Historic Warship USS LST-325 Making Three Ports of Call in Massachusetts

This decorated veteran of the D-Day and Italian invasions is making three ports of call in Massachusetts in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. She will escort the USS Constitution on a harbor turnaround and will be open to the public for tours.

Buzzard’s Bay, Mass. (PRWEB) June 1, 2005 -- USS LST-325, a World War II amphibious vessel known as a “Landing Ship, Tank,” will pull into port Friday evening at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as part of its East Coast Commemoration Tour. The ship will later join the USS Constitution and the WWII destroyer USS Cassin Young (DD-793) at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston on June 8, followed by a final stop at Gloucester, Mass. on June 20. She recently spent the Memorial Day weekend at Alexandria, Va., attracting many visitors.

This proud veteran warship participated in the invasions of Sicily and Salerno, and made 44 round-trips between England and Normandy during and following the D-Day invasion. Later in 1944, she participated in the rescue of over 700 American troops from the torpedoed transport ship Empire Javelin, for which she was awarded the Bronze Star. USS LST-325 earned two battle stars during her World War II service.

The ship attracted national attention in January 2001 when a crew of 28 veterans, whose average age was 72 years old, brought her home to the U.S. from Greece. They braved a 6,500-mile voyage through the wintertime Mediterranean and the North Atlantic to bring the ship, built in 1942, home to the U.S. as a memorial.

Public tours will be conducted each day while in port, except when involved in special events. Hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and the admission is $10.00 for visitors 18 and older, $5.00 for children over five and a special family rate of $20.00.

The planned events include a harbor turnaround with the USS Constitution on June 11 and participation in the Department of Defense Tribute to World War II Veterans on June 18. On Sunday, June 19, the ship and her crew will honor the U.S. Coast Guard Combat Veterans. They manned 351 vessels during World War II, including 76 LST’s.

The ship and crew’s mission is to increase public awareness of the role and history of the LST in World War II, Korea and Viet Nam, as well as to provide a memorial to those that sailed, fought and died on them. The 328-foot vessels were designed specifically to land directly on enemy shores with mission-ready tanks, troops and supplies, which were unloaded through hinged doors and a ramp at the bow of the ship. Up to twenty Sherman tanks could be carried, along with many tons of other vehicles, supplies and equipment.

The current crewmembers hail from 23 states, most of them being U.S. Navy veterans who served on our country’s LST’s at various times since 1942. They are bringing this ship to several ports of call in Massachusetts, so that those of us who appreciate the service of our veterans can board and explore the only operational LST museum ship in existence. Winston Churchill said that the LST saved two empires. President Eisenhower noted that the war in Europe could not have been won without the LST.

Not all of the crewmembers are veterans. A few of them are serving in memory of their fathers who sailed on LST’s. They have learned the skills of their fathers from willing tutors who enjoy sharing with the younger generation, in the hope that they will keep alive the memory of these ships and the crews who sailed them.

Further information is available on the ship’s website at www.LSTMemorial.org. (The ship’s itinerary can be found on the “Voyage 2005 Information” page.) USS LST-325 is owned and operated by The USS LST Ship Memorial, Inc., a non-profit corporation.

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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/6/prweb246457.htm