July 5th Photos Page

Recently I had the chance to go aboard the Heavy Cruiser USS Des Moines (CA-134).  She currently sits in the former Philadelphia Navy Yard where she has been waiting to be adopted since the mid-sixties.  For the past several years it looked like Milwaukee had gotten its act together and was going to be awarded the ship to operate as a museum, but the deal fell through and the Navy has decided to finally send her to be scrapped.  Before scrapping her the Navy invited other museum ships to send groups to the yard to retrieve items they can use on their ships.  I was given the chance to go as part of the USS New Jersey's group on July 5th to try and salvage brass items for use on Big J.  Myself and another Brass Team member had a great day searching for useable brass items and exploring the ship, photos from our day are below.  For a guy like me this was a dream trip, the proverbial "A" Ticket, and I enjoyed every minute of it!  I'm even trying to go again before our window of opportunity closes next week.  It was sad to see this once great ship in such poor shape, especially when it looked like she was going to be saved from the scrap yard, but I guess we can't turn them all into museums...  One of the other museum ships that was well represented today was a group from the USS Salem (CA-139), a sister ship of the Des Moines, those guys were in Hog Heaven!


July 5th Photo #1
Shot taken from across the basin, she looks so peaceful and quiet...

July 5th Photo #2

Shot taken as we approach from the pier.
July 5th Photo #3
Anchor Windlass Room down on Deck 2.
July 5th Photo #4
Equipment in ships Machine Shop, greased and ready to go.
July 5th Photo #5
Ships Galley area.
July 5th Photo #6
Sorry Chief, no coffee brewing today, that's not a good sign...
July 5th Photo #7
Operating Table in Operating Room next to Sick Bay.
July 5th Photo #8
Dentists Chair and equipment at the ready.
July 5th Photo #9
This was the Barber Shop. look familiar to anybody?
July 5th Photo #10
Look at this antique Printing Press in the Ships Print Shop!
July 5th Photo #11
Racks stacked 3 high in Crews Living Spaces.  Too close for my comfort...
July 5th Photo #12
Weapons racks for M-1 Carbines in the ships Small Arms Armory.
July 5th Photo #13
Ships Laundry.
July 5th Photo #14
Main Battery Plot Area, everything looked brand new down here!
July 5th Photo #15
Ships Gyro Compass in compartment across from Main Battery Plot.
July 5th Photo #16
The 5-inch mounts on deck may look rusty, but the Upper Handling Rooms
and Magazine Spaces below decks were well greased and ready for service.
July 5th Photo #17
Upper Handling Room for one of the 5-inch Mounts.
July 5th Photo #18
Teletype equipment in the ships Radio Room.  
July 5th Photo #19
Generator in Aft Diesel.
July 5th Photo #20
Generator Control panel in Aft Diesel.
July 5th Photo #21
Main Engine Control panel in one of the ships four Engine Rooms.
July 5th Photo #22
One of the ships four Main Engines.
July 5th Photo #23
Plot Area just aft of the Navigation Bridge on O4.
July 5th Photo #24
Portion of the ships Conning Station in the armored portion of the Bridge.
July 5th Photo #25
Other part of the ships conning station being moved by block and tackle.  
It was claimed by another ship and will likely escape the scrap yard.
July 5th Photo #26
Ships Navigation Bridge on O4, green panels cover up bridge windows.
July 5th Photo #27
Open Bridge area on O5, one deck above Navigation Bridge in photo above.
July 5th Photo #28
Open Breech of one of the ships nine 8-inch guns.
July 5th Photo #29
An Analog Firing Solution Computer, very similar to those found in the
Battleship's 16-inch turrets, with the outside cover removed, revealing 
the maze of gears and relays that made it work, truly amazing!
July 5th Photo #30
Hoists several decks below the 8-inch turrets to send powder up to the guns.
July 5th Photo #31
Shell hoist on one of the shell decks of one of the 8-inch turrets.
July 5th Photo #32
Dummy shells stacked around the inner wall of one of the shell decks.
July 5th Photo #33
Shot looking from the bow of the ship toward turrets #1 and #2.
July 5th Photo #34
Shot taken standing directly in front of Turret #1
 looking down the uncapped 8-inch gun barrels.
July 5th Photo #35
Looking Aft, at the Starboard Forward Quarterdeck area, Mount 52,
one of the ships six 5-inch mounts is straight ahead.  The hatch visible
on the right served as the Forward Quarterdeck OD's Duty Station.
July 5th Photo #36
Looking forward from the Aft Port Quarterdeck at
Mount 55, another one of the ships 5-inch mounts.
July 5th Photo #37
Shot taken on the Fantail looking forward toward Turret #3.
July 5th Photo #38
This shot was taken from on top of turret #3 looking aft over the Fantail.
Note the dual 3-inch mounts in tubs on the fantail.  Also, note the area
covered in white canvas, it is a huge Hanger Bay Hatch which slides open on
rails to provide access to a seaplane storage area below deck.  The large crane
that was to be used to hoist those planes aboard is visible in pieces on the deck,
however the seaplane launchers were removed prior to the ships commissioning, 
and the crane remained and was used to hoist boats, vehicles and freight in and
out of the bay.  The condition of the teak on the fantail was typical of the rest
of the ship, the days rain just provided more water for the Fantail garden.
July 5th Photo #39
That's me in front of one of the ships ten, dual mounted 3-inch emplacements.
The guns were for the most part intact, but the elements and time had definitely
taken their toll.  They still looked mean as ever though and I couldn't resist having
my picture taken in front of them.  I had a great day onboard, kind of melancholy
 knowing the ships fate, but a great adventure and a successful hunt for brass too!

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Last updated on September 19, 2006.