Former submariners guide special USS Requin tours at Carnegie Science Center
During a dive, the four-man watch on the USS Requin had 45 seconds to climb down the conning tower and close the hatch that kept the sea from following them into the submarine.
Having climbed the narrow ladders and through the hatch herself, Barb Cooper, 61, of Avonmore said that fact was one of several impressive things she learned during a special two-hour tour of the Cold War-era boat.
“It may be one of the better kept secrets in the area,” she said of the submarine docked in the Ohio River outside Carnegie Science Center.
The North Side center is offering guided, behind-the-scenes Tech Tours of the submarine on select Sunday mornings through the rest of the summer. The tours cost $15 for center members and $20 for nonmembers. Because of the confined spaces, each tour is limited to 12 people.
Two former submariners — John Stewart, who is also a former Requin crew member, and Carl Stigers — conduct the tours.
Calvin Evans, 17, of Cleveland, Ohio, said touring the boat with a former crewmember was “fantastic.”
“It was more than I expected,” he said.
Stewart, 73, of Bellwood served on the Requin from 1961 to 1963 and said he loves showing people around the submarine. The tour focuses mainly on how the crew did things but also touches on why they did it.
“There are so many people that want the knowledge of what submariners were all about,” he said.
His tour includes amusing details, such as the fact that the submarine crews would often remove valve handles to create more room for storing items in the confined space. Many of the handles would be lost, so every time a boat pulled into port they had to order more.
Stigers, 56, of Dormont said experienced crew members kept a crescent wrench in their pockets so they could turn the valves that were missing their handles.
Stigers said one point he tries to get across is how every member of the crew depended on every other member because there was little margin for error.
“The most junior guy could kill everybody on the boat if he didn't know what he was doing,” he said.
About two-thirds of the way through the tour, Stewart paused at the crew's mess area to describe the certification process that he and every other submariner goes through to earn their “dolphins,” the insignia that shows they've learned all the boat's systems and emergency procedures.
Cooper said that having seen first-hand all the valves and pipes they had to memorize gives her “a new respect for submariners.”
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Baldwin students take in film on Nobel Peace Prize winner’s activism for girls, education
- Suit seeks $5M from McKeesport authority
- Waivers granted for Garden Theater block development
- Trial scheduled in beating of black man at T station
- Newsmaker: Sanford Asher
- Wilkinsburg minister raided for drugs and guns, charged with 18 felonies
- Pittsburgh zoo receives $9M gift — largest ever — from Mellon Foundation
- Pittsburgh International Airport to focus on attracting new airlines, increase facility’s usage
- Upper St. Clair lifeguard ordered to stand trial for rape of female lifeguard
- North Hills transit service limits lamented
- Downtown Pittsburgh Macy’s donates bits of history