Friday, November 06, 2015

National Museum of the US Navy.

Today at work was set aside for training purpses, and since it ended way, way earlier than planned, it became what I call a "Foxtrot October day." Therefore, I exempted myself from any semblance of adult responsibility and went over to the nearby Washington Navy Yard to visit their really nifty National Museum of the US Navy.

It's housed in the old Breech Mechanism and Gun Shop, an original 19th century structure where they used to make and repair ship's guns.
Now it's chock full of artifacts and displays about every aspect of US Naval history.
Byrd is the word, indeed! They cover it all here. (It's even rumored that they have an Old NFO exhibit, but it's so comprehensive that it's housed in another section entirely. Apparently it was closed today.)
They still have lots of guns in there, though.
Here's a Quad 40mm anti-aircraft gun mount of the type found on most every WW2 carrier and battleship.
They have aircraft in here, too. There's this Japanese Ohka, or "Baka" flying bomb.
It's basically a rocket-powered missile with a man in it, meant for one-way missions against the US fleet. Laugh if you must, but these damned things sunk or damaged seven US ships before we put an end to the Japanese war effort, including the USS Mannert L. Abele.

They've got a Corsair, too--an F4U-4.
Whoa. Did that tail say "BIG HOG"? It did. They've re-created J.T. "Tom" Blackburn's plane.
NICE! You want a good book, get The Jolly Rogers: The story of Tom Blackburn and Navy Fighting Squadron VF-17. Blackburn was a hell of a guy.

They've got ship models, too. Lots of 'em.
Diving gear through the ages, too.

And as if this stuff isn't enough, over in the corner, suspended from the ceiling, is the Bathyscaphe Trieste. Yes, the real one.
Here. Read Don Walsh's story about diving to record depths with Trieste.
And that's not even the only submersible hanging from the ceiling. DSV Alvin is there, too. Although I confess that this is confusing to me as the Alvin, far as I can tell, is still in use at Woods Hole Oceanographic.
Truth be told, there's so much in this little building that I can't begin to describe it all. Best I can do is tease you with this and tell you to go see for yourself. It's open to the public and free, but you need to be have a DoD access card or be active or retired military unless you call ahead and get clearance. It's worth the effort.


  1. I can't believe you didn't get a pic of the cutlasses stored for use in repelling boarders! :-) Re Alvin, that is pieces from various originals... It's still in service at Woods Hole, but it's effectively a 'new' Alvin due to the upgrades over the years...

    1. Yeah, I missed a few things that I'd have liked to have photographed or seen. Rush hour was approaching and it was just a case of not enough time to really take it all in. Guess I'll have to go back again. Oh darn. :-)

  2. I have not been there in a lotta years. When I was a kid the Trieste was outside and "Enterprising Yoots" could get inside. They also had a human powered early sub with a hand cranked prop... And the Quad 40 was sort of operable. All the hand wheels worked, you could rotate and elevate ...Guess I will have to make a pass through, that really brings back memories...

  3. One of those places I need to out on my bucket list.

    One of the guys I "work" with on the Iowa is quite an expert on the Alvin, having been out with it many times.

    He and Old NFO met up the day Old NFO came aboard the Iowa.

    They both had a lot in common, but if I tell you anymore I'll have to kill you.....

  4. Hey Murphy;

    Thanks for the I have added another museum to my list of stuff to see

  5. I had no idea the Yard has a museum. And my daughter works there!

    I feel a trip to DC coming on...

  6. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Thank-you for these great pictures