U-505 Experience Opening - June 4, 2005

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  From the Presidents Captain Herb Gilliland:  
  The opening of the new U-505 Experience (it’s not just an “exhibit” any more) was a fabulous event. The gathered crowd of hundreds of Association members and others sat comfortably shaded under a great tent while Chicago Mayor Daley, David Mosena the President of the Museum, and others made suitably celebratory speeches. A Navy band played, and a NJROTC honor guard executed colors in fine style. The finest moment, though, in my opinion and that of everyone I talked to, was Wayne Pickles’ speech. Nobody could have represented the veterans of TG 22.3 more eloquently or gracefully. Two of the German U-505 crewmen took it all in from the front row.  
  Afterwards we went below to enter the new world of the 505. I had seen it under construction, but was still thrilled. Immersed in subtle but dramatic lighting and sound, visitors encounter the old boat restored to her original appearance. Even more importantly, the various displays, using the latest museum technology, will teach new generations what World War II was all about. Keith Gill and the others who worked so hard and carefully for so long have done an extraordinary job. The Museum did a wonderful job of making us all feel very welcome throughout the day.  
  If you weren’t there this June, I hope you’ll find your way there soon. If you were with Captain Dan in the Atlantic that day in 1944, your name is on the wall in Chicago . Go check it out. If you are related to someone who was with Captain Dan, go see your new legacy.  

and Hayward "Tom" Thomas...

  Herb has given you insights into the new "U-505 Experience". It is a MUST SEE for every member of our Association and for everyone interested in the story of the Battle of the Atlantic  
Wall mural in the U-505 exhibit - Museum of Science & Industry - Chicago


  U-505 Exhibit Dedication...  

This page is devoted to what we saw and did in Chicago on June 4 th, 2005 . It is hoped that those of you who were unable to attend will in the following pages be able in some small way to share in the experience of this grand event.

  About 2000 people were in attendance at the dedication ceremony held at the Museum of Science & Industry, including 276 members of Task Group 22.3 Association and accompanying family members and guests. The new U-505 exhibit is an outstanding accomplishment by the Museum staff who worked diligently to produce a world-class exhibit unlike anything similar. If you were not able to attend the ceremony you must take the first opportunity to go to Chicago and visit the U-505 display. It is quite simply - not to be missed!  
  Two U-505 crewmen from Germany were in attendance; Wolfgang Schiller from Waiblingen and Karl Springer from Wiesmoor. They were accompanied by Peter Peterson U-518 crewman who now lives in Toledo , Ohio . Welcome to our brother vets!  
  Don Baker Scuttlebutt Editor...  


At keel depth and bow on.
In her bunker at the
Museum of Science & Industry,Chicago


May 26, 2005

I send greetings to those gathered for the dedication and commissioning ceremony of the U-505 Submarine exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago .

To understand and love our country, we must know its history. By remembering our past, we honor the noble contributions our service men and women have made to the cause of freedom and peace around the world. Our veterans have given us an example of idealism and character that makes every American proud, and we will always be grateful for their selfless dedication. The seizure of the U-505 in 1944 was the first time an enemy ship of war had been captured on the high seas by the U.S. Navy since the War of 1812. Its capture provided the U.S. a wealth of intelligence data and was a shining achievement in the proud history of our Armed Forces. As the only remaining U-boat of its kind in the United States, the U-505 is an important part of our Nation's rich heritage and serves as a reminder of the courage and sacrifice of our veterans to preserve our freedom.

I am grateful to all those who have given their time, talents, and dedication to establish this exhibit and restore the U-505 Submarine. Your work to recognize our military heroes and share the history of the U-505 helps sustain our national memory for future generations.

Laura and I send our best wishes. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America .

U-505 in her new home
  Sub Makes Final Dive to New Home
… adapted from an article written by William Mullen - published in the Chicago Tribune
          The premier artifact at the Museum of Science and Industry, the captured German submarine U-505, resurfaced June 5 in a $35 million subterranean room of its own, going back on public display in dramatic fashion for the first time in three years.  Since it arrived at the mu­seum 51 years ago, 24 million people have toured the 252­foot U-boat. But being stored outdoors through Chicago's cold winters and blistering summers took a serious physical toll, and the submarine was closed in 2002 to prepare for its move to a new underground, climate-controlled home  

        Even regular visitors to the former exhibit are likely to look with new eyes upon the old war trophy, presented now in a 300-foot room built to re­semble a submarine bunker and en­riched with custom-made new features that give its story visceral impact.  "We realized we were going to have to put the U-505 under the protection of a roof, or we were going to lose it," said David Mosena, the museum president.  "The issue was whether it was worth saving by spending so many millions on preserving it. That seemed easy to answer. It has incredible value as a teaching tool for science, history, technology and exploration, and in the new exhibit we wanted to do a better job with that.  But I also wanted it to be a real memorial to the men and women of World War II, not in the staid, somber sense, but to turn it into living history with real people and their stories."

