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Before I could go much farther, I had to get a good drawing or photograph of a nuclear sub propeller. Once armed with that, I would have something to show around and generate interest. I learned fairly quickly that our best bet would be a propeller from a fast attack sub (hunter-killer, or SSN), as it would be considerably smaller in diameter and lighter than the screw of a boomer (ballistic missile sub, or SSBN). This would help exhibit space and floor weight considerations. I also approached the director of design for our museum, who luckily had a friend in the submarine service and expressed some enthusiasm. By chance, as part of a design project he was seeking large icons for the entrances to our various exhibit halls, and this might be just the thing for the Armed Forces History Hall. However, the size and floor loading (weight) were prohibitive, so I moved on to another option. More on that later.

With the help of our Navy liaison, I obtained contact information for the Navy staff that manages the submarine propeller inventory. After identifying myself, I asked if it might be possible to visit the propeller repository, with an eye to snapping a photograph for exhibit research purposes. They are definitely unaccustomed to inquiries from the public, and inadvertently, I set off an alarm with this request. Only later did I discover why. What I thought was a simple request sent a ripple up the chain of command, causing a series of checks and questions. Nevertheless, the results were pretty interesting.

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