Action Report: Volunteers needed to help restore World War II PT boat

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 20, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 20 at 6:40 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS - Volunteers at the National World War II Museum spent four years restoring Motor Torpedo Boat PT-305. Built at Higgins Industries in New Orleans in 1943, PT-305 saw action in the Mediterranean during World War II.

"There's an awful lot lot of hand work involved in this, but the day goes by fast," said PT 305 Volunteer Paul Nelson. "We're having a lot of fun."

"The bow was the enlisted quarters, so you had eight crewmen in the enlisted quarters in the bow,"  explained PT 305 Project Leader George Benedetto. "Just behind them was the officers' quarters, and a complement of two officers."

The next step is to rivet each one of the planks into place, and then put caulk between them for seaworthiness. That's where they need volunteers, lots of them.

"I have 39,000 rivets, five miles of caulk, and we need about 40 guys to put it all together," said PT 305 Project Manager Bruce Harris.

"We're gonna have a lot of costs," added World War II Museum Curator Tom Czekanski. "Costs for moving, costs for fuel, and you know a sponsor for that would be outstanding."

"The area we're standing in is terrific, is 70 percent original, of this area that we're standing on," pointed out Benedetto. "These members are original, these bulkheads are original, our side frames are original."

When PT 305 is fully restored in about a year and a half, she'll be launched and it won't just be ceremonial, the boat will be moving fast.

"Very, I don't even want to think about going that fast on a boat," grinned Czekanski.

Volunteers can sign up at the National World War Two Museum's Restoration Pavilion on Saturdays, or call the Museum at 528-1944.

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