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Old 02-22-2008, 09:27 PM   #1
snakeyez
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Default USS Drum and 2008

The USS Drum (SS-228) is located in Mobile, Alabama at Battleship Memorial Park. She's been there since 1969, and was placed on dry land sometime in the 1990's.

A retired submariner named Tom Bowser and a park employee named Lesley Waters have taken up the task of restoring the Drum to her former beauty. Tom has vowed to spend 7 days a week in the Park working on the Drum (when he's not giving tours and such).

The Drum does not get much income for restoration, as most of the money brought in via park entry fees and gift shop profits go towards keeping the park running and the USS Alabama, the main attraction (to some) at Battleship Memorial Park. The Park gets no federal or state money.

Therefore, the Mobile Bay Base of the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc (USSVI) has set up a tax-exempt fund to help channel funds for restoration and maintenance directly to the Drum. Any money donated to this fund goes to the Drum, not to anything else in the Park. Any donations can be sent to:

Mobile Bay Base, USSVI
Attn: USS Drum Maintenance/Restoration Fund
P.O. Box 190756
Mobile, AL 36619-0756

with a notation on the check that the money is for the USS Drum Maintenance/Restoration Fund.

More information about this fund, along with monthly updates on how the money is being spent and general happenings on the USS Drum can be found by visiting the Mobile Bay Base website and clicking on the link for the "Signal Ejector newsletter". Each month the newsletter is updated.

Another way to help with restoration efforts is by purchasing one of these patches in 2008:



The patch was created by the Lockwood Internet Base of the USSVI. All proceeds from the sale of the "Preserve Our Heritage" patches go toward the submarine that the Lockwood Internet Base chooses to support that year. For 2008, the first year of this program, the Lockwood Internet Base has chosen the USS Drum. As far as I know, post-2008 proceeds from the sale of this patch will no longer go to the Drum, but to some other submarine museum in need as chosen by the Lockwood Internet Base of the USSVI.

"Preserve Our Heritage" patches can be purchased from Ron Martini of SubmarineShop.com for $7.00 with free shipping. Item #P005. Ron Martini does not offer online ordering at this time, so call 307-674-9847 with Visa/Mastercard in hand or mail your check to Ron Martini, 1723 DeSmet, Sheridan, WY 82801.

The Lockwood Internet Base has also created a website that highlights submarine museums in need. It's called SaveOurSubmarines.com. Some USS Drum news from Tom Bowser can be found on this site, as well as a few pictures. Here's one below:



Yep, you can see daylight through the stern of the Drum. Tom has found a donor of some steel, has succeeded in getting power hooked up for a welder, Sherwin-Williams is going to donate paint (and some labor I believe), and they are working on securing an air compressor to operate a large sandblaster.

2008 will be a big year for the Drum!

edit: On 2/25/2008, I did a small interview with Tom Bowser, the man who is working with Lesley Waters on the Drum restoration daily on a volunteer basis.


1) What got you interested in submarines and led to your joining the submarine force?
I grew up watching Silent Service on tv and thought submarines were neat, I knew I wanted to go into subs when I was 12.

2) What was your rate and ranking?
MM1 (SS) Nuc on James Madison A gang on Seahorse

3) What submarines did you serve upon and when (approximately is fine)?
USS Atule SS 403 6weeks in 1966, USS James Madison SSBN 627 B 1966-1970 on board for first Posideon conversion and first launch, USS Seahorse SSN 669 1970-1972.

4) How long were you in the Navy?
10 years

5) When and why did you first visit the USS Drum?
Around 2000, was in the area on a job and saw it on a billboard, hadn't thought about submarines since I got out in '74 and decided to stop.

6) How and when did you begin working with the USS Drum?
After a few trips to visit the Drum after they took it out of the water, I got to know Lesley Waters, the lady that works on the Drum and saw what a great job she was trying to do without any help, tools, or support from the Park and decided I needed to help. I started donating tools and supplies to her and in 2004 my job changed where I was going through Mobile every other week and would stop on Mondays and Fridays to bring Lesley supplies and to help. Two years ago my wife died so I moved to the area so I could be on the Drum every day to help restore her. I retired recently and am now spending 60-70 hours a week on the Drum restoring and giving tours.

