Liv­ing His­tory

A WORLD WAR II PT BOAT RIDES AGAIN IN NEW OR­LEANS, AND SO CAN YOU.

Power & Motor Yacht - - LOGBOOK - —Ja­son Y. Wood

When I first heard the Na­tional World War II Mu­seum in New Or­leans was restor­ing an ac­tual World War II com­bat-vet­eran PT boat, I sprang into ac­tion—I made a phone call.

The news struck a chord with me be­cause these wooden boats (can’t re­ally in good con­science call them war­ships) were a per­sonal way­point as I grew up. The sto­ries about PT boats fired my imag­i­na­tion and in­ter­est in his­tory, where guys on boats were do­ing their part in the war ef­fort—as op­posed to Navy ships that re­ally were as for­eign and un­know­able to my young mind as Ro­man gal­leys, me­dieval cas­tles, or sword-swing­ing knights on horse­back. I felt a kin­ship with those crews as I read about Jack Kennedy and PT 109 or watched the Duke in They Were Ex­pend­able, and, yes, even Ernest Borg­nine in McHale’s Navy.

Fast for­ward to March on the shores of Lake Pontchar­train, when it all came rush­ing back as I stood on the deck of PT 305 (known as U.S.S. Sud­den Jerk to her crew, the rea­son for which would be­come ap­par­ent on our tour of the lake at 26 knots). She puffed smoke from her side ex­hausts, as the rum­ble of three idling Packard V-12 en­gines filled her newly com­pleted boathouse at Lakeshore Land­ing ma­rina. This is a restora­tion, not a re­fit. The boat is as close to orig­i­nal as they could get it, with just a Ray­ma­rine gS se­ries dis­play at the helm, a genset, and seats (con­cealed in deck boxes) and a rail around the deck to help keep ev­ery­one on board and safe. Be­cause it’s not just for dig­ni­taries: Vis­i­tors can take rides, too ($350; pt305.org). Get your own feel for his­tory and get on board. And keep an eye out for my full re­port in an up­com­ing is­sue.

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