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WWII vet who brought the USS Batfish to Oklahoma hopes to see it restored

Posted at 7:05 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 12:44:02-05

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — It was a hard sight for WWII veteran Nick Guagliardo when he first saw the USS Batfish 12 feet above where it lay for 47 years. Now, he wants to secure the ship he helped bring to Oklahoma.

The Batfish found its home at Muskogee War Memorial Park on May 7, 1972. On May 23, 2019, it moved from its hole in the ground - picked up by floodwaters from the Arkansas River.

Now, it's going to take 250 semi-loads of dirt and millions of dollars to repair, and the park is calling on Green Country to help.

"I was a submarine sailor. I want people to see what we lived on, what we went to sea on," Guagliardo said. "We were here and the submarine sailors wanted a submarine. So we went after a submarine and we got a submarine."

Brent Trout is the executive director of the park. He says restoring and recovering the submarine should be a number-one priority, not only for veterans like Guagliardo, but also for those who want to learn through living history.

The park itself needs to raise $400-500 thousand, but every penny counts. You can help by ordering special flood relief shirts, donating to the GoFundMe, or going to a special "save the Batfish" trivia night with Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell.

You can also help if you're playing World of Warships on your PC. Trout says over three days, the park raised $42 thousand just from players buying a special USS Batfish patch in-game.

The developers for the game released a call for help to tell their following how they can contribute to saving the ship.

"A titan of submarine history needs your help!" the page reads. "USS Batfish is the only Allied submarine to ever sink three enemy submarines in a single patrol. This Balao-class submarine sunk a total of six ships over the course of her career. She received six battle stars for her service during World War II...

"On May 22, 2019, the Muskogee War Memorial Park experienced the second highest flood in Muskogee history. The USS Batfish was at the center of the disaster! Knocked around and corroded by the flood surge, the legendary submarine is in dire need of repair and stabilization. "

The in-game patch bundle costs $10. The page also links to the GoFundMe. All proceeds go directly to preserving the Batfish.

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