The P-520 is the last of the 85 foot US Army Air Corps Crash boats that rescued downed pilots during WW2 and Korea. Our goal at Louisville Naval Museum is to educate the public on the vital role these boats played. By traveling around the area the P-520 can visit ports and showcase locations where these boats were built. Few museum boats are able to operate under their own power, giving our boat a unique opportunity to bring history to the public.
United States Army Air Force Crash boats (USAAF) were a class of wooden hulled boats ranging in size from 63 feet to 104 feet. Their mission? Find and recover downed airman who had to ditch their plane over the sea. The 85-foot boats were built after crews wanted a boat with greater range than the 63-foot boats offered, and faster than the 104-foot boats could offer thus the 85-foot PT boats were created. Other missions also evolved for P Boats such as supporting the OSS on secret missions and inserting commandos. P-520 was built in Wilmington California in 1944. She remains the last of the 140 built. The P-520 sailed its entire military career off shores of California, making one rescue attempt during which crews found a pilot's helmet, goggles, a boot and life raft.