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Former crewman hopes to bring Coast Guard Cutter Midgett to Wilmington

READ MORE: Former crewman hopes to bring Coast Guard Cutter Midgett to Wilmington
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- If a Wilmington man gets his way, you could be climbing aboard a new ship in the Cape Fear River in the future.

The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett is still in service, but a former crew member hopes that when the ship is decommissioned it will make its permanent home in the Port City.

When you walk along downtown Wilmington's Riverwalk you get to enjoy the sights of the Battleship North Carolina and the Coast Guard Cutter Dilligence. There a chance that another ship could join them in the river: the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett.

"We're in the exploratory phase," Thomas Michael, Jr., said. "So far we have (Sen.) Richard Burr's office looking into acquisition measures, but what we need to do in the meantime is coordinate the efforts between state officials, county and city officials. It's going to take a lot of work. Much more than I can do certainly."

Michael served aboard the Cutter Midgett. The middle school teacher says the name of the ship has deep roots in North Carolina's Outer Banks. The Midgett family is famous for a number of rescues they made off of Cape Hatteras, and Michael says bringing the ship back to North Carolina would be a great way to honor them.

Michael says his hope for this ship is to be much more than a maritime museum.

"We are looking for it to be a beehive of activity, much as the way the Cutter Taney has been in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, and there is a lot of activity there, and if we could bring something like that to Wilmington we're going to bring some money."

Michael believes that the marina north of the PPD building would be a great future home for the Cutter Midgett. Although it may be costly at first, he believes it will eventually pay off.

"Projects like this can be motivated and seen through completion by strictly economic considerations," Michael said.

The Midgett still has two years left of service, so it would be some time before the ship could make its way to our waters.

The effort to bring the Midgett to Wilmington would not involve the Battleship North Carolina. Capt. Terry Bragg, executive director of the Battleship, did tell us that he wishes luck to the project.

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Crazy Talk

There was a national article this week on the enormous cost of these floating museums. The Coast Guard and Navy do not financially support all the floating museums out there...it falls to volunteer organizations. And, the number of folks who have served on these vessels (and the demographics) do not support it. Just a month or so back, they said "artificial reef" to the Cutter Tamaroa (Perfect Storm cutter).

I served in four cutters...good memories of the missions we performed and crews I servied with are all I need to have. Any energy or time spent on this is will be wasted. They tried this with the Kitty Hawk a few years back...now, crickets are all I hear on that score.

Active ships need a full compliment just to keep them in lipstick and paint. Most floating museums look terrible because they can't be maintained to that standard.

When CAPT Bragg says "Good Luck"...that's typical understated O6-speak for "of all the things that will never happen."

I don't mean to wish my fellow Coastie friend ill...just saying this is doomed to fail. Accept it now.

USCGC Midgett Maritime Museum?

With regret, I must agree. And, it seems the City of Wilmington lacks interest. There is one idea which merits consideration, however. Much of the maintenance cost could be dramatically lessened by entrenching the vessel in a "dry slip" of sorts. This idea has been used by the Chinese on what had been a Russian constructed "aircraft carrier."

Midgett just returned to Seattle from another Bering Sea fishery patrol. She's sure to be "tired" from the extremes of that sort of duty. The new Midgett, a national security cutter, has had her keel laid.

Perhaps it's time for another look at this idea?

CGC MIDGETT

I too served aboard the Midgett and think it would be great to be able to see the ship so close. Id love to visit it!