The USS ALABAMA is a battleship memorial park in Mobile, AL honoring all veterans of U.S. conflict in the state of Alabama and educating the public on the contributions and sacrifices U.S. veterans have made. The USS ALABAMA is a World War II battleship from the early 1940’s, currently a National Historic Landmark. The ship is a 45,000-ton BB 60, which was home to a crew of 2,500.
The 680-foot ship was nicknamed the “Mighty A” and won a total of nine battle stars as well as the Navy Occupation Service Medal during her brief three-year stint as the “Heroine of the Pacific.” The USS Drum is an SS-228 World War II submarine, also on exhibit at the park. Built in 1940, it is the oldest U.S. submarine on public display in America. While in service, it held a crew of 72, plus one service dog. Historic tanks, artillery and memorials are scattered throughout the park. Iconic tanks in the collection include an M-26 Pershing tank from the Korean War, an M-4 Sherman from World War II and a Russian/Iraqi T-55 from Desert Storm. Artillery displays include examples of gun mounts, Skysweepers and personnel carriers from World War II and Vietnam. A Vietnam-era river patrol boat, 26-foot surf launch and 41-foot utility boat are all on display as well. An Aircraft Pavilion at the Park includes a collection of army vehicles, artifacts, over 28 airplanes and a flight simulator. A VH1-N/ Bell 212 helicopter is the newest addition to the museum. This presidential helicopter, named ARMY ONE, has carried Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Regan and George H.W. Bush. An A-12 Black Bird spy plane, used by the CIA in the 1960’s, is also on display. Exhibits in the Aircraft Pavilion include memorial walls honoring the servicemen and women of Alabama, as well as a space dedicated to rotating temporary exhibits. Exhibits throughout the park are surrounded by a recreational area. Picnic tables, benches and small grills are located throughout. A fishing pier off the bow end of the USS ALABAMA invites those with state fishing licenses.
History: The Memorial Park was established in 1963 by the USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission. The commission is a state run agency charged with maintaining the ship, the park and associated exhibits, as well as memorializing all those from the state of Alabama who have served in the United States armed forces. The USS ALABAMA was built in 1940 and first put into service in 1943 during World War II. She served in the North Atlantic, and then later in the South Pacific. The highlight of her career was leading the American Fleet into Tokyo Bay in 1945, which earned her nine battle stars for meritorious service. In 1962 when the ship was destined to be scrapped, a group planning a Veterans Memorial Park in Mobile thought she would be the perfect anchor for the Park and saved her from destruction. The USS ALABAMA and the Battleship Memorial Park opened to the public in 1965. The submarine USS DRUM was donated to the Park in 1969. In the early 2000’s a $15 million restoration project began to repair the battleship and submarine, the park’s two flagship attractions. Restorations were completed in 2003. Today, visitors to the park total in the hundreds of thousands annually. Although the park is state-managed, funds to maintain the park come solely from admission fees and donations.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Self-guided tours aboard the USS ALABAMA are available on the main, second and third deck. Programs at the park include group tours for schools, scouts and others. Chaperoned children’s groups can stay overnight aboard the USS ALABAMA in the same bunks the sailor’s used during World War II. The park may be rented for military reunions and military ceremonies free of charge. The USS ALABAMA Living History Crew frequently performs drills and ceremonies open to the public. The monthly events include a reenactment of emergency drills, call to battle and daily jobs. Both the 20mm and 40mm guns are fired. The Deep South Armature Radio Club is on hand to educate guests about radio communications during the war. The Battleship Park is frequently host to charitable 5k runs and walks, and celebrates Veterans Day and Memorial Day with extensive programming, performances and events.
Past and Future Exhibits: At the Aircraft Pavilion, a new World War I exhibit honors the 100th anniversary of the war. The exhibit of photographs, artifacts and weapons also includes a World War I-era Model T Ford.
2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile, AL 36602, Phone: 1-800-GANGWAY
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