Friday, June 22, 2007

New Artifacts on Display

The anchor from USS Arkansas (CGN 41), a nuclear powered guided missile cruiser, and the fifth (and last) ship to bear the name of the Natural State is now on display outside the entrance to the museum, right next to Razorback's propellers.

We have also added signs along the sidewalk to explain to our visitors about the propellers, this anchor, and a second, "old fashioned" stock anchor that was found during the excavation and landscaping along the riverfront.

This particular anchor was removed from USS Arkansas after she was decommissioned in 1999. It has been stored for many years at Camp Robinson, the large National Guard training facility here in North Little Rock. However, the museum at Camp Robinson really didn't have a good place to display the anchor, nor did it fit well with the rest of their collection, and given the security restrictions on visitors to the base, not many people would have been able to see it. We would like to thank Steve Rucker at the National Guard museum for safely keeping this anchor and other artifacts from USS Arkansas safe and for helping us acquire this unique piece of history.

Web Cam Back Online

The webcam is back up and running. You can get a good view of the work that has been started on the railroad bridge as well as what's happening at the musuem.

To see the view from the Webcam, the link is:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

AIMM Featured in Naval History Magazine

AIMM will be the featured Naval Museum in the August 2007 edition of Naval History, published by the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, MD, which should be on news stands and in subscriber's mailboxes soon.

Each month Naval History reaches hundreds of thousands of readers, including professional naval historians, other museums, schools, libraries, and regular readers.

We are very pleased and honored to be featured.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Artifacts

AIMM would like to thank T. Micheal Bircumshaw and the Dietzen family for the recent donation of memorabilia from the career of Rear Admiral Walter Nicholas "Buck" Dietzen Jr., USN.

Admiral Dietzen, a Naval Academy graduate, made two war patrols aboard USS Tirante (SS 420) during World War II and went on to command three submarines, including a nuclear powered fast attack submarine and a nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine.

From 1970 to 1972, Admiral Dietzen was the head of the Naval Section of the U.S. Military Mission for Aid to Turkey, and was involved in the transfer of 18 US Navy surface ships and submarines (and one ex-US Army tugboat) to Turkey. USS Razorback, was, of course, one of these vessels.

This large metal plate is inscribed with both the Turkish and American names of all 19 vessels. TCG Muratreis / USS Razorback is the first one on the lower right. The center is decorated with a number of naval and maritime symbols and a great deal of decorative metalwork.

Admiral Dietzen passed away in 2005 at the age of 82.

AIMM would also like to thank Roy Bannach for transporting the material from California to the museum.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thank You

AIMM would like to express our sincere appreciation for the generous monetary donations made to the air conditioning fund made by:

  • The family of Ed Feeley, TMC (SS), a Torpedoman aboard Razorback in the 1950s:
    • Evelyn Ryan, his widow
    • His daughters:
      • Kathleen Feeley Ryan
      • Anita Feely Paulson
      • Susan Feeley Cook
  • James Mason, Razorback's COB in the 50s
A plaque in Ed's honor will be permanently displayed in the forward torpedo room where Chief Feeley spent so much of his time when he was stationed aboard Razorback.

Thanks to the generous contributions of Chief Mason and the Feeley family, AIMMs visitors have a much more pleasant tour of the submarine.

Web Cam Down for a While

Those of you that are used to checking up on the 394 and other river side events on the web cam will have to wait a while. Since construction has begun on the bridge where the camera is mounted, we've had to disable and remove it. We will be getting it back up as soon as we can and will make periodic announcements.

In the meantime, since you can't watch the sub live on the web, come on down for a one on one visit. Razorback would love to see you.

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Photographs

During some recent research, we learned that the National Archives in Washington, DC has the original Board of Inquiry Report from when Razorback ran aground in April, 1944.

Part of the report is a series of photographs of Razorback while she was still aground.

This is a photograph of Razorback's bow.

This photograph shows Razorback's port side. Her single 4" gun is visible foward.

This is a picture taken from Razorback's flying bridge. Her 4" deck gun is just visible in the bottom of the photograph.

These and many other photographs are in our archives.

Friday, June 15, 2007

AIMM's Own "Rosie the Riveter"

"Rosie the Riveter" may have been an icon of WWII, but her spirit is alive and well at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.

