Back in August, I visited the USS Silversides Submarine Museum in Muskegon. I started the self-guided tour in the museum center. The floors are marked with arrows to direct you though the exhibits. I learned about the history of the USS Silversides, including her combat record while deployed on 14 patrols during World War II. Silversides is credited with sinking 23 ships, making it the most prolific combat record of any extant American submarine.
Next, I climbed aboard the deck of Silversides and descended into the forward torpedo room. I was surprised to see that some crewmen slept in bunks that were right next to the torpedoes. I made my way through each compartment, trying not to bump my head on the hard metal surfaces in the cramped space. I was impressed by the complexity of this vessel. Almost every surface is covered with knobs, switches, dials, buttons, levers and wheels, many of which are still operational. Exploring the mess and quarters, you get an insight into what daily life was like for the crewmen.
After resurfacing, I boarded the USCGC McLane to tour the only cutter credited with sinking a Japanese submarine in World War II.
For an unforgettable experience, groups can spend a night aboard the USS Silversides or the USCGC McLane. The overnight encampment program is well-suited for scouting and youth groups, as well as family or adults-only, team-building events.