Monday, August 27, 2007

New Artifacts - Coffee Cups

Anyone who has served in the Navy, or even just known a sailor, can attest that sailors drink ALOT of coffee and submariners are known to drink much more than the average Navy sailor.

One of the things Razorback didn't have up to now was a full set of coffee mugs. We have acquired a few thanks to various volunteers and donors, but we haven't had the quantity needed to properly stock the galley.

However, we were recently able to purchase two cases of coffee mugs through the Federal Surplus depot in North Little Rock and completely stock the submarine with coffee cups.

This may seem like a small thing, but the galley really does look better with the racks filled with cups:

AIMM to Close Early Friday

Due to a special event Friday evening, we will close at 4:00 p.m. Friday, August 31st.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

USS Grunion (SS-216) - Submarine Lost During WWII Found After 65 Years

During the month of July 1942, USS Grunion (SS-216) patrolled off Kiska Island, in the Aleutian Islands chain off Alaska, sinking two Japanese patrol boats.

On 30 July, 1942, she was ordered to the small submarine base at Dutch Harbor, nearly 600 miles to the East. Grunion never arrived and was never heard from again.

In 2002, a Japanese amateur historian provided the first solid clues about Grunion's fate:

Early in the morning of 31 July, 1942, Grunion encountered the Japanese freighter Kana Maru off Kiska Island. Grunion fired two torpedoes. One hit but the other torpedo missed. The single torpedo stopped the main engines and flooded the machinery room, leaving dead in the water with no power and no radio communications.

Grunion fired a third torpedo which passed directly under the stricken Kana Maru, but did not explode. She then fired three more torpedoes. Two actually hit the ship but failed to explode.

After the third salvo of torpedoes, Grunion apparently decided to attack the merchant ship with her 3" 50-caliber deck gun (the same kind of gun at the museum). As she came to the surface, Grunion was struck by a round from an 80mm gun (about 3.25") installed by the Japanese Navy aboard Kana Maru. The round hit amidships, in the area of the bridge/conning tower/control room. It is likely that Grunion's Captain, most of her senior officers, and her most experienced men would have been killed instantly, as they would have been on duty in this area.

The men aboard Kana Maru saw a swell of heavy oil after this hit, and a great deal of oil and debris were found in the area.
Using this new information, two sons of Grunion's Captain mounted a search for their father's submarine in August 2006. Sufficient sonar images were located that a second search was mounted this year, and just a few days ago, the group announced that Grunion had been located and photographed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Inclinometer - Thanks to USS Cavalla

Thanks to the generosity of Master Chief John McMicheal, the Curator of USS Cavalla (SSK-244) in Galveston, TX, we have been able to replace one of the few missing pieces of equipment aboard Razorback.

An inclinometer is an instrument for measuring the incline, or angle of a vessel, either for list (side to side), or trim (fore and aft). The inclinometer at the Auxiliary Helm station in the Control Room was missing, and for some time, we have been using one of the inclinometers from the diving plane stations.

However, in a recent conversation with Master Chief McMicheal, he mentioned that he had a spare, and we gladly accepted his offer.

USS Cavalla and USS Razorback have a long history together, stretching back to World War II, when both submarines were present at Tokyo Bay on 02 September, 1945 when the Japanese signed the surrender papers aboard the battleship USS Missouri, formally ending World War II. Of the twelve submarines present, Razorback and Cavalla are the only two boats still in existence.

Again, we want to thank John and USS Cavalla for their generosity and we encourage everyone in the Galveston area to visit and support them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Summerset 2007 to Benefit AIMM

Summerset 2007, to take place at the North Shore River Walk in North Little Rock, AR on Sunday, September 2nd.

The event will begin at noon and end at 11:00pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased early at or at the entrance. Kids ages 12 and under get in free. Sponsored by the Tennenbaum Family among others, attendees can enjoy the Pulaski Tech Kid Zone hosted by Radio Disney, the Art Zone hosted by The Art Scene, the Summerset Boat Parade, which will include the biggest yachts on the Arkansas River, the Beer Garden for those 21 and older, and the Main Stage, which will include many local bands and be headlined by the 1990’s favorite Spin Doctors. Vendors will be selling food and drinks at Summerset. Money raised will be reinvested in improvements in the Argenta area.

A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.

For more information or interviews, please contact Ed Linck at or (501) 733-4801. Also, you can learn more at


Since 1980, Summerset has been a household name in the North Little Rock community. Designed as a salute to the end of summer, Summerset featured family entertainment, concerts, Motocross races, a 5K race, art and crafts, commercial vending, a variety of food vendors and fireworks.

