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From the desk of Alison Gibson, Director
We have another picture that many people can relate to—the Duck! We’ve heard how it would get you to the shoe factory to work when cars couldn’t cross the bridge during high water. The Ripley Fire Department was responsible for shuttling people between Ripley and Hestoria with the duck. We certainly aren’t hoping for flood stages, but we think it was pretty cool to ride to work in this amphibious vehicle.
Here are some tidbits found in the Ripley Bee:
  • It is mentioned that the old Army duck was acquired shortly before its first use in July of 1960
  • In some reminisces about the 1962 sesquicentennial, Mrs. W. D. Cropper talks about going in the duck to get to the sandbar for a picnic and had a lovely time.
  • First flood fire run using the duck occurred in March of 1963. The fire department had rigged a portable pump, hose and intake valve so it could be used as a ‘fire truck’ in case of fires during flood time.
  • In 1967, the duck was used to tow a 40 foot long cruiser that had sunk in Eagle Creek—the Ripley Fire Department put a power winch on the duck, raised the boat, temporarily patched the hole and towed it in!
  • In June of 1975, the repairs were completed and the old WWII duck was back in service. The duck could hold 20 people plus crew, or filled with fire and rescue equipment.
We’re sure there are a lot of stories associated with the duck, and we hope some of you will share your memories with us.
FYI, the military acronym for the vehicle was DUKW. D = The year it was built, 1942 the 4th year of WW2. U = Utility vehicle, amphibious, used to supply troops. K = 6 wheel drive (or all wheel drive). W = 2 axles in the rear. The duck was a very useful tool during WW2.