PEARL HARBOR - Sailors from the guided missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) joined Sailors from other Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam waterfront commands Sep. 18 to help replace the wooden decks aboard the historic Missouri Battleship Museum moored in Pearl Harbor.
The event had special meaning to Halsey crew members as USS Missouri (BB 11) had been the flagship of their ship’s namesake, Fleet Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey during World War II.
After a quick orientation and safety brief, the volunteers set to work removing the old teak from the decks of the ship. Much of the old wood that was removed was actually from the Missouri-Halsey era.
According to Dave Hamilton, Missouri’s full-time carpenter, teak was the wood chosen because of its excellent durability and unique ability to increase deck grip as it is exposed to water.
“The teak does a great job in preserving the metal,” said Hamilton. “But unfortunately this teak needs to be replaced to help keep Missouri in good shape.”
Volunteers focused their efforts on the aft mid-section of the starboard side where they removed roughly 1,000 square foot of teak. More than 60% of the wood was salvageable and will be sanded and stained before being sold as souvenir items at the ship’s gift store.
Halsey crew members who participated in the event said they enjoyed the opportunity to help preserve a part of American history.
“This is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had the privilege of doing for the community,” said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Justin Orsak, a Halsey crew member. “I think every Sailor who has an opportunity to do something like this for Missouri should do so. Giving back and paying homage to our past reminds us of our purpose.”
Sailors also said that the leaders of the Missouri Association made them feel like a part of the family.
“They were also so knowledgeable in the history of the Missouri, I enjoyed learning every bit about the wood and the history,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Nicholas Scott, another Halsey Sailor. “I am proud to know I helped preserve a ship with so much naval history.”
In addition to helping preserve a piece of naval history, crew members took helped with the project received a badge, ice cream and a piece of the original teak deck to keep as their very own souvenir.