Great Lakes Naval Museum, Northern Chicago


While attending my daughter’s Navy boot camp graduation, I decided to investigate this little museum, because it was very close, right on the base. There I found this ginormous naval cannon sitting in front of the entrance. What calibre did it fire?
For those of you who are into politics, note John McCain’s name on the plane.


Really great photos! That gun is awesome and I’d love to see its ammunition. The plane with John McCain’s name is also bad as! I like seeing the Aircraft Carrier’s name on his plan which is now an artificial reef off the North Florida coastline.

PS: Congrats on your daughters graduation!


Years ago a fellow told me that there was a 16inch gun BRASS cartridge case at that museum. I have never been able to find anything about such a case. Did you see one ?


Sorry, no ammo on display. I think this bell is the only brass item displayed.


For the record, the Senator’s name is spelled McCain, I believe. Hard to read that in the picture. The USS Oriskany was stationed for years (home port) at Alameda Naval Station, right across the bay from where I live, as I recall. I knew that they sank her off of Florida as an artificial reef. Could be worse fates for a U.S. Naval Ship!


Thanks, John! I just corrected the spelling of his name. There was a documentary on the preparation and sinking of that Aircraft Carrier, quite an undertaking.



I’ll bet Great Lakes has changed a little since I was there in the 1950s.

I believe that plane is a mock-up photo-op. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s an A4 Skyhawk, and may have been flown by McCain, but it certainly isn’t the one he flew off the Oriskany. That one was shot down. Younger USN vets can correct me if I’m wrong, but it would have been painted a light gray. Also, planes were usually assigned to an air wing and squadron and not to a ship, so you would not find the ship’s name painted on the fuselage. And finally, in a combat area I don’t think the pilot would appreciate his name and rank being painted on the plane.




That is a 5"/54 Mk 42 Gun Mount. The fiberglass shield is gone and the barrel appears to be abbreviated. It, more than likely, was the one used for training in the GM ‘A’ School. I was there in 2001 and noted that the Mk 42 was gone. It was made obsolete by the Mk 45, which is an unmanned mount.


Roundsworth, you beat me to the draw. I recall seeing that gun near the GM school when I was in BE&E there. At least one like it.

Ray, I think they did put the name of the carrier on planes, at least in the 70’s. We have them on CV-10 with names on them and I believe they went into combat with the pilot and crewman’s name on them. This chunk came off of an F-14 in 1978 from the Kitty Hawk and on the other side, it is so printed.

Found this in a Cruise Book Ray. You can clearly see the name.


Chief - I stand corrected. It must be a later thing.

I’ll admit that I’m a little biased when it comes to John McCain and a little PO’d when I saw the photo of the Skyhawk with his name on it. There were other Skyhawk pilots operating off the Oriskany who deserve more attention than he gets, such as MOH winner Vice Admiral James Stockdale. But, that’s the way the celebrity ball bounces. I can’t wait to see Sen McCain on Dancing With The Stars.