|Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge.|
This is our second stay in Charleston this year. Our first was our annual June trip when we stay with a large group of friends. This stay was a two fold trip; the first was for my three month post cancer treatment check-up. The second was just a end of summer before work schedules begin.
As part of my three month check-up, I had a PET scan, lab work and several doctor appointments. I am very happy to report that the scans do not show any signs of cancer. The labs were all good and the doctors expressed amazement at how well I have been.
(Click on images to enlarge)
|Our campsite, number 111, James Island County Park.|
Located in the Charleston harbor at the mouth of the Cooper River is Patriots Point. Patriots Point is a World War II naval museum. The center piece of the museum is the aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown. The floating museum also includes the Sumner class destroyer, USS Laffey and a Balao class submarine, USS Clamagore. Personally, one of the more moving displays at Patriots Point is the Vietnam Experience.
The Vietnam Experience
Setup to look like an actual American military encampment, the sights, sounds and feel is so realistic that it feels as if you were there.
Just inside the entrance to the exhibit is a board. This board has dog tags representing each serviceman from South Carolina who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam conflict. One cannot help but have an emotional moment at the thought of the names on each tag.
|Hundreds of dog tags.|
|CH-46 Sea Knight used to transport cargo |
and troops from ship to shore.
|Inside view of CH-46.|
From 1965 - 1973, the Bell UH-1 "Huey" was the most common helicopter used in Vietnam. Many veterans describe the Huey as the "sound of war." Because of it's versatility, the helicopter was used for a variety of missions, from troop insertion to medical evacuations. Records show that over 90,000 patients were airlifted. Over 7000 of these helicopters survived the war.
In the early 1980's, as a young paramedic working in Richland county, I had the privilege to fly in these several times airlifting critical patients to area hospitals. The experience was very memorable.
During the Vietnam war, the United States operated what was called the "brown water navy." It was a joint navy and army operation aimed at slowing the flow of arms and supplies into South Vietnam by the waterways. Designated Patrol Boat - River, (PBR) the 32 foot long fiberglass, jet driven, shallow draft boat, was the workhorse of the brown water navy. They were usually maned by a 4 man crew.
|PBR MK II|
Nicknamed "the ship that wouldn't die," the USS Laffey was commissioned in February, 1944. She was given her nickname from her exploits during the D-Day invasion and the battle for Okinawa. During the battle of Okinawa, the USS Laffey withstood attacks by 22 Japanese kamikaze aircraft. Laffey took hits from six planes and 4 bombs killing 32 sailors and wounding 71. Despite suffering major damage, Laffey survived.
After the war, Laffey participated in atomic bomb test off Bikini Atoll. Radioactivity required the ship to be completely sandblasted to decontaminate. In June, 1947, Laffey was decommissioned and placed in reserve. In January, 1951, she was updated and re-commissioned for service during the Korean conflict. Laffey remained in service until March, 1975, when she was decommissioned and stricken from the records as the last of the Sumner class destroyers.
|The bridge of the Laffey and Captain's chair.|
|Wheelhouse, from here the ship is driven.|
|Kitchen, serving and dinning area for the crew.|
Below is the medical office and radio room,
sleeping area and engine room.
USS YorktownThe USS Yorktown (CV-10) is one of 24 Essex class aircraft carriers to be built during World War II. Originally to be named Bonhomme Richard, she was renamed under construction to commemorate the Yorktown, (CV-5) which was sunk by the Japanese during the Battle of Midway in June, 1942. Commissioned in April, 1943, the USS Yorktown participated in several Pacific campaigns. In January, 1947, she was decommissioned and placed in reserve.
In June, 1952, the Yorktown was re-commissioned and began modernization. Construction was completed in February, 1953. Modernization was not completed in time for her to participate in the Korean conflict. In 1964 and 1965 she conducted numerous special operations during the Vietnam conflict. The Yorktown was used to recover Apollo 8 following it's return from the moon. (Apollo 8 was the first maned crew to leave earth's orbit, orbit the moon and return to earth.) The Yorktown was in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! which was a factual recreation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970 and was moved to Patriots Point in 1975.
|A large walkway leading to the USS Yorktown.|
|Half of the massive hanger deck with displays of various|
World War II aircraft.
|The "island" rising above the large flight deck. The island|
houses the ship's navigation, air traffic control, flight operations
and other functions such as radar and communications.
Flight operations including air traffic control and pilot briefing rooms are all on board ship.
Rank does have some privileges. Generally, officers have a little better sleeping quarters that are shared with one or two others and they have separate dinning areas.
|Warrant Officers dinning area.|