USS Washtenaw memorial display to find new home
The USS Washtenaw display will have a place to dock.
Washtenaw County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to provide space just outside the County Clerk’s Office for the historical display honoring the only U.S. Naval vessel bearing the county’s name.
A group of local veterans began raising money to move and refurbish the old wooden display earlier this year after they learned it was damaged and was sitting alongside excess office furniture in a county warehouse.
The display, which itself is one of 12 historic districts in the county, contains a model of the ship built by Ann Arbor veteran Bill Prince, the ship’s wheel, more than a dozen decorative service awards and a 400-pound brass bell.
The county risked losing the artifacts to the Navy if they weren't placed on public display.
The USS Washtenaw is believed to be the most decorated ship of the Vietnam War for its ability to transport troops and supplies; it then became a home base for swift boat operations and spent the final years of the war as a minesweeper with a skeleton crew.
Several veterans working on the effort, dubbed "Operation Harbor," were in attendance at Wednesday's county board meeting.
They said they're still collecting donations and are close to their goal of raising $7,500 to have the display redesigned by a Livingston County artist. They hope it will be on display at 200 N. Main St. by May.
Donations are tax-deductible and can be made to the Vietnam Veterans of America
Chapter 310, with LST 1166 in the memo, at P.O. Box 3221, Ann Arbor, Mi. 48106.
Any excess funds will be donated to local efforts to provide care packages for troops currently serving overseas.
Art Aisner is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Reach the news desk at email@example.com or 734-623-2530.