Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Crew" to reassemble on famed WWII sub to mark 70th anniversary of record-setting USS Batfish

The crew of the World War II USS Batfish will live again aboard the famed submarine Friday (Feb. 6) and Saturday at Muskogee’s War Memorial Park. Dressed in reproduction World War II uniforms, up to 30 volunteers from a four-state area will portray crew members from the cook to the captain, said Corey Twilley, president and founder of the Batfish Living Historical Association.
Twilley is a military historian/curator for the Department of Army at Fort Still. He’s also captain of the USS Batfish. “Our goal is to educate the younger generation. This allows school kids a chance to catch a glimpse of what life was like aboard a World War II submarine 70 years ago,” Twilley said. The guided tours will last about 90 minutes, and visitors can interact with crew members who will answer their questions. “We eat, sleep, breathe and live on the Batfish, leaving just to go to the bathroom,” Twilley said. “All cooking is prepared in the galley, and we’ve gone so far as to reproduce the plates that everyone eats off of.” The “silent service” (submariners) ate better than any other group in the military in the 1940s, partially because of the conditions they had to live in and go through, Twilley said. “Warfare for them was completely different. Rarely did you ever see your enemy. You were constantly playing cat and mouse,” he said. “There were very few Purple Hearts in the silent service. You came back with everyone or no one came back.” February is the 70th anniversary of the USS Batfish breaking the world record for sinking 3 Japanese submarines in a single day. Below is the submarine at rest in the city's park as a monument.

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