USS KIDD Overhaul 2024/25


April 24, 2024 — [Baton Rouge, LA] — The USS Kidd (DD-661), a celebrated Fletcher-class destroyer that served with distinction in World War II and the Korean War, is embarking on a new chapter in her storied history.  For the first time in over 40 years, the USS Kidd has been extracted from her “cradle” on Baton Rouge’s downtown riverfront and prepared for tow to the Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors (TMC) shipyard in Houma, LA, where she will undergo a comprehensive overhaul.  USS Kidd’s last overhaul was in 1962, which underscores the importance of this effort.

The USS Kidd, affectionately known as the “Pirate of the Pacific” for her daring exploits during World War II, has long captured the imagination of naval historians, veterans, and enthusiasts worldwide. Commissioned in 1943, she earned fame for her valiant actions in the Pacific theater, participating in numerous battles, surviving a horrific Japanese “kamikaze” attack, and ultimately earning twelve battle stars for her service.  The ship was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.  The USS Kidd Veterans Museum, housed ashore adjacent to the ship, pays tribute not only to USS Kidd but also to Louisiana veterans of all service branches who have served this country throughout its history.  The Museum is a major attraction for both the State and its capital city, having brought millions of visitors who spent tens of millions of additional money in the downtown Baton Rouge economy since she was opened to the public in 1983.

The USS Kidd is unique in at least a couple of ways.  She is the only destroyer left in a WW2 configuration, which is why she was selected as a filming location for the 2018 film, “Greyhound,” starring Tom Hanks.  Thanks to her uniquely-designed “cradle,” which allows the ship to rise and fall with the annual rise and fall of the Mississippi River, she is the only museum ship that can be seen either fully in or out of the water.  Over the last 40 years, though, the ship’s movement in the cradle has damaged the hull, which can only be properly repaired in a shipyard’s drydock.  The State government responded with funding to contract with a shipyard to have the hull repaired and the cradle refurbished, while the City-Parish provided grants to protect the ship’s historical artifacts and ensure the Museum’s continued operations while its star attraction is absent.  The unusually low river water levels, however, has not provided enough water this year to freely float the ship out, so TMC brought in the highly experienced company, T&T Salvage, to work the ship out of her cradle.  The river reaches its high point this week; therefore, the ship has been closed since April 24th  while preparations are being made to remove the ship from its cradle, beginning on April 25th.  Once free of the cradle, final preparations can be made in preparation for the tow to the shipyard.  The U.S. Coast Guard will fully inspect the vessel before approving the ship for the tow down river, across the Gulf of Mexico, to the Houma Navigation Canal.

USS Kidd is expected to return to Baton Rouge during the next high-water cycle, expected in Spring 2025.  The Museum building will remain open during the time that the ship is away, with reduced entrance fees.  New exhibits are planned.

The upcoming overhaul and restoration represents a commitment by the State of Louisiana, the City-Parish of East Baton Rouge and the USS Kidd Veterans Museum to preserving USS Kidd’s legacy for future generations and ensuring that she remains not only a popular downtown attraction but also a living reminder of the sacrifices made by Louisiana veterans for our country.

USS Kidd travels to the TMC shipyard in Houma for a once-in-a-generation overhaul.  Once there, the TMC team of skilled technicians and craftsmen will undertake the meticulous task of repairing and restoring the riveted-steel USS Kidd to her former glory, utilizing both traditional techniques and modern technologies.