Sunday, June 17, 2007


Memorial Day tour of the USS Ingraham

The house is nearly ready to list and I have finally had enough time to work a bit on the photos from our Memorial Day tour of my son's Navy ship, the USS Ingraham. Pat, her 13 YO grandson B, and I were shown around the ship by my son B, who is a crewman on her. They were not participating in an official open house but we were able to tour with B as a guide.

Memorial Day 01
This isn't the first photo I took but I thought I'd start with it here. We were outdoors looking down onto the main deck and this brightly colored life ring really stood out. It does show the name of the ship.

Memorial Day 02
B doesn't work on the bridge but we were lucky enough to find a Chief who does and he gave us a tour of the bridge. The Ingerham is a fast frigate that was built in 1989 so it is fairly new. It's main mission is to find & destroy enemy submarines so most of it's armaments are things that would fit that use. One of the first things we looked for when we came into the pilot house was the steering wheel. We couldn't find it. Here is why:

Memorial Day 03
That little brass wheel is it. They no longer use cables that directly move the rudder so a large wheel isn't necessary. That one is about 6 or 7 inches in diameter. The gauge above it is a rudder position gauge that indicates where the rudder is pointed. Some of the navigation and communications systems are amazing.

Memorial Day 04
This photo was taken just outside the bridge on the port side. That large container on the left is one of the lifeboat containers. There are at least three ways they can be opened including one that automatically opens & inflates it if the container is submerged to 6 feet or more under water. Someone must make a lot of money from selling gray paint to the Navy. It seems like they know of no other color.

Memorial Day 05
This view is looking up toward the top of the mast. Of course there are no sails here but you can see some of the many antennae that are used with the many communications systems.

Memorial Day 06
Here we are walking across the main deck, with B, Pat and my son B, left to right. This ship is fairly narrow and I guess it tends to rock pretty strongly when the seas are striking her from the side. They carry two helicopters on the aft deck and will turn into the weather to help stabilize the platform for them to land or take off from.

Memorial Day 07
We were able to see the crew living quarters. It isn't quite like a room in a Hilton Inn. That lower bunk, called a coffin bunk, is B's. There are some that are a little larger but they do not have the built in storage under the mattress so he would rather have this style. Just be careful to not sit up too fast!

Memorial Day 08
Here is the aft deck, where the helicopters land when the ship is deployed. While in port it is the area where the gang plank ends and you step off onto the ship. You can see another of the ships that are home ported at Naval Station Everett in the background, tied up to another pier.

The tour was fun and Pat's grandson really enjoyed it. You don't realize how tight the quarters are on these ships until you actually tour one. They try to have things to occupy free time and do have crew rooms with large LCD TVs, DVD players and satellite TV. Internet email is available while in port or at sea. B is assigned to this ship until later this fall when he finishes four years of sea duty and starts three years of shore duty. This is the third ship he has been assigned to in his a bit over ten years in the Navy. I guess there will be at least one more if he gets to finish a twenty year career with them. Our tour was fairly short as he was to be on watch at noon, but it was fun to see where he spends his time. Like I said, it isn't like staying in a Hilton or on a cruise ship, but they do make good use of all the space they have. I was in the Army myself but is is fun to see another branch of the service at work.

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Some really great pictures you got Dick! Once when visiting friends in San Diego we got to tour an aircraft carrier. Our friends there were retired, he was ex-marine, and was able to get us a private tour. It's incredible the limited space and all that's packed into it!
Wow Dick looks like you and Pat had a great tour of the ship, but how does a grown man sleep on those tiny bunks...
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