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Historic warship Slater heads up Hudson; follow its progress

Jun. 30, 2014 - 10:43AM   |  
The Slater began its return voyage up the Hudson River to Albany on Monday morning.
The Slater began its return voyage up the Hudson River to Albany on Monday morning. (Contributed photo)
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NEW YORK — After some major steelwork and a fresh coat of paint, the last World War II destroyer escort afloat in the U.S. will make its way up the Hudson River on Monday.

The Slater began her return voyage to Albany early Monday morning and should be a spectacular sight — this time during daylight hours — for those within view of the river, from Manhattan past Poughkeepsie.

The schedule could change, but the Slater is expected to be:

• Leaving Staten Island at 5 a.m. Monday, then passing by Manhattan shortly after.

• Passing through the Lower Hudson Valley from mid- to late morning Monday.

• Passing West Point about 1 p.m. Monday.

• Passing beneath the Walkway Over the Hudson about 4 p.m. Monday.

• Arriving at its home pier in Albany about 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Follow the Slater’s progress by following the position of the Margot, one of the tugboats pulling the Slater. The Margot can be followed real-time at:

http://bit.ly/1k5dbaz

Updates also are available on the group’s Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/USS.Slater

The warship, now a floating museum run by a nonprofit, served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

The ship is sporting a new “dazzle” camouflage scheme, bright colors with zigzagging lines and shapes. The patterns were designed to confuse enemy combatants, hopefully buying precious seconds in an engagement while gunners or torpedomen tried to figure out the speed, orientation and size of their target.

“The idea was to confuse them enough that they wouldn’t get a good shot off,” said Rosehn Gipe, business manager for the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum.

The Slater had almost three months’ of work done at the Caddell Dry Dock and Repair Co. on Staten Island. A group of volunteers toiled there as well, doing maintenance, cleaning, painting and replacing porthole glass, work that’s needed regularly to keep her shipshape.

When the Slater came down the Hudson River in early April, the volunteers were surprised by the attention it got.

“We know we’re popular; we have a huge national base supporting us,” Gipe said. “We just did not expect to see so many come out to see us heading down. We were just really thrilled to have so many people interested in seeing the ship out there.”

The $1.2 million project was funded by private donations.

The 306-foot vessel was laid down in March 1943 and commissioned a little over a year later. Destroyer escorts protected merchant vessel convoys across the Atlantic and helped turn the tide against the Nazis.

The Slater was decommissioned in September 1947 and sold to the Greek navy in 1951. Renamed the Aetos (Eagle), the ship served 40 years before being decommissioned in 1991. Two years later, it was drydocked for repairs then returned to the United States for use as a museum. It might be open for tours again by the Fourth of July.

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