Cold War Submarine Memorial plan is flawed
While most Charlestonians applaud the Patriots Point Commission for searching for revenue-generating avenues to keep this great museum afloat, the plan to relocate Patriots Point Road through the site of the Cold War Submarine Memorial is flawed from an engineering and cost aspect. The artistic hull of the submarine is focused around the actual rudder and sail of the USS Lewis and Clark, a Charleston-based submarine on which I had the privilege of serving as chief engineer.
The submarine structure sits on a 12-inch-thick concrete pad on top of 99 piles driven nearly 100 feet into the ground, engineered to support the significant weight of the structure.
The sail itself weighs approximately 60 tons and sits around a specially engineered internal structure erected on the base platform designed to support its great weight.
Because of significant corrosion due to many years at sea, and more than 10 years standing in a salty Charleston environment, it is unlikely that the sail structure could withstand the stress of relocation, as it must be moved in three sections.
Mayor Billy Swails estimates that the relocation of Patriots Point Road would cost between $750,000 and $1 million. Based on initial construction costs, relocation of the Cold War Submarine Memorial would cost Patriots Point approximately $1 million.
The paper quotes Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette as saying that no decision has been made on a new site for the memorial. The absence of a detailed engineering plan and funding for its relocation would clearly spell the demise of the memorial. It is the premier submarine memorial to the Cold War in the United States, the only war won without firing a shot in anger.
This would be a slap in the face of the tens of thousands of submariners who served in the Cold War as indicated by the numerous benches located at the memorial, with more on order, sponsored by former shipmates of these Cold War submarines.
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Former Cold War Submarine