A Look at Life Aboard the USS Oregon

 

The USS Oregon from a previous post in 2022:

The USS Oregon, SSN-793 is a fast attack Virginia Class submarine that has now been delivered to the US Navy.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – More than two years after its christening, the USS Oregon was finally delivered to the U.S. Navy in February.

Oregon’s future namesake submarine has been a work in progress for years; it was christened in Connecticut in 2019 and was scheduled to be commissioned in fall 2021. The U.S. Navy said shipbuilders spent almost 10 million hours working on the submarine and it underwent rigorous testing before it could be delivered to the U.S. Navy on Feb. 26.

“Oregon is in excellent condition and the captain and crew have expertly taken the ship through her paces,” said Capt. Todd Weeks, the Virginia Class Program manager. He rode the submarine during its sea trials.

The vessel is the U.S.’ 20th Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine, capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles in addition to torpedoes.

USS Oregon (SSN-793) Submarine Zippo MIB Brushed Brass

I do have a souvenir, a Zippo lighter that features the USS Oregon, Crater Lake, and the battleship Oregon that took part in the Spanish-American war.

I came across a video by The Space Gal who spent 30 hours aboard the USS Oregon. When my daughter was accepted into a university nursing school she was interested in the Navy nursing program.

The Navy flew her to San Diego, as a part of the tour she went aboard a fast attack nuclear submarine. She met some of the crew that were compiling a history of WWII submarine ops. When she told them her grandfather was a WWII submarine combat veteran, they asked her a lot of questions that she couldn’t answer about his war patrols.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I got to tour the USS Tennessee in dock st Kings Bay

    God bless the submariners.

    • #1
  2. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Wow!  Makes my sub (USS Phoenix, SSN-702) look like a dinosaur . . .

    • #2
  3. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    I was hoping the article was about life aboard this

    Oregon.  Oh, well. The newer one is interesting, too.

    • #3
  4. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    A short video on the battleship Oregon:

     

    • #4
  5. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @BobW

    I got a tour of USS Columbus in Pearl Harbor. 

    • #5
  6. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Stad (View Comment):

    Wow! Makes my sub (USS Phoenix, SSN-702) look like a dinosaur . . .

    Living conditions on US submarines when my dad served in WWII:

     

    • #6
  7. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    The World War II story of the battleship Oregon was stranger than made out in the video.

    First of all, the State of Oregon donated it back to the US Navy in 1942 intending for it to be used as a warship. It was about as crackpot an idea as you can imagine. It was not seized by the Navy for scrap. 

    Once the Navy had the ship, they couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It could not be used as a warship – even a training ship. Simply getting the engines to work would have used more resources than would have been worthwhile. The Navy probably should have given it back to the state. Instead the Navy decided to convert it to an ammunition barge.

    That entailed removing the superstructure, including the turrets, which were then sold for scrap.  It served the rest of the war carrying ammunition in its magazines, ending up in Guam in 1944.

    Oregon at Guam

    Oregon at Guam

    After the war ended, the Navy did not know what to do with the old battleship. They did not want to scrap it, but there was no way it could be restored to a condition suitable for use as a museum ship.  So they left it at Guam. In November  1948 a typhoon hit Guam.  The old battleship was torn from its moorings and drifted into the Philippine Sea. No doubt many in the Navy hoped it had sunk, saving them from the need to scrap the ship. But no. On December 8 patrol plane spotted the hull floating happily in the Philippine Sea  nearly 500 miles southeast of Guam.

    The Navy towed it back to Guam, where it remained. Several proposals for its renovation and use were floated, but sank a lot more quickly than the Navy hoped Oregon had sunk in 1948. Finally it was sold for scrap in 1956, towed to Japan and melted down.  Part of its anchor chain was preserved and is now on display at the US Naval Base at Yokosuka  Japan.

    Oregon Anchor Chain

    • #7
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Everyone should see “Down Periscope” starring Kelsey Grammer (among others) at least once.

     

    • #8
  9. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Everyone should see “Down Periscope” starring Kelsey Grammer (among others) at least once.

    The USS Pampanito, a Baloa class submarine was the sub in the movie Down Periscope. You can take a tour of the Pampanito if you visit San Francisco.

    “The action scenes use a combination of a special effects shooting miniature for the composited underwater scenes, older Pampanito color stock footage of her under power on the surface, then submerging, and newly shot footage of Pampanito moving under tow in San Francisco Bay while venturing past the Golden Gate Bridge. It had been fifty years since she last passed under the bridge.”

    Third patrol, August – September 1944

    Pampanito’s third war patrol, from 17 August to 28 September, a wolfpack operation with submarines Growler and Sealion, was conducted in the South China Sea. On 12 September, she sank the 9,419-ton SS Rakuyō Maru, which unfortunately was transporting 1,350 British and Australian prisoners of war (POWs), also the 5,135-ton tanker Zuihō Maru, and she damaged a third ship.

    The Japanese survivors were rescued by an escort vessel, leaving POWs in the water with rafts and some abandoned boats. A total of 1,159 POWs died, of whom some 350 in lifeboats were bombarded and killed by a Japanese naval vessel the next day when they were rowing towards land. On 15 September, Pampanito moved back to the area of the original attack and found men clinging to makeshift rafts. As the sub moved closer, the men were heard to be shouting in English.

