Sea History 099 - Winter 2001-2002

Page 42


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AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE MUSEUM N EWS L IBERTY SHIP ARRlVES AT KINGS POINT: T he Am erican M erchant Marine Museum is pleased ro anno unce that the 17' m odel of the Liberty ship SS Zebulon Pike is now berthed in "O " D eck in Delano H all . T he model com es to Kings Po int as a gift of its builder, the la te Wally Leiper, KP '42, with the assistan ce of Museum Board member Neil E. Jon es . Liberty sh ips served as Am erica's respo nse to the eno rmous losses suffe red by Allied shipping durin g the first rwo yea rs of Wo rld War II. Although Franklin Roosevelt referred to them as "dreadful looking objects," they played a critical ro le in winning the war. Emerging fro m shipyards on both coasts, Libertys ushered in revolutionary tech n iques in shipbuilding, including prefabri cation and welding; they averaged 10,000 tons with a top speed ofaround 11 kno ts. Originally esti m ated to take 110 days to build, shipyards soon d ropped the average to under 40 days; in late 1942, a Liberty ship was built in less than 5 days. By the end of the war, shi pya rds had co nstructed 2,75 1 Liber ty ships, makin g it one of the largest classes of m erchant vessels. T hey served in all theaters of WWII, but are best remembered for their du ty in the North Atlantic convoys where their crews braved U- boat- in fes ted wa ters, bitrer cold and violent wea ther to transport sup plies to Alli ed rroo ps. The m odel of the no ted SS Z ebulon Pike occup ies a place of hon or. Buil t enirely by hand, the model is rhe lasting legacy of Kings Point alum nus and merchant marine veteran W ally Leiper. In craftin g the ship , Leiper rook special no tice of minute details and even m ade several model sailors, who m an vario us pan s of the vessel. T he model, which until recen tly had been used by the American M erchant M arine Ve terans fo r public events, has been featured in several television stories in the greater Denver area. T his new acquisition- a rem inder of th e perseverance and heroism ofAmerican merchant m arinersis well worch a visit to D elano Hall. -KENNEDY R. HICKMAN with L! NOJA fASBAC H , Executive D irector AMMM, USMMA, Kings Point NY 11024; 5 16 113-55 15; e- m ail: ammmuseum


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