The Latest: Engines roar as PT boat back on home water
Posted March 16
NEW ORLEANS — The Latest on restored PT boat (all times local):
The world's only fully restored combat veteran PT boat has been cruising over the lake where it was tested 73 years ago, with its bow high and a rooster-tail of spray rising in its wake.
Josh Schick, historian for the National World War II Museum's restoration project, said Thursday that he hadn't realized how high the plume would rise.
He had to shout to be heard over the growl of three 1,500-horsepower diesel engines.
The PT-305, with the name U.S.S. Sudden Jerk in orange letters on its gray-blue bow, was moving over the course on which the Higgins Industries boat yard tested it in 1943 and 1944.
Museum curator Tom Czekanski (chuh-KAN-skee) said he doesn't know how many trips it would take before it stopped being exciting.
A ride on the only fully restored combat veteran PT boat ended with an inadvertent illustration of how the U.S.S. Sudden Jerk got its name.
The 78-foot PT-305 was moving slowly but bumped the end of its dock, knocking passengers around a bit.
One of the display panels on the wall of the corrugated metal boathouse quotes a member of the first crew describing how the boat got the name. He said the crew was backing the boat up to park it, and it hit the dock.
Captain George Benedetto said Thursday that the port engine had gotten stuck on forward.
Before the trip, Benedetto compared the boat to a thoroughbred horse, saying, "She likes to run."
A PT boat that sank three vessels in World War II and has since been painstakingly restored is back on a waterway near New Orleans, where it was built and tested.
The National World War II Museum says PT-305 is the nation's only fully restored combat veteran patrol torpedo boat. Its new boathouse holds exhibits about PT boats and the history of the U.S. Navy's famed attack vessel.
Project historian Josh Schick says he's ridden just once aboard the boat as it moved slowly in a marina at Lake Pontchartrain. He's looking forward to his first full ride Thursday.
He says one surviving crewman and one from a sister boat will attend the PT-305's dedication ceremony March 25. It opens April 1 for $15 tours and $350 rides.