Saturday, May 17, 2014

Damn The Torpedoes

Have you ever heard the saying “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”?

I always thought it was just a line from a movie. 

This summer we are volunteering at Farragut State Park in northern Idaho. 

The park is named after the first full Admiral of the U.S. Navy, Civil War hero Admiral David G. Farragut (1801-1870).  It was Admiral Farragut who said during the raid of Mobile Bay, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, aerial military reconnaissance flights were looking for a large piece of land situated near an ample body of water to build a Naval training station.

The Farragut Naval Training Station, located near Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, was only operational between 1942 and 1946, but during that time it was the largest city in Idaho, the largest business in Idaho, and the second-largest U.S. naval training station.  After its decommissioning, it served as the Farragut College and Technical Institute. Today it is the site of Farragut State Park and a small U.S. Navy acoustic research detachment.

By September 15, 1942, after five months of construction, the first of six recruit camps opened for training.  Almost 300,000 sailors were trained in 15 months.

With World War II over and the United States in the process of recovering from the war effort, the federal government ordered the removal of the remains of the Farragut Naval Training Station in total.  Sold as surplus, you could buy a building for as little as 50 cents...but, you had to move it!  About 680 buildings were removed.

The only building that is left standing is the Brig (jail), which is now a museum.  It will open for the season on Memorial Day but we were recently given a tour.  
There are some very interesting displays throughout the building.

One of the jail cells with information about “Navel Justice”, which was basically busting big rocks into small rocks:

Life in the barracks:
My favorite - a huge display of knots:
This area is not open to the public:
Solitary confinement
There is a lot more interesting history of the training station that I will save for other blogs.

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