USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

By NANCY BAKER FAUL

At Mobile’s Battleship Memorial Park you will find history at its finest. The one hour trip from Biloxi is a very pleasant drive, with lots to see along the way.  This “family-day-trip” is inexpensive and informative for all ages.  The recipient of nine WWII Battle Stars, The USS Alabama and her crew of 2,500 saw action in the Atlantic and then joined the Pacific Fleet in 1943. The “Might A”, as she was known, led the American Fleet into Tokyo Bay following the surrender of Japan in 1945. At the park you will see more than this remarkable ship. There is also the submarine, the USS Drum that patrolled Pearl Harbor, sank 15 Japanese ships and was awarded 12 Campaign stars. The “Calamity Jane”, a B-52 Stratofortress and the A-12 “Blackbird” spy plane sits near the parking lot with other aircraft from Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. Twenty-two aircraft from the past 7 decades are featured at the park. The park is a whopping 175 acres filled with stories of heroism and history at every turn. Aboard the USS Alabama, the park staff has made it easy for you to tour with detailed maps and clearly marked passageways. Each spot on the ship is setup as if it were 1943. Lifelike dummies are dressed and positioned as if they are crew members simply doing their jobs in WWII. Vintage antiques line the ships spaces with nearby plaques that tell the story of the scenes you will see. There are historical facts posted both inside and outside so you never have to ask “what is that?” or “What did they do here?” If by chance you do feel the need to ask a staffer for more details they are very accommodating and informative. The USS Alabama saw 37 months of active duty in WWII, she never suffered any casualties or significant damage in enemy attacks. In 1962, the Navy announced that the Alabama would be scrapped. That stirred the hearts of Alabamians so the Navy donated her to the state and school children helped raise the $1,000,000 to have her towed 5,600 miles through the Panama Canal to Mobile Bay.  Aboard the USS Alabama, cooks had to prepare 320 gallons of coffee for each day’s breakfast and 2.5 million meals per year all while tossing around in the open seas! The ship had 129 guns total and the average age of the crewmen was only 21 years old. The ship had not only a galley and dining room for her crew but also a fully equipped soda fountain that served ice cream and sweets to the men aboard. During your day, the park offers a snack bar that you can take advantage of between tours of different vessels. We suggest that you eat at one of the nearby, local restaurants after your visit to the park, to enjoy the great seafood offered by the Mobile Bay and Gulf Coast areas. You can reach Battleship Parkway by traveling East on Interstate 10 through the tunnel in Mobile and then turning right. Parking is abundant and shade is ample. This is an easy and fun way to spend a day with your family that will prove to be an adventure in history, bravery and heroism. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is located at 2703 Battleship Parkway in Mobile251-433-2703 or 1-800-GANGWAYWWW.USSALABAMA.COMHours of Operation are April-September 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and October-March 8 a.-4 p.m.Open every day except Christmas Day

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s