WWII Liberty Ship and Submarine Pampanito
WWII Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien and Submarine Pampanito are docked at Pier 45 in Fisherman's Wharf
The SS Jeremiah O'Brien is one of two remaining fully functional Liberty ships of the 2,710 built and launched during World War II. The O'Brien has the distinction of being the last unaltered Liberty ship and remains historically accurate. Moored at Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf, she is a premier San Francisco attraction. A living museum on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Historic Landmark, the O'Brien transports you back almost seven decades to when sailors braved the harshest of high seas and threat of enemy attack.
Virtually the entire ship from engine room to flying bridge can be seen by visitors. Boilers are “lit off,” and the 2500-horsepower, triple-expansion reciprocating steam main engine is operated on Steaming Weekends (normally the third Saturday and Sunday of each month) so visitors can see the engine plant in action.
The USS Pampanito (SS-383) is a meticulously restored World War II diesel-electric powered submarine. Located at Historic Pier 45, in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf, Pampanito is both a museum and a memorial to those who served in the "silent service." Built in 1943, Pampanito made six patrols in the Pacific during which she sank six enemy ships and damaged four others. Open daily to the public, offering self-guided audio tours and (by prior arrangement) docent-led tours.
During the late 1930’s, the United States was gradually building up its fleet to the limits authorized by the Washington Naval Treaty. The pace quickened when in 1939 World War II began in Europe. However, it was the fall of France in June 1940 that caused the full mobilization of the nation. By the 7 Dec 1941 Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States had started an enlarged submarine building program. Pampanito was built in 1943 at the Navy Yard Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in just 9 months, and at a cost of 6 million dollars. She was one of the most advanced fighting systems of her day. By 1943, the role of U.S. submarines was to control the shipping lanes, gather intelligence, and a few special missions. The same roles played by submarines today. Far beyond any expectations at the start of the war, the U.S. Navy fleet submarines were instrumental in the Allied victory in the Pacific. Today, Pampanito serves as a museum and a memorial to the submarine service of the U.S. Navy — which we proudly call the “Silent Service”.
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