Much like in Muskogee, Oklahoma, one would not expect to find a submarine museum ship in Little Rock, Arkansas. Beginning in 1963, though, the US Army Corps of Engineers embarked on a project that opened the Arkansas River in 1971 to commercial traffic from Tulsa, Oklahoma to its confluence with the Mississippi. Thus arose the opportunity for museum ships such as the USS Batfish in Muskogee and the USS Razorback in Little Rock to be created.
The Razorback has the unique distinction of being one of the longest serving submarines in the world. The boat served from 1944 to 1970 with the US Navy and from 1971 to 2001 with the Turkish Navy. Commissioned in April 1944, the Razorback was not named after the University of Arkansas’ mascot, but rather a species of whale. During her 5 war patrols, the sub sank over half a dozen Japanese merchant and warships, rescued multiple Allied airmen, participated in the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay and earned 5 battle stars.
Following the war, the Razorback continued her service and received upgrades from 1952 to 1954 based on knowledge derived from captured Nazi U-boats. The boat patrolled the waters of the South China Sea during the Vietnam War and earned an additional 4 battle stars before being decommissioned in 1970. Following decommissioning, the Razorback was transferred to the Turkish Navy where she was renamed TCG Muratreis.
In 2001, the boat was sold to the city of North Little Rock and opened as a museum ship at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. If visiting, also be sure to take a stroll across the Big Dam Bridge, the longest pedestrian bridge in the US never having been open to vehicle traffic. Today the USS Razorback stands as a silent sentinel guarding Little Rock and the Arkansas River.