The Decisive Weapons of WWII
famous military truism says that generals always fight the previous war. Although that does occur, weapons technologies have often, especially in modern times, advanced in significant ways since the previous conflict. In World War II, Japan and the United States both thought that their battleships would prove the decisive weapons in fleet-to-fleet combat, as had occurred in the Russo-Japanese War and the First World War. American battleships did play a key role in the war in the Pacific, but primarily as a powerful bodyguard to the decisive weapon, the aircraft carrier. For the U. S., they also served to pulverize Japanese island positions with broadsides, to enable the Army and Marines to wade ashore for decisive infantry battle. We began our tour aboard one of the mightiest battleships of WWII, the USS Alabama.
Historian Bill Potter tells the story of the USS Alabama
Dads and sons slept overnight in the berthing areas of the great ship, anchored in the harbor of Mobile, Alabama. We learned all about battleships as we explored the great ship from stem to stern on all the decks. We got to see and hear the 20mm guns fire in simulation at a Kamikaze attack, with seagulls as stand-ins. BB-60 is more than a floating museum when it comes to life in our imaginations — as we walk the decks, climb the ladders, handle the guns, bang our knees in the hatches, and lie in the bunks wondering “how it must have been.”
Firing the Alabama’s 20mm anti-aircraft guns
D-Day survivor Herb Griffin answers questions on the deck of the Alabama
Chalmette Plantation and the War of 1812
From Mobile we drove 140 miles west and 201 years back to the battleground of Chalmette, the location of the decisive battle of the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson and his patchwork quilt of American militia, veterans, Indians, and pirates came together to defend the Queen City from an attack by Britain’s finest army, fresh from defeating Napoleon on the European continent.
The beautiful grounds of Chalmette Plantation
We walked the battlefield where the American riflemen and artillery decimated the red-coat army and killed many of their officers, including the commanding general, Edward Packenham. The victory made Andrew Jackson a household name, eventually leading him to the Presidency. It also saved New Orleans and the Louisiana territories for American expansion and all that that portended providentially for the future of the United States.
The tour group at Chalmette Plantation
Bill Potter instructs the tour group at Chalmette
We drove to the cemetery in Metairie and attended the gravesites of Confederate Generals and of the Rev. Benjamin Morgan Palmer. There is no better place to see the providence of God in history and tell the stories of men of heroic accomplishment but of mortal substance. We heard the powerful reminders that men are all flawed and that God uses them, nonetheless, to fulfill His purposes.
The beautiful grounds of Metairie Cemetery
The marble and granite markers show us that only God transcends time but the stories of men sometimes linger to teach us to emulate the good and avoid the evils of the past and to number our own days. Pastor Palmer, previously unknown to many on the tour, was God’s instrument to bring revival and the knowledge of salvation in ways that expanded Christ’s kingdom and fought the darkness of the city especially known for spiritual warfare.
Guests are introduced to Presbyterian pastor B.M. Palmer
Confederate monument at Metairie Cemetery
The National WWII Museum in New Orleans
The visit to the World War II Museum with three vigorous and articulate veterans of the War crowned our 2016 tour. Herb Griffin (who joined us in Mobile) and brothers LC and Ubert Terrell of Louisiana (already celebrities at the Museum) related their stories with an informative and entertaining combination of humor and seriousness to the delight of everyone.
3 WWII veterans affirm the importance of knowing the Word of God
The WWII Museum, begun with a grant from the renowned historian Stephen Ambrose, is the third most visited site in the country. It began as the D-Day Museum and thus has the most complete collection of D-Day related artifacts and displays, and presents both major theatres of the War in two magnificent extended narrative displays — The Pacific Campaign and The European Campaign. Two new buildings will add to the campus by next year, when we return.
6 and 96 — Calvin Turley meets WWII paratrooper Ubert Terrell
Mary Turley sings ‘It Had to Be You’ — a 1940s favorite
Our banquet that ended the tour featured music by Sam and Mary Turley and the Laubenthal sisters and a panel of the veterans who delivered advice and lessons for the children to remember. The veterans all acknowledged the importance of their Christian faith, and especially encouraged the children and other attendees to study the Bible — it alone has the answers for life. When veterans of 90, 93, and 96 years affirm the importance of knowing the Word of God and can testify to His care through difficult providential circumstances, we would be foolish to not take heed.
Period music at the D-Day Celebration Dinner at the WWII Museum
Bill Potter makes closing comments at the D-Day Celebration Dinner
Starting our D-Day tour on the mighty USS Alabama
WWII veteran Herb Griffin addresses the group on the deck of the battleship
20mm anti-aircaft guns are fired for tour guests
Many came dressed in 1940s attire
Bill Potter addresses the tour group before boarding the ship
An enthusiastic Herb Griffin with tour guests
Preparing to board the USS Alabama!
A man among men — Herb Griffin and the Pell gentlemen
Little boys and big guns — a great combination
Overnight on the Alabama — building bonds with our boys
Little sailors salute our WWII heroes
On the beautiful grounds of Chalmette Plantation
Dressing in period attire always makes the tour more fun!
Tour fellowship offers the opportunity to meet new friends and see old ones
Monument at Lee Circle — a target of politically correct furor
Young tour guests meet face-to-face with WWII heroes
Period music filled the halls during the D-Day Celebration Dinner on June 6
The Stage Door Canteen at the WWII Museum made it a special evening
Ubert Terrell recounts his numerous missions behind enemy lines as a paratrooper
These 3 Christian vets have glory to God and encouraged their listeners in the faith