of maintenance, research and new exhibits planned, not to mention a number of school groups, birthday parties and overnight groups in the coming weeks.

Today, museum Duty Officer Joe Mathis spent part of his day climbing up and down the rocks along the waterfront, picking up trash.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rest In Peace - Captain Joseph E. Bonds, USN

It is with deep regret that we report the passing of Captain Joseph E. Bonds, USN (ret).

Captain Bonds served aboard Razorback during World War II. He made the fourth and fifth war patrols as an Ensign, then stayed aboard for five years after the war. He was a Lieutenant (Junior Grade), and was serving as the acting Executive Officer by the time he transferred off.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Captain Bonds last year and record an oral history from him. The audio file, along with a transcript, is available on our website, on the "Oral History" Page.

Captain Bonds passed away on 28 August, 2011 after a short battle with brain cancer. There was a memorial service held on 26 September at the Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra, FL.

The family did report that Captain Bonds greatly enjoyed his visit last year.

The photograph was donated by Captain Bonds and shows Razorback, with her two 5" deck guns, shortly after World War II.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

AIMM to Honor and Remember 9/11 with Reduced Admission

In honor and remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum (AIMM), home of the historic submarine USS Razorback (SS-394), will offer ½ price admission on Sunday, September 11th, 2011. The adult admission, normally $6, will be $3. Admission for seniors, children and active duty or retired military, normally $4 each, will be only $2.

The museum will be open on its regular schedule, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The last tour will start at 5:30 p.m.

As always, the museum will be available, by appointment, for school groups or other similar group tours during the week. Group tours may be arranged by calling the museum at 501-371-8320.

Submarine Posters for Sale

We have three posters for sale in the museum store. One charts the history of U.S. submarine development from USS Holland to the present. One covers the Balao class during World War II in detail and the third shows the GUPPY Program.

Each poster is $15 shipped in a cardboard mailing tube (with free postage), or $10 if you come into the store and pick them up in person.

They will be on the online museum store page shortly.