Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pacific War Museum and Geocaching

Location: Blanco State Park; Blanco, Texas

(click pictures to enlarge)

I went to Fredricksburg, Texas yesterday. It was a busy place and full of tourists walking the sidewalks. It surprised me how many were there at this time of year. They were going in and out of the many shops and cafes along the main street. I wasn't there for either of those activities. I came to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War. Yep, a National museum in a little town in Texas. Part of the reason it is located here is that Fredricksburg is the birth place of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Fleet Admiral is a rank created by Congress during a time of war. There were only four created in World War 2 and Nimitz was the last survivor of that rank having died in 1966. 

The museum started out as a memorial to Admiral Nimitz in 1969 but was expanded later in 1991 to include the President George H.W. Bush wing. In the year 2000 it was official named the National Museum of the Pacific War. 

I have been to several museums around the country and this one is worth the trip. As former military, I got in for $10.00 and spent about 3 hours walking through the exhibits. They have planes, submarines, guns and even an Atomic Bomb. It is a well balanced museum that pays respects to all sides while at the same time presenting an accurate history of that bad time in the world. 

Flash pictures were not allowed inside the museum so some of the pictures I took didn't turn out. One young woman was teaching her small child how to disobey the rules by taking flash pictures. Just as I would be in the middle of reading something or watching a video in a darkened room, BAM, her flash would go off blinding everyone for a second. Bad, bad woman. I bit my tongue and didn't cause a scene by telling her she was breaking the rules. I thought about it afterwards and questioned myself if I would have mentioned it had it have been a man instead of a woman. I didn't come up with an answer, yet. 

The following are some of the pictures. The captions will explain more about them:
Typical Texas Hill Country on a beautiful day

Entrance to the Museum with a real ship's mast in front

This was the display about Pearl Harbor. There is a life-sized Japanese Mini-sub on display. The video is of the actual attack with sound. Very impressive. 

A B-25 Bomber. The kind that was used in General Dolittle's raid on Tokyo in April of 1942, just 4 months after the Pearl Harbor attack. 

A salvaged tank from one of the many island battles

An anti-aircraft gun on the left and a jeep on the right.

A picture of a LST from World War 2. This Landing Ship, Tank is similar to the one I toured in Muskegon, Michigan this last summer and the fore-runner to what I served on in the 70's  

A life-size replica of the "fat man" atomic bomb. A lot of devastation in such a small package. In the long run, by dropping the bomb, Truman reduced the total number of deaths that would have happened had we invaded the main Japanese islands.

There were 10 consecutive U.S. Presidents that served in World War 2. They go from Roosevelt to Bush the senior. These plagues honor them. Very nice display.

One of the many "memorial walls" where plagues to men, ships, units, etc are placed in honor to them.

The courtyard surrounded by more "memorial walls".

More "memorial walls" with the propeller from an Essex class Aircraft Carrier in the pool.

After I got back to the campground, I decided to take a walk. Before going, I looked to see if any Geocaches were in the park. I had heard that the Texas Parks were hiding several in facilities. Sure enough, there was one about 1/2 mile away along one of the trails. When I was planning my retirement, I planned to do Geocaching and even bought a hand-held GPS unit to use. I found it in one of the storage boxes and powered it up. My memory just barely remembered how to use it but off I went to find the cache.  

Geocaching is like a treasure hunt. People hide things, record their coordinates online, then other people use their GPS gadgets to find it. There is usually a log book that you sign and date proving that you found the cache. Some also have "take one-put one" things in the cache where you can take an item out if you put one back. The size of the cache can be as big as an ammo box or as small as a pill bottle. I have only looked for a few over the last couple years. It's fun, but I just haven't thought about it much with all of the other things going on. 

The trail towards the Geocache

Look what I found along the way. I needed another bench picture anyway. :)

This is where the GPS unit told me to look. I also confirmed that my cell phone agreed so I can use it in the future if I need to.

The Geocache before I opened it

The log book is on the left and trinkets are in the box as well as in the bag. I didn't take anything but I did leave my ticket stub from the museum today. It was an easy find and a nice walk.

I found this location along the walk. The mini-lake on the Blanco River was calm enough to act as a mirror for the trees. I liked the picture.

A cold front is blowing through today that is bringing rain and wind. I will probably hunker down in Liberty today and wait to see about the weather. I have to leave this campground this Saturday so I still need to decide which direction I'm going to go so I can make reservations. I hope I haven't waited too long and the campgrounds are full of New Year's holiday campers. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


  1. Really like the last picture; wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Enjoying every post.

    Virginia Beach, Va.

  2. Thanks Dennis. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. :)