Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Answers to Mystery Questions 1, 3 and 4

Last Friday, we posed 6 mystery questions (4 plus 2 easy bonus questions). We only promised to answer #1 today, but Port Tack Start and Sonarman did so well in their attempt, we are going to answer all but the really tough #2. Why is #2 so tough? Perhaps you can tell all of us.

1- What was the name of the last built U.S. warship to have teakwood decking when first commissioned?

ANSWER: USS Long Beach (CGN 9) - formerly CGN 160, formerly CLGN 160. USS Long Beach was commissioned September 9, 1961.

She was the first American cruiser since the end of World War II to built entirely new from the keel up, and, when completed, boasted the highest bridge in the world. She was also the last warship to be fitted with teakwood decks. Accordingly, of warships built subsequently by the U.S. none had teakwood topside or bridge decking.

2- When was the last submarine fitted with teakwood topside decks commissioned and what was its hull number?

ANSWER: As of 2 Oct 2008, this question has been redefined to specify teakwood topside decking, fore and/or aft. (this item is intentionally blank -, no one has yet determined a correct answer, but we are closing in slowly). But see UPDATE below for a very interesting wrinkle from Sonarman ...

UPDATE: 2 Oct 2008: Have received independent confirmation from SonarMan that the sub with the record for the longest service lifetime of any nuclear submarine (USS Kamehameha) — nearly 37 years - also had a small teakwood deck within a "doghouse" structure in its sail for OODs and lookouts. Since the USS Kamehameha (SSBN/SSN-642) was commissioned in December 1965, it seems destined to be the last submarine with any type of teakwood decking. Great find, Sonarman!

3- What was the name of the ship in the upper photo? BONUS: and what was its hull number?

ANSWER: The mystery sub is the USS Triton (SSRN/SSN-586), commissioned: 10 November 1959. Obviously from the photo, it did not have a teakwood, topside deck. (notes: USS Bonefish and USS Blueback were commissioned 1958 and 1959, respectively. No photographic evidence or sepcor has been forthcoming to indicate these rounded hull boats had wooden topside decking. Ditto USS Kamehameha not commissioned until 1965, about 4 years after the USS Long Beach).

4- What was the name of the ship in the lower photo? BONUS: and what is its hull number?

ANSWER: The mystery sub in the second photo is the ex-USS NAUTILUS (SSN-571), which was commissioned 30 September 1954. The photo is of the museum exhibit.

BONUS QUESTION ANSWERS: Hull numbers of Triton and Nautilus are SSRN/SSN-586 and SSN-571, respectively.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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