Indiana plays big role in restoring historic warship

CRANE, Ind. (WDRB) --The USS Constitution is one of the longest lasting pieces of American history still in use.

"It was commissioned in 1797," explained forester, Trent Osmon.

George Washington named what was very much the pride of our country.

"Our first president needed a strong navy. It never lost a battle," Osmon added.

Now in dry dock on the East Coast, the Constitution prepares for a facelift.

Some of what the ship needs comes from thousands of miles away and right here in Kentuckiana.

"White oak grows really, really good in the southern Indiana area," Jeff Page of Tri-State Timber explained.

At the Crane navy base, about 25 minutes west of Bedford, white oak dominates.

"It's just a really rot resistant, strong wood," Page said.

That strength is what's needed to help make a durable ship even stronger.

Getting started on the process has taken years.In March of 2012, foresters began locating Crane's best timber.

In February of last year, the trees were cut down, and then stripped of branches by Tri-State Timber in Spencer.

"I think we harvested around 35 trees," Page said.

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. Logs were loaded on a truck and delivered to the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston.

The wood will be used to help replace ailing parts of the Constitution's hull planking.

"It felt good to be a little patriotic," Brett Franklin, with Tri-State, said.

Pride from pieces of Indiana soon to be logged in the history books.

Restoration work is expected to be complete in the fall of 2017.

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