Since our Dad was a navigator in the Navy and served aboard the USS Alabama during World War II, I thought I had found the perfect birthday present for my brother at an estate sale today.
I guess you can say I’m an impulse buyer and a bit filmless at times. So, when I came across a – I’m not even sure what to call it – with USS Alabama imprinted on it, I just naturally assumed that it was the only USS Alabama I had ever heard of, the battleship.
I had no idea there was a USS Alabama anything else. (Yes, I have always lived in my own little world.) You’d think the submarine on it might have tipped me off, or the SSBN-731 or maybe Neptune’s trident. But I was so excited to see “USS Alabama”, I really didn’t look at the rest of it.
When I got it home and really looked at it – well the submarine and the trident smacked me right between the eyes. Yes it does really say “USS Alabama” only now I know it’s not what I thought it was, although I really still don’t know what it actually is.
However, through the magic of the internet and Google, my little world expanded and I boarded the USS Alabama (BB-60). I took the virtual tour of the battleship, which is moored in Mobile Bay in Alabama. Then, we went to Missy’s and pulled out the Alabama book, the pictures and the papers.
Bubby graduated from recruit training as the Honor Man of his company. He served aboard the USS Alabama (BB-60) from 1942-1945 and received the Bronze Star for his navigational skills during combat against enemy forces in the Western Pacific.
His Alabama was the sixth vessel to bear the name. During its WWII service the “Mighty A safely carried her crew throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean campaigns, and never suffered any casualties or significant damage due to enemy fire.”
In the 1960’s, when the Navy announced that many of the warships, including the Alabama, would be scrapped, a campaign was launched to bring the Mighty A home where she serves as a memorial museum. The Living History Crew, which consists of “historical reenactors who demonstrate life aboard the USS ALABAMA during World War II,” invite visitors to take part in their demonstrations, which include “a general quarters rush to battle stations.”
The USS ALABAMA, SSBN-731 was commissioned in 1985 and continues to play an integral role in keeping us all safe. To the men and women and their families currently serving, as well as all who have served in the past, I admire and respect you. I am thankful for the sacrifices you have made that allow me to live in the greatest country in the world. May God continue to watch over our troops, who are always ready to defend and protect and their families who allow them to put us first.