The purpose of Summerset was to assist in the development of the Parks & Recreation System of the City of North Little Rock. Funds raised by Summerset were donated to the Parks & Recreation System, as well as to other similar activities operating within the City of North Little Rock. Various charities including the North Little Rock Sertoma Club, North Little Rock Optimist Club, North Little Rock Lions Club and the Untied Way benefited from Summerset.

Attendance at Summerset would vary from 5,000 people to close to 100,000 people. Much of this depended on the entertainment. Past Summerset performers include the Arkansas Symphony String Quartet, Michael Martin Murphey, Vince Gill, Three Dog Night, Paul Rodgers (former lead singer of Bad Company), Georgia Satellites and Chuck Berry.

As a fundraiser, Summerset produced results. Improvements made in Burns Park include the construction of a new pavilion next to the softball complex, renovation of the Hospitality House, the addition of electric and water outlets throughout the park, electrical panel construction for use in all NLR park facilities, construction of a handicap accessible restroom at the Visitors Center in Burns Park and the construction of the soccer fields.

In April of 2002, the Summerset Board of Directors decided to not continue the annual event. The remaining funds were donated to Riverfest as a sponsorship of its 25th anniversary to assist in bringing the Memorial Day Weekend festival to North Little Rock. North Little Rock hasn’t celebrated a Summerset weekend since…

In early 2007, the members of Big Three Promotions felt like there was a void in central Arkansas during the Labor Day Weekend. After learning of the history of Summerset, the team decided to revive the annual event and make it bigger and better than ever. Now located at the North Shore River Walk, Summerset is BACK!

Monday, August 20, 2007

ENS Reker Stops By

Those of you who sailed with ENS Fred Reker aboard Razorback from 62-65 and saw him make it all the way to the rank of LT(jg) are probably unsurprised to learn that he retired as CAPT Fred Reker.

He and his lovely wife Norma spent several hours aboard his former home. He seemed to have a good time and we certainly enjoyed having him aboard.

CAPT Reker and his wife now live in Tennessee.

New in the Library - The Submarine Review - July 2007 Issue

The July 2007 issue of The Submarine Review, published by the Naval Submarine League, has just arrived.

A few selected topics:

  • Survivor's Story - USS Flier (SS-250) - The sinking of USS Flier was recently featured here on the AIMM Blog
  • The Early Life of USS Albacore (AGSS-569)
  • US Submarine Ready Status - 07 December, 1941
  • USS North Carolina (SSN-777) Christening
  • Submarine News from Around the World
Regular readers of the blog know that we have a nearly complete collection of back issues of The Submarine Review (we only lack one issue from the last 24 years). This collection is an invaluable resource for anyone doing submarine research.

The USS Flier and USS Albacore articles are especially interesting because both are first-hand accounts, written by people who LIVED the events. Also, if you want an idea about the future of the US Navy, the article about USS North Carolina is well worth reading.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Family Fun Pass Available

A new money-saving pass is now available.

The "Family Fun Pass" will get you into four different North Little Rock attractions for one low price:
  • USS Razorback Submarine
  • Arkansas Queen Riverboat Sightseeing Tour
  • Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame
  • The River Rail Trolley
In addition, the Fun Pass includes a ticket for the Old Mill, which is free, but the ticket is a reminder to visit this historic attraction.

For a family of four (two adults and two children), the passes represent a savings of approximately $20.

Family Fun Passes are available at the AIMM ticket booth (as well as the other listed attractions and other locations around North Little Rock).

For more information, contact the North Little Rock Visitor's Bureau or call 758-1424.

Looking North is REALLY Looking Good!

Friday, August 17, 2007

More about the Urban Submarine Artist

A few days ago, we posted about the program to paint the traffic control boxes.

Abby Carman, the artist that painted the traffic box at Main and Washington, was nice enough to write us and tell us a little bit about herself and the inspiration for her work:

I wanted to tell you why I painted the USS Razorback patch on a traffic box. When I heard about this public art project, I wanted to use local elements in my design. On one traffic box I have music, on the other side a painter’s pallet. On the second box as you know I have the trolley on one side and the patch on the other. I wanted to grab the attention of the street traffic and make them think. I hope that the patch will bring some attention to the USS Razorback. I think we live in a world so removed from the war, that it does not feel “real” to us because we are not there. I wanted people to have a reminder that we have men and women willing to fight to keep us safe. The USS Razorback is our reminder here in North Little Rock. We all need a reminder, and I hope that the traffic box helps others, because it has helped me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Think Cool!

This picture shows Gorch Fock, the sail training vessel for the German Navy underway earlier this year.

Built in 1958, it used the same plans as an earlier training vessel built in the 1930s. The US Coast Guard Cutter Eagle was one of the original five vessels built for the German Navy in the 1930s.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

USS Razorback - Bicycle Friendly Submarine

A new bicycle rack has been installed next to the top of the sidewalk leading down from the parking lot to AIMM.

