Monday, May 7, 2012

Gearing Up for War at Norfolk Naval Shipyard

This two-page photo spread appeared in the September 1, 1941, issue of Life magazine. The photos show a busy Norfolk Naval Shipyard shortly before America's official entry into World War II.  The photograph specifically shows the Yard's Pier Number 3, and the photographer took the picture from Building 163.

At the far left are USS Texas (BB-35) and USS Ranger (CV-4).  Two unidentified destroyers (possibly USS Rowan (DD-405) and Stack (DD-406)) sit in front of Texas.  The Presidental yacht/ex-U.S. Coast Guard cutter USS Potomac (AG-25) is docked in front of Ranger.  The pre-World War I and hard working ocean tug/ex-U.S. Coast Guard cutter USS Acushnet (AT-63) sits at right, awaiting her next job.   At the time, Norfolk  Naval Shipyard was also building the battleship Alabama (BB-60) and repairing the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, along with several other projects. 

Appearing in the same issue of Life was the above picture of 14-inch gun barrels from Texas.  The barrels had just been removed from the battleship and were awaiting transport to be re-sleeved.  Looming over them is Norfolk Navy Yard's distinctive "Hammerhead" crane.

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