USS Drum Museum

Posted: June 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

The USS Drum (SS-228), a Gato-class diesel-electric submarine, has been at home in Mobile, Alabama for nearly 40 years now. The Drum was the first of the Gato-class submarines to be
commissioned and enter WWII. The 77 Gato-class submarines were the star workhorses of the Pacific war with Japan throughout WWII. Amazingly, 20 of the 52 lost submarines in WWII were of Gato-class. The submarine's emblem of the octopus banging the drum was created by Walt Disney. Walt Disney Studios designed many unique emblems for military units throughout the United States Armed Forces in WWII. On November 22, 1943 while on her 8th war patrol, the Drum suffered a severe depth charge attack. The aft door frame upper hinge and adjacent plating in the conning tower (common on early Gato-classes) cracked and was letting in water at about two to three gallons per minute when submerged. The Drum headed immediately for Pearl Harbor, where an attempt to fix the door was made by replacing the after bulkhead with a new one without the problematic aft door. However, on a test dive on January 1, 1944, the conning tower began to buckle.
Lockwood sent the USS Drum to Mare Island for an overhaul and a entirely new conning tower. At Mare Island, she received a new, much stronger Balao-class ("thick hull") conning tower. This makes the Drum very unique! She's a Gato-class submarine with a Balao-class conning tower. The Drum made 13 war patrols in WWII, 9 of which were deemed "successful". Every submariner onboard for each "successful" patrol earned his submarine combat insignia pin or else earned another star for their submarine combat insignia pin. She earned 12 battle stars for her service in WWII. The crew claimed to sink 27 enemy vessels, but JANAC (Joint Army Navy Assessment Committee) officially credits the Drum with the sinking of 15 enemy vessels for a total of 80,580 tons. Discrepancies between submarine crews and JANAC are common for all submarines throughout WWII. This is the eighth highest of all WWII submarine confirmed sinkings.
Since opening as a museum on July 4, 1969, the Drum has been a silent reminder to thousands of visitors of the 52 submarines and over 3,600 submariners who made the ultimate sacrifice in WWII. Still, many people throughout the southeast United States have no idea such a rare naval WWII icon is right in their own back yard. Now the oldest American WWII submarine in existence, it resides on land at Latitude +30°40'52.40" North, Longitude -88°01'00.00" West in Battleship Memorial Park Mobile, Alabama. Visitors can get inside of a WWII-era battleship (USS Alabama) and submarine for a hands on look. For those who cannot make the trip who would like to see or show their families close-up pictures of the interior of a Gato-class diesel-electric submarine refer to
For those who can make the trip, tours aboard the USS Drum are self-guided. Tour guide pamphlets are available for a small fee in the gift shop.. If you would like a tour guide, there are a couple of volunteers who frequent the park almost daily. For more info on this contact Tom Browser at For more info on Battleship Park itself and the USS Alabama (BB-60) which also is available for touring refer to The park is open daily except Christmas Day 08-1800 (Apr thru Sep) 08-1700 (Oct thru Mar). Admission fees are Age 12 & up: $12.00, Ages 6-11: $6.00, and under age 6: Free. There is a $2 Park Use Fee per vehicle, $25 Fee for Semi-Trucks (includes admission for one person). No overnight parking allowed. Physical Address is 2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile, AL 36602Tel: (251) 433-2703, Fax: (251) 433-2777,or Email: [Source: Jun 2012 ++]


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