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  • Queen MaryQueen Mary Long Beach, California
    RMS Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that sailed on the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 for the Cunard Line, which was called the Cunard-White Star Line, the company that launched the Titanic, when the ship first started sailing. Constructed in Clydebank, Scotland, the QM was designed for express service that ran from Southampton to Cherbourg and then on to New York City; and was one of two planned to do the weekly express. Their version of the mainland European superliners of the late 1920s and 1930s, after the QM was released from her war duties transporting troops. Her running mate was the RMS Queen Elizabeth, that was the other ship in the express service that went on for two decades; which was when the Queen Mary was retired and then brought to Long Beach. She is registered in the National Register of Historic Places and is permanently berthed at Long Beach, where she is a hotel and museum. In 2004, she celebrated her 70th anniversary from Clydebank and Long Beach, and then celebrated her 70th maiden voyage anniversary in 2006. The Queen Mary had been the flagship of the Cunard Line from 1936 until 1945, when the Queen Elizabeth replaced her. The onboard amenities are done according to the class, with the first class passengers getting the bigger space and luxury. She featured an indoor swimming pool, outdoor paddle tennis court, kennel, library, salon and children's nursery. The biggest room was the grand salon or dining room, that went up three stories in height and anchored by wide columns. The indoor swimming pool was as big as two stories of the ship; and the dining room had a huge map of the transatlantic crossing with twin tracks showing the summer and winter routes, which ran further south to avoid any icebergs that might be around. In the crossing, a motorized QM would show the progress as she moved east or west. Giving the first class passengers an alternative to the grand salon, the QM had a Verandah Grill located on the Sun Deck on the upper aft; it was an ultra exclusive a la carte restaurant that could seat up to 80 people and became the Starlight Club at night. Brian Cleeve, Irish writer and broadcaster was a commis waiter for many months on the ship in 1938, after he had run off from his family and home. The first class passengers also had access to the Observation Bar, which was an art deco type of lounge, with expansive ocean views. Marvelous wood from different part of the British Empire were used in the public rooms and staterooms, with their accommodations ranging from fully equipped, luxurious first class staterooms to modest and quite cramped third class cabins.  During the second world war, she was refitted as a troop carrier, and perhaps the most memorable occasion was the crossing in December of 1942, when she was carrying over 16,000 American troops from New York to Great Britain, the most passengers ever moved in a single ship, when she came across a gale about 700 miles from Scotland. Suddenly and without any warning, a rogue wave slammed into her side, estimated to be around 92 feet high and it was almost capsized. Walter Ford Carter's father, Dr. Norval Carter, was on board and Walter wrote in his book, No Greater Sacrifice, No Greater Love, that his father told him that at one point the ship damn near capsized. He said that one point the ship was at its usual height, then wham, down and over and forward she pitched. Later, it was calculated that the ship tilted 52 degrees and most certainly would have capsized if she had rolled another 3 degrees. This incident was the inspiration for Paul Gallico to write his story called the Poseidon Adventure, which became a movie. During that war, she would often carry the prime minister Winston Churchill across the ocean to meet with other Allied officials and he was listed on the passenger manifest as "Colonel Warden" and Churchill insisted that his lifeboat carry a .303 machine gun so that he could resist capture at any cost. 

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  • Scorpion SubmarineScorpion Submarine Long Beach, California
    The USS Scorpion was a skipjack class nuclear submarine in the United States Navy, and the sixth ship to have that name. It was lost on June 5, 1968, one of the few ships that were lost at sea, when the country wasn't at war, and one of two nuclear subs that were lost by the Navy; the other being the USS Thresher, that sank off the coast of New England in 1963. The keel was laid on August 20, 1958 at the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut and launched in December 1959. She was in various fleets of the navy, and stationed at Norfolk, Virginia after getting the Navy Unit Commendation in 1962. She specialized in nuclear sub warfare tactics and varying her role as hunter and hunted, she took part in many maneuvers in the Atlantic Ocean, more often around Bermuda and Puerto Rico until she went into drydocks in Charleston, South Carolina in June, 1963, until May of 1964. Resuming her duties in the Atlantic, she was again interrupted to make a transatlantic patrol during August to October. Spring of 1965, brought her to likewise patrols in the European waters, and again in the late winter and early spring of 1966. After completing those patrols, she was given the Navy Commendation Medal for outstanding leadership, foresight and professional skill. She reportedly had a patrol into an inland Russian sea in 1966, where she was used to film a Soviet missile launch through her periscope before hightailing it out of there in high speed fleeing Soviet Naval ships. In February of 1967, she went into the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for another overhaul, but instead of getting a complete overhaul was given emergency repairs so that she could return to duty asap. Then in October of 1967 she was given refresher training and weapons system acceptance tests and a new commanding officer, Francis Slattery. After the training, she was headed to the Mediterranean and the 6th fleet in February of 1968. But with numerous malfunctions headed back home in May. Two men left at Rota, Spain, one due to emergency leave and the other for health reasons. She was to observe Soviet naval activities in the Azores and after that headed home to Norfolk. For a long time, just before midnight of May 20th, until after midnight May 21, her communications traffic was having problems trying to send messages to Rota, but only able to get a navy communications station in Nea Makri, Greece, which forwarded the messages. Six days later, she was overdue at Norfolk and a search and rescue mission was initiated. On June 5th, she was declared "lost at sea" and her name struck from the Naval Vessel Register on June 30.

January 11, 2011