Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NSB King’s Bay, GA

Don wanted to stop by this Naval Submarine Base (NSB) to pick up some new decals for the car, to show me the subase and to check out the FamCamp, although it’s called an RV Park here. He called ahead to make a reservation and we made the 120-mile trip from our park north of Savannah yesterday before the cold front and thunderstorms arrived last night. (Thankfully the tornadoes we were warned to watch for did NOT arrive!)


The sites are nicely laid out, with concrete pads, rail fences and nicely maintained lawns. But it has turned cold so we didn’t spend much time outside. Tonight’s prediction is for 27 degrees F, so we’ll unhook water and run off the tank.


The outing for the day was to visit the nearby Submarine Museum in St. Marys.


One of the first things I spotted was this life preserver and other memorabilia from the USS Barb, one of Don’s submarines. Actually, he was on the second boat named Barb, as the first one served 1942-54. The boat Don was on was commissioned in 1963, and he was assigned to it 1965-69 and again 1976-79.



There was only one item from his first boat, the USS Wahoo. The picture below is of the first boat named Wahoo – again, Don was on the Wahoo commissioned later (1952-80), and he was assigned to it during 1963-64.


His third sub was USS Hawkbill, and we found this plaque for it, placed so high on the wall I couldn’t get a good picture. Don was there when it was commissioned at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, CA in February 1971. It, too, was the second boat to carry its name. The first, commissioned in 1944, was named after the hawksbill, a large sea turtle. The “s” was inadvertently dropped at commissioning, so the second boat was also named without the “s.” This boat was sometimes called “The Devil Boat” because of her hull number (666).


We didn’t find any items for his 4th boat, USS Sculpin. There were also two boats to carry this name, the first one commissioned in 1939, and the later one in 1961. Don served on it 1974-77.

The museum was interesting, even for me, without any Navy or submarine experience. Here are a few more pictures.

The dive station where the helmsman and planesman sit and drive the boat.


A real periscope, through which I could see Florida across the river outside.


A torpedo room inner door.


View from the top of a sub with the missile tube hatches open.


A collection of submarine special warfare pins.


Bell from USS Tinosa 1943.


I’m so glad we got past this kind of thinking!


Statues of Neptune and The Lone Sailor.


I bought the pattern for this cross stitch design of the submarine warfare insignia (two dolphins surrounding a submarine sail) so I can make something similar for Don’s ‘love me’ wall in the shed/casita in Benson.


A Master Chief joke!


We had lunch next door at the Shark Bite. My fish tacos were very good, and Don enjoyed his gyro.


This picture on the wall caught my eye, and I knew my friend Jan Mains would like it!


Across the street is the ferry dock to give access to the NPS Cumberland Island National Seashore, with Florida on the other side of St. Marys River. If we had more time (and warmer weather) this would be a fun outing.



Returning to the subase, I got a picture of USS George Bancroft at the Benjamin Franklin gate.


The Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic display of a Cruise missile (far left), Trident missiles and Polaris missiles is beautiful with the flags flying in the sunny breeze.



  1. I can't imagine how excited Don must have been going through there. It looks very interesting and nothing like the submarine tour in Arkansas. I'm putting this one on my bucket list---and not because of the turtle. Miss you guys and wish we could have been there to watch Don relive his experience.

    1. You would enjoy the video about submarines too, Jan & Bill. It was made by/for children but was very informative. We both watched the whole thing.

  2. Don't know if you have seen this post about the Hawkbill in Arco, Idaho.
    Now we know someone who served on it.

    1. I didn't remember seeing that post, Jim & Nanc - Thanks! We'll both go back and read it.


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