Saturday, April 21, 2007

USS Arkansas (CGN-41) Artifacts

We have recently received several artifacts related to USS Arkansas (CGN-41), the fifth and most recent vessel to be named after the state.

The Governor's mansion has loaned us the ship's bell. This bell is 21" wide and weighs 200lbs. It was cast by the Loeffler Corporation of Pendell, PA. Loeffler still makes bells for US Navy vessels. The also loaned us several plaques and a photograph of Arkansas underway.

Museum volunteer John Albers donated this nice picture of Arkansas underway during her builder's trials.

In addition, the Secretary of State's Office donated a life ring from Arkansas.

USS Arkansas was built in 1977 and commissioned 18 October, 1980. She served in both the Mediterranean and the Western Pacific and she participated in Operation Desert Storm.

USS Arkansas was decommissioned in 1998.

Other artifacts have been located and will be featured soon.

We would like to thank both the Secretary of State and the Governor for their support.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New in the Library

The June 2007 Issue of Sea Classics has arrived.

Among the subjects in this month's issue are:

  • Airplane-Carrying Submarines
  • Battle of Midway
  • Destruction of Force Z (HMS Price of Wales and HMS Repulse) in 1941
  • Disappearance of the freighter Hewitt and the entire crew of the schooner Carroll A. Deering in 1921

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Razorback Crewmembers Visit

In the last several days, three former Razorback crewmembers have stopped by to visit.

George Gallagher is a Razorback plankowner and was onboard for three of her five war patrols. The top photo is from his Razorback days. While he was aboard, he got to revisit his old bunk and one of his duty stations - the After Diving Plane controls.

Chief Mason was COB (Chief of the Boat) in the early 1960s and has been one of AIMM's biggest supporters.

Bobby Brittain (pictured above) was a Second Class Sonar Tech in the early 1960s and sailed with Chief Mason (they missed each other by one day). PO Brittain was nice enough to sit down for a few minutes and talk about his time on Razorback on the record. A transcript of his Oral History will be available soon.

As always, we GREATLY appreciate it when any sub vet takes time out of his busy life to visit, but we especially love it when former crewmembers stop by.

Friday, April 13, 2007

New Collection Added to AIMM Archives

Recently, several donors have donated collections of commemorative booklets.

These range from small, four page, black and white "Welcome Aboard" Booklets from the 1960s, to a large, full-color commissioning booklet from USS Connecticut (SSN 22), commissioned in 1998.

We are in the process of scanning each of these booklets and if you would like to see an electronic version, please ask.

A full list is available on the AIMM Website at:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Book Review - GATO-Class Submarines In Action

Book Review
Gato-Class Submarines In Action
By Robert C. Stern
Color by Don Greer
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications
Carrollton, TX

Disclaimer – I have been a customer of Squadron, a mail-order plastic model company longer than I’ve been married. Way back when (1976), Squadron Mail Order was the ONLY source of models, supplies, and books for a young boy in rural northwest Arkansas (I didn’t even meet my (then) future wife until 1983). I STILL eagerly await the arrival of their catalogs in my mailbox, even though I have MANY more options (I just got a box from Poland, via the Internet).

Squadron/Signal is the publishing arm of Squadron Mail Order, and I have purchased most, if not all, of their naval titles (and many non-naval ones to boot).

Gato-Class Submarines in Action is #28 in their “Warships in Action” series. Like the others, it is 48 pages, with color covers (front and back) and four pages of color plates in the center.

This title starts with two pages of submarine history, covering 40 years of American submarine development. The next 38 pages cover not just the wartime development of the Gato-Class, but also the Balao- and Tench-classes, which are incorrectly identified as “sub-classes” of the Gato-class (they were, in fact, distinct and separate classes, and are identified as such in all other references).

The last few pages of the book are devoted to the many Postwar conversions of these submarines (25 years in 5 pages). Unfortunately, one of the few significant errors in this book appears in this section, when the hull configuration of a GUPPY IIA submarine is incorrectly described, especially when a correct description would have been easily to obtain.

The authors do a great service in describing the long and storied career of USS Barb (SS 220), a Gato-class boat that served during WWII, accumulating the 3rd highest total of enemy ships sunk. Barb served in the U.S. Navy during the Cold War years of the 50s, and was modernized in 1954 and transferred to the Italian Navy in 1954, serving as the Enrico Tazzoli until 1972. Four detailed pictures, showing each stage of Barb’s career, are shown.

This book is a good reference for the plastic model builder, its intended audience (a 1/72 scale Gato-class model having just been released). With better editing, it could have been a GREAT reference for both historians and modelers.