NEBRASKA CITY – Five members of the nuclear submarine USS Nebraska visited the display of a Civil War era submarine during the AppleJack Festival in Nebraska City.
The sailors asked Mark Clark of the H.L. Hunley Traveling Exhibit engineering questions about the ballast and control.
Clark pointed to a chamber at the front that they would let fill with water to submerge. He said the filling forced the oxygen into the main chamber.
He also told Lt. Commander Vince McCall how the crew would turn cranks to pump the water and how the world’s first combat submarine gauged its depth.
McCall: Is that how you do it now? “No. We have much different engineering aspect of it, how we control our water to move around and compensate for everything. It’s incredibly complex.”
He credited Clark for his knowledge and called him a true expert. He said the display presented the life and death realities that the first submarine sailors faced.
McCall: “It makes me appreciate the bravery of the young submarine sailors that we first had. For us, whenever we go down, the engineering is so sound that we expect to come up pretty safely. I don’t know I would have had that same sense of safety on this. These guys were incredibly brave.”
Despite its mechanical reliability, McCall joined Petty Ofc. 1st Class Maxwell in callingthe crew their favorite aspect of the USS Nebraska.
The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine shares the nickname “Big Red” with the University of Nebraska.
It left Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard this past year and the crew is now on patrol.