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Friday, September 19, 2014

Defending the Nation

Thanks for the reading encouragement, guys, I followed advice and chose to start with "Wild".  I was hooked from the first paragraph.  No matter how I feel about the book when I'm done with it she is a very good writer!

I just haven't been in the mood to post about our visit to the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc back in mid-July.  Anything to do with war is not my favorite thing to talk about in general.  One of the reasons I don't watch the news.  All that stuff is happening whether I watch or not, most of it too far away for me to do anything about so why spend all my time thinking about it.  Usually I have way too much of my stuff to think about, I mean my goodness, I can't even keep up with my housework much less world events!

I do like looking at boats, for a minute or two anyway.  More so when they are in actual use than as museum pieces.  Wayne loves anything to do with martime information, it's that home-grown Newfie thing.  Being a displaced Newfie from the age of one I guess I got some immunity.

Right away in the parking lot two gentlemen cornered Wayne to talk about his truck, so I wandered around with my camera.  Nothing more boring to me than men talking about engines and other vehicle comparisons.  There was a group of gentlemen doing it at Panera the other morning and all I could think was how many times have they covered the same topic?  Sorry, guys, I'm sure you feel the same way about something ladies tend to discuss.  Feel free to vent in the comments section!

Eventually Wayne was released and we made our way inside.  Admission was $12 each and included the World War II submarine tour of the U.S.S. Cobia.

Another gentlemen roped Wayne into a discussion of outboard motors...I just liked the pretty colors and shapes.

Our tour was led by a very young kid, who knew his stuff but talked way too fast.  I caught most of what he was talking about but only because I've been on these types of tours before .  I'm sure a lot of folks walked away with not much information retained.

From the deck we got a nice view of the river.  Manitowoc has a history as a ship building town and built 28 submarines for the war effort, 25 of which were ready in time to be used in the war. Combined they sunk a total of 132 enemy ships.  Only 4 were lost at sea.  One thing to remember is that the U.S.S. Cobia is not one of the subs built in Manitowoc but is representative of the type built there.

Of course after that fact all I can think about is all the stuff that must be at the bottom of the ocean with all the ships sunk in all the wars.  What does that do to the ocean ecology, I wonder?

launch of the U.S.S. Peto, courtesy of the Maritime Museum website

If you haven't toured a submarine, I do recommend it.  Stairs are steep and quarters are tight, so keep that in mind.  Not as tight as when it was loaded with a full crew though.  The sailors even had to share their sleeping quarters with the torpedoes.  Can you imagine all that testosterone locked up down there in such tight quarters for weeks on end?

Most everyone had to scrunch down to get through the hatches...except for me.

My father was in the Navy and these tours always make me think of him and his time on ship.  He served on a couple of different ships, no submarines.

I have a vague recollection of visiting the ship when he was getting ready to leave for a long stint when we lived in San Diego.  I was only 7 years old, and all I remember is being fascinated with the metal deck floor with the raised non-slip design.  Clank, clank, clank, up and down the ladder.  And that was before I went looking for this picture.

Bottom right: My Aunt Hannah holding me up in the corner of the railing, my mother shading her eyes next to us

My Dad 1975

Wayne's father also worked on a boat for Canadian National, not in an enlisted capacity.

When I was younger I thought about what it would be like to join the Navy.  Of course that was because my dad came home with gifts from far off, interesting sounding places.  Gee, I wonder where my fascination with far-off adventure comes from?  As I got older the implications of war, not to mention the philosophy of being a soldier and doing what you're told no-matter-what sounded very unappealing.  I'm not a follower by nature.

The world needs followers, true, but it also needs more people who speak up instead of following the path of least resistance.  I recently read "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson and was saddened by the fact that so many officials could have stepped in much earlier in easy ways to keep Hitler from rising to the top and gaining so much control.

The submarine battle insignia on display were cool

Our U.S. Ambassador in Berlin begged officials in both our country and in Germany to take action before things started getting truly crazy to no avail.  Turns out our government was more worried about not offending the Germans because they owed us money and we wanted to collect it.

But, I digress.  Don't get me wrong, we need a military for precisely the reason that some things can be handled in no other way, but all to often they could have been prevented from escalating to that level in my opinon, and often engagement still isn't the only option.  Cooler heads and people willing to speak out against what is wrong is what this world needs more than guns and ammo.

All that being (unintentionally) said, the museum was a pretty good one. They even offer an educational overnight program that many Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops take advantage of.  And I swear I won't start in on the Boy Scouts... today anyway.


  1. Well you know that I would have recommended Wild, but I got behind in my blog reading. I loved it.

  2. Well I must have missed the Wild discussion so I'll have to go back and catch up. Just wanted to say that your views on war and watching the news and the whole thing match mine to a T. It's so hard for me to understand why we just have to keep having war after war after war everywhere all over the world. When will the boys outgrow the Middle East, in Africa, everywhere.

  3. "I just liked the pretty colors and shapes." That almost sums up how I feel about all the classic car shows I love to go to. Not really interested in the specifics.
    I would love to tour a sub, though am afraid claustrophobia would set in before I got very far!

  4. Don't forget to go and see if you can find the interviews with Oprah and Cheryl Strayed. They are so neat and it makes the story really come to life. Enjoy!!!