World War II landing ship makes maiden voyage as floating museum

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WASHINGTON – The LST-325 (Landing Ship, Tank), a World War II amphibious vessel designed to land battle-ready tanks, troops and supplies directly onto enemy shores, will once again be plying the waters, but this time, being towed as a floating memorial making a maiden educational voyage on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers this summer.

One of two. The LST-325 is one of only two World War II LSTs to be preserved in the United States and is crewed solely by veterans.

Towing services are being provided by several barge companies including Kirby Corporation (Houston, Texas); Luhr Bros. (Columbia, Ill.); Madison Coal and Supply (Charleston, W.Va.); MEMCO Barge Line (Chesterfield, Mo.), and American Commercial Barge Lines (Jeffersonville, Ind.).

Acquired by the USS LST Ship Memorial Inc. in 2000, the LST-325 now serves as a museum and memorial ship for the men who served their country aboard LSTs.

Recreating a voyage made by LSTs in 1946 to thank workers who built many of the ships in America’s heartland in the early 1940s, the LST-325 launched a 78-day journey June 3 in Mobile, Ala.

Port calls. It will make ports of call in Vicksburg, Miss.; Memphis, Tenn.; Cape Girardeau and St. Louis, Mo.; Evansville and Jeffersonville, Ind.; Paducah, Ky., Greenville, Miss., and New Orleans, La., before returning to Mobile Aug. 19.

With a total of 27 days under way, 51 total days in port, 78 total cruise days, 651.8 total hours under way and a total of 3,149.3 miles, the LST-325 will offer public tours and ceremonies at each landside stop.

Launched on Oct. 27, 1942 and commissioned on Feb. 1, 1943, the LST-325 has a rich history, serving in the World War II invasions of North Africa, Salerno, Sicily, and Normandy.

In 2000, the ship was saved from a Greek scrap yard, to which it had been sold, and brought back to the U.S. with a crew made up of World War II veterans with an average age of 72.

“The restoration of the LST-325 for its upcoming voyage on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers will allow visitors from all over this country and the world to pay tribute to the proud voyages of yesteryear and to the men who so bravely served aboard these great war ships,” said Bob Jornlin, captain of the LST-325.

Learn more. For the complete 2003 sailing schedule of the LST-325, along with its complete history, visit www.LSTmemorial.org.

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