So now cyclists will have a safe place to lock their bikes up while they tour Razorback.

Work on the Junction Bridge to convert it to a pedestrian/bicycle bridge has begun and is scheduled to finish in the Spring of 2008. The bridge will give visitors a wonderful view of Razorback as they cross the river.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In Memoriam - USS Flier (SS-250) - Sunk 13 August 1944

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

USS Flier embarked on her second war patrol on August 2, 1944. Just over a week later, at 2200 on 13 August, she struck a mine on her starboard side. Within thirty seconds, Flier vanished beneath the waves.

A number of sailors managed to escape their sinking vessel; however, the nearest land supposed to be safe from the Japanese was Mantangule Island, over half a day's swim away, and several perished during the journey. Eight men survived the tragedy, including the commanding and executive officers, who had both been in the conning tower at the time of the explosion.

Seventy-eight men did not survive. During her brief career, Flier sank four freighters and damaged a tanker and a freighter. For a complete listing of Flier's survivors and lost sailors, please visit the Commander, Submarine Forces Pacifc, Website.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

USS Razorback - Rescue Sub

S-2 Tracker from VS-41

Forty years ago today, on the night of 08 August 1967 USS Razorback was operating off the coast of San Diego with an S-2E "Tracker" aircraft from Anti-Submarine Squadron 41, call-sign Bullfrog 28, conducting routine training exercises.

During the exercise, Razorback picked up unusual sounds on sonar, and, unable to raise Bullfrog 28 on radio, she quickly came to the surface.

Liferaft and aircrew helmets from S-2 Tracker Aircraft on
Razorback's deck the next day

Despite poor weather conditions and extreme darkness due to overcast skies, Razorback quickly located a small life raft with two survivors from Bullfrog 28. Despite the weather conditions, darkness, debris and oil from the crash (and the 48-degree cold water), Razorback crewman Torpedoman Seaman James J. Linehan, Jr. volunteered to dive into the water to help one of the men who was clinging to the side of the raft and was having trouble staying afloat due to damage to his life vest.

Razorback crewmen with their awards

TMSN Clevenger received the Navy Commendation Medal for his heroism.

Hospital Corpsman First Class James J. Linehan, Jr., received the Navy Achievement Medal for his efforts in treating the two crash survivors. Both men were seriously injured and suffering from shock and exposure to the extremely cold water.

On many other occaisions, Razorback crewmen were involved in life-saving rescues. To learn about some of these rescues, come visit the museum.

AIMM would like to thank the Tailhook Association for locating a high-quality photograph of an S-2E Tracker from VS-41 in their archives.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

New in the Museum Store

Submarine Skulduggery - Twenty-five of the best pranks, gags, jokes and tricks coming from the imaginations of diesel and nuclear submariners - $8

Undersea Encounters - The "hows" and "whys" of over thirty American submarine collisions and groundings from 1903 to 2005, taken from the records and the memories of the men who were there - $20

Submarine Escape and Rescue - An anthology from 1851 to 2005. This book details over 40 different escapes during both peacetime and wartime - $20

Steep Angles and Deep Dives - Eighteen dives that went wrong, from the memories of the submariners who fought to get their boats back under control - $17

Submarine Cuisine - The Navy's best chefs bring you their secret recipes refined over many years under the sea - $19

Submarine Losses During World War II (CD) - This is an electronic version of a book published by the Naval Historical Center in 1963, detailing everything they knew then about the 52 submarines lost during World War II. Although some new information has been discovered since then, this is still a great reference - $10

If you would like to have any of these books or CDs mailed to you, please call the museum store at (501) 371-8320. If you miss us, please leave a message and we will get back to you.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Anyone Recognize This?

Look what now is standing watch over the Razorback and AIMM. Anybody got any clues as to what it is? Leave a comment, let's see who gets it right first. Might be a 394 hat in it for the first to correctly ID this baby.

Urban Submarine Art

Earlier this year, Main Street Argenta announced a public art program, "Good Living in North Little Rock." The unique part of this art program is that the "canvases" are the traffic control boxes at the corners of the major intersections. These boxes are an important, if drab, part of modern life.

One of the boxes chosen for this project is at the corner of Washington & Main Streets, at the foot of the Main Street bridge.

As you can see, one side of the traffic control box now has art based on Razorback's patches. This is the fourth traffic box completed. The other side of the box is painted with a trolley and faces the trolley tracks, creating an instant conversation piece for trolley riders.

The Razorback side is easily visible to both foot and vehicle traffic, especially traffic westbound on Washington Street.

This traffic box was painted by Abby Carman, the artist who also painted the traffic box at the corner of East Broadway and Poplar.