Pack 845 Trip To U.S.S. Yorktown

Patriots Point Talos Missile2Patriots Point Talos Missile2
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Flight Deck, U.S.S. YorktownFlight Deck, U.S.S. Yorktown
Flight Deck, U.S.S. Yorktown16-Jan-2010 15:27, 5.6, 6.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
 
This weekend, Jack and I went to Charleston, SC with Jack’s Cub Scout troop (go, Pack 845, Roswell!) to visit and spend the night aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown, a WWII-era aircraft carrier. If you’re located anywhere near the South Carolina area, I recommend this trip – especially if you have young kids, they love it. And it is an astonishingly-well-preserved artifact (many of them, actually) of the World War II era.

We drove out from Roswell on Friday night up to Greenville, and spent the night with Jack’s Grammie and Pops (thanks, gang!). We didn’t have much of a chance to visit, since it was after 9pm when we got there, and we had to leave before 8:30 the next morning. But it was nice to see Grammie and Pops, all the same. The trip out to Patriots Point, SC (where the Yorktown is now permanently moored) is over five hours from Roswell – which is why we decided to break it up on the front end into two parts.

So, after a fairly uneventful trip out there, we arrived at the dock area and met with the rest of Pack 845. We were by no means the only Cub Scout pack out there this weekend. Remember, the ship had a crew of approximately 3,500 adults when it was in service, so a few hundred Cub Scouts (and their parents and leaders) don’t pose much of a problem. The museum (the entire ship is a museum) is open to the public most days, but they also have a special deal where you can actually spend the night in some of the genuine bunk areas where the sailors and pilots slept. This was what we got to do.

We embarked at 1pm on Saturday, walked up the 600ft. gangplank (more of a bridge, really) onto the deck of the Yorktown, and were met by Rob – a Citadel student and US Marine – as well as a former Eagle Scout. He gave the boys some pretty strict marching orders about no horsing around, and pointed out helpfully that almost all of our surroundings were made of solid steel, a substance which does not have much “give” in it, should you happen to fall down.

Jack immediately tested this theory when we went up to the sleeping quarters, of course. The bunks were hung from the ceiling (see the photos), three to a column. Jack insisted on the top bunk….you know, the one right underneath the giant steel I-beam that holds up the flight deck right above it. No sooner had he laid out his sleeping bag and crawled up into his berth that he sat up and {{wham}}. Fortunately, he did this straight-on and not very hard, so although it brought him up (very) short, it wasn’t even enough to make him cry, let alone cause a concussion.

I’ll let the rest of the pictures speak for themselves, instead of boring you all with a lengthy written description of the ship. Suffice it to say, it’s BIG. Really big. In fact, unless you’ve been on one (and they make them much bigger today than they did during the WWII era), you really can’t appreciate just how massive these ships truly are. The main hangar deck probably has 70-foot ceilings, and the flight deck itself is difficult to see off the end of, if you’re standing at the other end. I suppose that’s a good thing, since they land planes on them and all….but still. It’s huge. While we were there, we checked out most parts of the ship (some were off-limits to the public), including the kitchens, bridge, map rooms, laundry – even the brig (where we found an unexpected inhabitant!). It really is a small, floating town.

I had been thinking that this is something we’d do once, and not need to do again, but when the subject came up in the context of Jack loving the trip, he said “can we come here again? I want to come back next weekend!” I laughed, but when I asked him if he wanted to do this scout trip again next year (they do it every year), he didn’t hesitate. We had a great weekend, all in all — including seeing the A-4E that James Stockdale flew (well, one of them – certainly not the one he got shot down in, LOL). Enjoy the pictures.

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