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    Historic sub on display in North Little Rock

    10:00 PM, Aug 19, 2010   |    comments
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    • Tubes are ready in the torpedo room
    • Paul Honeck served 13 years on submarines.
    • The Razorback on display at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.

    "You can use your back on that stainless steel." You enter and exit the submarine just like her crew - through a narrow hatch.
    And the first things you see are the aft torpedo tubes.

    "You've got four torpedo tubes there, "explains Paul Honeck. "And those would have been, they would have had torpedoes in them when it got underway."

    "It was the George Washington. It was the first ballistic missile submarine and that's what I qualified on," says Honeck, who served 13 years on submarines. He's our guide through the 66-year-old boat.

    Honeck points out a toilet, "We call them water closets in the sub force. And in the navy they call them heads."

    And though he served on a sub built decades after the razorback - he knows his way around the tight corners and narrow openings like the back of his hand. And he knows what each switch or valve controls.

    Honeck reaches to a heavy handle above his head, "These particular ones are the exhaust piping coming out of the diesel. They come out at about 660 degrees, so, they sprayed them down with sea water before they sent them out a muffler. So that's why it's so heavy because it's so hot with gasses and sea water running through."

    Because any crew member could be killed, or shut behind a watertight door, each man had to know everything about the boat - the electronics - the hydraulics - how to start and stop the massive diesel engines.

    There was little time to think of the danger of all that water over their heads.

    Honeck recalls his years of service, "You're so busy and doing things. And when you're not doing things you try to sleep to let the patrol go a little bit faster so you're sleeping. So no, it's pretty much a job. And that's all you think about is getting the job done."

    It was April 3, 1944 when Hazel Grant Davis christened the new sub - The Razorback. The celebration ball was apparently quite an affair.

    Long after the war the government sold the sub to the Turkish navy. And she was maintained as a working vessel until 2002.
    The Razorback is the closest thing to an actual working submarine you may ever see.

    "This is our captain's cabin right here," explains Honeck. "It's the only place, he's the only one who had his own sleeping area. Everyone else shared with at least one other person."

    The Razorback was home to a crew of around 80, working, sleeping, and eating in these small spaces.

    "This was crew's mess. And this is where they'd do award ceremonies and training and play cards and watch movies, about anything that you did as big group was done here in crew's mess."

    It is a one of a kind museum - a chance to get up close with the inner workings of a functioning submarine. The U.S.S. Razorback will likely leave you - Amazed by Arkansas.

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