A great Veteran’s weekend! Fun’s over, now it’s back to reality… Dammit…
Great time at the National Museum of the Pacific War at Fredricksburg, TX.
It was even more special in that Rich, one of my readers, actually gave myself and Juvat (blogger at Chant du Depart) the six hour tour!
Rich was the educational director for a number of years, and we got a lot of the back stories that went with the exhibits.
However, there was a bit of a problem… You see Rich is retired Army, I’m retired Navy, and Juvat is retired Air Force…
So there were a number of, how can I say this, interesting, side conversations over the course of the day. I’m proud to say that Juvat only shot his watch off twice, though (Ex-fighter pilot)… 🙂
Seriously, this is one museum you should go see, if you possibly can. Rather than just WWII, they actually go back to the turn of the century, and the lead up to the war. Lots of visuals, some not real pretty, but accurate. Great use of videos, video tables, and fantastic displays! They also do live action recreations a couple of times a year!!!
Since we were ‘walking, we’re walking’, I didn’t get a lot of pictures, but there are many very moving displays and videos available. Being a sailor, I had to go with the PT boat, though…
Boat-309 is the only restored World War II combat veteran Higgins class PT boat on public display in the United States today. It actually served in the Med, and fired over 100 torpedoes in combat, and was credited with sinking five enemy ships. She was also responsible for the capture of an Italian MAS (PT equivalent) boat. PT-309 was nicknamed “Oh Frankie” following a meeting between the boat’s first skipper, Wayne Barber, and Frank Sinatra at a night club in New York City just prior to her departure for the European Theater.
With the assistance of PT Boats, Inc., PT-309 was located in Greenport, New York operating as a charter fishing boat. She was purchased in 1994 by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation for the museum. She sailed under her own power from New York to Galveston, Texas, a 45 day journey.
After nearly three years of dedicated work by a volunteer crew that included Seabees from the Houston area, the PT-309 has been almost completely restored. More than a quarter of the boat’s original planking was replaced. She was “commissioned” in the Texas Navy in 1998. Members of the SeaBee unit were present in uniform for the event.
Stern, and you can see the decking work going on…
Forward 20mm mount, and forward hatch to the crew quarters.
And a video of a TBM flying… Big and noisy, but they got the job done, more than once!!!
Thanks Rich and Juvat, truly a great time! 🙂
Then I took a speed run down to Alpine, TX to meet with another author, a former Marine sniper and retired LEO, and do some looking around in that area, since I hadn’t been down there since the late 60s. Good times, and actually saw a NEW Colt Cobra in the wild. Sadly I didn’t have the spare coin to buy it… Dammit…
Then a ‘lovely’ six hour drive home in misting rain… So I’m sorry if folks didn’t get many comments out of me, but I didn’t even turn a computer on till I got home.