Citadel naval unit takes on Yorktown restoration - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Citadel naval unit takes on Yorktown restoration

By Hatzel Vela  bio | email | Twitter

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Present day sailors and midshipmen are spending time on the USS Yorktown reconnecting with their past and at the same time preparing for the future.

"Our main focus has been up on the forecastle area of the ship," said Citadel Naval Officer Candidate Josh Bergeron.

The forecastle is in the front end of the aircraft carrier, where the anchor is located.

For months, the Citadel's ROTC naval unit has been restoring and working alongside old rusted massive chains that once pulled and dropped the anchor.

Typically it's a room off limits to tourists.

"There is a lot of very nice brass work in there," Bergeron said.

Over time, the decades old brass has corroded.

"It's very time consuming because you have to go over and over and over again," said one of the shipmen working on a corroded piece of brass.

In the room where they work, the painting has chipped off the metal walls.

"This is a place that the ROTC unit feels like it deserves our attention," Bergeron said.

Bergeron and the group have been hanging out on the ship since August.

The group volunteers on a weekly basis and on the weekends sometimes.

"Our unit was searching for ways to do applicable hands on training in the local area that didn't cost much," Bergeron said.

While on a tour of the ship, it dawned on Bergeron they could help restore the place. In return, they would be allowed to train inside the ship.

Line handling, firefighting and engineering are just some of the things they train on.

"We have found ways to do really solid training for our guys with somewhat limited resources because the ship is right here," Bergeron said.

"To be able to enter into a partnership with the citadel -- the pride of South Carolina -- was just an opportunity we could not turn down," said Patriots Point Executive Director Dick Trammell.

"It's great for our young members to have that connection to the services' history as they get ready to become officer," Bergeron said.

"If these decks, if these bulkheads -- these walls could talk...the stories that they would tell," Trammell said.

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