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USS Hazard and Freedom Park, Omaha

Started by gwb123 , May 27 2012 07:36 PM

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#1 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:36 PM

It was last summer that the Missouri River flooded its banks, covering farmland, major highways and industry from North Dakota down to Missouri itself.

Along that path was the USN Naval Museum located at Freedom Park, in Omaha.

For those who forgot what that looked like...

https://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMPARK

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#2 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:41 PM

The good news, of sorts, was that the water rose slowly enough that most of the more vulnerable exhibits could be moved or secured in place.

Eventually the river receded... leaving a virtual desert of sand that was as deep as 9 feet.

The USS Hazard, which had been placed inland and buried to the waterline was raised by the river and refloated. It was moored in place by the caretakers, but when it resettled, it landed on a new bed of sand and listing to the side.

As you can see by the photo of the USS Marlin, along with the sand came trees and other debris.

These pictures were taken last October.

https://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMPARK

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#3 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:47 PM

I had the good fortune to visit Freedom Park this weekend.

Thanks to the efforts of staff and volunteers, it is being restored, and hopefully will be able to greet vistors this coming summer.

The USS Hazard still lists 7 degrees off its centerline, which I am told means 10 to 12 degrees at the edge of the deck. (Being a non sailor, it did not occur to me that the angle gets magnified the further from the center that you go.) That is considered a safety issue for visitors, and power has also not yet been fully restored.

However, according to Mr. William Lee, the site manager, the interior of the Hazard is intact.

With his permission, I walked the grounds to see the progress that had been made. Many tons of sand has been removed, and grass has been replanted. Guns, bombs and missiles are being power washed and repainted, and debris cleared away. All of the museum vehicles sit on a nearby mound that remained above water.

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#4 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:50 PM

As far as presentation, the ship looks like it is making a hard rolling turn to the left, as if frozen in a movement on the sea...

... note that the anchors are still deployed.

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#5 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:55 PM

Signs of the water line are still around...

on the park's electrical panel...

and on these anchors... if you look closely in the background you can see the exact same waterline on the levee in the background.

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#6 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:57 PM

This A-4, formerly of the USS Enterprise, was fortunate enough to remain just above the waterline, which can be seen as a brown mark on the blue frame below it.

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#7 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:00 PM

Makers of this Coast Guard helicopter should be proud that it remained floating through out the flooding. The water line can be seen across it's side.

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#8 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:03 PM

For those who have never seen flooding, there is nothing gentle about it. If you go back to the very top photo you will spot the floating dock of a marina that used to open out to the river. This was right next store to Freedom Park. It is now cut off from the river by about 150 yards of sand dunes. This should give some context about how lucky we are that the exhibits at Freedom Park were not swept away.

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#9 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:07 PM

But as I mentioned at the beginning, work is progressing.

Here is the USS Marlin which is almost ready as an exhibit. In front of it is an anchor from the USS Wasp.

Hopefully by summer, everything else in the park will be back in shape again.

For those with inquiries, check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMPARK for updates and additional photos.

Or you can inquire with Mr. William Lee, Site Manager for Freedom Park at sub_ssn589@yahoo.com.

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#10 gwb123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:14 PM

Post script... the park also features a number of name plates from ships that have served, but are no longer with us. There is also a selection of Naval deck guns from the WWII period including a full 5 inch turret.

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#11 MWalsh

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:35 PM

Thanks for posting the progress Gil! That site is on my list of places to try and hit someday.

How did the A-7 in the background fare?

MW

#12 gwb123

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:53 PM

Thanks for posting the progress Gil! That site is on my list of places to try and hit someday.

How did the A-7 in the background fare?

MW


Judging by the water line (that nasty brown line across the bottom of the aircraft), it was about a foot or two into the water. I believe the engine is long ago removed, so damage is probably minimal.

Interestingly, the markings for this aircraft are for the USAF at Edwards AFB.

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#13 gwb123

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 05:57 PM

.

#14 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:13 PM

Thanks for the updates. The first time I encountered this park/museum was quite by accident while driving around the Omaha waterfront and I was shocked to see the ship and aircraft rather casually displayed next to a funky marina.

Between the Old Market, the fantastic zoo and safari park, the Italian steakhouse, railroad depot museums, etc., Omaha is always worth a visit and it's good to see the work on this one attraction.

#15 willysmb44

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:08 AM

Wow, I don't think i knew about this! Thanks for posting these.
I've always wanted to get to Omaha to see Union Pacific locomotive 4023 on display, now I have another reason. Still, I can't see me ever being in the area for anything, though...

#16 Bluehawk

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:08 AM

Well done to all who work on the project!

Very appreciative to see this progress report on a wonderful installation.

#17 gwb123

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 07:58 PM

Wow, I don't think i knew about this! Thanks for posting these.
I've always wanted to get to Omaha to see Union Pacific locomotive 4023 on display, now I have another reason. Still, I can't see me ever being in the area for anything, though...


Well worth the trip... that is the largest single piece of machinery I have ever seen in my life!

If you do come out this way you should also check out the Union Pacific Museum across the river in Council Bluffs, IA. It is located in a restored Carnegie Library as well.

#18 aceart

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 07:41 AM

I'm the photo editor for World War II magazine, I'm looking for a couple photos of the park and the USS Hazard for a news item in the magazine ... please contact me about Hi-res, pricing etc. Thanks!! guy.aceto (at) weiderhistorygroup.com



#19 gwb123

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 05:08 PM

Reply sent to your email.



#20 RustyCanteen

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 05:40 PM

That's an interesting looking park, and seems to have quite a collection.

 

Gil, what are the props off of?

 

Not sure off hand.  They are all labeled at the park, but I did not take notes.  I have not been back there since May 2012.  Their website says they are still closed and I did not want to be a pest.




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