December 7, 2013 marks 72 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan. While the Pearl Harbor Memorial is located on the distant island of Oahu, Charm City unassumingly houses the last survivor of Pearl Harbor, the USCGC Taney. All too often forgotten or overlooked during the hectic holiday season, sacrifices made on that infamous day can be honored with a visit to the Inner Harbor.
Nestled in permanent berth between the Pratt Street Power Plant and the University of Maryland Department of Marine Biotechnology at the Columbus Center, is the United States Coast Guard Cutter Taney. Decommissioned on December 7, 1986, the Taney was donated to the City of Baltimore and is now part of the Historic Ships in Baltimore Exhibit, which includes the World War II submarine USS Torsk and the majestic sloop-of-war, the USS Constellation.
The Taney served valiantly on December 7, 1941. Tied up at Pier 6 in Pearl Harbor, the Taney was able to defend against Japanese planes and subsequently commenced anti-submarine patrols in the waters surrounding Oahu. The Taney had an illustrious career through 1986, including serving as command vessel for convoys, evacuating Allied prisoners of war, anti-submarine duties during the Korean War, medical assistance during the Vietnam War and Ocean Weather Patrol during peace-time.
Photographing a vessel with such history can feel like a daunting task. There are hundreds if not thousands of images of this ship. Beyond just a snapshot, focus on details, insignias, textures, all things that show the well-seasoned ship in all its glory. Shoot from a low angle looking up to convey a sense of majesty. Imagine guns blazing defending Pearl Harbor from Japanese attacker planes swooping down from soot-soaked plumes of smoke. The 78 year old Taney now sits in peace, but its bows resonate with the history of war.
Take a moment this weekend to visit the USCGC Taney at Pier 5. At 12p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, a memorial ceremony will be held aboard the Taney. Vice Commandant John Currier will be the guest speaker. The ceremony is free to the public.