Wednesday, December 18, 2013

PT-305, Restoration Under Way

USS PT-105 running at high speed, during
exercises off the U.S. east coast, with
other units of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron
Five, 12 July 1942.
Okay, everybody knows what a PT boat is, right? You did see the movie "PT-109" with Cliff Robertson, yes? Or certainly "They Were Expendable" with John Wayne? If not go get those classic movies today. The "PT" stands for "Patrol Torpedo." Pretty straightforward, it's a patrol boat that is armed with torpedoes. The PT boats were designed similar to pre-WWII motor racing boats, so they were fast. But they were made out of wood, so they were vulnerable. PT boats were used in every theater of WWII, but are particularly well known for their work in the Pacific.

An article in the Times-Picayune came up on my radar this morning about the project to restore PT-305 at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Apparently this project has been ongoing for more than a year. The article has a great video embedded that is certainly worth viewing. The dedication of the skilled volunteers who are putting in their time and effort to extend the life of this boat is amazing. I was so impressed by the article, that I wanted to know more. I found a video on YouTube that has some shots of the boat when it was brought it to the museum. Contrast that image with the shots in the video in the Times article. Those volunteers have come a long way in a year.

PT-305 has basically been in service since it was built at the Higgins Industries shipyard in New Orleans in 1943. The video gives the boats service history, so rather than tell you, I thought it would be easier to just show you:

An amazing project, isn't it? Of course, PT-305 is not the last or only PT boat to be restored. The restoration of PT-658 has already been completed in Portland, Oregon. But once the boats are brought back to their original condition, they have to be maintained, hence there will always be a need for volunteers and donations. Help save our history where you can, when you can, and however you can.

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