Muskogee War Memorial and the USS Batfish

This is one of those happy accidents that you have to be ready for when traveling. For our trip to Oklahoma, I wanted my kids to learn about the different Native American tribes. After some reading and research, I decided on the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee. In hindsight, I should have focused on the Cherokee in Tahlequah. The Five Civilized Tribes Museum consists entirely of “Andrew Jackson moved us here, here’s some art.” The art was good but unsatisfying for the left-brains of the family.

A pamphlet stand for area attractions included one for the USS Batfish. A submarine in land-locked Oklahoma? This deserved further investigation.

The USS Batfish is a Balao-class submarine.


Forward torpedo bay and sleeping quarters for 16.

Galley for the enlisted.

Engine room.

The Batfish earned the Presidential Unit Citation and 9 battle stars, and her captain, Commander John Fyfe was awarded the Navy Cross…

after sinking three Japanese submarines in 76 hours.

Her proud crew.

After this ship was struck from the Naval Vessel Register, a Sturgeon-class submarine carried the name and the original ship’s bell from 1972 to 1999. After that sub was also struck, the bell came to Muskogee.

Outside are more memorials, including one moved from Katy Depot.

Multiple memorials of ships on eternal patrol.

Closer detail.

A larger memorial for the USS Shark, another Balao-class, sunk in 1944.

If my daughter took a better picture, I’ll swap this one out. We really didn’t know what we were looking at until we asked the museum employee inside. This is part of the mast recovered from the USS Oklahoma, sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I wrote down what this was, but I’ll be durned if I can find it. XBrad?

This certainly made the drive worthwhile, though we’re still ignorant of Native American history. Better luck next time.

7 thoughts on “Muskogee War Memorial and the USS Batfish”

  1. I wonder when they got that piece of the mast? Rumor has it that there’s a strictly off limits area at Pearl Harbor that received much of the salvage from the ships. Including tripod masts etc. no idea if true.

    1. There’s is (or was) a goodly portion of the Arizona’s masts and superstructure on the west side of the harbor. I’ll see if I can find some pics.

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