PT-305 Turns 73 on March 30, 2016
In shipbuilding traditions, a ship’s life begins on the date its keel, the vessel’s foundation, is laid. On March 30, 1943, our vessel PT-305 came into existence and began her life at the City Park Plant of Higgins Industries in New Orleans with the laying of her keel.
Launched just two months later on May 27, 1943 and completed at the Industrial Canal Plant on December 8, 1943, PT-305 was assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 22 (Ron 22) to defend in the Mediterranean. Operating in the Mediterranean along the coast of Southern France and Northern Italy, with Ron 22, PT-305 participated in the Invasion of Elba on June 18, 1944 and Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France on August 15, 1944.
During the 14 months that PT-305 was deployed in the Mediterranean, she conducted more than 77 offensive patrols and operations, fought in 11 separate actions and sank three German ships. More importantly, she was the home to 44 officers and enlisted men where she served as the backdrop for moving personal stories of war, including the trials of cramped quarters, the terrifying thrill of combat, and humorous tales of shore-leave escapades.
Following her wartime service, PT-305 served as a New York tour boat, a fishing charter, and an oyster boat, undergoing modifications along the way: new, less-costly engines; several new paint jobs; and a dramatic reduction in length by 13 feet.
Throughout the past decade, a dedicated crew of volunteers has been restoring PT-305 back to her wartime glory adding back the 13 feet to her keel and original Packard Engines. In October 2010, the volunteer crew laid the missing piece of PT-305’s keel, marking the start of her renewed life as the world’s only fully restored and operational combat veteran Patrol Torpedo boat.
Now at 73 years old, PT-305 is ready to hit the water once again. Help us return her to her home waters of Lake Pontchartrain, where she was originally tested for combat readiness by Higgins Industries more than 70 years ago.