WWII Museum to launch PT 305 in Lake Pontchartrain - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

WWII Museum to launch PT 305 in Lake Pontchartrain

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Next spring you can cruise Lake Pontchartrain in a more than 70-year-old Patrol Torpedo Boat. PT 305 will report for duty to ferry passengers back in time. The World War II Museum is asking for help to complete this special mission.

Curator and restoration manager Tom Czekanski feels like the boat is his baby.

"This is going to be the only combat veteran PT-Boat fully restored with its Packard engine," he said. 

For almost a decade, he and an crew of 200 volunteers have worked to restore the old boat to its glory piece by piece. Czekanski said it has its original generator and bilge pump. 

"We probably have 90 percent of the vessel here," he said.

PT Boats, nicknamed the bucking broncos of World War II, were fast over the waves, their torpedoes essential for knocking out enemy supply ships.

Paul Hilliard is a veteran.

"In the Solomons and Phillipines, they had some PT Boats in the Solomons Islands and Phillipines, they had some PT boats and we'd see them," Hilliard said.

The boat was built in New Orleans decades ago under the leadership of Andrew Higgins and tested in Lake Pontchartrain. Stephen Watson, CEO of the National World War II Museum, said they're about to bring her back to the same waters.

"Next spring PT-305 is open to the public for deck tours and rides," he said.

They're asking for funding help for the venture. Hilliard, age 90, said it's personal  for him.

"I hope to be on the commissioning ride," he said. "It's going to be our largest floating artifact that makes it s way around America and brings the museum to the people.”

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