Last weekend I went on a camping trip, but this trip was special. We drove for six hours to South Carolina to spend the weekend in and on the U.S.S. Yorktown. This was a aircraft carrier that was commissioned in WWII and decommissioned in the Vietnam War. It was know by the crew as “The Fighting Lady.” In its life time It saw many battles and fought off many Japanese and Vietnamese planes. It had eight, four inch cannons and enough antiaircraft round to blow up half the USA. These guns defended the Fighting Lady from air attacks and Kamikazes. Of course, the main force that she carries was her airplanes. In WWII she held Hellcats, Corsairs, Skyraiders, and other planes. These prop planes didn’t need the steam powers catapults todays aircraft carriers would need. During the Vietnam war the ship was out fitted with a steam powered catapult and blast shields that were needed to launch F-4 Phantoms into the air and not the water. Today the Yorktown has been converted to a museum. Oh, and its not floating, she has been sunk in twenty eight feet of marsh muck that smell worse than it sounds. The ship is open to scouts on the weekend for a day, for an night and day, or all weekend, which is what my troop did. When we first got there after the long drive it was pretty late and cold, just the way I like it. We get on board and get briefed on the rules of the ship, I think they said not to run seven times. The reason they said this so much was because the ship is made of solid steel!!! Even after this we had scouts from other troops that tripped and got concussions, I guess everyone needed an example. Anyways, after the briefing a volunteer came to us and lead our troop to our berthing area (sleeping quarters). To get there we went up “stairs” that resembled ladders. Then, through some small corridors and through a really cool air tight door. The room was was about seven feet tall and in each bunk was a set of three beds with a little over a foot and a half of spacing between them. After we were all settled in there was a mandatory fire drill and after that we went to bed. You have to fall asleep fast because if you don’t then you will be listening to a chorus of snores all night coming from fifty other guys in the same room. After breakfast the, next morning, we were free to roam the ship, with a buddy of course. The hanger deck is the first stop and it houses several retired aircraft. I could bore you with the details but I think showing pictures is much cooler.
Now to the Flight deck, this is were the Vietnam era planes are.
It was a really fun trip and I learned a lot. The history was awesome and there was a self guided tour that you could take though the entire ship which lead through every room in the lower and upper decks. When I was going to bed that night I went to turn off the fan over my head and it came crashing down on me. I was lucky to put my hand in the way but I got a little cut that was bleeding pretty bad. So we went down to the first aid room and they made me fill out paper work to get a band-ad!!!! All and all I am glad that I went and I do plan to go again some day. Maybe I can bring my own planes next time 🙂