TMA Cadet volunteers over 1,000 hours of shipboard maintenance to the American Undersea Warfare center 

By Amanda Barbato, ‘19

|Photo: Amanda Barbato, Nautilus Staff

Asher Spalding standing by the Ship Service Diesel Generator he is currently working on restoring. 

Asher Spalding, Marine Transportation major ’19 serves as the volunteer maintenance coordinator at the American Undersea Warfare (AUWC) Center located. Spalding has volunteered over 1,000 hours to the AUWC.

The AUWC is home to the USS Stewart, an Edsall class destroyer escort, and the USS Cavalla, a Gato class submarine open to the public for tours. The two vessels are now used as educational outreach to show what WWII and post WWII life was like in the Navy.

Spalding decided to get involved because he “I thought that there were a lot of opportunities for personal development and to make a serious impact at a local museum,” he said. He claims his biggest task is to keep the ship and submarine looking presentable to the public and keeping up with restoration work in general.

The new relationship between Texas A&M Maritime Academy and the AUWC is “probably one of the biggest accomplishments in recent history for the [AUWC],” Spalding said. The relationship between the two entities allows A&M deck cadets to receive maintenance hours for their work on the vessels at the AUWC. As a result hundreds of volunteer hours to the park have come from Texas A&M Cadets.

One of Spalding’s biggest responsibilities is to manage the volunteers and assign tasks.

There have been several accomplishments made in the last year through volunteer work. “The complete restoration of the anchor windlass, chain locker, and anchor chain was a huge success because it’s a very large part of the ship that is now working exactly haw it was during WWII,” Spalding said. It now serves the modern purposed of keeping the ship moored in the event of a hurricane.

Another notable achievement at the AUWC is the restoration of the USS Tautog submarine sail. “It’s a real eye-opener to everyone because it came off a nuclear submarine,” Spalding said.
Currently Spalding is working on restoring one of the Ship Service Diesel Generator (SSDG) on the USS Stewart to running condition.

Aside from relations between Texas A&M Maritime Academy, Spalding also works to strengthen relationships with other museum ships. Spalding notes that as the historic vessels age, parts are harder to find or no longer available. “I’m trying to come up with cooperation to mutually benefit everyone because even the best ships are struggling in some way,” Spalding said.

Out of the thousand hours volunteered Spalding’s believes his greatest achievement is “keeping the museum safe and the lights on.”

For more information on volunteering at the AUWC contact Asher Spalding at ashersp@tamu.edu.

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