Submarine sails to Arkansas after 60 years
Monday, August 30, 2004 Posted: 9:57 AM EDT (1357 GMT)
The USS Razorback is towed down the Arkansas River on Sunday to its new home in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) -- Thousands of people gathered Sunday on the banks of the Arkansas River to welcome a historic U.S. submarine to its new home at the site of an inland maritime museum.
The USS Razorback is believed to be the world's longest-serving submarine, spending 31 years with the Turkish navy after the Navy decommissioned and sold the vessel in 1970.
City officials in North Little Rock bought the submarine from Turkey for $1 plus shipping costs to make it the centerpiece of the $10.5 million Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.
About 7,500 cheering well-wishers welcomed the vessel, waving flags and listening to bands and speeches.
As the submarine approached a barge where dozens of dignitaries waited, her top deck was lined with Navy veterans. Mayor Patrick Hays rode atop the submarine's "sail," or conning tower, along with U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and his four children.
"For years to come, the people of central Arkansas and, indeed, of the country will be able to share a portion of the unbelievable history that's woven into the hull of this vessel," said Maj. Gen. Don Morrow, adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard.
Capt. Alaettin Sevim of the Turkish navy, the last commander of the vessel under that nation's flag, received a hearty round of applause, as did the submarine's last two U.S. Navy commanders, retired Capt. Joseph T. Talbert Jr. and retired Capt. Ken Brown.
But the biggest applause by far went to Lawrence B. Crann, who served aboard the Razorback as a lieutenant commander in the closing days of World War II, stepping down in 1946 as her executive officer, or second in command. He saluted the American flag at the ship's stern before stepping slowly down the gangway.
The 312-foot Razorback departed from Istanbul on May 5, towed by an oceangoing tugboat.
It was launched in 1944 and was one of 12 U.S. submarines present at the official Japanese surrender that ended World War II. It was awarded five battle stars during World War II and four during the Vietnam War.
The submarine's name is unrelated to the Razorback mascot of the University of Arkansas. The vessel was named for a species of whale.