New Orleans – Built in New Orleans by Higgins Industries in 1943, the patrol-torpedo (PT) boat PT-305 was a critical asset for the US Navy during World War II, serving in European waters from 1944 to the end of the war. Heavily armed, equipped with advanced technology, uniquely maneuverable, often ingeniously modified, and reliant on cooperation and teamwork, PT boats were a perfect naval expression of the American Spirit at war.
But after the war ended, PT-305 found a more modest life as a tour boat, fishing charter, and an oyster boat, before falling on hard times and disrepair. The National World War II Museum, located in New Orleans, found what was left of PT-305 in a drydock in Galveston in 2007, and purchased the vessel with the intention to bring her home to New Orleans, and restore her to original condition.
Over a ten-year period, 200 hundred volunteers spent a total of 105,000 hours to launch PT-305 once again. Starting in April 2017, PT-305 will take passengers for what is being called “the ride of a lifetime” in Lake Pontchartrain. The Reynolds Company is proud to have contributed volunteer time and product donations to help bring PT-305 back to life.
Left-to-right: Volunteers Bill Brock, Jim Buchler (WWII Museum Volunteer), Wayne Welk, Dean Bickerton
The museum had to balance restoring PT-305 as authentically as possible, with making the ship suitable for passenger operations. Passenger safety was top concern, and modern-day controls had to be installed to meet Coast Guard regulations. Below deck, and hidden from sight, is an Ethernet network with a CompactLogix CPU, several Flex IO drops, and Stratix switches, all donated by The Reynolds Company and Rockwell Automation. On the main deck, is a PanelView Plus 6, which provides the crew with real-time status of the engines, and other critical systems.
Caption: Modern PanelView Plus 6 on the main deck of PT-305.
New Orleans team members Dean Bickerton, Bill Brock, and Wayne Welk, volunteered their time to help full-time museum volunteer Jim Buchler, design and configure the control system.
Working on this project was an inspiration to the Reynolds team members. Dean Bickerton, Account Manager, says he was inspired by “the marvel of this awesome machine and all the great men and women who designed it, built it, and used it to protect our Navy.” Bickerton added that he was also inspired by “the volunteers who donated a good portion of their weekends for ten years to rebuild PT-305 piece by piece, rivet by rivet. It has been an honor to work alongside these passionate, tireless, and meticulous workers.”
When in New Orleans, be sure to visit the National World War II Museum. Visitors can tour the deck of PT-305 for $15.00. Those looking for “the ride of a lifetime” can ride PT-305 for $350.00. Learn more at http://pt305.org/, or http://www.nationalww2museum.org/.
Caption: Fully restored PT-305.