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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post USS Olympia, Philadelphia
Created by John Eipper on 04/30/19 2:29 AM

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USS Olympia, Philadelphia (Patrick Mears, Germany, 04/30/19 2:29 am)

With respect to John's list of decommissioned battleships and Pearl Harbor, one should include the armored cruiser, USS Olympia, which served as Admiral George Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

This sole surviving ship of that conflict can be visited at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have visited this grande dame of warships twice--in 1964 and then in 2010--and will do so again if and when I happen to be in the neighborhood. My first visit was triggered during our family summer vacation that year. Back in the early 1960s, I bought the plastic Revell (?) model of the Olympia, assembled it, and then ordered from the offer contained in its packaging a commemorative copper coin of this ship that had been minted from the ship's original propellers. This is a link a photo of such a coin that I just tracked down on the internet: https://www.ebay.com/itm/USS-OLYMPIA-BATTLE-MANILA-BAY-ADMIRAL-DEWEY-COIN-MEDAL-MADE-FROM-PROPELLER-/273824411954 . To my everlasting shame, I lost that coin somewhere along the line, probably when I left home to attend university in Ann Arbor.

If any WAISers happen to be visiting Philadelphia in the future, you might stop by the museum and tour the ship. You will likely enjoy the experience.

JE comments:  We struck pay dirt with this topic on museum ships.  For people interested in history, diplomacy, old stuff, and all things international (meaning, WAISers), historic warships are hard to beat.  Remember Gridley?  He was the gunnery officer told to "fire when ready" at Manila Bay.  (Dewey's quote appears on the commemorative coin.)  I just learned that Indiana-born Charles Vernon Gridley grew up in nearby Hillsdale, Michigan, and attended Hillsdale College before transferring to the US Naval Academy.  He never returned from the Pacific war of 1898.  Sick with dysentery, Gridley died while in a Japanese port.


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