          Well before visitors get to see the sub itself, for example, they can watch a 5-minute play on a life-size set of a World War II naval intelligence war room. It is acted out continuously by ghostly, projected images portraying characters, including the female radio traffic analysts who guided Navy antisubmarine Task Group 22.3 to the U-505 on June 4,1944 .  Another set re-creates the bridge of the USS Guadalcanal, the command center from which Capt. Daniel Gallery directed his task force of destroyers and aircraft, masterminding the sub's capture.   Elsewhere there are moving first-person accounts of the capture recorded by surviving members of the USS Pillsbury's boarding crew that stopped the scuttled sub from sinking. High-tech simulators allow visitors to try to dive and maneuver a sub under water and to use the periscope to fire torpedoes and locate safe havens to surface.  
          The real star of the show, however, remains the U-505 itself. It looked big when it sat outside the museum for 50 years. Now it appears huge as it rests completely enclosed in a great underground vault-like space simulating a submarine bunker.  The new exhibit gives a visual perspective on the vessel few have had before, as the visitor passageway begins high above its wooden deck, accentuating its graceful, clean lines and the scars of war it suffered. Those include numerous holes punched through its superstructure by U.S. Navy gunfire on the day it was captured.  From this high vantage point, visitors follow a ramp that gradually descends along the length of the submarine to the floor below where entrance to the sub's interior can be gained.  
          Several new books in recent years by U-505 crew members and scholars have greatly added to the lore of the colorful sub's troubled war history. The German strategy to win the war, which nearly succeeded, was to flood the Atlantic Ocean with submarines, the famous "wolfpacks", to chase down freighters carrying war supplies to its enemies. The idea was to sink the supplies and starve the enemy into submission. Submarines like the U-505 sank over 600 ships off the east coast of the United States in 1942.  
          The most successful German submarines were the Type IX boats - big, long-range and heavily armed. From the German perspective, the U-505's glory days were in 1942, when it sank eight ships, seven while under the command of Capt. Alex-Olaf Loewe.  After Loewe was taken critically ill he was replaced by the young Capt. Peter Zschech. Zschech oversaw the sinking of one ship in November 1942 but from that date U-505 hit a string of mishaps and never sank another.  On one patrol U-505 was attacked by a British aircraft and suffered tremendous damage, the attacking aircraft being destroyed by the explosion of its own bombs. Unable to submerge, the crew worked frantically for several days to effect repairs which would allow the stricken boat to gain the invisibility afforded by the ocean depths. She was finally able to limp back to her home port in Lorient , France with the distinction of being the most heavily damaged German submarine ever to return to port. French shipyard workers, perhaps intentionally, repeatedly bungled repairs, delaying for months the U-505's return to operational status.  
          "We wanted to re-create what it was like to be a crew member on the U-505 on June 4, 1944 just before they realized they were surrounded," said Kurt Haunfelner, the museum's Vice-President for exhibits and collections, who was charged with staging the new exhibit.  In preparing U-505 to be redisplayed, nothing was done to visibly alter its interior from how it looked in the old exhibit, he said. Additional hidden interior lighting was installed designed to subtly highlight interior gear and spaces that help tell how German sailors lived aboard a submarine. Loud speakers recreate the sounds of life in the crew's cramped quarters, from the sailors' favorite German and French music on record players, the sounds of food preparation in the galley, the diesel engines roar's, and the pings of enemy sonar on the hull.  "German crew members have been generous in making donations to the exhibit," said Haunfelner, referring to more than 200 personal artifacts in exhibit cases installed in the hall around the sub.  
          Because Gallery's men recovered the top-secret Enigma machine and codes on the U-505, the capture was kept secret until the end of the war to conceal the find from German intelligence. The German crew was sent to a secret POW camp in Louisiana , and the sub was eventually reported by the German's as "missing." The crew's families thought the men had perished at sea until after the war.  At least two surviving U-505 crewmen are expected to come to a special June 4 preview tour of the new exhibit. It will be the first viewing, too, for an expected 100 or more surviving American veterans of Task Group 22.3 commanded by Capt. Gallery during the sub's capture.  "They have been coming here for years to hold their annual unit reunion," Haunfelner said of the American vets. "They really are looking forward to seeing how the new exhibit looks"  

U-505 Commissioning Ceremony

Musical Selections
Navy Band Great Lakes
Bill Kurtis
Master of Ceremony
Presentation of the Colors
National Anthem
Members of the Chicago Childrens Choir
Reverend George Knapp
Ret. World War II 4t' Infantry Division Chaplain
David R. Mosena
President & CEO, Museum of Science and Industry
William M. Goodyear
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Museum of Science and Industry
Richard A. Behrenhausen
President 6- CEO, McCormick Tribune Foundation
Captain Mark S. Welsh

Commander, Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center

Mayor Richard M. Daley
City of Chicago
Wayne Pickels
Ret. Second Class Boatswain Mate, U.S.S. Pillsbury
Ceremonial Commissioning
William Howard Taft High School Naval JROTC Academy Cadets
"Anchors Aweigh" March
Ceremony Attendees
Wayne Pickels BM 2/c Ret., member of the initial boarding party from the U.S.S. Pillsbury points to his photo in the U-505 Experience