Monday, August 6, 2012

The USS Edson Comes Up the Detroit River

The main reason for me to head down to the Detroit River yesterday was the hopes of catching a glimpse of the USS Edson as she worked her way up the River towards Bay City, Michigan.  Well with things like AIS, it's not really case of hoping, it is more a case of making sure that I get down there with enough time to catch pictures.  But she was was moving along slowly enough that wasn't much of an issue.
 If I'd been thinking, I would have started she passed by Bishop Park in Wyandotte but that is not a particularly great spot for boatwatching.  Belanger would have been nice but that costs money, so I decided to start at Del Ray Park.  Through the course of these pictures, you will get to see the views of most of the spots I boatwatch on the Detroit River.
 The USS Edson is a Forrest Sherman class destroyer built by the Bath Iron Works in Maine.  She was launched in 1958.   She is a destroyer and is 418 feet long.  She is armed with 3 5" guns, 4 3" anti-aircraft guns, 2 Hedgehogs and 6 Torpedo tubes.  She did not carry missiles.  The Forrest Sherman class destroyers were the first Post War class of Destroyers.
 She was named for Merritt "Red Mike" Edson who was a Major General in the Marine Corps.  He received the Medal of Honor while commanding the First Marine Raider Battalion on Guadalcanal.
 She was homeported in Long Beach, CA and spent a large amount of time off the coast of Vietnam.   I think she had a part in the Tonkin Gulf Incident.  She was shelled by the North Vietnamese while she operated off the coast of North Vietnam.
 In 1974, she suffered a fire and was pulled off the line for repairs.  She returned in time to participate in the evacuation of Phnom Penh and Saigon.  In 1988, she was decommissioned a served as a museum ship at the Intrepid Museum in New York.  In 2004, she was replaced by the Concorde and sent to Philadelphia.  The Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum in Bay City beat out the Wisconsin Naval Ship Association for her and now she is being towed to Bay City.  (As of this writing, she should be in Bay City around 9:00 A.M. on 8/7/2012).
 The tug with the honors of towing her is called the Colonel.  She was born in 1978 in Louisiana as the Gulf Hawk for Tidewater Marine.  She was later acquired by Zapata Gulf Marine where she kept the name Gulf Hawk.  She was later acquired by Dann Ocean Towing of Florida where she acquired her current name.
 If it weren't for the Manitou pushing at her stern, this could almost be an underway shot.  Well if you ignored the rust.  So I guess I feel kind of lucky to be one of the last people to see her actually on the water.
 A shot of the three vessels, Colonel, Edson and Manitou.  I'm not sure how long the Manitou was helping in the tow.
 An attempt at a shot of just the Edson.  As I've said before, I like ships but I really like Navy ships and I think the Edson is pretty cool looking.  She almost looks like she could pass off for a World War II ship.
 One more shot of the Colonel before heading off to my next spot.
 For the next series of shots, I decided to head over to Riverside Park but I was kind of on the fence about heading there since parking could have been an issue.  It ended up winning out because I wanted a shot of the Ambassador Bridge in the background.  So we have another shot of her as she heads slowly up the Detroit River.  I think she has been making around 5 knots for this trip which is much slower than her operating speed of 32.5 knots.
 Another shot of just the Colonel.  I'm not really much of a tugboat fan but that is mainly because I don't get to seem them all that often.  I do have to admit, they look pretty cool and if I had more opportunities to see them, I'd probably like them more.
 A Closeup of the Edson's Bridge.  While she was operational, she would have 17 Officers and 218 Enlisted Men.
 A closeup of the Manitou.  Unfortunately, I don't have much information about her.
 A shot of one of her 5 inch guns.  This would be the one mounted at the front.
 Another attempt of getting just a shot of her.
 I wanted a picture of her that would say she passed Detroit.  I didn't think I could get a picture of her set off against the skyline of Detroit, so I got the Ambassador Bridge instead.
 A shot of the gang as the passed by the Ambassador Bridge.
 So after the last shot, it was off to Milliken State Park for more pictures of her.  I really like taking ship pictures from there but sometimes the backgrounds are distracting.
 A shot of the Manitou and the tug Jessie T.  I don't have much information on the Jessie T either.
 Another shot of the Edson's Bridge.
 A shot of the Jessie T. alone.
 So then it was off to Belle Isle where I stood on the Fishing Pier by the Coast Guard Station.  I was going to try to catch pictures from the spot at the end of Belle Isle but I I didn't want to miss anything.  Without either tug in the picture, this almost looks like she is underway on her own power but without smoke coming out of the stacks, it is hard to make that case.
 A lone shot of the Colonel.
 Another shot of just the Edson.
 And one of the Manitou.
 A profile shot of the Colonel.  I think she looks kind of odd with the raised pilothouse.
 Another shot of the Manitou.
 One last shot of the Manitou alone.
 And one more of the Jessie T.
 A last shot of her Bridge.
 And she starts to pull away.
 And the gang starts to pull away.
One more shot before the gang disappeared behind the Coast Guard station.

And so those are my pictures of the Edson as she headed up the Detroit River.  I can't wait until I get to see her at her new home in Bay City.


Anonymous said...

Great photo show......

Isaac said...

Manitou is a former US Coast Guard Icebreaker built in the 1940s. Jessie T. is a privately-owned pleasure tug that once ran on the East Coast.