Newsletter Masthead - 34KB

[April 1999]


[June 1999]

I thought I'd lead off this month's newsletter with a current picture of the boat.  As you can see, it is nearing completion RAPIDLY!

May 1999 - 56KB

Our accomplishments this month have been:

Aubrey Adams built the BEST deck box you have ever seen!  You can see it in the background.  I talked about this before, but the box will be a temporary installation in the boat during sea trials.  It will serve as stowage for life jackets, fenders, mooring lines, ice boxes and lunch pails while the boat is underway for sea trials this summer.  It will also give us a great place to SIT!  The box comes out when the boat gets displayed.

Aubrey is also fabricating the engine cover.  The cover is a very complicated framework of mahogany which will be covered in marine plywood.  With regard to the deck box and the engine cover, you couldn't find better cabinet making anywhere.  Aubrey Adams (as Jim Weller says) is a surgeon with wood!  Fantastic work Aubrey!  By the way, Aubrey's father worked at Higgins for years, including during the war.

Many thanks go to Paxton Lumber Company of New Orleans for donating the materials Aubrey used to construct the deck box.  Thanks for the assist Paxton Lumber!

By the way, Tommy Falcon (BM1 Falcon, USCGR) has taken the lead in helping us locate the equipment and deck gear we need for the boat.  Tommy is chipping away at it as this is written. We appreciate your efforts Tom!

We installed the deck cleats.  You can clearly see them installed along the starboard side of the boat in the picture.  They've been painted Navy gray since the photo was taken.

The coamings and coaming brackets are installed permanently.  The coamings are those two "splash boards" running fore and aft along the decks on each side of the boat.  They look easy to install, but the decks have camber (slope) so those brackets are a bear to get just right! Beautiful work from our crew on this installation.

The towing eyes are permanently installed.  You can see the starboard eye at the lower right hand corner of the hull.  These are there in case WE need to be towed.  We'll have a bridle made up the deck case we need it...probably never will...but you never know.

The steering system is installed.  Look closely behind the cargo bay bulkhead, over on the port side and you can see the helm (steering wheel).  The cable is run through all of the sheaves (pulleys) and to the rudder quadrant.  We went with 6x42 stainless wire rope instead of "galvanized improved plow steel wire".  This steering installation is a "forever" job.  We wanted to be double darn sure that there is never a problem with steering on this boat.  Earl Fredricks was instrumental in locating the dozens of pieces parts to put our steering system together.  We are taking care of final adjustments to the cable run right now!  The wooden stand that houses the telescopic steering system is fabricated and installed as well.  Ray Asprion built the stand. Great work Ray!

The battery box is built and installed.  Jefferson Battery pledged the use of a battery to us as well. Thanks Jefferson!  We will be calling for that battery very soon.

Every bit of bilge piping is now in and permanently installed.  George Benedetto and Earl Fredricks were the work horses of this complicated system. We have to remember Jimmy Dubuisson too.  Jimmy installed the two backup electric bilge pumps and their piping systems. Great work from the bilge crew, George, Earl and Jimmy!

The exhaust system is installed.  What a deal this system was.  Joey Madere has been head down on mufflers and exhaust piping for weeks now.  Lotsa angles and brackets and of course two mufflers.  All of this stuff is HEAVY folks.  Our forward muffler weighs over 100 pounds! Remember too that the exhaust penetrates one bulkhead and of course the transom.  This was a very complicated system, so you know we had Joey Madere in charge of it!  We are all very happy to have this job done.  Ed Daroca and Al Haydel had MORE work to do in that fuel tank compartment to accommodate the after muffler.  You really ought to look at that little compartment sometime.  Talk about jammed with equipment!

While we are talking about that fuel tank compartment, there is one more piece of gear to be shoe-horned in there:  The Magnesyn Electronic Compass System!  This complicated system is essentially a radio transmitter which indicated the position of the boat to the mother ship. We found an original Magnesyn unit last year and we are going to install it very soon.  The only component we couldn't find was the after deck installed bakelite cover for the Magnesyn transmitter. You see, the system mounted under the deck in the fuel tank compartment and all you could see externally was a little domed "blister" on the deck.  In lieu of the original cover, Mr. Haddock volunteered to fabricate one from plans using fiberglass reinforced cloth as the material. Mr. Haddock made a pattern from wood on his lathe, and he is molding the cover from that pattern.  This is another touch of Mr. Haddock's magic added to this great boat!

