Fast, fierce, and maneuverable, heavily armed, reliant on teamwork, and built with ingenuity, WWII patrol-torpedo (PT) boats were a perfect naval expression of the American Spirit at war. Today, just four of these combat-veteran PT boats still exist in the United States; of those, only PT-305 is fully restored, complete with original-model engines, and ready to launch—the culmination of a decade-long, $3.3 million restoration effort and more than 100,000 hours of work from our dedicated corps of over 200 volunteers.
The crowning achievement of this record-breaking restoration project will be the return of PT-305 to the water to become a whole new kind of Museum experience. Visitors will be able to stand where WWII servicemembers once stood and walk the deck where the Greatest Generation fought for our freedom. They will also have the thrill-of-a-lifetime opportunity to ride over the waves at top speed, reliving the rush of wind and adrenaline that Navy sailors did when PT boats—the fastest US Navy ships of World War II—first launched.
Sadly, the day is not far off when firsthand contact with these veterans will be lost to us forever. But by preserving significant artifacts such as the vessels on which they served—creating crucial context for the scholarship, personal profiles, and oral histories in our collection—The National WWII Museum is building the framework for tomorrow’s generations to connect with their service and sacrifice.
Help us launch PT-305 and complete this important mission to honor their legacy and preserve the lessons of history for tomorrow’s generations.
Risks and challenges
Moving PT-305 from the Museum’s restoration pavilion to the water will involve removal of a wall of the pavilion, loading the boat onto a custom-built cradle for transport to the dock, and transfer to a barge for passage through the Industrial Canal to Lake Pontchartrain. The engineering and logistical needs are significant, which accounts for the high cost of the transfer. However, detailed plans are in place for each stage, and a team including naval architects, engineers, restoration experts, and Coast Guard advisors are working with Museum staff to ensure that every step of the process occurs as safely and efficiently as possible.
Timing for the move is still approximate. The date for Coast-Guard testing will be weather dependent; it is expected to occur in early 2017 and last for about a month. A custom boathouse has been designed and funded, and will soon be under construction. An exact date for moving the boat to its new home will be determined and shared with our supporters as soon as construction has progressed to a point where a completion date is known.
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