KSLA Salutes: Navy veteran builds custom models for veterans

ArkLaTex veteran's models capture pieces of war history, help other veterans

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) -The goal of retirement is to stop working, but for George McDermott he did the complete opposite.

Five years ago his hobby of making custom submarine, ship and aircraft models turned into something he just can’t stop doing. In a small room tucked away in the corner of his garage is where you’ll find George bringing history back to life.

“My wife always says what are you working on now?" he said. “How do you keep track of it and I say well I put it in a book, I tell the people I don’t know how long it’s going to be and then I try to get it for them and then if I can get it I call them and then the process starts.”

But what started out as a hobby five years ago, quickly grew into full scale job. George recently created six models of tanks, submarines and planes that he delivered to Austin for the National Submarine Convention.

“Once I built one submarine and somebody saw it and they wanted one, and then another person wanted a ship or they wanted a jet or they wanted a tank or want a deuce and a half,” he said. “That’s how it really mushroomed.”

Since then he's made nearly 300 models mostly for veterans.

“These people are there for us and to have something that they can remember or take back or show their children or even themselves, they like to see these things,” he said. “They just get all excited.”

But the submarine is something George knows pretty well. He joined the Navy back in the late 1960′s, and signed up for submarine school right after boot camp.

George's boot camp picture back in 1967 (Source: George McDermott)
George's boot camp picture back in 1967 (Source: George McDermott)

“Everybody says its claustrophobic... I say just think of yourself in a greyhound bus with no windows for 90 days an the people you’re in the bus you have to get along with," he said.

George has been everywhere from South Carolina, to Spain, and even Scotland. Many of the submarines he’s been on have launched plenty of missiles.

“We were the first submarine to launch a multiple warhead ballistic missile and that was the key to that submarine," he said. “It started what is present day submarines right now.”

While George admits he doesn't miss being in a submarine, he's happy knowing his passion for building one is something he can share with other veterans.

“When you look back at these things, doesn’t matter whether you’re in an airplane or tank or whatever it is you were in, you remember the good times, more than the bad,” he said.

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