The USS Pampanito now sits docked in Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco honored as a national landmark. Going down below, the remnants of a not-too-distant-but-well-remembered past is perfectly preserved. The designated areas are tiny, and one wonders how all those men staffed at various times on the ship managed in such close quarters. And for my part, I wonder how it would be submerged in dark oceans for days (months?) at a time. Then the thought of sea monsters, giant squid, prehistoric sharks, all the frightening things from the deep threatening the journey ahead. On board still, there are reminders of the every day lives of every day men. Like the telegraph that came for Earl Watkins, news of a newborn son waiting at home that he would hopefully see one day soon, and like the officer that sat and typed in his close quarters.
The submarine sits, now a museum, testament to tougher times too, when the world was in upheaval, and an unfair and often horrific agenda had to be stopped. So the USS Pampanito “Flies a broom from her mast, indicating a clean sweep: a successful patrol that “swept the enemy from the seas.” In total, she sank six Japanese ships and damaged four others with a total of more than 27,000 tons of enemy shipping sunk.” Best wishes to the the industrious submarine and to those that she carried hopefully safely home to brighter shores.