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29 Апр 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
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Active naval officers host U-505 tours

The United Service Organizations, in cooperation with the Museum of Science and Industry, gave museum visitors the opportunity to tour the U-505 submarine exhibit  Sept. 4–8 with active Navy personnel serving as guides.

The U-505 submarine. the only German sub captured during World War II, is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Anthony Soave | THE CHRONICLE

The 700-ton, 252-foot submarine has been at the museum since 1954, along with 200 corresponding artifacts. The 35,000-square-foot exhibit is a major attraction at the MSI, which draws more than 346,000 students and 1 million guests each year. Tours of the inside of the U-505 are given only on select weekends for $35 for members and $40 for non-members. The next tour date is Sept. 14.

“The turnout has increased each year we’ve done it,” said Wiley Norden, USO program director. “The numbers for the actual exhibit are much higher than they are on a normal day.”

The volunteer guides are Navy Chief Petty Officer selectees out of Great Lakes Naval base, according to Norden. The volunteer guides spent time during the summer training for the Naval Heritage Program at the Pritzker Military Library and the exhibit.

The Naval Heritage Program, which is co-sponsored by the Tawani Foundation, is designed to benefit both officer selectees, aiming to encourage participation in community outreach programs and civilian visitors, according to USO President and CEO Alison Ruble. She said the program is made possible by the close proximity of Great Lakes Naval Base, the only U.S. Navy boot camp, and the wealth of local resources.

“We have the Pritzker Military Library and Museum which is an incredible facility in downtown Chicago,” Ruble said. “And then you have the only captured German U-Boat in World War II.”

The technology involved in capturing the U-Boat is still relevant today, according to Ruble. She said the U-505 capture story can inspire museum patrons to pursue science and engineering, especially upon hearing the story told by active service men and women.

Retired U.S. Navy submariner Don Bransford, who volunteers at the U-505, said the technology designed by British inventor Alan Turing to help locate and capture the U-boat was cutting-edge for its time and changed mechanics forever.


Bransford said Turing put together the first machine based on binary relays, which led to the transistor era and Turing’s reputation as the father of computer programming.

Active U.S. Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman James Shumaker, one of the uniformed Naval officers at the exhibit, said America also advanced its technology via reverse engineering after capturing the U-505.

Quicksilver Activ 505 Open boat

“We learned a lot about [Germany’s] stealth technology,” Shumaker said. “The capture of the U-505 was really what led us to turn the tide against the German U-boats.”

Shumaker, who has volunteered for all three of the annual events, said it was important the naval officers were present because they helped bridge the gap between visitors and

historical artifacts.

“With the Navy here at the Museum of Science and Industry, we’re able to bring to light the Naval history that has been here a long time,” Shumaker said. “Without the Navy [presence], some of that [history] is going to be lost, and just written in a

textbook somewhere.”

The active Naval officers enhanced the educational experience, said Matt Porth, MSI manager of guest volunteer programs.

“This is a great opportunity for children to meet Naval professionals who have great technology jobs aboard a submarine,” Porth said. “It’s a good way to open kids up to other science or technology jobs.”

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