    Pampanito was able to pick up 73 British and Australian survivors and called in three other subs, Sealion, Barb and Queenfish, to assist with the rescue. She then set course for Saipan, disembarked the survivors, and continued on to Pearl Harbor.

    Although US subs received intel from Pearl on Japanese convoys the messages usually did not include who or what the convoys were carrying to prevent the Japanese from knowing that their naval codes were compromised.

    Photo courtesy of Sanfranman 59

    USS Pampanito, with SS Jeremiah O'Brien moored astern

    • #9
  10. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The World War II story of the battleship Oregon was stranger than made out in the video.

    First of all, the State of Oregon donated it back to the US Navy in 1942 intending for it to be used as a warship. It was about as crackpot an idea as you can imagine. It was not seized by the Navy for scrap.

    Once the Navy had the ship, they couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It could not be used as a warship – even a training ship. Simply getting the engines to work would have used more resources than would have been worthwhile. The Navy probably should have given it back to the state. Instead the Navy decided to convert it to an ammunition barge.

    That entailed removing the superstructure, including the turrets, which were then sold for scrap. It served the rest of the war carrying ammunition in its magazines, ending up in Guam in 1944.

    Oregon at Guam

    Oregon at Guam

    After the war ended, the Navy did not know what to do with the old battleship. They did not want to scrap it, but there was no way it could be restored to a condition suitable for use as a museum ship. So they left it at Guam. In November 1948 a typhoon hit Guam. The old battleship was torn from its moorings and drifted into the Philippine Sea. No doubt many in the Navy hoped it had sunk, saving them from the need to scrap the ship. But no. On December 8 patrol plane spotted the hull floating happily in the Philippine Sea nearly 500 miles southeast of Guam.

    The Navy towed it back to Guam, where it remained. Several proposals for its renovation and use were floated, but sank a lot more quickly than the Navy hoped Oregon had sunk in 1948. Finally it was sold for scrap in 1956, towed to Japan and melted down. Part of its anchor chain was preserved and is now on display at the US Naval Base at Yokosuka Japan.

    Oregon Anchor Chain

    Thanks for the history lesson. It’s things like this that keep me loving Ricochet.

    • #10
  11. Steve Fast Member
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    In high school I attended the Research Science Institute, which had been organized by Adm. Hyman Rickover. As a result, we got to tour a Los Angeles-class attack sub at Norfolk. I think it was the Minneapolis-St.Paul. We looked through the periscope, saw the sonar displays, and toured the captain’s stateroom and the sailors’ bunks. I remember walking on the #10 cans of food that covered the floors of all the passageways, as the boat was preparing to sail.

    We ate lunch on a submarine tender with all the sailors. I remember tripping on the leg of a chair in the mess and spilling my tray of food. I was so embarrassed, but before I could do anything a couple sailors had cleaned it up and took me back to the line to get another tray.

    What a great experience for a 17-year-old kid.

    • #11
  12. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Wow! Makes my sub (USS Phoenix, SSN-702) look like a dinosaur . . .

    Living conditions on US submarines when my dad served in WWII:

     

    Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant, SC used to have a WW2 submarine you could tour.  As a former submariner, I found the boat tight and cramped.  I told my girls that my submarine was nowhere near as tight as this one . . .

    • #12
  13. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    US WWII submarines in the Pacific:

    The United States Navy Submarine Service lost 52 submarines, 374 officers and 3,131 enlisted men during World War II. These personnel losses represented 16% of the officer and 13% of the enlisted operational personnel. This loss rate was the highest among men and ships of any U.S. Navy unit.

    Less than two percent of American sailors served in submarines, yet that small percentage of men and their boats sank 214 Japanese warships. This included 1 battleship, 4 large aircraft carriers, 4 small aircraft carriers, 3 heavy cruisers, 8 light cruisers, 43 destroyers, 23 large submarines and 1,178 merchant ships of more than 500 tons.

    In all, U.S. submarines sank more than 55 percent of all Japanese ships sunk. More than surface ships, Navy air and the U.S. Army Air Corps combined.

    My dad asked the radio operator for a paper copy of the cease fire message sent to the USS Sand Lance. He was 19 years-old when the war ended. He enlisted in the Navy as a 17-year-old and completed Submarine School before his 18th birthday. He had been on four war patrols by wars end. His ribbons include a Presidential Unit Citation, and he earned his Submarine Combat pin.

    • #13
  14. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    I had an uncle that was a torpedoman’s mate on the USS Parche (SS-384) in WWII.   I wish I had known that when he was alive.  He was a fun guy and a great engineer after the war.

    In 1983 I spent three days aboard the USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-683) as a midshipman, and had a blast.  It was a midshipman orientation cruise and we were each allowed to stand any watch on the boat that we wanted, except for Officer of the Deck and Chief of the Boat.  I was JOOD while surfaced and doing man over board drills.  I had to give the steering commands to do the Williamson turns and other maneuvers to get onto a reciprocal course quickly to pick up the floating dummy, who is named Oscar for some reason.  

    I got to work in Sonar, radar, inboard and outboard helmsman (doing angles and dangles), and I got to do simulated ICBM launches and torpedo attacks.  I did everything I could possibly do, because I knew as an NROTC USMC option I’d never get aboard a submarine again.

    What really astounded me was that about half the midshipmen on my cruise just stayed in the rack for three days, coming out only for meals.  I didn’t have much respect for them.

    • #14
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