GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Every year volunteers do a lot of work at the Gettysburg National Military Park. One group working there right now has a special connection to the battlefield sailors from the U.S.S. Gettysburg.
“We have about eleven people here, from all kinds of rates, and all kinds of ranks,” said Lt.j.g. Tatiana Brown. “We reach out to the National Park Service, and the Friends of Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Foundation, and we just ask them what do you need help with.”
“We came up here to do some volunteer work, try to help out, with the community, we try to get up at least two to three times every year,” added RP2 Bradley Thacker.
Get daily news, weather, breaking news, and sports alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here.
We met up with the sailors at the McPherson Farm, which saw fighting on the first day of the battle, and served as a field hospital afterward. Their task for the day was fence repair, included removing old posts. Extracting some of the posts was easy-“They were able to get a good grip on and just pull them out.” says Brown-but others were a wee bit stubborn. They struggled with one set deep in concrete. “Whoever put in these posts before, they definitely made sure they weren’t going anywhere,” said Thacker.
Eventually, they were able to break away enough of the concrete, and loosen the post, so that the Park Service was able to finish the job, dragging the post out of the ground with a pickup truck.
This sort of work is actually a bit of a break for the crew members. The Gettysburg just got out of drydock last year after an extensive overhaul. The crew’s been putting in many long hours getting her ready to put to sea later this year; Brown says 12-hour days are common. The work at Gettysburg is a welcome change of pace-not least, says Brown, because they don’t have any paperwork to fill out. But, she adds, getting a break is not why they do it.
“The sailors in general,” says Brown, “Come here to do the community service and give back because they support us through our times, while we’re in Norfolk they’ll send us messages, send us letters. We try to keep a bond because we’re in such close proximity to our namesake.”