ESSEXVILLE, Mich. (AP) — More than 30 students from the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center swapped time in the classroom for real-life experience aboard the USS Edson.
"I like getting my hands on a piece of history," said Logan Rabideau, a junior student enrolled in the Career Center's engineering and drafting program. "I have experience restoring historic homes in the area, and I would love to come back to the Edson and make sure it looks good for everyone else to see."
Rabideau was one of two groups of students that recently visited the USS Edson to volunteer. Volunteer shifts lasted an hour and a half each.
Eric Stasser, engineering and drafting instructor at the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center, said that he is always looking for ways to apply what is learned in the classroom to community projects.
"I know they really needed able bodies to help out, and the Edson is such an engineering marvel," Stasser said. "I contacted the museum to see about volunteering and if this is helpful, we may come back later in the fall."
Students split up into groups aboard the ship and took turns touring the Edson to learn about its engineering, using needle-guns and brushes to remove old paint from the bridge.
Tom Winters, a member of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum, worked to coordinate the volunteer opportunity.
"We appreciate any help that we get," Winters said. "Painting is getting started today on the stern, and we hope to wrap that up by Monday."
The USS Edson is currently located at the Wirt Sand and Stone Dock in Essexville, where it arrived in early August.
Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum President Mike Kegley said he expected the ship to relocate to its permanent mooring location by the end of October.
The USS Edson will be moored near the Independence Bridge Boat Launch, where it will serve as the floating centerpiece of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum. In April, the Navy announced it was donating the ship to the museum.
USS Edson was launched on Jan. 4, 1958, and its first deployment was to the Western Pacific in January 1960. It served during the Cold War and was deployed to Vietnam three separate times, during which it earned multiple Meritorious Unit Citations.