Since I have a wealth of photos saved up from my trips to various WW2-related museums and events, I’ve decided to do a monthly thing where I post some of the better ones. To start off, here’s some pics from almost two years ago, when I visited the venerable USS Wisconsin down in Norfolk.
Wisconsin, affectionately nicknamed “Wisky”, was the fourth and last of the Iowa-class battleships. She was commissioned too late to take part in World War 2, but you might recognize her sisters; notably, Missouri, on whose decks the Japanese surrendered in 1945. Most of her WW2 service was in assisting the occupations of various Asian territories captured from the Japanese, then bombarding Okinawa and the home islands. Afterwards, she went on to serve in Korea, did a stint as a training ship, then was placed in the “mothball fleet” in 1948. But changes in policy led to her being recommissioned in 1988, after she was given a full remodel to bring her up to par with newer ships, including missile launchers and a helicopter pad. She briefly participated in the Gulf War of 1991, and finally retired to become a museum ship in 1992. Now, Wisconsin can be visited at the Nauticus Maritime Museum in Norfolk, Virginia. The museum itself is actually very interesting on its own; they have all sorts of exhibits not just on the battleship, but on ships and sailing and the history of the Chesapeake Bay area. But this post is about Wisky, so that’s what I’m going to focus on.
Funny story, I wasn’t originally in Norfolk to see the ship. I got tickets to a Norfolk Admirals game for Christmas, but my dad and I didn’t want to take the two-hour trip down there from Richmond just to spend a couple hours with our asses in a seat, so I went looking for other things to do before the game. That’s how I found out about Wisconsin being docked there, and even though the weather wasn’t great for it, I just had to check her out.
Once you’ve walked through most of the museum, you come into a big gallery with a panoramic view of the ship. This leads you down the stairs to the gangway.
It was a damp, chilly January day, but I had to stay out on the deck long enough to get a dramatic low-angle shot of the cannons.
From the deck, we went inside on the lowest level of the superstructure, which houses the wardroom, office, and officers’ quarters. This is a typical officer’s stateroom. (The sign on the bed said something like “do not sit on the beds” if you’re curious.) It actually seems rather comfortable; they even had a small sink, though it’s out of frame.
Another officer’s desk is strewn with various items that have probably been there since the Gulf War. Casette tapes, some old magazines, a memo pad, and of course a coffee mug and ash tray. I liked that each desk came with a little safe to store valuables.
Here’s a computer in the ship’s office. These suckers are so old they don’t even use a mouse. I’m pretty sure they’re still using them in some government offices.
Finally, here’s some nice tourism posters in the wardroom. From left to right: San Francisco, Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba, Spain, and Rio de Janeiro.
At this point in the tour we got sidetracked talking to some old vets who were hanging out at one of the tables, so we ended up having to leave before seeing belowdecks; we couldn’t go up to the bridge, either, because it’s restricted to guided tours and we had arrived too late to catch the last one. I hope to go back someday and see the entire ship. Preferably on a warmer, less windy day.