World War II ship to visit area
A 328 feet long piece of American history will be docked at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, Alabama and will be available for public tours.
The USS LST 325 is a World War II vessel that was part of the D-Day Invasion at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. This ship is one of the last of her kind and is the only working LST in the United States. The ship is now operated as a floating museum that sails to inland river cities each year as part of its mission statement to educate the public. By giving tours, the crew will educate everyone, young and old, as to the role these ships have played in our wars and honor those who built, sailed and served on these ships.
The USS LST 325 will arrive in Decatur on Wednesday, September 3 and will open for tours on Thursday, September 4 through Tuesday, September 9, 2014. Tours will take place from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-17 and free for children ages 5 and under. A $20 family pass is also available for 2 adults and 2 minor children. Tours last approximately an hour. Group tour prices are also available and must be scheduled in advance through the Decatur Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Ten or more adults in a group will qualify for a rate of $8 per person. A rate of $3 per student will be given to groups of ten or more minors. (For every 10 students, 1 adult is admitted free.) For more information about the ship or to schedule group tours contact the Decatur Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 256-350-2028 or 800-524-6181.
Carrying 20 Sherman tanks in their giant holds, the LST (Landing Ship Tank) was developed during World War II to land vehicles and personnel directly onto enemy shores. On the main deck they could also carry 30-40 trucks, tons of fuels, ammunition or supplies and soldiers.
The USS LST 325 participated in the invasion and occupation of Sicily on July 10, 1943 (Operation HUSKY); Salerno, September 3, 1943; and the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944 under the command of Captain Clifford E. Mosier. Between June 1944 and April 1945, the LST 325 made 44 trips between England and France to aid in the delivery of supplies to Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and the City of Rouen on the Seine River, earning 2 Battle Stars for her effort.
The use of LST’s continued through the Korean and Vietnam War due to the ship’s ability to navigate shallow waters. Through the years, the USS LST 325 has had a fascinating record of service and in 2000, she was acquired by the USS LST 325 Ship Memorial, Inc. through an act of Congress.
The National LST Association has over 5,000 members and the USS LST Ship Memorial Inc. has 2,000 members whose goal is to be able to sail the ship under its own power—up the inland rivers and along the coasts, allowing all to set foot on her decks and to provide a learning experience. The mission is to educate everyone about the role the LST played to keep America free and provide an opportunity for veterans to show their family and friends the ships on which they served. The ship also helps to preserve the memory of the men and women who built them and the men who served and died on them.
To learn more about the USS LST 325’s history, visit www.lstmemorial.org.