She's About to Get Wet Again...

parallel

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Workers began removing the huge glass wall of the National World War II Museum's Restoration Pavilion, the first step to take PT 305 back to the water.

Project Manager Bruce Harris said there were no words to explain his excitement.

Volunteers have been working on the boat, saying they wanted to give back to veterans.

"Just to repay the veterans who of World War II," explained volunteer Tim Divincenti.

PT 305 was built in New Orleans at Higgins Industries and launched in Lake Pontchartrain in 1943. The boat was deployed to the Mediterranean and sailors painted two small Swastikas after they sank two enemy craft.

"She conducted 77 offensive patrols on occupied coastline," said National World War II Museum Historian Josh Schick. "She participated in two major invasions. She inserted and picked up OSS Operatives, she escorted convoys, she attacked German shipping."

Much of the original vessel remains.

"These panels are original, the bulkheads are original, we'll be able to restore all this," said Project Manager George Benedetto in 2009 as he looked through the nearly ruined boat.

After World War II, PT 305 became a tour boat, an oyster boat, and was rotting away when museum volunteers began a $3 million restoration in 2009.

Over the last seven years, a series of Action Reports aired on the boat, and Eyewitness News viewers from across the area have made donations that have made this restoration possible. Now that the boat is about to launch, that's expensive, and she's expensive to run.

"The cranes, and everything else," explained Harris. "Even gas."

Friday PT 305 will be moved out of the pavilion during a big party, and Saturday moved to the river, to be towed by barge to the lake. In April, they plan to carry passengers on high speed rides.

"It gets me giddy even thinking about it," Josh Schick said with a delighted laugh.
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UPDATED: Today this happened.

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PT-305 Move Video 1

PT-305 Move Video 2

PT-305 Move Video 3

PT-305 Move Video 4

PT-305 Lift Onto Barge on the Mississippi River
 

Gunz

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Wow. Very cool. Can't wait to see video of the "shake-down" cruise on the lake. :thumbsup:
 

parallel

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Rafting down the river like ol' Huck Finn...

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Down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, through Lake Borgne and the Rigolets to Lake Pontchartrain and into the Industrial Canal for Coast Guard testing. After that she'll go to the purpose built boathouse on Lake Pontchartrain where the public will be able to take deck tours and even book rides of the boat on the lake.
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The original crew of PT-305. There are still a couple of men who crewed this boat in WWII... I can't wait until these heroes get to feel the wind in their faces while underway aboard their old boat again.
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Gunz

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What a beautiful job.

These boats used to charge out at Japanese warships. Their speed and agility made them hard to hit. They'd get within torpedo range of a Japanese battleship or cruiser, launch their fish and spin around and dodge back. Their attacks could disrupt the enemy formation.

What a thrill it will be for those surviving crew members to feel the wind on their faces and the thrum of those engines beneath their feet again!

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@parallel , I hope you get one of the first rides and if you do, I hope you'll take pics and share them with us.
 

SpongeBob*24

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This is not what I was expecting.......:-"


The WWII Museum is an amazing place to go. If I could do it all over, I'd set aside 2-3 full days....not 3 hours.
Can't wait to see any updates to this story, thanks @parallel :thumbsup:
 

parallel

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What a beautiful job.

These boats used to charge out at Japanese warships. Their speed and agility made them hard to hit. They'd get within torpedo range of a Japanese battleship or cruiser, launch their fish and spin around and dodge back. Their attacks could disrupt the enemy formation.

What a thrill it will be for those surviving crew members to feel the wind on their faces and the thrum of those engines beneath their feet again!

@parallel , I hope you get one of the first rides and if you do, I hope you'll take pics and share them with us.
This particular boat served in the Mediterranean and sank Nazi shipping. The reason she wasn't burned on the beach like most of the other PT boats were is that she was shipped back to the states for refit in preparation of joining the fight in the Pacific theater. The war ended as she was being refitted.

I am scheduled to ride her on April 1st... I intend to get a Gopro Hero so I can video.

Another photo from a better vantage point.
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DC

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There has been one of these PTs sitting at a dock in LB. I will try to get some pics. These are the P-51s of WWII boats. My favs both.

Every time I see one the McHales Navy theme song runs in my brain.
 

Gunz

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I think $350 for a 90-minute ride is reasonable considering the history and the work that went into this.

I watched They Were Expendable a few days ago on Turner Classic Movies. It's a John Ford pic about a PT boat squadron in the Philippines just before and during the Japanese invasion. Aside from John Wayne, Ward Bond and some of Ford's regulars, it starred Robert Montgomery as the squadron skipper. Montgomery had been a volunteer ambulance driver in France from 1939 until Dunkirk...and finished the war as a Navy Lt Cmdr on a destroyer. One of the cool things about the movie is they used Elco PT boats still in commission and it's great seeing the whole squadron running through maneuvers and battle scenes throughout the movie.

Montgomery's character is based on that of John Bulkeley, the PT boat skipper and MOH recipient who smuggled MacArthur out of the Philippines.

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81FO

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I remember watching that movie many moons ago, it came on a local UHF station, back when TV's still had dials for channel selection...

Good movie, would like to watch it again.
 

81FO

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Hell, that is in my neck o' tbe woods.

Have been to the museum several times. If memeory serves me correctly 3/23 HQ used to be next to the hanger that was used during the war to house some of the boats...
 
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