Cub Scout Trip to Battleship Cove


This weekend, we went to Battleship Cove Maritime Museum in Fall River, Mass. and slept over on the USS Massachusetts, a World War II battleship.  I really wanted to enjoy the stay, but I do have to admit that I found the sleepover a bit unnerving.  For one, there were only twenty-five of us from our pack, and we had the entire run of the ship--dark corners, steep stairways, and all.  It was EASY to get lost--so easy, that my husband actually did get separated from our group and gave up trying to look for us.  Even with my cell phone, I couldn't explain to him what stairs to take to find us!

On Sunday night, a young employee welcomed us to the ship, brought us to our bunks, and then played a short documentary about the battleship.  Afterward, an eighty year-old gentleman, provided more facts about the ship.  We learned that it survived 45 battles and was nicknamed "the lucky ship" because not a single one of its 2,000+ men ever died in combat.  The ship took an enormous amount of fuel (I wish I could remember the statistic), and every time a fuel tanker came to fill it up, it would bring food, mail, and supplies to the men.  Some men stayed aboard the ship for two years straight!

After the presentation, we had pizza and were free to take self-guided tours all the way until 11 p.m.  They played The Lego Movie for any families that wanted other entertainment at 9 p.m.  (My husband and son were the only ones in the group that watched the movie in its entirety.)  The self-guided tours were a little spooky.  We saw the brig, an actual U.S. prison aboard the ship, which was often used for military members that disobeyed rules.  (You could be thrown into the brig for being tardy!)  We also saw the ship's tailor shop (where uniforms were sewed/repaired), laundry room, post office, kitchen, cafeteria, machine shop, barber shop, soda fountain, and separate bunks for all the naval officers.  Some of our pack even went to the lower part of the ship where the bombs and naval artillery were stored.  (We passed on the opportunity.)

The brig.  Funny story: The boys all crammed into one jail cell, and then one of them farted. 
The smell was so bad, they left the cell in a hurry.

The tailor shop

The barber shop

A Boy Scout uniform from the 1940's.

The soda fountian

The kitchen.  They had to prepare 7,000+ meals a day for all the marines.

Our bunks.  Funny story:  I was supposed to sleep on the second bed between Lew and Lewie, but I couldn't pull myself up and lie parallel that quickly.  I ended up taking the very bottom bunk an inch away from the floor.

There were many World War II items and memorabilia encased in glass throughout the ship, and one area played a looped recording of someone (maybe a naval officer) speaking at the time.  When the lights went out in our bunk room at 11 p.m., the lights in the rest of the ship remained on and that looped recording still played.  It was creepy.  There were also a few mannequins on our floor that would repeatedly catch me by surprise.  The bathrooms were outside of the bunk room, so we did need to leave the room and listen to the recording, etc. if we had to use the facilities.

Lew, Little Lewie, and I all slept at the back of the room.  Lew chose the top bunk; Lewie selected the second bunk to the floor, and I chose the bottom bunk--so close to the floor, I could actually roll right onto the cement.  The men on the ship actually slept this way, but we were told that their bed space was actually much narrower than ours.  (Our bunks had a few feet between them instead of just 18 inches.)  I could only imagine what these bunk rooms must have smelled like with 2,000 sweaty men sleeping in the tropics with no air-conditioning!  With missions out in the Philippines and Japan, the men had to endure very hot and humid climates all day and night long.

In all, the trip made me appreciate what our Navy had to endure during this very dark period in history.  The ship was uncomfortable.  They worked long 11 hour days and had to sleep in hot, humid, cramped quarters at night.  It was an interesting and eye-opening experience.  For me, I couldn't get used to the smell of dirty fuel and metal, and I slept very little.  At one point during the night, one of our younger boys woke up crying because he couldn't remember where he was; another one woke up a few hours later because he fell off his bunk.  Then, of course, were the sounds of bunks squeaking (every time someone turned), people snoring, and the muffled voice recording playing outside the door.  It was an interesting one-time experience.

Lewie told me he wasn't interested in the self-guided tour.  All he wanted to do was stay above ship and watch the sunset.  (He really is my kid!)

We left bright and early the next morning, right after 7 a.m. breakfast.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great experience! We explored the Intrepid in NY and your descriptions of this ship sound similar. LOL at the smelly jail cell!


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