Note the Boo Boo where they said the 325 was built
Famed World War II ship LST-325 makes history again
Thursday, July 23, 2009
By MATTHEW RICHARDSON
LST-325 battled through World War II, made a famous voyage across the Atlantic to Mobile nine years ago, and became a floating piece of American history last month.
Serving as a museum in Evansville, Ind., the 65-year-old ship was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 24.
The listing brings notoriety and esteem, and also opens the way for matching grants of up to $800,000 from the National Park Service, according to Paul Diebold of the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation.
"A number of things must be done to uphold the ship to its original content," Diebold said. "We have to repair the electric motors and service the huge diesel engine that powers the ship, as well as repainting and resealing the hull."
Still, various groups have spent more than $1 million combined on the LST's upkeep, and Diebold said that it's one of the very few that could still take to the sea today.
LST-325 a Landing Ship Tank was built in Evansville along the Ohio River. During World War II, such ships were critical to the Allied effort, ferrying vast tons of cargo, taking troops to the front lines, and shooting down enemy planes.
"They're not very fast ships," Diebold said. "In the war, they traveled in fleets to increase defense power."
In November 2000, LST-325 embarked on another mission, one that spanned 6,400 miles.
The story is documented on the LST Memorial Web site by Capt. Robert Jornlin, one of the Navy men who served on LSTs during the war.
"We were trying to find an LST so that people in the U.S. could go see it as a museum," Jornlin wrote.
The U.S. government had given the LSTs away, so Jornlin and a band of older veterans traveled to other nations to search for one. As luck would have it, they located LSTs in Greece and made their pitch.
Having seven LSTs, the Greek government awarded one to the United States L.S.T Association in 1995. By 1999, the U.S. approved the ship for a voyage.
LST-325 and its aging crew received national attention as its 328-foot-long and 50-foot-wide body motored across the ocean, eventually arriving at Mobile in January 2001.
Bringing in thousands of tourists during its four years in Mobile, the ship set sail again to permanently stay where it was constructed.
The ship still ventures out several times a year for tours. But younger crewmembers require particular training, Diebold said, because they are unfamiliar with the antiquated equipment.