Touring A Submarine: Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

Zoie Clift


Yesterday I finally had the
chance to check out the floating museum stationed on the north shore: the Arkansas
Inland Maritime Museum. The museum is centered around a submarine stationed
along the banks of the Arkansas River.

Though they were about a
minute from closing, Greg Zonner, the director of the museum, kindly
disregarded this fact and took me and a fellow journalist from Orlando on a
quick tour of the 311-foot sub.
The sub is the USS Razorback,
a Balao-class submarine, and has quite a bit of history to its name. It
conducted five combat patrols during World War II, sinking Japanese vessels,
capturing Japanese POWs and rescuing American pilots who had been shot down. At
the end of WWII, the sub was one of only 12 selected to be present in Tokyo Bay
when the Japanese surrender was signed. It also served in the Vietnam War, and
the Cold War. So how did it get here? Hearing of the Razorback’s approaching
decommission, a group of submarine veterans initiated an effort to return the
historic naval vessel to the U.S. North Little Rock got the submarine from
Turkey in 2004 and Zonner was among those responsible for bringing the it here.

Contrary to what some
might think, the sub is named after a whale not a hog. “Razorback” is a nickname
for the Finback Whale, a nickname earned due to distinctive ridges between the
dorsal fin and the tail. These whales are the second largest animals in the
world and are also among the fastest of the great whales, capable of a
sustained speed of  23 mph-about
the same speed as USS Razorback.

I am planning to write an
article about the museum in the coming weeks so I’ll save the details and
history of the museum until then. In the meantime, more information can be
found here.  If you are on the
north shore, be sure to check it out sometime

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