Friday, August 26, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Cochino (SS-345) Lost 26 August 1949

USS Cochino (SS-345) was a Balao-class submarine, built at the Electric Boat Company shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. Completed too late to see wartime service, she received a GUPPY II conversion in 1949.

Later that same year, she was assigned to conduct operations (probably surveillance and intelligence gathering) in the Barents Sea.

Cochino encountered a severe gale on 25 August, and a battery explosion and fire occurred. For the next fourteen hours, Cochino's officers and crew fought to save their submarine, but a second battery explosion occurred on 26 August, and the order to "Abandon Ship" was given. Fortunately, a sister ship, USS Tusk (SS-426) was operating in the area, and the crew was able to evacuate. One civilian engineer died aboard Cochino and six men from Tusk were also lost at sea.

Photograph courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Harder (SS-257) - Sunk 24 August, 1944

Official U.S. Navy Photograph
USS Harder

Official U.S. Navy Photograph
CDR Sam Dealey

USS Harder (SS-257) under the command of CDR Sam Dealey, was sunk by Japanese ships off the Philippines in the pre-dawn hours of 24 August, 1944 while on her sixth war patrol.

Harder had been operating with USS Haddo (SS-255) and USS Hake (SS-256) as a "wolf-pack," or a group of submarines operating together and conducting coordinated attacks together. On 21 August, the wolf-pack was joined by three other submarines and made an attack on a convoy, sinking four Japanese merchant ships. Over the next two days, the wolf-pack attacked two different groups of Japanese ships, sinking several frigates and a destroyer. Haddo, having expended all of her torpedoes, left the wolf-pack on the 23rd.

Early the next morning, while cruising only 600 or so yards apart, Harder and Hake sighted a minesweeper and a destroyer operating together. As they approached, they were detected and the Japanese ships attacked. Hake was able to avoid the attack, but heard a series of 15 depth charges explode.

The Japanese records note that after the attack, "much oil, wood chips and cork floated in the vicinity."

Harder was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her first five patrols, and CDR Dealey was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his fifth war patrol, which included sinking five Japanese destroyers in five days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

AIMM Returns to Fall Hours September 5th

AIMM will return to our fall schedule on September 5th.

We will be open on the following schedule:
  • Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday - 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday - 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
As always, we are available for group tours, especially school groups, during the week by appointment, and we continue booking evening events, including our popular birthday parties and overnight group events.

To book a group tour or other special event, contact the museum at 501-371-8320.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Arkansas, Arriving" (Artifact, That is...)

The helm station from USS Arkansas (CGN-41), the last ship to be named for the state, is being prepared for public display.

The helm station, along with several other artifacts, were removed when Arkansas was decommissioned in 1998. One anchor, along with part of her anchor chain, has been on display outside our museum for several years, and her bell is inside our museum. (Another anchor is on display outside the Craighead County Courthouse in Jonesboro, AR, in the northeast part of the state.)

The helm station has been in storage for the last several years while we built an appropriate place for it to be displayed. It will be next to the stern plate, which was put on display earlier this year.

Friday, August 19, 2011

AIMM Closed Due to Air Conditioner Breakdown

Unfortunately, the air conditioner in our main barge (where some semi-important things like the waiting area, ticket booth, ship's store and restrooms are) has suffered a compressor failure.

Therefore, AIMM will be closed on Saturday, August 19th and Sunday, August 20th.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but the circumstances are beyond our control. We expect to have the system fixed on Monday and we will return to our regular hours on Wednesday.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Bullhead (SS-332) Sunk - 06 August, 1945

USS Bullhead (SS-332), a Balao class submarine built at Groton, CT, was probably lost on this day in 1945.

She had been ordered to patrol in a "wolf pack" with two other submarines. Bullhead left Fremantle, Australia on 31 July, and on 06 August, reported she had passed through the Lomok Strait.

She was never seen or heard from again.

Japanese records show many anti-submarine attacks in the area during this time just before the war ended (the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima this same day). However, there were also at least six other allied submarines in the vicinity, all of whom survived Japanese efforts to sink them.

One report from a Japanese Army aircraft claimed two direct hits with depth charges on a submarine, resulting in a great amount of gushing oil and air bubbles in the water. The position given for the attack is very near the Lombok Strait, so it is possible that the nearby mountain peaks on the island of Bali blocked Bullhead's radar, preventing her from spotting the approaching plane.

Bullhead was the last U.S. submarine sunk during World War II.

Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC.

Confederate Ironclad CSS Arkansas Ends Her Short Career

Originally laid down near Memphis, TN in October 1861, CSS 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 immediately, engaging Union ships three times on 14 July as she made the dash from the Yazoo River to the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, then under seige by Union naval forces. Her presence at Vicksburg forced the Union ships to keep up steam constantly (rather than remaining at anchor and being vulnerable to attack) and this drain on their resources eventually forced them to withdraw, breaking the siege.

The ironclad's short career ended when she set forth from Vicksburg to support a Confederate attack on Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 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.

She currently rests under a large rock levee on the west bank of the Mississippi River. It is likely that no artifacts will ever be recovered from the site.

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.

More information about CSS Arkansas can be found on the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command website, or by visiting our exhibit "We Fought Them" at the museum, which will run through the fall.

Image courtesy of the U. S. Navy History and Heritage Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC.