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 Author  Topic: Does the Navy still own these old museum boats?
David Waples


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Jan 27, 2010 - 4:37am
Over the past few years I've noticed that the USAF has taken back some airplanes from private groups who have restored, or attempted to restore them. For example a couple of years ago they took back the Memphis Belle, and just last year they took back a twin Mustang. Apparently they didn't like what was happening to them and decided the people trying to restore them couldn't keep them anymore.

I was wondering if this was the case with the restored or museum boats/ships. Are the boats at Battleship cover still the property of the USN? Could they take them back if they felt like it? What about PT-658 that Jerry's group has worked so hard to restore?

Just curious.

David Waples

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of 29navy  Posted on: Jan 27, 2010 - 11:41am
In most cases, the Navy still owns them. The only ones they don't own are ones that came from private hands, like the PT boats in Fall River and Nimitz museum, or came from foreign Navies, like the Slater and LST-325.

In fact, when the Navy brought the IOWA BBs back in service in the 1980s, they raided the battleship museums for parts, and as far as I know, never returned the parts.

If the organizations running and preserving the museums do not keep them up to snuff and project a positive light on the US Navy, or the boats fall into disrepair, the Navy can and will take them back. The USS Yorktown in Charleston is currently having its issues with maintenance and the Navy has noticed and issued them a warning.


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Frank J Andruss Sr


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Jan 27, 2010 - 12:21pm
The ownership of these past war machines is tricky business. I know a group ( I am not at Liberty to say who they are) that dove on the wreck of a WWII Plane. They thought they had gotten all the correct paper-work out of the way, but found out after two years of restoration that the US NAVY wanted this plane back. It is an ongoing battle right now, but at the moment the NAVY is not changing its position.

It is true that the USS MASSACHUSETTS, and other WWII Ships do belong to the US NAVY. I can remember when the US NAVY boarded the MASSACHUSETTS several years ago and took items from the ship, including a very heavy and large Gernerator that they restored. Even after 65 years, the NAVY still has a log of everything that is on these Ships, and boy nothing better be missing. They can come over to these Ships at a moments notice, board them, and take whatever equipment they need.................

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  Jerry Gilmartin


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Jan 27, 2010 - 1:51pm
Hi David,
Yes you are right about the PT658. It was given to our group from the original owner,(Mr O. Brown) in 1994 but then when we desired to mix the engines from PT659 into the PT658 in 1996 as well as getting use of a torpedo and our 40mm cannon, we donated the PT658 back to the US Naval Historic Branch at the Washington Navy Yard (now called Naval Heritage Command). This agreement allowed us to keep her moored (at no charge) on the Navy Reserve Center in Portland while we are restoring the boat, as well as other helpful items, like the storage barge and the cradle and free transportation by government assets. . We have been in close contact and supervision with the US Navy Museum Director in obtaining permission before we do anything with the boat, such as getting underway etc. There have been rumours that possibly the US Navy Museum Administration is considering donating the boat in its entirety back to us at Save the PT Boat in order to reduce their areas of concern, but so far that has only been rumours. We heard rumours of the Government taking back historic aircraft, but not anything of them wanting to repossess the PT658. We were told as long as we keep the boat in good condition and dont let it become a derelict, and we strive to show the boat so that it reflects well upon the US Navy, we dont have to worry about them coming to repossess the boat. I think we all feel pretty good about that.
Thanks! Jerry PT658 Portland OR

Jerry Gilmartin

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Advanced Member

Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of smallwi  Posted on: Jan 27, 2010 - 5:15pm

I believe the Navy still holds title to the large ships. In the case of PT 617, the boat was sold after the war, title transfered to a private owner. PT Boats, Inc. purchased the boat and probably still has title. PT 796 was provided by the Navy and may still have titlte. In the case that the Navy retains title, they can take the ship back at any time they wish.

There is at least one instance that the Navy took back a ship/boat. In the late 1970s a submarine was acquired by a group in Redondo Beach, California. The boat sank at the pier due to lack of maintainence. The boat was recovered by the Navy and subsequently scrapped.


Bill Smallshaw

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Dick   Send Email To Dick Posted on: Jan 27, 2010 - 7:19pm

Speaking with Alyce at HQ, I'm paraphrasing:

PTs 617 and 796 in our museum are owned by PT Boats, Inc. They do not
belong to the Navy and are not at any risk of "being taken back."

I believe, PT 658 is owned by the Navy; it's on loan to the Portland group. The Navy
could at some point require it to be returned.

Dick . . .

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