BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It takes a lot of work to keep a World War II destroyer ship shape, but a very special group of volunteers keep the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge humming.
Every Thursday, these retired sailors return home. "You develop a brotherhood with your shipmates on board," said Rick Munch, one of the volunteers.
Veterans from different ships and different wars all participate. "I served on the USS Observation Island," said Munch.
"I was on a Fletcher class destroyer in World War II for three years," said Garret Lynch, another volunteer.
This band of brothers bands together to fight the ravages of time and weather on a piece of history. On Thursday, they replaced counterbalances on one of the Kidd's guns.
"The first time I came, the ship wasn't completely open. The ship was like a cold dog. I told my wife, 'That thing's just cold and dead,'" said Mack Macksen, a former radarman from the Korean War. "General electric work. Fixing these little sockets to keep the lights on."
He's been volunteering on the Kidd every Thursday for the last 15 years. Lynch has volunteered 48 weeks out of the year for the last 33 years.
"We wouldn't come back if we didn't love the ship," Lynch said.
That love saves the USS Kidd Museum more than $50,000 per year, but what they give is more valuable than that. "The greatest thing about them is not so much the labor they do for us, but the skills that they are able to transfer to the younger generation," said volunteer, Tim Nessmith.
For these old salts, it's a chance to serve their ship one more time.