Newsletter Masthead - 34KB

[June 1998]


[August 1998]

Hello all, another busy month with lots to report.

It is with great sorrow that I have to report the recent death of Pat Lambert.  Pat was with us from the very first day on this project.  From the outset, he made sure I knew that he wanted to be totally involved.  He assisted in every way he could, most recently volunteering to spend DAYS researching Higgins plans at the UNO archives.  Most don't know about his service to our country in Korea.  A very few of our group had the honor to have heard him tell his stories. Ask Charlie Rareshide, or Bruce Harris about it sometime.  Our country lost an old soldier on July 22nd 1998, and we are diminished.

Karen Reisch had a stroke of genius this month.  She came up with the idea of christening the boat at the old Higgins Plant on the Industrial Canal (later years Equitable and now Halter Marine). This is the place where all of the PT christenings, launchings, sea trials etc. of WW II Higgins craft took place.  John Dane III (CEO of Halter) has agreed to host the event.  Thanks John, and Halter for the hospitality.

Both sides and the transom are now permanently installed!  We had most of our "regulars" present when the final piece was lifted in position.  This was a real milestone in the construction of this vessel.  Planking continues.  We also blocked up the hull, and removed the majority of the assembly jig in preparation for more interior construction and the eventual rollover of the boat. By the way, some of the interior work that SHOULD take place after rollover is taking place NOW because our crew wants to stay ahead of our schedule.  We recently rigged fluorescent lighting inside the hull to facilitate this.  Lots of thanks go to A. BREIT & CO. for providing the lighting!!

Sheriff Foti came through again with lots of manpower and trucks when we really needed them. Thank you Sir, you have gotten us through some real logistical challenges!

Brad Booth, Ron Maranto, Bill Cassady and Harold Buchler Sr. (the Wednesday crew...) have been pivotal.  Bruce Harris reports that these guys prep work has enabled our production to leap forward.  Brad, Ron, Bill and Harold are setting the table so we can CLEAR it on Saturdays!  Great going guys.

George Benedetto has been doing a heck of a job staying ahead of our fastening requirements. Ever look at the materials list for this boat???  You know all of those PILES of nuts, bolts and screws we are using?  Well they don't get there by magic.  George makes it all happen.  The Cotayas at Fasteners continue to work with George every step of the way too.

By the time you read this, the plank for the skeg should be at our plant.  We will be whittling this big board into shape ASAP.

The lumber for the rollover crate has arrived.  Fabrication of the "crate" will commence shortly.

Now that we know where the christening will take place, I am ready to commission the christening committee.  All of you committee members reading this better get ready, because planning starts NOW.

I still need a volunteer with some engineering background to work with Dave Sintes on the design for the boat cradle.  This is the 3rd call.  C'mon, I know you are out there.  We have to get a start on this soon.

I have produced a new volunteer phone list.  I'll be distributing it soon.

Thanks to the Eisenhower Center for inviting our group to the New Orleans premier of "SAVING PRIVATE RYAN".  Higgins boats are prominently portrayed at the beginning of this movie.  I heard 6 late model fiberglass boats were used for the filming.  Thanks to the Eisenhower folks for including our group on their invitation list.

John Kushner is working diligently on the museum architectural committee to assist in the design of a proper display venue for the boat and the Higgins Collection.

Thanks to Heath Allen and WDSU Channel 6 for the great press coverage this month.

Jerry Strahan and Diana Baker (a Peabody & Emmy award winner...) are making plans for a documentary film which will cover the contributions of Higgins Industries during the war, and also tell the story of how PA33-21 came to be.

A report comes from LCDR Paul Glandt USNR that his Navy Reserve unit has begun the fabrication of our muffler system.  Way to go, NAVY!!!

Finally, many thanks go to Mr. & Mrs. Harold Buchler Sr. for hosting a great party for our crew. We needed some R&R and your gracious hospitality certainly provided it.  Your kindness is appreciated by all volunteers. NOW BACK TO WORK!

PS. Brad, Harold Jr. was trying to collect five bucks from everybody for chow...

[June 1998]

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