PT Boat Tour!

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Who doesn’t want to tour a PT boat?  When I learned that we could take a tour of a PT boat as part of the World War II museum in New Orleans, I was hooked.  Keith Darcy, the Public Relations Manager arranged a tour for Keith and I so I could cover this wonderful boat for my blog and Senior News & Times, an over 50 publication I write for.  Before our PT boat experience, we arrived in New Orleans  with our friends the Elliotts.  We stayed downtown just around the corner from the amazing National World War II Museum.  We spent the day going through the museum which covers both the Pacific and the European theaters of the War.  I know I studied the War in school, but I think I forgot much more than I ever learned.  

One new topic I learned during my visit to New Orleans was about  Andrew Jackson Higgins’s. In all honesty before visiting this museum and talking with Keith and the Elliotts I really didn’t know who Higgins was or about his many accomplishments. The visit and knowledge of Higgins was especially fitting because his operations were set here in New Orleans and the PT boat we toured on Wednesday was even built here in the city.  While it can’t be said that Higgins, or any other individual single-handedly won the war, he certainly made a difference with the boats he created.  Author Jerry E. Strahan wrote a biography about Higgins titled, Andrew Jackson Higgins And the Boats That Won World War II.

Higgins is credited with creating two types of military craft, the high-speed PT boats which carried anti-aircraft machine guns, etc and the landing craft boats that were so important at the D-Day invasion.  I learned that PT stands for Patrol-torpedo boats and they are defined as, “the perfect expression of the American Spirit at war. Swift and highly maneuverable, heavily armed, equipped with advanced technology—and often ingeniously modified—the boats required teamwork and raw courage. And they proved a deadly asset.”

The boat that we toured was a ten year restoration project and it is only one of two existing PT boats that you can take a ride on. We had to be on the road so we missed the boat ride that is offered on the weekend, but the boat tour was awesome. I loved the fact that beside the boat they had pictures of the crew so you could see the men that had worked the boat back when.  There is a picture taken when they were off duty and one when they were on duty, I love the contrast.  Our guide shared the history of the boat, and pointed out how the ammunition worked and how the small crew used the guns effectively. The PT-305 was built by Higgins Industries in New Orleans. The PT-305 served in the Mediterranean during World War II, and then had a long postwar career as a workboat.

According to the website, “After nearly a decade of restoration, PT-305 has returned to the waters where she was tested before shipping off to war. Based at a custom-built boathouse at Lakeshore Landing, PT-305 offers the public thrilling rides and fascinating deck tours. She will serve as a living history lesson, showcasing wartime technology, Home Front ingenuity, and the stories of the brave men who served with her.”

The boat that we toured was a ten year restoration project and it is only one of two existing PT boats that you can take a ride on. We had to be on the road so we missed the boat ride that is offered on the weekend, but the boat tour was awesome.

Our guide shared the history of the boat, and pointed out how the ammunition worked and how the small crew used the guns effectively. The PT-305 was built by Higgins Industries in New Orleans. The PT-305 served in the Mediterranean during World War II, and then had a long postwar career as a work boat. According to the website, “After nearly a decade of restoration, PT-305 has returned to the waters where she was tested before shipping off to war. Based at a custom-built boathouse at Lakeshore Landing, PT-305 offers the public thrilling rides and fascinating deck tours. She will serve as a living history lesson, showcasing wartime technology, Home Front ingenuity, and the stories of the brave men who served with her.”

We loved the opportunity to experience the PT boat tour where we learned about these fast and maneuverable, patrol-torpedo boats that were a unique and essential tool for US naval forces during World War II. The combination of National WWII Museum and the PT boat tour offered a reminder of the sacrifices men and women both in the service and on the home front made to secure our freedom. This Memorial Day, I will remember them and thank them for their service. For more information, log onto https://www.nationalww2museum.org/.