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All hands are on deck to keep the USS Kidd in tip top shape

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BATON ROUGE- These are not the sights and sounds you typically find on a warship, but its all hands on deck, literally, aboard the USS Kidd as the vessel is getting some much needed TLC.

“Whenever I first came on here everything was rusty, old, everything like that,” said Sergeant clay Burris.

Sergeant Clay Burris with the United States Army is working on the ship's torpedos. He's been helping keep the Kidd in tip-top shape for the last 17 years.

“My grandfather is the one who got me started. he came down here, and after the first year he decided he wanted to start bringing me,” said Burris.

So it's been a tradition ever since.

“Just started out painting you know stuff little kids can do,” said Burris.

He even credits the restoration work for getting him to join the Army and after recently returning from a third deployment was sure not to miss it.

“So I actually took a vacation to come out here cause it's vacation, this isn't work,” said Burris.

In addition to welding and drilling, this year the ships once infamous pirate returned with a fresh new paint job. Every project is a labor of love for the volunteers like Jesse Hutton who travels from Tennessee each year.

“People died on this ship, and it's a way to honor them and the camaraderie in the military, even people you don't that served you feel close to,” said Hutton.

As Burris' involvement nears two decades, he's now bringing friends from the army with him, but that mighty ship on the mighty Mississippi still brings him back to his nine-year-old self.

“I still get butterflies in my stomach from the childhood memories when I come up here,” said Burris.

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