USS KIDD Overhaul 2024/25

January 15, 2024


BATON ROUGE, LA The Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission is pleased to announce that it intends to enter into a contract with Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors, LLC of Houma, LA, for the repair and restoration of the USS KIDD. The Commission, created within Louisiana’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, is responsible for this World War II era Fletcher Class Destroyer and its associated museum. Together, they constitute the USS Kidd Veterans Museum, a permanent Naval and Marine Corps Memorial. The USS KIDD – one of the most visited tourist attractions in Louisiana – floats, except in low-river months when it rests in a unique docking cradle, just upriver from the I-10 Horace Wilkinson Bridge in Baton Rouge. The project encompasses hull repair and reinforcement, superstructure repair, interior restoration and painting of the ship, as well as, the repair and upgrading of the docking cradle.

When asked to comment about the high level of public interest in the ship, Parks Stephenson, Executive Director of the USS KIDD Veterans Museum, said, “As an attraction, the USS KIDD is both popular and unique. The USS KIDD Veterans Museum rates as the #1 non-sports attraction in Baton Rouge and the #2 attraction overall in the State. She is the only museum ship in the United States that is displayed both in and out of the water, thanks to the annual major fluctuations in Mississippi River levels. Her historical importance has been recognized by the U.S. Government, which lists the USS KIDD in the National Register of Historic Places and designates her as a National Historic Landmark.” Stephenson’s comments lend further credence to the importance of the ship’s refurbishment project. The ship’s significance and popularity was specifically acknowledged by the State of Louisiana in the legislation appropriating funds for this project. The City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parrish along with the LouisianaVeterans Museum Foundation have provided essential operational funds for many years to the USS Kidd Veterans Museum as well as significant project related funds this year.

The Commissioner of the Division of Administration for Louisiana determined last year, as required by the legislature, that Conrad Shipyard, Bollinger Shipyards and Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors, were well qualified to handle the repair and restoration of the USS KIDD. Each shipyard eagerly welcomed this opportunity; however, Conrad subsequently concluded that it was not able to accommodate the project’s proposed timeline, due to other pre-existing commitments for its facilities. Bollinger and Thoma-Sea submitted “Initial” and “Best and Final” responses to the Commission’s request for proposals. The Commission’s Selection Committee ultimately found the Thoma-Sea submission to be the better fit for its project expectations. In making its much-deliberated decision, the Committee noted how committed both Bollinger and Thoma-Sea were to the successful outcome of the project and commended both shipyards on their professionalism, understanding and guidance in pursuing the opportunity to repair and restore the USS KIDD. “Considering the outstanding qualifications, reputations, and facilities of both shipyards, the outcome of either selection would have resulted in our working with an exceptionally well qualified and well equipped team of professionals,” said Les Nicholson, Chair of the Commission’s Selection Committee. “Maintaining a museum ship takes more than money and expertise. Keeping up with the demands of an aged historic vessel requires personal commitment and passion, like that demonstrated by the staff at the USS KIDD Veterans Museum. They manage and maintain the ship with a fervent sense of dedication,” Stephenson stated. He added, “We are proud to partner with Thoma-Sea in extending the USS KIDD’s life for decades to come; thus, enabling her to be admired by future generations as a symbol of the patriotic values of the State of Louisiana and its citizens.”

The USS KIDD was the first Navy ship named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the bridge of the USS ARIZONA during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The USS KIDD was launched on February 28, 1943, and served in the Pacific fleet during World War II. Commenting on the significance of the ship’s historical role in naval combat, Parks Stephenson said, “The USS KIDD is one of the few surviving examples of the warships that won the battles for both the Atlantic and Pacific in World War II.” He added, “The KIDD and her sister ships fought in just about every major maritime battle of WWII and often played  critical roles in their outcome. The destroyers were the workhorses of the US fleet, and the Fletcher Class was the pinnacle of destroyer design.”

The project is scheduled to commence in April of 2024 and conclude in May of 2025. The public will have opportunities to visit the USS Kidd during her refurbishment in Houma and perhaps at other locations while she is away from her home berth on Baton Rouge’s downtown riverfront.