Panama Canal

Panama Canal

Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

December 29th, 2008, 3:27 am #1

When watching a program on the History channel today, the program was discussing the building of the Panama Canal; it's importance for general shipping and the absolutely critical need to get Navy ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific (or vice versa) more quickly than going down around the tip of South America. The program went on to give an overview of the politics of the day and the resistance to action by Columbia, the declaration of the Country of Panama.. and the unrest that took place to do so. And all of this back in President Roosevelt's time. I have to wonder if he saw how important it would be 30 or 40 years after his Presidency.

Have any of you been through the canal?
Last edited by SeaBat on December 29th, 2008, 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 17th, 2005, 10:55 pm

December 29th, 2008, 6:29 pm #2

Roosevelt had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy just prior to the Spanish-American War. At that time Secnav was a cabinet position and the Secnav John Long was inactive so T.R. was pretty much in charge of the department. He was aware of the problem of time in Shifting Fleet units from one coast to another. After the explosion of the Battleship MAine the USS OREGON left San Francisco for Cuba, a trip of 66 days including coaling stops.

I would say he understood the value of the Panama Canal both economicaly and militarly. He just did't know when it would be needed, but it was there.

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Joined: November 21st, 2004, 9:28 pm

December 29th, 2008, 8:00 pm #3

President Carter seems to have forgotten the value of the canal as he gave it back to the Panamanians. That is not to say the we acquired it in a fair and square way as President Teddy Roosevelt used gunboat tactics to justify taking the land so he could build it.

It is strategic but I am not sure if the USS Reagan can fit through it as it's maiden voyage to it's home port in San Diego went the long way around.

I know they are building some new locks so bigger ships can fit through but am not sure of when they will be done. Does anyone know?
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Joined: December 1st, 2005, 7:01 pm

December 29th, 2008, 8:33 pm #4

Ken - Cut and paste this web: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html.

There are camera shots of the live canal traffic and at the top of the page, there is a click on for the expansion program.
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Joined: September 1st, 2005, 8:06 pm

December 30th, 2008, 12:33 am #5

President Carter seems to have forgotten the value of the canal as he gave it back to the Panamanians. That is not to say the we acquired it in a fair and square way as President Teddy Roosevelt used gunboat tactics to justify taking the land so he could build it.

It is strategic but I am not sure if the USS Reagan can fit through it as it's maiden voyage to it's home port in San Diego went the long way around.

I know they are building some new locks so bigger ships can fit through but am not sure of when they will be done. Does anyone know?
One interesting thing about the canal is that it does not run East and West. I had the great experience of being the relay Officer for the Canal Pilot for steering and engine orders. All down through the voice tube when we went through with LST 825 in June of 63. He wanted all ahead slow, and I said all ahead 1/3. The Capt. told me to relay the orders as the Pilot gave them to me. The pilot quickly told the Capt. to leave me alone - I knew the proper ship commands; he did not! Always wanted to go again and still hope to get the chance, because it is an awsome experience. However, a cruise ship comes to mind! Capt. 325
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

December 30th, 2008, 3:47 am #6

I bet those cruise ship line handlers have nothing on the 325's.... smile...

I'm sure Lois would prefer you take the cruise ship route, however! She'd get to be there to enjoy a cruise WITH you!
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Joined: December 9th, 2004, 6:55 am

December 30th, 2008, 7:10 am #7

One interesting thing about the canal is that it does not run East and West. I had the great experience of being the relay Officer for the Canal Pilot for steering and engine orders. All down through the voice tube when we went through with LST 825 in June of 63. He wanted all ahead slow, and I said all ahead 1/3. The Capt. told me to relay the orders as the Pilot gave them to me. The pilot quickly told the Capt. to leave me alone - I knew the proper ship commands; he did not! Always wanted to go again and still hope to get the chance, because it is an awsome experience. However, a cruise ship comes to mind! Capt. 325
You've obviously looked at the world atlas I gave you. And yes, when you enter from the Pacific side and exit on the Atlantic side, you're further west than when you started. Look on your globe, Seabat. I know you're getting perplexed .
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Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

December 31st, 2008, 6:58 pm #8

When watching a program on the History channel today, the program was discussing the building of the Panama Canal; it's importance for general shipping and the absolutely critical need to get Navy ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific (or vice versa) more quickly than going down around the tip of South America. The program went on to give an overview of the politics of the day and the resistance to action by Columbia, the declaration of the Country of Panama.. and the unrest that took place to do so. And all of this back in President Roosevelt's time. I have to wonder if he saw how important it would be 30 or 40 years after his Presidency.

Have any of you been through the canal?
Our ship went through the canal going from Philly ship yards to our home port in Long Beach.
I remember it was very hot there. One benefit was the fresh water. We turned on the water washdown sprinklers to give the exterior a good cleaning while in the canal.

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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

January 1st, 2009, 11:29 pm #9

Those Chief Bo'sun Mates never let the crew stand idle, do they Bob?



Seriously, while you waited for water to rise or lower, the time was put to good use for jobs that needed to be done.



Although safety was of prime importance, the Sailors I know (all of you) never missed an opportunity for some fun if no one was looking...
Last edited by SeaBat on January 1st, 2009, 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

January 2nd, 2009, 10:20 pm #10

While going through the Rodman Locks we were provided with entertainment from the locals.
I will tell you next time I see you.
I am glad we got the opportunity to go through the Canal.
Not many people can brag about that to their grand kids.

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