Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Last week-end's coolness.

So this past Sunday, I drove out to Baton Rouge and met up with Displaced Louisiana Guy and his way cool family. Then he, I and his young prodigy son went out to see a WW2 hero--the USS Kidd (DD-661). Ity's a museum ship in the Mississippi River now.
Or it would be if the river was higher. Think this'd set up a bit of vibration?

She's ridin' a bit high.

We boarded starboard side near the aft 5"/38cal guns. These guns could hurl a 55lb. shell a bit over ten miles.
And here's the inside of that turret, with a cut-away gun. The docent on deck said that I couldn't shoot the gun and for some reason went on a long tear about not flipping switches, pushing buttons or going into off-limits spaces. Why us? He's not even old enough to remember the last time I was here and I'm sure I don't even look like my picture from back then any more.

Depth charges! Here's a 300lb. Mk6 charge, designed to sink submarines.

And here's how sailors set the depth at which the charge would (hopefully) explode.

Here's a more modern Mk9 depth charge, which was in general use by war's end. The teardrop shape helped it to sink straighter and faster.

And here's the galley where the ship's cooks fed 330 men.
During combat, this space doubled as an emergency aid station, which is why the floor was painted red--to help camouflage the blood that sailors lost so that they wouldn't see it and go into even worse shock.

Gratuitous shot of the Mississippi River.

Looking up at one of the twin 40mm anti-aircraft guns.
Looking back from the bow at the two forward 5" guns.
Time to go below.
Here's the crews' mess, which doubled as bunk space.
Racks go up at eal time, tables go under racks at bed time.
Privacy and personal space are not things found on these old Fletcher-class cans.
The officers had it a little better, but still three of them had to share rooms like this, which were about the size of the typical home bathroom today.
And the bridge, where the sailors drove the boat from.
Looking forward from the bridge.
Another twin 40MM mount
A pair of twin 40MM guns. While electrically-powered, these guns could also be traversed and elevated manually by cranks and me and Displaced Louisiana Kid played at this for a bit. Pro-tip: Wear an old shirt if you do this. The crank mechanism threw lubricant all over my nice white Springfield Armory shirt. Sigh.
Port side, amidships. Looking forward.
Torpedo tubes. Kidd was never modernized after WW2 and still has all of her 1945-era weapons.
Kidd participated in nearly every significant naval action after her 1943 launch date. She was in the thick of things many times, including April 11, 1945, when she was hit by a Jap kamikaze plane on her starboard side. 38 crewmen were killed and 55 more were wounded. That damage sent her back to America for repairs, and by the time she was fit for battle again, the war was over.

The museum has a Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk outside, too. (I touched it.) It's done up as an AVG Flying Tiger but it's actually a P-40N, which came along after the Tigers had been disbanded.
Still, I want this plane. I would fly the shit out of this plane. And I would reinstall her .50 machine guns too.

And inside, they had this great picture of Greg "Pappy" Boyington. Now there was a man. I've visited his grave at Arlington National Cemetery many times. He's buried right next to Lee Marvin and Joe Louis, both of whom also fought for America.

Then it was back to the Displaced Louisiana House for some of the best meat pies I've ever had. DLG sure can cook, lemme tell ya!

Gotta give DLG's son credit too...all during our ship visit, I asked him what things on the ship were, and he either knew or made damned informed guesses. Smart kid indeed. His folks did well.

Great day with great people and great food. It doesn't get much better.


  1. Sweet!!

    We've talked to the Kidd (W5KID) on numerous occasions. Great bunch of folks.

    Thanks for visiting and helping a museum ship.

  2. Thanks for coming up! Had a great time. I especially like the Galley pic. You can see a vague boy-shaped blur. I feel like that accurately portrays the Boy-o, and his normal operational energy level! LOL

    Seriously, we had a blast. Looking forward to doing it again.

  3. What a great outing with good people. You did well.

  4. Right after Black Sheep came out in 76, The real Pappy Boyington made a tour to promote the show and his book. I got to meet him at 29 Plams when he stopped to visit the base.

  5. Hey Murphy;

    Thanks for the there is someplace else I want to visit :) I think the guys from Red Jacket Firearms did something relating to this ship on one of their shows.

  6. Sounds like a cool trip.
    The "not seeing blood" part was the reason the British soldiers wore red coats. I'm sure you've heard the old joke.

  7. Heh. Grease on your shirt...Thought you already had the "don't touch" lecture...

    1. I get it all the time. It goes "Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz..." But the shirt...that was just WRONG.

  8. Nice. I visited the Kidd a long time ago. If my memory's correct, all one could do then was stroll around the main deck. They've done a lot of work.

    (Real destroyermen conned their ships from the Flying Bridge. But then came radar and Bridge repeaters for them.)

  9. Hell of a good ship!!!

  10. Nice pics, and you didn't even get arrested...LOL

  11. To fix the shirt:

    You should be able to remove the lube with some "Goop", available in 1LB and 5LB tubs at Wally World, in the Automotive section (some auto parts stores also carry it). A metal tablespoon works well(use the convex side) to push it into the spots needing cleaning (Check insides also). Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then toss into the washing machine. Works best if you have a bunch of grease/oil spotted clothing. Even bluejeans with old spots on them will usually clean up. It tends to leave a chemical odor, so it helps to run a second wash with regular soap to remove that. (That's why a batch is better)

    Cleans hands well, (it's original purpose, IIRC).

  12. Damn! If you blow up the picture of the Bridge, You'll see a White Chevy Traverse in the middle of it. That's me, leaving for home on Sunday. Missed it by THAT much!

    1. Seriously? If I'd have known, I'da drove to Baton Rouge just for that! Let me know next time you're over this way.

  13. Anonymous2:09 AM

    Great pictures