7) If you had an infinite amount of supplies and money to spend on the USS Drum restoration, what things would you most like to see fixed?
Our goal for the next two to three years is to completely restore the outside, including sand blasting and painting the fuel and ballast tanks, rebuilding the bow and stern (including the shutter doors and getting the outer doors working). During the winter months we are going to continue restoring the inside to WWII configuration including building and installing new bunks in all areas as much as possible considering visitor traffic and passage, cleaning and painting the lower machinery spaces and putting grating in the decks so visitors can see those spaces.

When that is done we want to get the MC system and sound powered phones working, put in CD players with various sounds and effects and of course I would like to be able to run at least one engine for brief periods.

Right now I would like to be able to give all visitors a brochure with the history and patrol chart of the Drum and what money can't buy is I would like to have more subvets on board to give tours. The submarine force has been silent too long and visitors love to hear about what life is like in a sewer pipe.

8) What can you tell us about Lesley?
Lesley came to work at the Park about 12 years ago and started in the gift shop. When a position came open in maintance she shifted to there because she likes to work on machinery, she was on the Battleship for about a year and the position on the Drum opened and she took it because she thought the Drum was better. She developed a deep feeling for the boat and all that served in submarines and has a great passion to preserve her and her history. Lesley is as much a part of the boat as the equipment in her and cannot imagine working any where else.



*note* If this thread isn't updated post-2008, I'm not sure how up-to-date (if at all) any of this information could be.
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Last edited by snakeyez; 02-29-2008 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:36 PM   #2
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That is awesome snakeeyez, I will try to get one of those patches, since I am a volunteer at the Batfish. She needs alot of attention just like the drum, too bad these two dont get as much attention as the Pampanito and Bowfin. The Batfish only sank 3 submarines in a period of 72 hours, and the Drum made a countless number of patrols and sank alot of tonnage, so I guess it is no big deal. Just Joking there! It is a big deal and im glad that more people are starting to get into it, I cant be at the Batfish all the time since I live in colorado (currently finishing up senior year of high school) and I go to the Batfish when I visit my grandparents house in Oklahoma, however I hope to go to college in Oklahoma so I can be at the Batfish every weekend!
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:46 PM   #3
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Great post. Keep us informed over the next year on how the Drum is coming out. I just joined the USSVI.

I'd like to stop in and see the Drum. My wife and I usually take a trip to Pensacola once a year so I'll have that chance this summer.

Cheers,
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Last edited by Thermographer; 02-25-2008 at 04:30 AM.
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:00 AM   #4
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Snakeyez,

Thanks for the info! I contacted the Lockwood webmaster about adding the Batfish to the Save Our Submarines website. We have plenty of needs and updates that we'd love to share.
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:47 AM   #5
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The Clamagore sounds like she's in dire straits. $10M to get her fixed up and out of dry dock is a lot of money!!! Sounds like the Navy will probably end up taking her back for scrap metal at some point. Sad.

This is what I don't want to happen to the Batfish or any other boat/ship museum.
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Old 02-25-2008, 02:11 PM   #6
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We all just have to work on them really hard so the Navy, who did not want any of the subs in the 70s, wont take them back.
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:56 PM   #7
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This is just to let you know that I've updated my original post to include some more information on Tom Bowser and Lesley Waters, the folks that are leading the restoration effort on the USS Drum.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:57 AM   #8
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Wow, the stern is in dire need for sure. Such a shame to see it like that. Where did her props go?
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:24 PM   #9
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I finally made contact with the right people. Bill Lee, the B.C. of the Lockwood Chapter, and I exchanged a few emails and he copied in Ron Martini who runs the Save Our Subs website. Here is what he said in his latest email, which I think is a great idea:

"Mark, we would be glad to put up pictures and info on the page. Just send it along to us. Also, wanted to let you know that at the USSVI Convention next fall, we intend to have a display table for museum boats. We would like to get info and pictures for that and possibly we'll try and put everything together in powerpoint, then someone could just sit there and watch and hear what each boat is doing and what needs to be done. I'll be sending out some info later on to try and get all of our museum boats involved with this. Hopefully this also will help raise funds for the different museums. We also hope that in as many cases as possible that someone who is active with a particular museum boat will be at the convention to help out and to answer questions.

Bill"

I'll pass on the info as I get it.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:25 PM   #10
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That is great Sarsfield, Rick will be ecstatic.
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