Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater. A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. I plan on walking on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. You can contact me at:

More on the USS SLATER (

Saturday, July 4, 2009

7/3/2009 - A Friday!

Normally I stand my Slater (tour guide) Watch on Sunday. This week, because of my wife's work schedule, I switched to Friday. Many years ago I use to give tours on Friday, so it was great to say hello to Docents from my old watch section (Jack, Russ, Bob, and Rob from Brooklyn).

This Friday the weather wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. It was overcast. We had the threat of a Thunder Storm, but only intermittent light rain. I was expecting that we would have a relatively busy day. The day before the Times Union gave the USS Slater a front page plug as a 4th of July destination. It didn't happen. I think most people visited on the 4th (on the 4th I called to ask a question and it sounded they were being mobbed).

I gave two tours to approximately eight visitors in each group. This is really a great size for a tour group. You can move relatively quickly, and you can get all the visitors inside all the compartments on the tour.

On one tour I had an retired commercial fisherman who had an interest in navigation and with the chart room. I typically skirt past the chart room because only 2-3 people can fit into this tiny space. After the tour I took him back and we discussed the Loran receiver and the portable signal light (that looks like a 2 gauge shotgun).

While we were giving tours we had a couple of WWII Destroyer Escort Sailors were giving a self guided tour to their families. Many years ago the Slater decided to do away with self-guided tours for the general public. This decision was made so that museum artifacts can be exhibited in their original setting. It also adds an element of safety which is important for younger visitors. The one exception to this policy is DE Veterans. They always have the option of joining a tour group or going on a self-guided tour.

After their visit I had a short discussion with one the
WWII DE Sailors. He was a crewman from the USS Barr (DE-576) that served with the USS Block Island (CVE-21). In May, 1944 both the Block Island and the Barr were torpedoed by U-549. Shortly afterward, U-549 was sunk by the USS Ahrens (DE-575) and the USS Eugene E. Elmore (DE-686). A few years ago I gave a tour to a DE vet from the USS Ahrens (DE-575) and I wrote a blog entry about the Block Island. Afterward, the Barr was repaired, and re-entered service in the Pacific theater as an APD (Fast Transport). Another Blogger has a detailed story about his father who served on the USS Barr.

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