Volunteers Work to Restore Last Remaining Naval Minesweeper in the US to Its Former Glory

STOCKTON -- The last Naval Minesweeper in the United States is sitting on the San Joaquin River in Stockton.

It's one of the last Vietnam war vessels of its kind in existence and volunteers here in Stockton have been working for years to restore it to its former glory and turn this ship into a floating museum.

"We're returning it back to its original navy configuration," Stockton Maritime Museum President David Rajkovich said.

It survived two trips to Vietnam, which was a tall task considering the USS Lucid's purpose was to detect and destroy mines.

"This is what was called a non-magnetic ship because during the Korean war, we discovered the Soviets had developed mines that could detonate just by a steel ship passing by," Rajkovich explained. "They could detect the magnetic signature of a ship. You no longer had to hit it and trigger it that way. So these ships were built with a lot of wood and the metal on them was all non-magnetic."

But, over the years, the wood that made this ship undetectable, began to wear and private owners failed to preserve it.

"This vessel was laying abandoned out in the Delta," Rajkovich said.

So, when someone offered to donate the USS Lucid to the Stockton Maritime Museum they knew they had their work cut out for them.

"The ship was a real mess when we got it. It was full of junk. There was large holes cut in the side of the hull. There was sliding glass doors, skylights, carpet on the overhead, mirrors everywhere. It was a party boat for many years on the San Francisco Bay," Rajkovich said.

For more than five years, the volunteers have spent countless hours restoring the vessel to her former glory but they're far from finished.

"We have work parties the second and fourth Saturday of every month," Rajkovich said.

Nearly 70 years after it first took to sea, they plan to dock the USS Lucid on the Stockton Waterfront when the restoration is complete.

The ship will act as a floating museum and tribute to Stockton's own maritime history.

"There were 10 shipyards here in Stockton that were very active during World War II. Built all kinds of small vessels. This is an example of one of the largest types of warships that was built here," Rajkovich said.

The Stockton Maritime Museum hopes to have the USS Lucid complete in a couple years.

But, they need help. If you're interested in volunteering your time or donating to the restoration effort, CLICK HERE.


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