30 January, 2014

[this memory} 104

This is the story behind last Monday's {this moment}.

I know this image is a bit odd for loving memories, but in this case it's not the actual ship that is at issue. This ship, by the way, is the USS Wisconsin, and she can be toured at the Norfolk, Virginia harborfront.

My father was a career naval officer and served briefly on a battleship, and until my third year at university, I was also considering that as a career. So this image reminds me of my father and roads not taken.

The Wisconsin saw action in the Pacific during World War II, having been commissioned on the second anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks. She was brought back for the Korean conflict and again for Operation Desert Storm.Why? Shore bombardment. Those guns you see in the image can throw a shell 16 inches in diameter over 20 miles. But I never got to see one; when I was in the right places, all of the battleships were in mothballs. When two were brought back for Desert Storm, I got excited that I might see one. Didn't happen - they were all again retired before I had a chance.

The Wisconsin was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 2006 and in 2009 was donated for permanent use as a museum ship. She currently functions as such and is operated by Nauticus, The National Maritime Center in Norfolk, and I finally got up close to a battleship.

Beautiful lines. Incredible power. Large. I think I remember the wooden main deck of teak the most. It's laid over a very thick steel deck and insulates it from the heat of the sun - natural air conditioning. Green?

I'm a fortunate man. Life's been good to me so far.