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San Francisco's World War II Submarine
Gets a "Shave and a Hair Cut"

22 January 2007

The West Coast's only restored WWII submarine USS Pampanito -- symbol of a time when the Bay Area and California transformed almost overnight into an economic powerhouse -- goes into drydock.

San Francisco, Calif. -- San Francisco's authentic World War II submarine, the USS Pampanito, gets towed from its mooring on Pier 45 and into dry dock for a complete restoration at 10:00am on Tuesday, January 23.

This extraordinary floating museum is to undergo a "shave and a hair cut" -- submariner (pronounced "submareener") lingo for the careful work that goes into removing barnacles, making repairs, and repainting the boat in order to maintain its near-perfect restored condition.

Periodic drydocking counters the constant exposure to sea water and salt air, allowing this national landmark to continue giving the whole family a realistic submarine experience. "We do this every seven years to preserve the boat so that it's here for future generations to enjoy," reports Aaron Washington, the Pampanito's manager.

In the days leading up to January 23, museum artifacts displayed on the boat are secured or removed. At 8am, cranes lift the gangway and pull up the mooring chains. At 10:00am, two tugboats from Westar Towing in San Francisco pull the submarine out into the Bay and tow the boat to Bay Ship and Yacht in Alameda for the dry docking service.

The Pampanito tells a hidden yet important story in local and state history. "No other state was as radically transformed as California by the events of World War II," says Eamon O'Byrne, Executive Director of the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association (SFMNPA), the organization that owns the Pampanito.

"During the war this submarine was repaired and refitted right here, in local shipyards. The towns and neighborhoods of Richmond, Hunter's Point, and Marin City were created to house the African American workers seeking skilled jobs in the giant shipyards that built and serviced the naval and merchant fleets. The men and women who built and repaired the complex technology of the boat were among those who formed the nucleus of what is today our aerospace and computer industries."

The submarine is to be towed back to Pier 45 in early February. February 10 is being proclaimed USS Pampanito Day by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and a Certificate of Honor will also be presented by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.


January 20-22: Secure or remove museum artifacts from boat
(interview and B-roll opportunity)
January 23:
8am Cranes lift gangway and pull up mooring chains
10:00am 2 Westar tugboats carefully pull submarine away from built up wall of mud; tow boat to Alameda dry dock
(interview opportunity; B-roll from Pier 45, from tug boat or your chase boat)
January 23-Feb 8: Dry dock service at Bay Ship & Yacht, Alameda
(interview and B-roll opportunity)
February 10: Free to the public from 9am
5pm Declaration of USS Pampanito Day by Mayor of San Francisco; and presentation of certificate of acknowledgment by Board of Supervisors;
greet submarine veterans from Mare Island and Dolphin submarine bases, and corporate donors
(interview opportunity)

To round out your story: historic photos, original artwork, oral histories and letters from the period during which the Pampanito was active in the Pacific; drydock process; plus interviews with submarine vets, boat crew, maritime historian/curator and Association officers; also see the Pampanito Fact Sheet.

Amazing! Thrilling! Authentic! describes the USS Pampanito. This submarine is a World War II Balao class fleet boat that survived six war patrols in the Pacific, and performed a dramatic at-sea rescue of 73 prisoners of war. Now permanently docked at San Francisco's Pier 45 in the Fisherman's Wharf area, the Pampanito is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors from the City and around the world, get the experience of a lifetime by going down into the boat and seeing how the crew of 80 men lived in a miniature-like world for up to 75 days at a time.

The San Francisco Maritime National Park Association (SFMNPA), owner of the USS Pampanito, has been bringing maritime history to life for more than 50 years. A community-based non-profit organization with thousands of members, SFMNPA supports the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park -- the nation's only floating National Park at Hyde Street Pier. SFMNPA presents public education programs about the City's maritime heritage, operates the Maritime Museum at Aquatic Park (closed for renovation until 2009), and owns and operates the USS Pampanito.

# # #

For more information:
Director, SFMNPA
(415) 561-6662
Pampanito Home Page
Pampanito Fact Sheet.


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Version 1.03, 26 Nov 2008