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USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

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USS Alabama (BB-60), 1 December 1942, in camouflage. Note trunked tower foremast and funnel

USS Alabama (BB-60), a South Dakota-class battleship, was the sixth ship of the United States Navy named after the US state of Alabama. Alabama was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Alabama was decommissioned on 9 January 1947 and placed in the reserve fleet in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Bremerton, Washington. In 1964, Alabama was taken to Mobile Bay and opened as a museum ship the following year. The ship was added to the National Historic Landmark registry in 1986.

Ship History

Alabama was laid down on 1 February 1940 by the Norfolk Navy Yard, launched on 16 February 1942. Her first battle assignment of World War II came in early 1943 when the Alabama and her sister ship USS South Dakota joined the British Home Fleet in the Atlantic Ocean. Their first mission was to sail to the Arctic Ocean to lure the German ship Tirpitz from her hiding place on the Norwegian coast.

Later in 1943 she transited the Panama Canal and joined the American fleet of fast battleships in the Pacific Ocean. There she served in several battles in 1943-45.

According to data found at the USS Alabama Monument in Mobile, Alabama, this battleship fired over 1,250 16 in (410 mm) shells on the enemy during supporting bombardments, shot down 22 enemy aircraft and never incurred any damage due to enemy action. Alabama suffered only five casualties during the war, while repelling enemy air attacks on 21 February 1944, dual 5-inch 38 caliber mount no. 9 accidentally fired into dual 5 inch 38 caliber mount no. 5. Five men died, and 11 were wounded in the mishap. She did not lose a single man due to enemy action, thus earning it the nickname the "Lucky A".

Battleship Memorial Park

USS Alabama today

Visitors are allowed to view the inside of the main gun turrets and anti-aircraft guns. The powder magazine was opened to the public through some holes that were cut, and stairs put in. The bunk of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member Bob Feller is marked for those touring. Feller served on Alabama for several years during World War II, serving as Gun Captain by the end of the conflict.

During Hurricane Katrina (2005) the Alabama suffered some damage to the ship and its museum exhibits. It also served as an emergency shelter. The ship developed a 8-degree list which is still being corrected, as of this date.

The Park features Battleship USS ALABAMA (BB-60) and Submarine USS DRUM (SS-228), both National Historic Landmarks.

USS Drum (SS-228)

Sitting in her cradle beside Mobile Bay is the National Historic Landmark WWII submarine USS DRUM (SS-228). The DRUM is the oldest American submarine on public display, and we invite you to come and learn about her 72 member crew and her missions during the war. Be sure to ask about Stateside, the crew’s pet dog who served aboard the submarine.


Tank and Artillery Display

Tanks, boats, planes, memorials, and artillery dot the scenic surroundings at Battleship Memorial Park. Since the Park is dedicated to those who served in all branches of the United States Armed Forces, you will find artifacts from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

Several iconic tanks from World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam Wars are included in the collection. You’ll find a M-26 Pershing tank, a M-4 Sherman, M-48A 1 Patton, and a M-60A 1 tank. Also included is a T-55 Russian/Iraqi tank from Desert Storm.

Coast Guard Memorial

Three other vessels are included in the Park. Outside, at the Coast Guard Memorial are a 26 foot Motor Surf Launch and a 41 foot Utility Boat –Large (UTB). Inside the Aircraft Pavilion is a Vietnam-era River Patrol Boat (PBR).

Veterans Memorials

Battleship Memorial Park was founded as a memorial park that honors all veterans of all wars. As you enter the park you will see memorials honoring those men and women who fought in all of our modern wars. We invite you to visit the Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, complete with a standing POW bracelet, and our Fallen Guardian Memorial honoring those whose lives were lost in service to the U. S. Coast Guard. Don’t miss our poignant Service Dog War Memorial. This monument honors the dogs who served our country. Explore our Fallen Hero 9/11 Memorial that pays tribute to all the Alabamians who have given their lives in service since 9/11.

Overnight Scout Tours

USS Alabama sleepover

Step back in history as you explore the decks of the USS ALABAMA and learn about the men who served aboard this mighty battleship. Sleep in the bunks that real sailors slept in during WWII. Experience what one calm night aboard the ship would have felt like for these sailors during your overnight stay with us.

This program is open to Boy Scout Troops, Girl Scout Troops and church groups. It is our policy that the group berthing areas must be all male or all female, and evening of the overnight stay is determined by which gender makes the first reservation. Opposite sex chaperones and minors will need to find overnight accommodations outside of the Park.

References