Yesterday, in the span of less than twenty-four hours, we flew into Florida, checked into and out of our hotel, purchased a car and drove seven-hundred miles, stopping for the night in Mobile, Alabama. Above is a picture of the setting sun in west Florida. It’s certainly no Arizona sunset, but it was still quite lovely. This morning we were able to stop and see the U.S.S Alabama and the submarine nearby, the U.S.S. Drum. This ship served, among other operations, in the second world war. Machine guns and canon barrels protruded from nearly every section of the ship, and the vessel was said to weigh over forty-two thousand tons. Yet, somehow it floats. Amazing! I found the following inscription regarding the deliberate choice of colors to be interesting:
When first commissioned, Alabama was painted shades of blue-gray in a dapple pattern. She was repainted for her first combat deployment so that her blue hull would be less visible against the ocean when seen from other ships. She was painted entirely blue in 1944 so she would be less noticeable from Japanese aircraft. In 1945 she reverted to gray upper works and blue hull camouflage. When Alabama was decommissioned to the reserve fleet in 1947 she was painted gray and remained gray until restored to her wartime colors in 1992.
Another interesting plaque nearby displayed the various places that the Alabama had traveled to (or if you prefer, the various places to which the Alabama had traveled. Is that better, Chris? 🙂 ). It seemed from the map that there were few places on the globe unvisited by the Alabama. While we toured the ship, everywhere we went, the sounds of the World War II generation were heard, which I thought really helped to be transported back into the era and mindset of the men who served on this ship. In the gift shop, we were able to find a CD of the music being played aboard the Alabama. Click here to go to the sounds page where you’ll hear a popular Glenn Miller piece we heard today.