Telina Lane works a deck frame, removing the rust and old paint with a grinder so that the frame could be repaired, repainted and new decking installed. The frame has already been returned to its proper location as work continues on the forward deck.

Poster image from the National Museum of American History

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Proof of Cooling

The top photo shows the outside temperature of 86 F at noon on 14 June about 2 blocks from Razorback. The bottom photo is in the crew's galley. Ahhhh, what a difference a little air conditioning can make.
Thanks again to all those involved in getting the 394 a little more comfortable, not to mention taking all the humidity out of the air which will enhance the life expectancy of this piece of American history floating right here in the middle of Arkansas.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Edgefest Benefits AIMM

The recent Edgefest rock concert held near the Maritime Museum and sponsored by the EDGE radio netted AIMM about $6000.00 in donations. It is believed over 10,000 rock fans crowded in to listen to the music. Thanks! (Photos by John C. Jones)


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cold Air On The Way

Thanks to a generous contribution of labor from Freddie Rood, the owner of Rood, Inc Heating and Cooling in Russellville, AR, Razorback will soon be air-conditioned for the comfort of our visitors.

Razorback Base member Ray Wewers said the donation of the Geo-Thermal Heat Pump Units was made possible by a generous contribution from the Razorback Base, as well as personal cash contributions from James Mason, former "Chief of the Boat" and the family of Ed Feeley, Chief Torpedoman aboard Razorback in the 1950s. AIMM also appreciates the many volunteers who provided many hours of labor to prepare the submarine for this major project.

We would hope all of the AIMM supporters and friends would drop a note of thanks to Mr. Rood. You can send your email thanks to us at and we will compile them into a formal thank-you including your comments.

These donations will make an interesting trip through history much more pleasant for our visitors.

In the photo on the right, Ray Wewers is seen preparing to get back inside the super-structure to continue installing the air-conditioning unit above the after battery. A Rood, Inc. employee can be seen in the blue shirt below deck.

The other heat pump will be placed above the forward battery in the ward room. We hope they will be operational for the week-end tours!

Keeping things up is a very expensive proposition. Please go to and click on the donations section to see how you can help.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Former Crewman Returns for First Visit in 40 Years

Allan Standen, who served aboard Razorback in the late 1960s, stopped by to visit Saturday.

Even the heavy rain that moved through the area couldn't dampen his enthusiasm or wipe the smile off his face.

By pure chance, the 1968-69 Westpac cruisebook in our display case was turned to the very page that his picture was on.

Allan had a great time aboard.

Allan now lives in Austin, TX and works as a professional Geologist. He says he went from one extreme to another.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

US Power Squadron and US Coast Guard Aboard for Safe Boating Week

The US Power Squadrons chose AIMM as the site for their special radio event in support of National Safe Boating Week.

Each year, the US Power Squadrons, a national organization with over 45,000 members dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable, holds National Safe Boating Week at the start of the summer boating season spread the message of safe and responsible boating.

This year, the focus is on life jacket wear and the options that are available when it comes to comfortable and lightweight jackets.

The Power Squadrons set up two radio stations, one aboard the barge Savannah Lou, and a second station actually in Razorback's radio room. The radio stations were able to talk to many different amateur radio stations across the nation and even as far away as Canada. In just a few hours on Saturday, they were able to make contact with over 200 other ham radio stations across the nation.

Over the weekend, they were able to contact over 400 other ham radio operators. Some were as close as Russellville and as far away as Honduras. The operator from Honduras had even heard of the museum before!

Click here to watch the KTHV story about the story--

Friday, June 01, 2007

Former Razorback Officer Returns for Visit

Ken Barker first reported aboard USS Razorback in 1966 as a young officer and he returned for a short visit. He qualified in submarines in December 1967 and then went into the Navy's nuclear program.

During his visit, he said that serving on Razorback, "must have been a good start" to his Navy career, because he went on to serve as the Weapons Officer and MPA on USS Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631), then as Navigator aboard USS Ray (SSN-635), as Executive Officer on USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644) and finally as Commanding Officer aboard USS George Bancroft (SSBN-643) and Plankowner Commanding Officer of USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) (Blue).

Ken retired as a Captain and is now a physics professor at the University of Georgia.

Old Friends Visit

Former Razorback crewmembers (and AIMM Supporters) Max Bassett and Maurice Barksdale stopped by to visit for a few hours this week.

They seemed pretty happy witht the progress we've made on the deck and in the museum.