August 8, 2010
The Nautilus was a huge step forward for submarines and is huge compared to the cramped little bullet that first made its frightening underwater trip with arms. The front of the Museum has two rings, one showing the diameter of a modern sub, the inner ring showing the diameter of the first sub.
The subs were all kind of familiar from those old war movies I watched so many years ago. How fragile and small they seem, with their thin metal skins, when looked upon in the museum yard.
This Italian mini-sub carried a couple of brave frogmen into a harbor of enemy ships. They would exit the sub and plaster a mine on the underside of the ship with a timer, then scoot for cover. They were very effective in WWII.
A more modern US Swimmer Delivery Sub called a SEAL for sea-air-land, piggybacked to a bigger submarine. It gave the Navy Seals more range and effectiveness for clandestine operations.
Jim also worked on the George Washington, the first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile firing submarine. The sail sits in the yard with its number of missiles (16) painted on the side. Nearby, the preserved propeller, anchor and a missile shell.
Inside this very comprehensive museum, we visited a simulated control room and several periscopes where we could send a missile out to explode the Bronco in the parking lot-if it were real, of course.
Among some very good pictures, and I kept searching to see if I could find my uncle, John L. Moore, who was a submarine commander, but I couldn’t find him.
During WWII, submariners made flags of their kills, a skull for a kill and a half-skull for damaging a ship. I didn’t count them but this one had about 20 skulls and about 10 half-skulls.
Maime Eisenhower was the first woman to launch a sub. Others followed suit. It amused me that the champagne bottles were covered in material or mesh to prevent the champagne from soiling the ladies dresses. The metal containers in the background? No explanation.
The museum is very thorough and takes you from the first experimental, but not very successful subs during the Civil War, through the Cold War Defenses, the SOSUS system, (underwater sound detector) that detected the incoming Russian subs during the Bay of Pigs. There is much adjunct equipment and many subs to view. A wonderful history of accomplishments by world inventors and brave sailors. One in every five men lost during WWII was a submariner. In fact, President Carter was a submariner and George H. Bush was saved by the crew of the Submarine Finback when he was shot down and landed in open water.
A 50 minute film is worth the trip to Groton by itself.
For a look at more pictures, click on the link: http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/8710SubmarineForceMuseum#
May 19, 2010
Maime liked things formal and the living room was her domain with beautiful draperies, credenzas with her many glassware collections, and fancy antique furnishings. Also present are numerous family photographs on every table and wall.
Maime wasn’t much for cooking and the Eisenhower’s preferred to eat on trays and saved the dining room for formal occasions. The Eisenhowers had state visitors to the farm. She had a guest book for everyone to sign. Kruschev visited the farm and Ike failed to get him to sign it. She was upset about that failed signature and let it be known it must never happen again. Ike was President, but she was the undisputed household manager; she controlled their finances and made the house rules.
Ike’s favorite room was the closed in back porch where he would sit with heads of state in this informal setting and look out the windows over the green fields and his putting green. He and Maime enjoyed the morning sun and breakfast from this porch; they played cards and watched television here.
Though he didn’t need to farm, he went at it with a vengeance, raising breeding stock and a fine herd of Black Angus cattle with partners who bought adjacent lands, also part of the National Park. His prize animals were kept in a special heated barn with hot running water for the hands. The show cattle were groomed and bathed in warm water weekly.
Many interesting accoutrements that personalize the President and give insight into the life of this special man make it an interesting visit. Bells, a flag pole, unusual gifts, souveniers of a life in the armed services from the many places he was stationed are all here. He had built and outdoor barbeque and party room where he loved to serve guests Black Angus steaks. A guest house, his farm equipment, cars and barns are all here. But the thing that epitomized Eisenhower for me was the putting green just steps from the porch doors.
The Park Service bought farms surrounding Eisenhower’s Farm. They are leased to local farmers and help pay for the upkeep, prevent development and maintain the look of times past.