While most people stuck home during a pandemic are binge-watching any and all shows on their favorite streaming network, I am absolutely enthralled by the USS Slater’s Facebook Page.
You may not have realized it, but the Slater has been noticeably absent from her regular parking spot on the Hudson at the end of Albany’s Madison Avenue. But don’t worry, nothing happened to her – she’s merely getting a facelift!
“Another one?” you say? Loyal Slater fans may remember the new paint job she received a few years ago, which restored her facade to mirror more closely what it would have been when she was in service in the 1940s. But this latest facelift was undertaken to clean her up, get rid of some rust, and make her shiny and relatively new-ish. (Check out those “before” and “after” photos of the radar platform below and you’ll get an idea of just how much work was involved here).
The Slater began her journey to Caddell Dry Dock in Staten Island, NY, back on July 5. Fans along the Hudson were sharing images of her passing under bridges; and you will also find great enjoyment out of this timelapse video of her entire voyage.
Twenty-five year old volunteer Thomas Scian beautifully catalogued the entire trip, and shared some very interesting angles of the vessel that we’ve never seen before. (You can actually see her propellors in the photo below, which is a rare opportunity, since she’s not often that far out of the water).
The Slater was all set to depart the dry dock on Aug. 21, when a leak in the motor room was discovered as she was being hooked up to the tugs. (See the evidence of that two photos down). I know, I gasped when I read that, too. Volunteers work tirelessly every day – they put in 15 THOUSAND HOURS a year to keep the ship in tip-top shape.
But let’s face it, she’s old! She’s been through a lot! She needs our help.
Except for a few local grants, 95 percent of the $400,000 a year it takes to operate the USS Slater Museum comes from admissions and donations.
But right now, while she’s undergoing her repairs, there aren’t any admissions.
So it’s up to us, the fans, and history buffs, to keep her afloat. There’s a donate button on their facebook page, or you can donate directly by clicking right here.
As I write this, the Slater is on her way home. She is expected to arrive back in her habitual spot TODAY – Aug. 26 – sometime in the morning.
Let us all greet her with open arms! She opens back up for tours on Sept. 2.
The USS Slater is a designated National Historic Landmark, and is the ONLY Destroyer Escort afloat in the world. The USS Slater Museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until November, through Thanksgiving weekend.
They also plan to be open on all the Monday holidays between now and then. All visitors and staff will need to wear masks, weather above or below deck, the ship will be sanitized multiple times a day, and tour groups will not be combined. Call the office to plan a visit, 518-431-1943.
Tim Rizzuto, Ship’s Superintendent and Executive Director at the USS Slater Museum has given me permission to share this info and images with CivMix readers.
P.S. As an added bonus, friends and fans from all over the world are sharing their stories and experiences on the Slater, and other destroyer escorts. One woman shared the photo that appears to the right here and just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
From Facebook, posted by Samantha Slater Smith: “My father, Elam Slater, in 1994. He served aboard the USS Slater, named for his brother, Frank. It was an honor of a lifetime to be there with him on this day.”