Monday, October 14, 2013

SFO Day 2 Tour 1 - USS Pampanito SS-383

The USS Pampanito, SS-383, a Balao class World War 2 submarine is now moored as a museum and memorial submarine in San Francisco Harbor.

Built in 1943, she had 6 successful war patrols, including a patrol where she sank a Japanese prisoner of war ship and then subsequently rescued 73 British and Australian survivors.

Beside the USS Pampanito is a granite memorial to the 52 United States World War 2 submarines that are, even now, "still on patrol".

Here's a view of the front and rear of the conning tower. The 4-inch deck gun still has nice crisp rifling after all these years. Note the broom hanging from the conning tower indicating a clean sweep - a successful patrol.

The tour begins from the aft of the boat and makes its way forward. We begin in the aft torpedo room.

Torpedos still sleep in their racks in the room.

Note the bunks where crewmen slept above the sleeping fish, and right in front of the stern torpedo tubes.

Immediately past the aft torpedo room, in the maneuvering room is the crew toilet.

Note the valve above the door for air circulation:

The aft maneuvering room is pretty crowded

Each engine had its own control lever.

The washing machine and sink was a highlight for the kids to see.

The main crew bunkroom really gave them idea of how close the quarters were, and they were further impressed when told that each bunk was shared by the crew that slept in shifts, and aside from stuffing their uniforms in the mattresses, their entire storage area for personal items consisted of this locker.

The crew mess area included a table with a checker board.

The galley kitchen was also a tight space for prepping meals for feeding 83 crewmen.

Next was the Pompanito's radio room.

The typewriter you see center right isn't a typewriter. It's a code machine for encrypting and decrypting communications to and from the submarine.

Then on to the control room, where the Christmas-tree panel indicates the status of every opening in the ship's hull.

The lights were kept red in this room to preserve the deck crew's night vision. Interestingly enough, the current bulbs are red compact CFLs - yes, you're definitely in California.

Unfortunately, access to the conning tower is blocked off.

The tour continues through the submarine, letting you view the wardroom and officer's quarters and ending in the forward torpedo room, where you exit out the forward torpedo loading hatch.

The USS Pampanito is a well-preserved piece of American World War Two naval history and deserves a visit if you're ever in San Francisco.


Murphy's Law said...

Yay! Worth a trip to Pelosi-isco to see. Nice pictures! The sub deserves a more honorable berth than in Liberal Land, however.

Aaron said...

Yes, she's certainly worth the trip. Having her in liberal-land is kinda a fun poke at the Libs though - not only are there torpedoes on the ship, there's machine-guns and a four inch cannon right on their doorstep. It's enough to put an anti-gun lib in a tizzy.

Old NFO said...

Nice pics, and yeah, they were a 'tad' small... :-)

Keads said...

Thanks for the tour!

Aaron said...

Old NFO: Thanks! The quarters were indeed cramped. I was imrpessed that I didn't bash my head or knees getting through the hatches. To think of those brave men in these cramped subs helped interdict Japan's shipping and supplies and helped bring it to its knees is amazing.

Keads: You're welcome, it was well worth the visit.