Monday, October 27, 2008

Charleston, SC

On October 18th the three of us were able to visit the USS Yorktown with the Cub Scouts troup. Since there three kids in one family going on the trip, all three of us were able to go with them on the ship.

We arrived at Patriots Point in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina about 6:05 pm.

We were able to board about 6:45 when all the scouts from the pack had arrived. (We found one other Chet had arrived for the weekend.) Once we boarded we went straight to the flight deck to receive instructions. The girls were assigned to sleep in the Officers Quarters (one rickety, thin stepped staircase) and the boys were assigned the Crews Quarters(one thin stepped, rickety staircase indoors and a second similar staircase outside - in the Dark Night). We were all lead up to our assigned sleeping areas by group.

The humans choose bunks, settled in and then left us behind for naps about 7:45 while they went to search for supper. They came back about 9:15, we needed to wait for the fire drill alarm. The alarm went off about 9:45. We met downstairs and we were counted (a few times) to make sure we were all there.

Afterward some folks went around looking at the Aircraft Carrier, others (like us) headed up to our bunks to get some shut-eye. The USS Yorktown sounded Taps at 10:55 and then it was lights out. Marcie was really tired, but I felt a little odd. It was hard to realize the type of lives these sailors lived as they slept in such close quarters, with very little space for any of their belongings. So far from home and in dangerous situations and just the waiting, I have a lot more respect for their situation and sacrifice now.

We got up at 7:00 when Reville played. (Mom had got up a lot earlier and snuck a shower/ it was a strange experience. Mom said she had seen worse showers.) Then we met the boys and bears downstairs on the Hanger Deck to wait for roll call. I was surprised to see it was raining outside, the ship seems so open tot the weather, but then you walk to a truly open place and find the design of the ship is not what it seems. Then the entire group went downstairs to the Mess Hall, our group ate in the officers Mess, we had French Toast, Sausage and grits for breakfast. After breakfast we looked at the displays on the Aircraft Carrier for awhile.

We watched a film called The Fighting Lady which was filmed entirely on the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier during the 1940's. It showed a lot of detail of how the ship ran, and how the men took care of the day to day stuff like cooking and laundry. The USS Yorktown had also retrieved the Apollo 8 Spacecraft when it returned to Earth after orbiting the moon. There was a very large model of the capsule on display with buttons on it to replay sounds that we remember from that event in history.

There is a large memorial, which lists all the sailors who gave their lives serving their country. Neither M. or M. were very interested, I think it is hard for them to understand.

Afterward, we went up to a radio room. We were able to see how the Short Wave Radio Operators do their jobs. It was fun. We spoke to a man living in Italy, he was not happy because we had accidentally interrupted a conversation he was having with someone else. Then we got someone in South Carolina nearby to talk to us, we were able to ask her questions and she was certainly asking us questions.

Then we went outside and looked at a real submarine. It was so small inside. I couldn't believe how fast everyone was running through the ship. I didn't get a chance to see a lot of interesting things.

Then we went back up to bunks for a nap while the family went to a scheduled Oceanography class, it was really a great class, but then they went outside and family didn't have enough heavy clothes on to finish the class because the weather had become rather blistery and cold.

They went out of the Ship for some heavier clothes, souvenirs and lunch (at Jersey Mike's.) They came back after lunch and were touring the Destroyer Lafferty when M. fell down a stairway and hurt herself. A volunteer saved the day and caught her arm before she could hit her head!

After that the day really slowed down, they found a hotel, packed up and stayed there Saturday night to keep from straining M.'s leg anymore on the stairways.

At the hotel we took an elevator, ordered Pizza and watched Alice in Wonderland on TV. It was nice and warm.

Sunday morning we drove around Charleston/Mount Pleasant area. There was a Plantation called Boone Farm that we were supposed to go to on Saturday also, but couldn't because we ran out of time.

We had a great time!

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