Preserving Our Warboat Heritage
Chuck Fowler/ 360-9432858 email@example.com
Dan Withers/ 360-437-0125
World War II Air
Force Crash Rescue Set to Visit Puget Sound
A restored, 85-foot wooden Army Air Force crash rescue boat that saw
service during World War II is scheduled to visit Puget Sound this
summer. Plans are underway for the P-520, owned by
the Army Air Force/ U.S. Air Force Crash Rescue Boat Association (CRBA),
to travel more than 1,500 miles up the Pacific Coast from Long
Beach, California to participate in several summertime events in
Tacoma, Seattle and other port communities in the region.
The historic military boat is scheduled to join another patrol boat
built during WWII, the 83-foot wooden Coast Guard CG-83527,
to help escort the tall sailing ships into Tacoma during the Tall
Ships Challenge series event June 30 through July 4. The
CG-83527 and crew was stationed in Tacoma at the Municipal
Dock building from 1945 until 1962, and a smaller Army Air Force
crash boat was assigned to the Point Defiance Boathouse in 1945.
Both the Air Force and the Coast Guard boats will be on public
exhibit at selected times during the Tall Ships Tacoma festival
along the Thea Foss Waterway and Ruston Way.
“Having both historic military patrol boats in Tacoma during the
tall ships event will a real patriotic plus, “said Stan Selden, Ship
Recruiting and Marine Operations Committee chair. “It give the
public a chance to see and tour these life-saving patrol boats, and
honor those veterans who served their country aboard them.”
Often mistaken for one of the legendary WWII PT or patrol torpedo
boats, the sleek,
gray P-520 was one of several types of high speed
patrol and rescue craft used by the Army Air Force during WWII and
later during the Korean War by the independent United States Air
Force. Originally the 85-foot crash boats were powered by two 1500
horsepower Packard marine engines, also used in the PT boats, that
produced a top speed of more than 35 knots. Three of these same
powerplants were used also in the PT boats. For greater
reliability, currently the P-520 is powered by twin
500 horsepower turbo diesel engines.
In addition to their participation in Tall Ships Tacoma June 30,
July 1 and 4, the P-520 and CG-83527 are
scheduled to be one of the highlights of the Seattle Wooden Boat
Festival, July 2 and 3. The two historic military boats will be on
exhibit and open for tours at South Lake Union Park during the 29th
annual festival, sponsored by the Center for Wooden Boats.
The P-520 was donated to the CRBA in 1997 and has
undergone an extensive, seven year-long restoration process. Air
Force veteran Delbert “Bud’ Tretter, a crewman on an 85-foot boat
similar to the P-520 during the Korean War, has
spearheaded and supported most of the restoration project at his
boatyard in Long Beach, California.
“The restoration has returned the boat to more 90 percent original
condition,” said Les Adams, president of the Crash Rescue Boat
Association. “And without Bud Tretter, his wife and sons, boatyard
crew and suppliers there wouldn’t be a P-520 project
to help future generations remember this important part of our
Once the boat makes some operational appearances on the Pacific
Coast during 2005, plans are to exhibit it in a museum on shore.
It will become a permanent tribute to the wartime record of the Air
Force crash boats and their crews during the WWII in the 1940’s and
the Korean War in the 1950’s.
The Puget Sound appearances of the Air Force and Coast Guard boats
are being coordinated by Combatant Craft of America (CCoA), a
nonprofit organization based in Port Ludlow. Its purpose is to
preserve and restore historic military patrol boats and their
histories from WWII to the present, and to recognize the service of
their crew members.
“The wartime exploits of battleships, aircraft carriers, destroyers
and submarines are well-known,” said CCoA president Dan Withers.
“However the fast response patrol and rescue boats and their crews,
both in overseas combat zones and on the homefront, also served
their country proudly and we want to help tell these stories.”
For more information about the P-520 and
CG-83527 and their Puget Sound exhibit schedule, contact
Chuck Fowler at 360-943-2858 or e-mail
Additional information about Combatant Craft of America is
available on its web site, www. warboats.org or from Dan
Withers, 360-437-0125 or e-mail
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