MIDDLE RIVER, Md (WMAR) — It was a unique opportunity for veterans this Memorial Day... a cruise on a World War II crash boat to see WWII planes fly over head.
"I think it’s terrific and I thank the lord for good weather," said Marylander and Korean War veteran Bob Clark. "This is one of the best days I’ve enjoyed."
He got to take part in the cruise aboard the last U.S. Army Air Force crash boat from WWII that’s in full operation.
"There’s plenty of WWII vessels still around. The problem is a lot of them are still static displays. They’re not moving," said David Laney, director of the Louisville Naval Museum.
Built in 1944, she was stationed off the coast of California.
"The mission of these boats was to go out and rescue pilots that had to go down over the ocean," said Laney.
After the war she was sold off, and eventually bought privately by a crash boat veteran to restore her.
"They stripped her all the way down, repaired her. Put new planking on her and brought her to this point," said Laney.
The Louisville Naval Museum, in partnership with Baltimore area businesses, hosted the honor cruise so that Korean and Vietnam War veterans could come on board to check out the vessel as WWII B29s flew overhead to land at Martin State Airport.
"Just having them fly over, I’m pretty sure back in 1944, this boat was seeing B29s flying over and the crew was watching them go over making sure they were doing okay," said Laney.
The crash boat is docked in Cambridge for now but they hope to bring it to Annapolis and Baltimore more often. Clark hopes more veterans are able to get aboard.
"I think all American Legions should put more into things like this for seniors to enjoy because they need it and I need it," said Clark.
They are looking for more corporate sponsors to help with the boat upkeep and hold future honor cruises for veterans. Click here to support.