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After decades-long search, donors helping restore missing piece to USS Kidd
BATON ROUGE - Representatives with the USS Kidd Veterans Museum say the World War II-era destroyer will soon finish its nearly 40-year restoration journey.
The museum announced Wednesday that donors are helping secure a replica blast shield that's been missing from the vessel since it first arrived in Baton Rouge back in 1982.
“Atop the torpedo tubes, a blast shield enclosed the three crewmen stationed there and protected them from the concussion of the 5”/38-caliber gun immediately behind them,” said Tim NesSmith, Ship Superintendent for the USS KIDD Veterans Museum. “KIDD’s was removed during the Cold War. We’ve always kept an eye out for one and collected data for the day we could fabricate one if an original couldn’t be found.”
Other missing pieces, such as guns and depth charges, have been brought in through years past from other countries to help complete the ship. But an available torpedo blast shield has eluded the museum up until now.
The team is crediting destroyer veteran and volunteer Greg Shears, who worked with Advance Fabrication, LLC, in Arizona to help forge a replica shield. Shears and his wife Carol are splitting the $10,000 cost of the part with fellow Kidd supporter James Landry, who matched their $5,000 donation.
Transportation is being handled compliments of Beryl and Elaine Shears of Western Pilot Service in Phoenix. Upon availability, McKinney Salvage, LLC, will lift it aboard ship via a crane barge at no cost.
The museum hopes the lift and installation will coincide with this year’s Fall Field Days, the volunteer program that first got Shears involved nine years ago.
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