Able Machine Shop of New Orleans, La. fabricated the reach rods for our fuel and raw (sea) water piping valves.  Reach rods are long rods with handles like a water faucet which allow the crew to remotely (in our case up to 5 feet away) turn valves on and off. Jimmy Dubuisson took charge of this system.  Thanks Able Machine and Jimmy Dubuisson (again)!

Our great weekday crew has stuck together and continued their hard work so that our progress will leap forward on Saturday.  Jim Weller, Ray Asprion, Brad Booth and Roy Redler have hung tough week in and week out doing very necessary and difficult jobs.  You will usually find these guys sanding, cleaning, scraping and painting in the bilge of our boat.  Jim, Ray, Roy and Brad will often spend a day a week or MORE out there working in places you can't SEE! When visitors board the boat, they will probably never realize all of the intricate work which took place below their feet...BUT WE KNOW!  Pride in a job well done...I repeat PRIDE IN A JOB WELL DONE has always been a hallmark of this project.  Thank you Jim Weller, Roy Redler, Ray Asprion and Brad Booth.

In case you are wondering when we will put the bow ramp on...the answer is SOON!  Bruce Harris is planning for it now. This installation is essentially the last phase of construction.  We are waiting until everything INSIDE the boat is complete before we put the ramp on.  Ron Maranto and Brad Booth were prepping a form for us this past week.  This plywood form will be used as a "dummy" to assist us in the installation.  It will be easier to deal with a 10 pound piece of plywood instead of that 800 pound ramp!

Ray Asprion has a bunch of the nicest looking ball caps you ever saw!  They are Navy blue with gold letters that read across the front "PA33-21" "Higgins LCVP".  We are selling these caps for $10.00 each, and Ray is handling the concession.  The boat is making $2.00 per hat on this deal, SO BUY ONE!  If you want one mailed to you, include $3.50 for priority U.S. Mail delivery.  Send to:

Ray Asprion

1125 N. Woodlawn Avenue

Metairie, La.  70001

Thank you for your support!

Karen Reisch reports that her Christening Committee is making progress in leaps and bounds!  Karen's committee is comprised of: LT Glynn Smith (USCG), LT COL Mike Humm (USMC), Malcolm Ehrhardt and Gianna Shlottman of the Ehrhardt Group, Trudy Heier (USCG), David Rizzo (UNO Foundation), Joanne Villars (USN), Annie Fredricks, Charisse Grant and Mike Boyle from the D-Day Museum.

Additionally, the Christening Committee enjoys the advice and support of U.S. Coast Guard Captain Ned Peak.  Captain Peak is the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Base which will support us during the sea trial period - USCG ISC New Orleans.  The spotlight is really on this group of folks now, as we are LESS than 6 months away from our big day!  This committee has been working very hard since LAST AUGUST to plan the event.  We all appreciate their very hard work.

Many thanks go to New Orleans Paddlewheels for feeding our crew this past Saturday.  I was aboard their riverboat "CREOLE QUEEN" the other day and somehow the Higgins boat came up. Captain Brian Collins of the "QUEEN" asked if he could come out to BBQ for our folks - and so he did!  Capt. Brian and family came out and put on the best spread you ever saw with all of the food provided by his company.  Thanks New Orleans Paddlewheels and Captain Brian Collins and family.  We all appreciate it very much!  Those were the biggest hamburgers we ever saw!!!

In closing, I would like all of you to join with me in support of the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans, La.  The Museum is the "Home of the Higgins Boat" and is the reason we began this project.  The Museum is opening on June 6th 2000, and as a member of the Museum Board of Directors I can assure you that GREAT things are happening there right NOW!

This museum has a board comprised of one of the finest groups of men and women I have ever been associated with...all rallied around the common goal of telling the tremendous story of the generation of Americans who fought and WON World War II.  The museum and its wonderful collection, in conjunction with the Eisenhower Center right next door will serve as an incredible center of learning for many future generations to come!  Please visit the museum's web page at:

Don't forget to check our web site at:

It is one great site!

Or, if you don't have web access you can call the Museum at: (504) 527-6012.




[April 1999]

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