Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Volunteers and Donations Keep Us Afloat- An AP Article

Volunteers, museum staffers continue restoration of submarine

Monday, June 26, 2006 7:49 PM CDT

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The USS Razorback is slowly beginning to resemble a working submarine, thanks to the efforts of volunteers and staffers who have given the old craft touches including a new electrical system to new photos illustrating life on board.

And work is far from done for the sub, which went on display to the public last year on the north shore of the Arkansas River, said Greg Zonner, executive director of the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.

"Oh, this is an never-ending project," he said.Zonner said the museum has spent about $30,000 so far this year on projects large and small. He showed off some of them during a tour for journalists Monday.

Leading visitors down a metal ladder into the aft torpedo room, he pointed out that the interior of the submarine is lit with the ship's 1950s-era fluorescent lights. It's part of a larger effort to start running electrical and ventilation systems through the ship's own systems instead of powering new appliances with electricity piped in directly from outside, Zonner said."Now we just need to get the air conditioning working," he said.

The United States used the sub in the Vietnam War before selling it to Turkey in 1970. The Turks renamed it the TGC Muratreis and used it for patrols until 2002, when North Little Rock acquired it.

Today the ship is an American-Turkish hodgepodge, with flags from both nations fluttering from its bridge and labels in English and Turkish on switches and controls in its cramped interior. Zonner says that when the labels wear out, museum staff are replacing them with labels in both languages to maintain the sub's unusual flavor.

Zonner, 55, who served on nuclear submarines in the 1970s, crouched to fit his 6-foot frame through a hatch and moved further into the ship to show new toilets that staffers have installed.

He pointed out a new display meant to show the personal effects sailors kept in personal storage space under their mattresses on the ship: a Swisher Sweets cigar box, neatly folded uniforms, a shaving brush and cup, playing cards, and books including a 1943 Navy training manual open to a page on knots.

Other little touches are meant to illustrate life on board. A black-and-white photo shows sailors sitting back-to-back in the ship's tiny galley. Photos in the captain's cramped quarters show the last American and the last Turkish captain to pilot the vessel.

Another room features World War II-era radio equipment donated by a submarine veteran from Connecticut, Zonner said. Donations have helped cover much of the cost of restoration and are expected to pay for the repainting of the sub's black exterior this summer.

Visitors will find a display of red and green lights that shows which hatches are open on the ship --but they won't find the signature mark of a submarine, the periscope used to scan the surface from underwater. That room's not ready."Our next goal is to get that room done so that people can start going up there," Zonner said.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Special Attention former Razorbackers Who are Coming to the Convention in September--

A couple of former Razorbackers visited last year.

AIMM and the City of North Little Rock will be shooting video interviews of any former Razorback sailor or officer. We would urge you to contact us to let us know if you will be attending so we will have an idea of how much time to plan on doing the interviews. We would also urge you to bring as many photos from your service days aboard the 394 as possible so we can scan them into our archives.

Please contact Steve Nawojczyk at SNawojczyk@northlittlerock.ar.gov or call at 501-340-5309 to let us know you will be coming. If you email, you might add your dates of service, your rank and job assignment which will help in the planning. Thanks.
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Friday, June 09, 2006

Watch Fireworks from the Submarine!

On Tuesday, July 4th, starting at 7:00 p.m., AIMM and WAND (Women's Action for New Directions) will be holding a fundraiser picnic at the Razorback.

The fundraiser will benefit the construction of the Beacon of Peace and Hope, which recently had its groundbreaking ceremony at the museum. For more information about the Beacon, visit the AIMM Website.

Your $25 tax-deductable donation will allow you to:
  • Visit with friends
  • A picnic supper
  • Music from across the river
And most of all - a GREAT place to watch the fireworks with hassle-free parking!

To reserve your tickets, call 501-225-1323 or 501-664-1935.

Seating is limited, so call soon!

Monday, June 05, 2006

CSS Arkansas Featured in Sea Classics Magazine

The July 2006 issue of Sea Classics magazine features a detailed article about the construction and brief combat career of the Civil War Confederate Ironclad Ram CSS Arkansas.

Originally laid down near Memphis, TN in October 1861, Arkansas was supposed to be delivered to the Confederate Navy three months later. By the time she actually entered service on 12 July 1862, the Union Navy controlled much of the Mississippi.

Arkansas saw combat almost immediately, engaging Union ships twice on the 14th as she made the dash from the Yazoo River to the city of Vicksburg, then under seige by Union naval forces. Her presence at Vicksburg forced the Union ships to keep up steam constantly, and this drain on their resources eventually forced them to withdraw, breaking the siege.

Arkansas' career ended just a few days later, when she set forth from Vicksburg to support a Confederate attack on Baton Rouge. During the mission, on 06 August, 1862, her engines failed during an engagement with the Union ironclad Essex. She ran aground and was intentionally burned to prevent her capture.

In 21 days, CSS Arkansas was in five battles with Union ships. She badly damaged many of her opponents and established a fearsome reputation during her short career.

The article in Sea Classics magazine is illustrated with period engravings and is well worth reading. More information about CSS Arkansas can be found on the US Naval Historical Center website.

In addition, a model of CSS Arkansas can be seen in the foyer of the North Little Rock City Services Building. AIMM also has replica blueprints of this and other Civil War-era vessels for examination by researchers or other interested patrons.


We are now operating under our summer hours. The museum and Razorback will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week and will be open from 10 AM until 6 PM on all other days except Sundays when the hours will be 1 PM until 6 PM. Please remember to call 501-371-8320 or keep an eye on the blog or website at www.AIMM.museum for updates.

Also, be sure to check the weather map in the links found on the front page of the blog because in the event of inclement weather, for the safety of patrons and staff, we shut down the tours.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

View a Slide Show of a VIP ride aboard the USS Newport-News

If you would like to see a slideshow of Mayor Hays' and First Lady Janet Huckabee's dive to nearly 700 feet while aboard the USS Newport-News just click here or on the title of this message. It will be available for seven (7) days.