I hear a helicopter landing and an announcement from the watch tower
Visitors to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum outside of Charleston, South Carolina, come to explore the battleships, aircraft on site and interactive displays that can keep you busy for hours.
The USS Yorktown is a massive aircraft carrier that draws large crowds but my visit was to experience the recently opened Viet Nam exhibit.
As most of the crowd rushed across the bridge to see a war ship, I took the small path to the left towards a blue wall. As you get closer you recognize the display. There are dog tags representing all the men from South Carolina who gave everything during the war.
The exhibit is an up close opportunity to see and often touch the aircraft and equipment as well as the sounds that soldiers in the field experienced every day.
A large quonset hut houses displays, a time line of the war and a theater showing video interviews from men and women who served.
Once you exit the ‘hut’ you are in a recreation of the “US Navy Advanced Tactical Support Base and a US Marine Corps Artillery Firebase during the Tet Offensive, 1968”.1
|A patrol boat that patrolled the rivers in Viet Nam|
|A look into a PX|
|The medical tent was a sober view of the immediate care prior to a patient evacuated to a hospital|
The exhibit is not a Disney production but the audio as you walk through the tunnel or listen to the sounds of a huey landing in the camp, projects you into the real life experience.
|The watch towner announce ‘incoming’|
|You can climb aboard a med-evac helicopter|
The interior was a somber reminder of the pain and death that was part of every day.
|The mess tent|
Volunteer tour guides and docents are available at scheuduled times. In addition to the Yorktown the USS Laffey, Submarien USS Clamagore are docked here. Visitors can visit the Medal of Honor Museum, Apollo 8 mission exhibit and the Cold War submarine memorial.
40 Patriots Point Road
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
843 884 2727
1. Park brochure