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Thursday, June 17, 2010

USS Drum crew back in Mobile this weekend

From the Battlefield Memorial Park in Mobile:

The former crewmen of the Submarine USS DRUM (SS-228) are back in Mobile for their annual reunion. This year marks the 40th year the group has gathered at USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park.

The USS DRUM is named for a large sea-bass found off the North Atlantic Coast. The USS DRUM was launched in May of 1941 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire and commissioned November 1, 1941. With a crew of 72 men, the DRUM conducted 13 war patrols and was awarded 12 battle stars for WWII service. The GATO class submarine is credited with sinking 15 ships, a total of 80,580 tons of enemy shipping, eighth highest of all US submarines in total Japanese tonnage sunk. The DRUM was decommissioned on February 16, 1946.

“It takes a special man to go down under the sea with the risk of not ever returning. These heroes, not only brought our sub through WWII but have been returning for 40 years to see their boat,” said Battleship Memorial Park Executive Director, Bill Tunnell.

Submarine DRUM was donated to the USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission in April of 1969. She was towed to Mobile arriving May 18, 1969. The boat’s sponsor is Mrs. Jolane Edwards, wife of Congressman Jack Edwards and was dedicated and opened to the public on July 4, 1969. The USS DRUM is the oldest American submarine on display in the world.

In 2001, the USS DRUM was closed to the public for several months while she was relocated to dry land and underwent extensive restoration. For 32 years the submarine rested on the sandy bottom of Mobile Bay, suffering significant damage to her hull, gangways, and moorings each time a hurricane visited the Mobile area. Today, the submarine is extremely visible from I-10 and gives visitors a very rare opportunity; to see the bottom of a submarine.

On Saturday, June 19th, at 11:00 am, there will be a special memorial service held in the Aircraft Pavilion followed by an invitation only luncheon.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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