CATHLAMET - A new attraction at the 2005 Bald Eagle Fest this year will be the appearance of a restored World War II patrol torpedo (PT) boat.
"We are very excited that this beautifully restored boat will visit Cathlamet for three days this year. I know the veterans along with the public will be ready to board the boat and remember how important it was in WWII. We expect the boat to arrive early afternoon Friday, July 15 at the marina and leave some time after the Wooden Boat Festival on Sunday," said Jackie Lea, Port manager for the Elochoman Slough Marina.
A group of WWII PT boat veterans has restored PT 658, a Navy owned vessel built in 1945, to original operating condition with full armament and three 1,850 horsepower Packard V-12 engines. The group formed an organization, Save the PT Boat, Inc., to undertake the work and received assistance from military units, corporate and individual contributors, and the national organization of PT boat officers, the Peter Tare organization.
PT boats were small, wooden-hull boats equipped with high-powered engines and armed with torpedoes, depth charges, machine guns and light cannon. For their size, they were the fastest and most heavily armed of all fighting navel units in WWII. They were regarded as expendable and regularly sent on missions deemed too risky for bigger warships. Their crews suffered a high casualty rate and were among the most decorated sailors in the U.S. Navy.
"The Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce is proud to add this new attraction to our event," said Linda Barth Chamber President.
Plan to come to Cathlamet and join in on the fun, which includes a fireworks show on Saturday, July 16.