By Judy Lazarus, Naval Station Great Lakes Public Affairs
GREAT LAKES, Ill (NNS) -- Forty nine volunteer chief selectees completed training to serve, for the second year in a row, as tour guides at the Museum of Science and Industry for the USO U-505 Naval History Program, presented along with the Pritzker Military Library and the museum, Sept. 4-8.
The selectees received training Aug. 9-10. about the history and artifacts relating to the U-505, the only German U-boat captured during World War II.
U.S. submariner veterans also provided their knowledge and experience during the two-day training.
The selectees will volunteer at the exhibit to answer questions and discuss submarine-related artifacts with museum guests.
Located in a 35,000-square-foot exhibit at the museum, the U-boat serves as a national war memorial for those who lost their lives in the two battles of the Atlantic during World War I and II.
"This is an outstanding program on many fronts," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (FMF/SS/SW) Roger Buck, senior enlisted leader, director Fleet Medicine, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. "The new selects learn about the heroic capture and transport of the U-505 and get to work alongside submarine veterans and share their new knowledge with museum guests. This program has expanded Navy/CPO presence in Chicago and educated thousands of civilians on naval history and the role/history of CPOs," the senior chief said.
Command Master Chief Leon Walker, Naval Station Great Lakes, noted that the volunteers are an example of, "chief selects giving back what has been given to them."
"Having an opportunity to be even a small part of the career development path for Navy chief selects is truly an honor for the USO of Illinois," said USO President and Chief Operating Officer Alison Ruble. "We are thrilled to offer this program, now in its second year, and to continue to support our Navy chief petty officers while fostering connections to naval heritage through the legacy of the U-505 submarine."
Chief selectee participants said they look forward to serving as museum guides.
"I am personally very excited to represent the U-505 and share its experience with the public," said Chief Machinery Repairman (select) Kelly Morrow, Machinery Repairman Strand School course supervisor. "Heritage is everything to me, and being able to actually relive the stories is an honor," said the Los Angeles, Calif. native who has been in the Navy 19 years.
"Volunteering at the U-505 exhibit in the Museum of Science and Industry is an honor that I take very seriously," said Chief Hull Technician (select) Nolan Nichols, from Monroe City, Mo. "Representing the Navy and chiefs mess, in front of thousands of people at one of the most important naval heritage exhibits in the area, is going to be one of the highlights of my induction that I will remember for the rest of my life.
"Now that I have learned about what happened with the capture of the U-505, I will take the lessons of honor, courage, and commitment that those U.S. Sailors showed and instill those same core values in Sailors in today's Navy," said Nolan, who has been in the Navy for almost eight years.
"Overall, the U-505 has been a great experience. I would recommend that anyone who gets the chance make a trip down to Chicago to see the exhibit and learn the story behind the exhibit for themselves."
"In my lifetime, I can recall going to museums and wishing I had a guide," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (select) Shante Morris. "Having someone to explain the artifacts or the significance of a time period, in layman's terms, would have made my experience more enlightening. So when the opportunity arose to be a volunteer at the museum I was elated.
"The museum was captivating; the atmosphere was exciting for kids and adults alike," said Morris, who noted the friendliness of the other chief selectee volunteers. "They were genuine about their interactions with the visitors and were excited the entire time I visited. I expect to be infected by that excitement and help carry out the museum's mission and vision.
"I love interacting with people, so this is going to be an awesome experience," said the Atlanta, Ga. native who has been in the Navy close to 15 years. "Not many people are afforded the opportunity to make a difference in a young person's life and I am honored that they are entrusting me to do so."