Indiana students build USS Arizona replica to raise money for veterans

(WANE Photo)
(WANE Photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Two Homestead High School students have built a 60.8 foot scale replica of the battleship USS Arizona and are using it to start a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans.

Logan Roser and Atticus Bennett, both 16 years old, spent two years building the ship.

Roser is a World War II buff who just wanted honor history through craft. When he couldn’t afford to buy a model battleship online, he decided to build his own. He called in his lifelong friend Bennett to help.

As they built the replica, they realized it could be used for a much greater cause. The two boys are now on a mission to bring back military history and make sure no one forgets the nation’s veterans.

Their non-profit journey started with the Arizona replica.

“In choosing this certain ship, I saw her as a kind of icon towards the American public,” Roser said. “She was destroyed in Pearl Harbor. She gathered us into World War II. So I feel everybody can connect with her.”

The replica is made out of wood and custom machine parts. It is ten feet long, has a beam (widest point of the ship) of 1 ft. 9 in., and a standing weight of about 320 pounds. It’s equipped with operational turrets that swivel on their mounts.

Roser and Bennett have a deep appreciation for those who have served the country. Both of them have family in the military. Bennett’s uncle has been in the military as long as he can remember.

“I just feel so lucky to live in America,” Bennett said. “It’s just an amazing place and just to know we’re kept safe by people like them is amazing.”

Roser’s great-grandfather and grandfather served and his father and uncle are currently active in the military.

“I’ve seen that we’ve neglected our veterans who are coming back and a lot them are living homeless,” he said. “So whenever people are asking me, ‘What are you going to do with this when it’s done?’ I’m like ‘Why not help people?’ Let’s help the veterans who really need it more than I do.”

The non-profit they’ve created is 60.8ft Fleet.

“We’re going to use the model to enlighten people to the struggles veterans go through for our country, what they do for our country, as well as give them a little background history on our military,” Bennett said.

Roser and Bennett are wiring up the ship to have remote control capabilities in water.

They’ll be hosting presentations and demonstrations to raise money for veterans organizations, such as Wounded Warrior Project, Honor Flight Northeast Indiana and Pacific Historic Parks.

The duo plans to build a USS Indianapolis replica next.

To learn more about 60.8ft fleet, they can be reached on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.