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Clarksville, TN – LST-325 opened for tours in Clarksville on Thursday, September 7th, 2017 at the McGregor Park Boat Ramp. The ship will be available for tours September 7th-15th.
The LST (Landing Ship, Tank) is a floating monument to the past. The ship was used in various missions in World War II including the invasion of Sicily and the Normandy invasion. Visitors are able to climb aboard and explore the ship as the crew provides a glimpse into her past.
Military enthusiasts, history buffs, and school groups will learn how it was instrumental in battles dating back to World War II.
Tours are roughly 45 minutes long. Tours include the Main Deck, Troop Berthing, Tank Deck, Mess Deck, Galley, Aft of ship (Guns and Anchor), Wheel House, Officer’s Country and the Captain’s Cabin.
During the invasion of Sicily, the ship helped land and supply Patton’s North African Army and Montgomery’s African Army. On June 6th, 1944, LST-325 was part of the force putting troops ashore at Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion. From June 1944 through April 1945, the ship made 43 trips between England and France, unloading at Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno beaches.
“The LST’s were the workhorse of the Navy in both the European and Pacific campaigns back in World War II,” said Captain Robert D. Jornlin the Commanding Officer (CO) of the LST-325. “We have a flat bottomed hull so the ship to go right up into the beach, and the bow won’t dig in, like the English ships did.”
The ship had a crew of 10 officers and 100 enlisted sailors; and had additional berthing facilities for 300 additional troops. The ship also carries two Landing Craft, Vehicle Personnel (LCVP); or Higgins boats. The ships were armed with a variety of weapons which could include a mixture of 40mm or 20mm gun mounts.
“The main reason the guys wanted to get and restore a LST was because we did not have one left in the United States for a museum ship. There were 1,051 made and they were not only in World War II they were also in the Korean war and Vietnam. None of those guys could take their kids and grand kids to see a LST,” stated Jornlin.
“So they guys wanted to go get one and bring it back. We didn’t want to put the ship in one place because it would sort of die. People within a 100 miles would come and see it,” Jornlin stated. “You only come and see a ship once. You don’t come back.”
“We take it out every September and take it to places like Nashville, Clarksville, Decatur Alabama and we’ve been to Pittsburgh a couple of times,” said Jornlin.
“This ship was really built to sail on rivers. There are no waves so this ship is like floating along in a swimming pool on an inter tube. It’s smooth as all get out. We can go a little faster than a tug boat pushing a lot of barges,” stated Jornlin.
Captain Robert D. Jornlin has written a book “Bringing Back a Hero” that tells the story of finding, restoring and bringing LST-325 back to the United States. It is available at the gift shop and on Amazon.
The USS LST 325 is a Fully Operational ship.
LST-325 is docked at McGregor Park’s Boat Ramp located at 640 North Riverside Drive across from Church’s Chicken.
The Opening Ceremony will be held on Monday, September 11th at 10:00am. The public is invited.
To learn more about the LST-325 visit www.lstmemorial.org
SectionsArts and Leisure
TopicsClarksville TN, D-Day, England, France, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, LST 325, McGregor Park, McGregor Park Boat Ramp, Normandy Invasion, Omaha Beach, Riverside Drive, Robert D. Jornlin, Sicily Italy, USS LST 325, USS LST Ship Memorial Inc., Utah Beach, World War II
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