Walking aboard the USS Requin is a little like stepping into another time and place. It’s now a part of the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh but was once a very active submarine and home to eighty men at a time.
Commissioned in 1945, she entered service just days after the war ended and remained in service until the early seventies. Today she’s a floating museum and was manned by a very informative veteran the day I visited last year. He gave us a nice tour and overview of life aboard a submarine. If my memory is correct – he had served on a similar ship but not this specific one.
To say that the quarters are tight is an understatement. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t fare well in the Navy. My goodness, everything is so small! I can’t imagine sharing this space with ten people that I know well – much less 79 shipmates. But that’s exactly what went on here for more than 25 years.
You get a glimpse of life in the kitchen, in the captain’s quarters and in the life of the sailors who kept the ship running for each mission.
After leaving the submarine, I felt bad that I didn’t have more questions for our host but, frankly, I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere and the close quarters. I was in awe of anyone who could live under the sea in this tin can for weeks and months at a time. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t imagine volunteering to serve here or in any number of dangerous and uncomfortable places that our nation’s military go everyday. Worse yet, I also can’t remember if I thought to thank him for his service to our country.
If you are a veteran, please know that I am grateful for your service. Thank you.
And if you talk to a veteran today, be sure to say thanks.
Want to touch a piece of military history? Click here to visit the USS Requin.